Day 14: Claim your ORCID ID


By now, you’re pretty prolific online – you’ve got a great web profile, lots of social networking profiles, data, and articles to your name. But which name is that?

There’s a lot of potential for confusion and mistaken identities in scholarly publishing. You might share a name with other, similarly named researchers or you might have changed your name at some point during your career. How are others supposed to know if they’ve found the right you?

Luckily, some smart people have been working to make name disambiguation easy.

ORCID IDs are permanent identifiers for researchers. They protect your unique scholarly identity and help you keep your publication record up-to-date with very little effort.

ORCID was founded in 2012 as a non-profit organisation comprised of publishers, funders, and institutions like Nature Publishing Group, Wellcome Trust, and Cornell University. Over 1 million researchers have ORCID IDs so far, and the number continues to grow.

In April 2015 the NHMRC and the ARC released a joint statement, which encourages all researchers applying for funding to ensure they have prepared an ORCID. This is another, very good reason why you should claim your ORCID. For you, it will help when you’re applying for that much-needed funding from the ARC for your next big project. While for the ARC the benefit is in consolidating, linking and reusing your ID, publications and grants for administrative purposes.

Setting up your ORCID profile will help you claim your correct, complete publication record. In this challenge, you’re going to claim your ORCID ID so you can automate the collection of your work and related metrics in a future challenge.

Here’s how to get started with ORCID.

Step 1. Claim your ORCID in under 30 seconds

First things first: logon to and sign up for an ORCID account.

At this step in the process, you’ll add very basic information like your name and email address, choose a default level of privacy for your profile, accept ORCID’s terms of use, and click “Register”.

If your name is already in the ORCID system, you’ll then be prompted to claim an existing profile or make a new one.

Congrats! You now have an ORCID identifier. And now you’re on your way to having an ORCID profile, too.

Step 2. Fill out your ORCID profile

Next, you’ll fill out your ORCID profile so that others can verify who you are, and also learn more about you. Here’s what to add:

Links to your UON profile and other web profiles

First, add links to your UON researcher profile, Academia, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and any other websites where you’ve websitesgot a scholarly profile.

On the left-hand menu on your main profile page, click the pencil “Edit” icon next to “Websites.”

In the fields that appear, add links to the professional profiles you’ve created so far as a part of this challenge. Describe each link adequately enough so your profile’s viewers know if they’re going to click a Google Scholar link vs. a ResearchGate link, and so on. Click “Save changes” when you’re done.

Import your publications by connecting other scholarly identifiers

Any type of scholarly output you create, ORCID can handle.

Whether you are a traditional scientist, who writes only papers and the occasional book chapter, a cutting-edge computational linguist who releases datasets and figures for your thesis, or an art professor, you can import your works using ORCID, as well, using ISNI2ORCID… you get the idea.scopus

To connect to other identifiers and indices, from your main profile page, scroll down to the “Works” section and click the “Link Works” button. Then you’ll be prompted to connect to the services of your choice.

Once you’ve connected your profiles, your works will be imported automatically to ORCID. If you’ve connected another scholarly identifier like your Scopus Author ID, a link will appear in your left-hand menu bar.

Complete your personal information


Finally, add your key-word optimised bio by clicking the pencil symbol next to “Biography”, then make your way through education credentials and employment history that might not have imported when you connected other services.

Under each section, click the “Add Manually” button, fill out as much descriptive information as you’re comfortable sharing, choose the level of privacy you’d prefer under the “Who can see this?” section in the upper right of the pop-up box, and then click “Add to list” to commit it to your profile.

Step 3. Complete your publication record

It’s possible that not all of your publications and other works will have imported. You can add them in three ways:

  1. Manually by clicking the “Add Work Manually” button under your Works section and adding the publications one-by-one.
  2. Importing works from your Mendeley profile using the Mendeley2ORCID service. Just login with your ORCID ID in the top-right corner of the screen, approve a sync with Mendeley, and your works will be imported to ORCID.
  3. Batch import your works using the BibTeX import button. You can export your works from Mendeley, EndNote, and many other reference management services in BibTeX format, then click the “Link BibTeX” button under the Works section of your profile, upload your BibTeX file, and you’re done!

If any duplicate records were imported with the Mendeley sync or BibTeX import, you can delete them by clicking the trashcan icon next to the duplicate work’s title.

Step 4. Connect ORCID to the rest of your online life

You can connect your ORCID account with websites including Web of Science, Figshare, and many others.

Once they’re connected, you can easily push information back and forth between services–meaning that a complete ORCID record will allow you to automatically import the same information to multiple places, rather than having to enter the same information over and over again on different websites.

And new services are connecting to ORCID every day, sharing information across an increasing number of platforms–repositories, funding agencies, and more!


ORCID is still a relatively basic service. You cannot edit incorrect entries, automatically detect and remove duplicates, or export your profile information in BibTeX, JSON-LD, or other researcher-friendly formats.

ORCID also has gaps in its coverage. It doesn’t find all of your publications, all of the time, and connectable third-party services like Scopus don’t always, either. That means you might have to manually add some works and information to your profile, same as you do for ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and all other scholarly profiles.

Note: UON signed up to ORCID in late 2015 and the Australian ORCID Consortia was launched in Canberra in February of this year. Being an organisational member will allow the University to embed ORCID identifiers into our research information systems, such as NURO, which will make tasks like managing your publications a whole lot easier. We will keep you updated on this, here on the FEDUA Research Impact Blog.


Your job for today is to make sure your ORCID profile is complete. Check over your Works list to be sure all of your scholarly outputs are present; add grants you’ve received in the Funding section (some funders’ grants can be automatically imported); and connect your ORCID profile to your other scholarly profiles on the web. (At the very least, add a link to your UON researcher profile, your LinkedIn and Google Scholar profiles, and connect ORCID to other scholarly identifiers like your ResearcherID if you have one.)

You should also make sure that your scholarly linkages work both ways. Copy your full ORCID (hint: it’s your profile URL that’s got a long, 16-digit number in it) and paste it into your, ResearchGate, Google Scholar, LinkedIn and other profiles. At the end of the 20 Day Challenge we’ll ensure that all the hard work you’ve done to establish identifiers and profiles is reflected on your UON researcher profile by taking a closer look at the ‘Connect with Me’ section of Nexus.

Tomorrow, we’ll explore how you can turn peer reviews into an opportunity serve your discipline and build your brand as an expert in your field.

Day 13: Submit your post-prints

Day13_NOVAToday, we’ll expand on self-archiving your articles to cover how you can make your author final version manuscripts or ‘post-prints’ fully available online.

NOVA: accessible, searchable, and discoverable

We’ve been talking a lot about how Open Access leads to increased exposure of your research and benefits your impact. And rightly so, it’s a sure way of doing this. Now we’re going to look at how you can take advantage of NOVA, UON’s dedicated Open Access digital repository. NOVA is a research repository, so we’re looking at material of a scholarly nature. Have a look at a more detailed list of what material is appropriate for inclusion in NOVA.

We’ve been talking a lot about how Open Access leads to increased exposure of your research and benefits your impact. And rightly so, it’s a sure way of doing this. Now we’re going to look at how you can take advantage of NOVA, UON’s dedicated Open Access digital repository. NOVA is a research repository, so we’re looking at material of a scholarly nature. Have a look at a more detailed list of what material is appropriate for inclusion in NOVA.

Below is an example of a journal article that has been made available full-text through the deposit of a post-print. All the metadata for the record is present, together with its unique, persistent identifier, known as a ‘handle,’ (e.g. but the presence of the attachment at bottom-left is what we’re really talking about here. This means the article can be downloaded as full-text by anybody, regardless of where they are. No need for expensive subscriptions. No need for institutional affiliation. More readers = more impact.


Publication versions: pre-print, post-print and publisher

Now that we’ve got you thinking about getting more of your work available Open Access and full-text in NOVA, the next thing to look at is the different versions of your publication. Think about the life-cycle of a publication: different stages of its life can be made full-text in repositories like NOVA, depending on copyright policy. The copyright policy of who you publish with determines what version of your publication might be able to be made available.   We understand this has the potential to be very confusing, so here’s a summary of these stages so we’re on the same page:

Pre-print: this is the bare-bones version of your publication. Think of it as the ‘working’ version. The main thing we need to know here is that this is the version before peer-review and it lacks the authority and robustness of a peer-reviewed journal. Some publishers do allow these versions to be published to repositories, however NOVA does not utilise them, so we’re going to concentrate on the next version – the one that has the capacity to make the most difference for you and your research.


Post-print: You’ll note from this image of a post-print article that it looks pretty much like a word document, which is indeed what it is. The big difference between pre- and post-prints is that this one is the version after peer review; it therefore incorporates changes made in the peer-review process.

Post-prints are therefore exactly the same as full published versions content-wise. The only difference is they do not include a publisher’s formatting, logos or pagination.

Crucially though, it’s the version before publication, which means it can be deposited and archived in repositories like NOVA as full-text – depending on copyright and any embargo periods.

Embargos are a definite draw-back, but if you think about Open Access after a delay or Open Access not at all, we’re sure you’ll agree that the wait will be worth it.

You’ll look at publishers who allow post-prints in today’s homework.


Publisher version: this is a publisher version of an article. It’s the final stage in your publications life-cycle. The ‘official’ version, if you like. The problem with these versions is that many publishers will not allow them to be deposited in repositories, which means that unless you’re the author, you’ve got a subscription to the journal, or you’ve got the advantage of some other kind of institutional subscription, you won’t be able to access this. For you, that really limits who can read your work and, therefore, who may cite your work.

You can see that this version differs from the post-print in the way it’s formatted and also by the publisher’s logo – its stamp of ownership.

We learned in yesterday’s challenge that some publishers have Open Access models that mean their versions can be made full text in repositories like NOVA. In this case the NOVA team will have ensured this version is attached to the publication when it is published to the repository.

Homework: deposit your post-print

Step1: Think of some journal articles you’ve published over the last few years and search Sherpa/Romeo for the publisher’s copyright policy. You can search by title, publisher, keyword or ISSN. If you have the ISSN this will be the quickest route to what we’re looking for.


You can see that for this journal the publisher allows the post-print to be archived. Search Sherpa/Romeo until you find a journal you’ve published in that gives you a green tick against post-print. Also look to see whether you can archive the publisher’s version PDF!

Not all journals are indexed by Sherpa/Romeo, so if you can’t find yours, don’t despair. UON has a team of people experienced in navigating the stormy seas of copyright:

Contact the NOVA support team:

Contact the Copyright Officer:

Step 2: Once you’ve identified that you can use the post-print version, you need to locate the post-print of the article itself. Do you make a habit out of archiving these versions? If so, it should be easy. If you’re having trouble maybe try any co-authors. It has to out there somewhere!

Step3: Submit your post-print version to NOVA to begin the publishing process. There’s two ways to go about this. But before you do anything you should search NOVA to see whether or not your article already has a metadata (not full-text) record in the repository.

On the NOVA landing page select browse across the header.


Search by either the title of your article or by your name. The title search option is by far the most direct way, but you might also like to have a look at which of your work is already in NOVA.

If you do locate your article in the results, unless you’ve already submitted your post-print what you’ll see is a metadata only record. You can now increase the visibility of this article exponentially by submitting your post-print and make it fully accessible. To do this email your post-print to and the repository team will begin the process of making your article available full-text. They may ask you a question or two more but at this point we’re almost there.

If you don’t locate your article in your NOVA search, the metadata record is yet to be published. If this is the case you can definitely still email your post-print but you’ll speed up the process by completing the Nova Resource Deposit Form. Don’t forget to attach your post-print. Once you’ve submitted your article you’ll receive an automated receipt for your reference. Make sure you keep this as it can be used in any further correspondence with the NOVA team. Once the deposit is complete expect to hear back from the team – they’ll either give you the good news or advise on any embargo period applicable.

If you experience any problems submitting or if you have any questions, contact the Research Repository Manager:

We covered a lot of ground today, I know! But it’ll be worth it. Today’s activity may have been to submit one journal article post-print, but keep this process in mind and, in the future, submit as many post-prints as you can.

The NOVA team will be able to provide you with expert advice on which post-prints of yours can be made available – including conference papers, and to a lesser extent, book chapters. Building a healthy relationship with NOVA is one sure-fire way to increasing the visibility of your research.

Tomorrow: ORCID identifiers to collect and claim your articles, datasets, and more.

Day 12: Publish Open Access for more citations


Yesterday, we talked about ways you can “open up” your datasets. Now let’s do the same for your publications!

An open access approach to the dissemination of research and scholarly outputs facilitates the free exchange of information and worldwide communication of the University’s research and scholarship. Major national and international competitive research funding agencies have adopted mandatory open-access policies based on the expectation that publicly funded research outcomes will be made publicly available. The Open Access Guideline […] supports and promotes the dissemination of research findings in an international open-access environment through the lodgement of metadata describing research findings and/or post-print publications into the University’s institutional repository.  – UON’s Open Access Policy

Publishing in Open Access (OA) journals is a great way to make your work available for all to read, and it has the added advantage of getting you more citations, views, Mendeley readers and Twitter mentions. What’s not to love about that?


And while publishing in Open Access journals is a really effective way of maximising your readership, it is also important to note that Open Access publishing is now mandated by certain funding agencies as it is seen as being in the best interests of all stakeholders involved. Open Access publishing of ARC & NHMRC funded outputs is now compulsory. Find out more about these policies from the Australian Open Access Strategy Group.

In today’s challenge, we’ll discuss some advantages and drawbacks to publishing your work Open Access, and share tips on how to publish OA.

Open Access publishing: wins and fails

Open Access publishing has some great advantages to it, and also some drawbacks that are important to consider. Let’s break down some of the arguments.


  • More citations: Open Access journals can get you more citations, as numerous studies have shown.
  • More readers: A 2008 BMJ study showed that “full text downloads were 89% higher, PDF downloads 42% higher, and unique visitors 23% higher for open access articles than for subscription access articles.” These findings have been confirmed for other disciplines, as well. And a recent study by Euan Adie at showed that Mendeley readers were higher for OA articles, too.
  • More altmetrics: The same study found that Open Access articles also receive more tweets than toll-access journals.
  • More access for those who need it: there are plenty of people who might need access to your studies – scholars from small institutions, researchers in developing countries and community researchers like activists, members of charity organisations and school teachers. One of the most commendable aspects of OA is the increased accessibility to research institutions and scholarly publishing for everyone, regardless of budget.


  • Lack of prestige: It’s a sad fact that reviewers for tenure and promotion often judge the quality of articles by the journal of publication when skimming CVs. And unfamiliar titles in the publications list can sometimes lead to some serious career consequences. Article-level metrics can be an answer to this problem, though – a highly cited paper is still highly cited, no matter where it’s published.
  • It can be expensive: many Open Access journals that have adopted the Gold model charge publication fees that cost anywhere from $75 to $4300, making OA publishing a non-starter for underfunded researchers.  Gold Open Access is more prevalent in the US. The Australian market, at least for most of FEDUA’s disciplines, has really embraced Green Open Access.
  • Your colleagues might not see your paper: if you publish in anything but the top journals in your subject area, chances are that your colleagues won’t be aware of your paper’s existence. It’s hard nowadays for your colleagues to follow all the new developments in your field, so if you choose to publish OA, it might take a little legwork on your part to get them to notice your article.

We think that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, especially given the pace with which academia is changing to embrace Open Access. But it’s understandable if you’ve got career concerns.

Luckily, there are ways you can make your articles OA without having to publish in a lesser-known OA journal, let’s take a look:

Which Open Access approach is best for you?

There’s more than one way to be Open Access. In addition to the popularly-known “Gold” OA route – publishing in an Open Access journal – you can also self-archive your traditionally published work (“Green” OA) or pay a fee to a traditional, subscription journal to make your paper open access (“Hybrid” OA). Here’s what you need to know about each:

Gold Open Access

Many Gold OA journals like International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy require that authors pay a publication fee or “article processing charge” upon acceptance for publication. Not all Gold OA journals require a fee however, and some publishers offer fee waivers for those who need financial assistance. With some careful planning, you can also cover Gold OA publishing fees by writing the expected fees into a grant budget.


Green Open Access

Green Open Access is the practice of publishing an article as you normally would in a subscription journal, combined with the practice of archiving an accepted manuscript, which is then published on your website or an institutional repository and is available freely online. It’s a popular option for those who don’t want to pay Open Access fees, but it has a major drawback: embargo periods.

Often, publisher restrictions mean researchers have to wait a year or longer to make their work available via Green OA, leading to major delays in the dissemination of their work. As mentioned previously, Sherpa/Romeo guide is a great way to discover what your journal’s embargo policies are, or you can email or


 Hybrid OA

Some subscription journals will allow authors to pay a fee to make their paper Open Access, even if other papers in the journal are not. This practice is known as “Hybrid OA” publishing. Hybrid OA journals allow authors to both publish in a journal that is recognised by their peers, while also reaping the benefits of OA publishing. But such fees can be expensive for authors and institutions alike, who may also be paying to subscribe to the journal. An uptake of 1-2% suggests that hybrid OA publishing isn’t a popular option.

Creative Commons

While many publishers may not have a blanket Open Access policy they do sometimes allow OA publishing with a Creative Commons licence. Creative Commons is an international non-profit organisation that provides free licences and tools that copyright owners can use to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally. Creative Commons Australia is the affiliate that supports Creative Commons in Australia and administers the Australian Creative Commons licences. Sound your publisher out about Creative Commons licences to see what their position is, or speak the NOVA team, who may be able to liaise with publishers on your behalf:

Open Journals System (OJS)

The UON library maintains and provides support services that aim to promote Open Access publishing within our research community. This is another option you might want to look into. OJS journals are hosted and managed here and are effective working models of open online publishing that are available to you. Some examples include Popular Entertainment Studies and International Studies in Widening Participation.

If you’re interested in learning more about OJS journals, contact

Grant application budgets & fee waivers

If you decide to go the Gold or Hybrid OA routes but need some help meeting the publication fees, you still have options.

 Grant application budgets

Open Access publication fees can often be built into grant application budgets including ARC DPs, DECRAs and LPs. Given that more and more funding agencies require public access to the research they fund, they’re becoming increasingly amenable to covering such costs. For example, costs to cover the “publication and dissemination of Project outputs and outreach activity” are allowed in the ARC DP and DECRA schemes. You should identify which OA publications you will be targeting and include an amount to cover the costs of at least one publication of this type each year (if appropriate to your field of research) and justify in terms of speed to publication and increased readership. Check for similar allowances in the funding rules and guidelines for other schemes to see if OA fees are an eligible budget item.

Fee waivers

Some Gold OA publishers will waive their publication fees for authors who can document financial hardship. Check with your publisher as to whether such waivers are available, and what the qualifications are for applying.

 Mapping your path to Open Access

The Australian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) has produced this great chart on Open Access journal options, which will help you get your bearings on the path to publishing in an Open Access journal and maximising your readership.


Note: You can also find out more about the how and where of publishing in Open Access journals in the University Library’s Open Access guide.


Today’s homework is mostly planning for the future. Unless you’ve got an article in the hopper, waiting to be published, you’ll do the following with future publications in mind.

  1. Research Open Access journals in your field: the best place to start is the Directory of Open Access Journals’ listings. You can also focus on Australian Open Access journals. This is a well-maintained, authoritative resource and is curated with quality in mind.
  2. Discover your Green OA rights and make your older research available: look up the journals where your most important papers were published on Sherpa/Romeo. Do they give you the right to self-archive your paper? If so, prepare for tomorrow’s challenge by locating your author final version manuscripts or ‘post-prints’ – don’t worry if you’re unsure of what these are, we’ll talk you through it tomorrow – in preparation for submitting them to NOVA where they’ll be made Open Access – a sure step toward increased impact!

See you tomorrow for Depositing your post-prints!

Day 11: Get your data cited


Welcome to week 3! Today we’re going to talk about research data and your options for maximising its impact. We’ll be thinking mainly about sharing it but also managing it, storing it, depositing it and taking steps to make sure it’s safe and discoverable.

Data is second only to journal articles in terms of importance to research communication and publishing – it’s the rocks from which diamonds are refined. And as a researcher, chances are you’ve got research data lying around on your hard drive or server. Yet a lot of research data never sees the light of day. It used to be difficult to make data available to others, so researchers didn’t unless required to by journals or funder mandates.

But new research has found that by putting your research data online, you’ll become up to 30%  more highly cited  than if you kept your data hidden. Open research data also leads to more  replicable studies, and is important to the quality of research overall. And advancements in technology have made it easier than ever to cheaply preserve and make your data Open Access.

In today’s challenge, we’ll share three easy ways to make your data available online: Open Repositories (ORs) like Figshare and Zenodo; Disciplinary Repositories (DRs) like Dryad and ICPSR; and Institutional Repositories (IRs) like NOVA here at the University of Newcastle.

Your data

So what does your data look like? It might be the results of all those hours you’ve put into qualitative surveys. Or it might include digital photos taken in archives, de-identified interview voice recordings and transcripts, videos of performance, bibliographies and translations of published work as well as data from existing databases. One thing is certain, it’s a lot more than figures in a spreadsheet.

Researchers share all the time through informal networks but now we going to look at the options for sharing data that focus on its preservation, discoverability and re-use.

Why post to a data repository?

A common way for many researchers to share their data over the years has been to submit it as a supplementary file to a journal article. But publishers are beginning to encourage researchers  to deposit their data to repositories instead.

Publishers recognise that repositories of all persuasions are fantastic places to post your research data. That’s because of two standard features for most repositories: high-quality preservation options and persistent identifiers for your data.

Preservation is a no-brainer – if you’re entrusting your data to a repository, you want to know that it will be around until you decide to remove it.

Persistent identifiers are important because they allow your data to be found if the URL for your data changes, or it’s transferred to another repository when your repository is shuttered, and so on. And with persistent identifiers like DOIs, it’s easy to track citations, shares, mentions, and  other reuse and discussion of your data on the Web.

There are several different types of repository that can host your data depending on your institution and discipline. Let’s dig into the different types of repositories and what each does best.

Open repositories


Open repositories (ORs) like Figshare and Zenodo are repositories that anyone can use, regardless of institutional affiliation, to preserve any type of scholarly output they want. Here are specific advantages and disadvantages of two open repositories.


Figshare offers free deposits for open data up to 250 MB in file size. They issue persistent identifiers for datasets. Users can “version” their data as simply as uploading updated files, and can easily embed Figshare datasets in other websites and blogs by copying and pasting a simple code. Other users can comment on datasets and download citation files to their reference managers for later use.

Figshare offers preservation backed by CLOCKSS, a highly trusted, community-governed archive used by repositories around the world. And you get basic information about the number of views and shares on social media your dataset has gotten to date.

Zenodo also offers free data deposits and issues DOIs for your datasets. Much like Figshare, the non-profit makes citation information for datasets available in BibTeX, EndNote, and a variety of other library and reference manager formats. Users can add highly detailed metadata for their files – much more than Figshare currently allows – which can aid in discoverability. Other  Zenodo users can comment on your files. And best of all, Zenodo makes it easy to sign up with your ORCID identifier. (If you don’t have one yet, no worries! We’re going to cover it in an upcoming challenge.)

Both repositories have open APIs, making them very interoperable with other systems, and they are both user-friendly.


For some, Figshare’s funding model is a serious drawback; it’s a for-profit company funded by Digital Science, whose parent company, Macmillian Publishing, is the keeper of the Nature Publishing Group empire.

Zenodo’s preservation plan is less robust than Figshare’s, and currently Zenodo can only host files 2GB or less in size. Zenodo also lacks public page view and download statistics, meaning that you can’t track the popularity or reuse of the data you submit to the archive.

Disciplinary repositories


Disciplinary repositories (DRs) offer a way to share specialised research data with relevant communities. They offer many of the same features as IRs and ORs, but often with special features for disciplinary data. To get a better idea of the features of discipline-specific repositories have a browse of the Open Access Directory listing of Discipline based repositories.


Disciplinary repositories like ICPSR (a DR for social sciences data) often allow users to use subject-specific metadata schema that enhance discoverability. They are focal points for their disciplines, meaning that your data will more likely be seen by those understand it. Repositories like those in the DataONE network are interoperable with the software that you and other researchers already use to collect and analyze data, making it super easy to deposit data as part of your regular workflow. Depending on the repository, they might offer DOIs for data you’ve deposited.


Not all disciplinary repositories allow you to deposit large datasets. Some do not offer DOIs. And occasionally, grant-funded subject repositories that don’t have sustainable business models shut down after their funding runs out.

Institutional repositories

Institutional repositories (IRs) are platforms where a university’s faculty and graduate students can preserve their research data and other scholarly outputs. At UON we have access to NOVA.


NOVA is free to use, allows for the addition of both basic and complex data descriptions, and issues a persistent identifiers that others can use to cite and find your data easily.

Resources in NOVA are harvested via Google and other major search engines including the National Discovery Service, ensuring that your publications and work can be found via the Internet.

And by virtue of being backed by a university and administered by librarians, they’ve got a degree of trust that money can’t buy; many universities have been around for a hundred or more years, librarians have been stewards of the scholarly record since the times of the Ancient Library of Alexandria, and both will likely be around long after the Googles of the world have been shuttered.


Like a lot of repositories NOVA has limitations on how large the data-sets published to it can be, but there are other options for storage within UON’s research support framework. In fact there’s plenty of expertise for you to call on, but we’ll touch more on that when we look at sharing and managing your data in today’s homework.

A user’s guide to sharing

There’s some really important things to be aware of when sharing data: How open and publically available do you want your data to be? Will you mediate it? Can you share it? In addition to some of the drawbacks addressed above, the biggest limitation to the idea of making your data openly available is that not everyone can do it! If you work with sensitive data – defined by the  Australian National Data Service (ANDS) as: data that can be used to identify an individual, species, object, or location that introduces a risk of discrimination, harm, or unwanted attention – you often can’t share your data openly online.

That said, some repositories like ICPSR do index sensitive data, making it available to registered users. The availability of a metadata record alone can sometimes be enough to cite sensitive data, and so it’s possible that you can still get cited, even if your data isn’t open access. But we don’t recommend keeping your data behind a login or other barrier if you don’t have to.

Unsure if your data is “sensitive”? Check out ANDS guide to Ethics, consent and data sharing, which can help you identify applicable laws and regulations.

Note: Depositing data with public availability in mind is sometimes a funding requirement. Take the Australian Research Council (ARC) for instance. The ARC does not mandate open data. However, researchers are encouraged to consider the ways in which they can best manage, store, disseminate and re-use data generated through ARC-funded research. Researchers are asked in their grant applications to articulate plans for the management of data generated through the proposed project to make data as openly accessible as possible for the purposes of verification and for the conduct of future research by others.


For today’s homework we’re going to take an in-depth look at preparing to deposit. By now you’ve probably had a good think about your research data and what is most likely to bolster your research impact through being shared. The UON Data Management Toolkit aims to promote good practice in data management and is an absolute wealth of information on data management, sharing and depositing. Take some time to explore the different sections on management, policy, citing data, finding data and sharing it.

Now that you’ve given it some thought and know what’s involved, take advantage of the options UON provides in the areas of data archives, digital repositories and data centres.

If you have data you wish to deposit please contact Vicki Picasso, Senior Librarian Research Support at Vicki will be able to recommend the best course of action for sharing your data.

Great! Next time you’ve got a dataset that you want to share with the world, do it!

Tomorrow, we’ll explore publishing Open Access for more citations.

Day 10: Social media automation for academics

You’ve now got a number of social media accounts. How can you possibly find time to manage all these accounts, given the time demands of the average academic?

Today, we’re going to talk about how you can use social media automation tools like Buffer and IFTTT to manage these accounts in a more efficient way.

Below, we’ll introduce you to how social media automation works, the best automation tools, and rules to follow for success.

What is social media automation?

When you want to share a new blog post or article link on social media, you can save time by using a single tool to post to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all at once. These tools will allow you to compose one message and post it to all your connected social media accounts with the click of a button or whenever a “trigger” is tripped. That’s social media automation, and it’s going to save you a lot of time.

Many social media automation tools can also be used to schedule posts in advance, so you can plan ahead to share a lot of content over the course of a day or week, rather than all at once.

Cyborgs vs. robots: your best options for automation

There are two types of social media automation tools:


First are composing and sharing platforms, which we’ll call “cyborgs” because they require some human input to automate future actions. Buffer and Hootsuite are in this category (we’ll talk about both of these below).

In general, here’s how cyborg tools work: you log on to the platform, compose a message to share, select the social media accounts you want to share the message on, and then schedule the message to post at a later time. Cyborgs are more hands-on, but they allow for superior control of messaging and timing.


Your other option is full-blown automators, which we’ll call “robots” due to the fact that they automate posting not based on human input but instead based on whether or not certain actions have occurred on the platforms they’re connected to. If This Then That (IFTTT) is in this category (again, more on IFTTT below).

When using a robot tool, you first define and set up actions you want to automate – say, “If I post a new blog post, then I’ll share a link and the title of the post automatically on Twitter and Facebook.” Then, whenever you complete that action, the robot will do its work, immediately automating posts across various social media sites. In general, robots’ big drawback is that you don’t have much control over what’s automatically posted and when, but they do save you time and effort by not requiring human intervention in order to work.

All of the tools we’ll cover below tend to post to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn out-of-the-box. All also have a flaw: they don’t let you automate posts to or from ResearchGate,, or Google Scholar. Below, we’ll introduce some workarounds that address this problem. But first, let’s check out the most popular automation tools one by one.



Buffer is a popular, browser-based, “cyborg” social media automation platform. On the free tier of the service, you can connect and post to your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts from a single update box (see above).

To get started, sign up for an account and connect the social media accounts you want to post to. On the Content tab, you’ll see a blank update box. This is where you’ll compose your message.

First, select the networks you want to post to; then, compose your message (a “remaining character” limits appear to the left of the “Add to queue” button), add a link, and add a photo (click the camera icon on the bottom left of the update box, and Buffer will guide you through selecting and adding a photo to the post).


When you’ve finished composing your message, you can either add the post to your queue to be shared at a time that Buffer selects, share the post immediately, or schedule the post to appear at a time that you specify.



You can also customise the times at which Buffer will share items in your Queue. Click on the Schedule tab, select the days of the week you want Buffer to share content, and then add the times of day (and night) you want Buffer to share content.



Hootsuite is another popular “cyborg” social media automation platform. You can both schedule posts on the service and monitor interactions across your profiles via its stream interface, pictured above. We’ll focus on Hootsuite’s post automation features below.

To get started, sign up for a Hootsuite account and connect up to three of your social media profiles for free.



To compose a message, hover over the “Send to” box at the top left of your screen. The box will automatically expand to show you the full composition and posting options.


When you’ve finished composing your message, you can choose to “Send now” or click the calendar icon to schedule your post for the future (“Schedule” menu seen at right).

If you choose to schedule ahead, note that you can either specify a time and date for your post, or allow the post to be added to the AutoSchedule. AutoSchedule works like the Buffer Queue: it will post your message at predetermined time and dates that you can adjust by clicking the gear icon on the AutoSchedule box of the “Schedule” menu.

OK, we’ve covered your options for automating part of your social media routine with cyborgs. Let’s talk about what robots can do for you.



IFTTT is a powerful robot automation platform. Here’s how it works: you create a Recipe, select the Trigger, and define an Action you want to automatically happen once that Trigger is tripped. In the example pictured above, I’ve told IFTTT that anytime a new post appears in Carl Boettiger’s blog’s RSS stream (Trigger), to send me an email (Action).

You can reuse others’ Recipes that will post to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn anytime you’ve written a new blog post; cross-post from one social network to another; tweet when you’ve created a GitHub repository; and so on.

To create your own Recipes, sign up for IFTTT, click “My Recipes” at the top of the page, and click “Create a Recipe”.

Click “This” to define your Trigger. Search for your Trigger Channel – the platform that you want your data or updates to come from. Then, choose the Trigger – the event that will initiate the Action. For example, if I want to post to Facebook anytime I tweet a link on Twitter, my Trigger Channel is Twitter, my Trigger is “New link by you.”


Define your Action next. Click “That” to search for your Action Channel – the platform where you want your data or updates to appear. Then, select the Action itself – the event that will happen when your Trigger occurs. You’ll be prompted to define what text you want to appear in your Action, using “Ingredients” from the Trigger (click the Erlenmeyer flask icon to see what Ingredients are available).


Continuing with our above example, my Action Channel is Facebook, and my Action will be “Create a status message” on Facebook, and the text that will appear in the status message will be the “Text” Ingredient from my Twitter update.

Select the Ingredient; click “Add ingredient,” click “Create Action,” then click “Create Recipe” to set your automated Facebook posts into effect.

IFTTT offers more than 4000 Trigger and Action Channels, so the possibilities for automation are endless (and a bit overwhelming). Start out small – one or two Recipes, tops – and test how your audience receives them before automating more content sharing.

There aren’t very many options for automating actions when new content is posted to ResearchGate,, or Google Scholar, as I mentioned above. That’s due to the fact that none of these services have APIs. (If you think that should change–we do! –you can contact all three companies via web form to let them know. ResearchGateAcademia.eduGoogle Scholar)

But there are workarounds: you can adapt or create Recipes that post your most popular papers to Facebook each week, tweet when a new publication is added to your Google Scholar profile, update your LinkedIn profile whenever a new PubMed item from a saved search appears, and so on.

Built-in automation tools

Though ResearchGate and aren’t connectable to IFTTT, Buffer, or Hootsuite, you can use their built-in automation tools to post updates whenever you add a paper to either platform.


On ResearchGate, add a new publication and then head to the publication’s page. Beneath the basic article information at the top of your profile, you’ll see a button to “Share” your article on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Click on the service you want to share your article to, and you’ll be prompted to connect your profile and share the post.


On, add your Twitter handle on your profile homepage. Whenever you add a new paper, you’ll be prompted to tweet about your upload.

Ingredients for successful social media automation

There are some general best practices you should abide by when automating your social media streams to optimise your efficiency and avoid inadvertently coming across as a spammer.

Pay attention to formatting and medium when posting across multiple platforms

Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have different limits on the lengths of content that can be shared in a single message. If you’ve got a message that is better communicated in a long post, try posting separate messages to Twitter and to Facebook and LinkedIn.

(Carefully) Schedule ahead

Consider automating your sharing for maximum reach and engagement. For example, some content gets more clicks, comments, and shares if posted on the weekend or late at night. You could schedule your posts to appear during those times, and also test other times to see if they’re better for your audience. (More on that below.)

Automation can be great for sharing links to posters, slides, and comments while you’re presenting at conferences. Postdoc Ross Mounce used automation to announce that he was presenting while he was on stage. Research scientist (and Impactstory Advisor) Keith Bradnam used automation to tweet a pre-recorded video related to a presentation he was giving, while he was giving it. You can also share blog posts that you’ve written in advance when you’re on holiday, at busy times in the semester, and other times when you don’t have time to post to social media.

If you do schedule ahead, be prepared to hit “pause” if major events happen. Otherwise, you can come across as insensitive. One example to learn from is Guy Kawasaki, who was criticized for keeping his social media automation running while the Boston Marathon bombing unfolded in 2013. Imagine if your automation made it appear as though you were trying to promote your work during a similar catastrophe!

Don’t automate interactions

Some like to automatically tweet “Hello!” to new followers, or reply with a standard message to those who tweet at them. Both of these tactics detract from the reason you’re on social media–to be social! Automated interactions can be a missed opportunity to learn about new followers or engage in discussions. Rather than automating interactions, save time by setting aside a half hour or so on a weekly basis to batch your replies.

Find the best times and content types to post for your audience

You’ll want to post when your followers are most likely to read and interact with your posts and articles in the form of shares, retweets, clicks, comments, and so on. In general, there are ideal times and days to post to various social networks, but you should learn what’s best for your specific audience.

The Buffer blog suggests that you consider the following when determining your social media automation schedule:

  1. In what time zones are the majority of your Twitter followers located? (We recommend Tweriod to learn when your followers are online.)
  2. When do your posts most often get clicked and shared? (Experiment with posting the same content on different days and at different times, then use built-in analytics tools for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to see which date and time performs best.)
  3. When are you around to respond to interactions with your content? (You know your own schedule best, so consider posting the content that’s likely to be most discussion inducing when you’re awake and around to respond to comments.)

Also experiment with what you’re posting to learn what resonates more with your audience. Do more people read your articles when you’ve posted them to your blog and shared those links, rather than links to the articles themselves? Are your colleagues more likely to strike up a discussion if you post questions when sharing content? Again, share the same content multiple times but in different formats to learn more about what your followers are most likely to read, discuss, and share.


Your homework is to consider Buffer, Hootsuite, and IFTTT. Which one(s) might work best for you and why?

Once you’ve figured out which one(s) you might prefer, sign up for an account and create a plan for how using it will fit into your social media schedule, and how you’ll test the popularity of posting times and types of content. Then, start automating!

Finally, read this LSE Impact Blog post on automating measurement and collection of your social media impact. You don’t have to enact any of the suggestions from the post, but keep in mind that it’s possible to backup all of your impacts to Google Drive. It may be useful for you down the road.

Another great week completed! Next week we’re switching gears: we’ll explore sharing your research data, as well as open access and the University’s dedicated repository – NOVA.







Day 9: Find your community on Twitter

Today will cover one of the biggest social media platforms on the planet: Twitter.

Twitter is a microblogging site with 560 million active users. In 2012 more than 1 in 40 researchers was reportedly active on the site with a trend in scholarly use growing.

Academics who use Twitter tend to be effusive in their praise: Twitter helps them stay on top of news in their field, find new publications, get speaking and publishing opportunities, communicate their research directly to the public, and – perhaps most importantly – find a sense of community.

Today, we’ll explore Twitter’s usefulness for you. We’ll get you onto the site, engaging others, finding the best sources of information in your field, and measuring the diffusion of your research among your peers and the general public.

1: Sign up


Creating a Twitter account is dead simple: log on to and sign up for an account.

On the next screen, you’ll be prompted by Twitter to choose a handle – make it similar to your name, so your professional “brand” matches across platforms and you can be more easily found in search.

Complete the rest of the setup steps – find other users to follow and connect your email account to import other contacts – then head to your email to confirm your account.

All done? Now it’s time for the important stuff.

2: Personalise your account


  • First, add your professional photo to your “avatar” by clicking the blue camera icon in the upper left-hand corner, next to your name.
  • Next, add a short version of your web bio. State your experience, research interests (keywords), university affiliation and link to your UON web profile. We also recommend adding a few hashtags (more on those in a moment) that can connect you to other users with similar interests across the platform. For example, in the example above John has #Sociology #PublicHealth #WineStudies. To add your bio, click on “Edit profile” on the right-hand side of your profile page.

Got your basic account set up? Now it’s time to start engaging with other researchers and the public.

3: Find people to follow

Twitter users share research articles, news, and tidbits about their lives on a daily basis. Your next step is to find users who share your interests and to “follow” them to start receiving their updates.

Twitter tries to make it as easy as possible for you to find other people to follow via the “Who to Follow” panel on the right-hand side of your profile (seen above on John’s profile). Their recommendations are usually either spot on or completely off the mark. The more people you follow, though, the better their system gets at finding you appealing contacts. Click on the “View all” link in the “Who to follow” panel to get a long list of suggested users.

Another great way to find people to follow is to search Twitter for particular interests. From any page on Twitter, type a keyword into the Search box at the upper right-hand corner of the page. At the top of the results page, click “More options” and then “Accounts” to narrow the results to Twitter users who match your interest.

You can see here that I’ve searched for the term “anthropology” and narrowed the results to include Twitter accounts who match that term:


Read through the search results, keeping an eye out for familiar names and interesting bios. When you find a user you want updates from, click the “Follow” button to the right of their bio. The tweets of everyone you follow appear on your “Home” feed, below:


There are several other good ways to find people to follow:

  • Take a look at who others are following (on their profile, click “Following”) and follow them.
  • Find curated Twitter Lists on the profiles of those you follow, like this list for Digital Humanities Researchers and this one for Wiley History Authors, Editors and Society Partners (click “Lists” on someone’s profile page, then scan the lists they’ve created to find ones relevant to your area of research.)
  • Watch the updates on your Twitter homepage for unfamiliar names – chances are that someone has “retweeted” (shared someone else’s update with their audience) a user that you’d be interested in getting updates from.

Try to follow at least twenty colleagues and organisations in your field to begin with, and take some time to read through each user’s “timeline” (updates on their profile page) to learn more about them and their interests. You’re going to start chatting with your colleagues in our next step.

Making connections on Twitter

Now we get into the meat of the challenge: making connections with others in your field.

One of the things that makes Twitter so great is that it is a no-pressure forum to spark conversations with your colleagues about a variety of topics, including but not limited to your shared area of study. Twitter also helps you find members of the public who are interested in this field.

Researchers who participated in Deborah Lupton’s study of academics’ use of social media reportedly appreciate Twitter because:

  • I discover interesting articles or events that I wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise. It’s an easy way to see what’s happening around the world. Also, it’s good for making informal links with other researchers by following them and commenting on their tweets. I have discovered researchers through Twitter who share similar interests that I wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise.’
  • ‘Love the ability to chat to colleagues on Twitter, better than seeing each other just once a year at conferences and actually I have “met” people on Twitter before meeting them IRL at conference.’
  • ‘Twitter allows me to make connections to folks that I would not otherwise have – journalists, policy professionals.’

You’re going to engage with others by tweeting at them – writing short messages that either respond to one of their updates, ask questions, or share information with them. Let’s talk now about what makes for good “tweeting”.

No matter what you tweet about, there are some basic things you can do to make your tweets more interesting to others (and thus more likely to be shared via a retweet):

  • Use hashtags (a word or phrase that follows the “#” sign, like “#SocialScience” or “#History”) Tweets with hashtags get double the engagement of those without and they can make your content viewable to anyone with an interest in your area – even if they don’t follow you. But beware: don’t use more than three in a Tweet, as it is seen as spamming.
  • Attach a photo to your tweet (when composing a tweet, click the “Add photo” camera icon and upload a picture from your computer).
  • Consider following the 5-3-2 rule: social media experts recommend that for every 10 updates you post, 5 should be content from others that are relevant to your followers, 3 should be professional content, and 2 should be personal updates.

When in doubt, just remember to keep it professional and you can’t really go wrong.

Note: take a look at the success FEDUA speech pathology researcher Bronwyn Hemsley has had with the #WeSpeechies hashtag. It’s a perfect example of how hashtags can be used for research engagement and collaboration on Twitter


Tweeting at conferences

Now that you’re tweeting, let’s explore some of the benefits (and drawbacks) to tweeting at conferences.

Some academics swear by tweeting at conferences, because it provides an easy way to learn new things and meet new people by following and participating in conversations. As Bik & Goldstein explain:

“Tweeting from conferences (discussing cutting-edge research developments, linking to journal articles or lab websites, e.g., …) can introduce other scientists to valuable content, and consequently provide networking opportunities for users who actively post during meetings… Journalists and scientists following a conference tweet stream may be additionally introduced to new groups of researchers (particularly early-career or those who are new to Twitter) with relevant and related interests; conference tweeting can thus serve to enhance in-person networking opportunities by expanding these activities to online spheres.”

Further, Jonathan Lawson points out that it allows students and early career researchers, in particular, to participate in a “backchannel” that’s not dominated by the most established researchers, like the conferences themselves sometimes are.


The next time you’re attending a conference, find out what the meeting’s hashtag is, and then search for and follow it to “listen in” on the conversation. (Here is an example from #DigiFest16.)

A popular way to follow conference hashtags is TweetChat, which filters out the non-conference tweets in your timeline, making conference-related tweets easier to follow.

And when you’re ready to participate, you can add your voice by writing tweets that include the conference hashtag. When you’re listening to a talk, summarise the main points for your followers, add your own commentary to the speaker’s, and share related papers and websites. Just make sure you have the presenters’ permission to tweet about their talk; some would prefer to keep their findings off the Internet until they have published on them.

You can also tweet using the conference hashtag to organise informal “tweetups”, which can help build relationships and ward off boredom in unfamiliar cities. For example: “Invigorated after Stodden’s great keynote! Anyone up for grabbing a coffee before the reception to talk about it? #meeting2015”.

For more “how to” info on conference tweeting, check out Southern Fried Science’s primer on tweeting at conferences.

 Measuring your success


Twitter’s Analytics dashboard can help you measure the success of your outreach efforts.

Logon to Twitter Analytics and review your latest tweets that share links to your web profiles or your papers. On the dashboard view (pictured above), you’ll see all of your tweets and a summary of your impressions and engagements.

The number of impressions equals the number of times your tweets appeared on someone’s timelines. The number of engagements are the number of times your tweets have been retweeted, clicked through, or clicked on to learn more information about what you shared. They help you measure the amount of exposure you’re receiving and others’ interest in what you’re tweeting, respectively.

The dashboard view is good at summarizing your impressions and engagements over various time periods. The default view is for the past 28 days, but you can click the calendar button in the upper right hand corner to select a date range of your choosing – useful if you want to see what effect tweeting at a conference had upon the amount of exposure you’re getting, for example.

To see the drill-down engagement metrics for a specific tweet, click on the tweet. You’ll see something like this:


In addition to simple engagement and impression metrics, LSE Impact Blog also recommends recording the following:

At the end of each month, Twitter can be used as a painless metric to assess how your tweeting is working for you and your project. Showing the growth in your followers and the number of people who read your research blog can also be helpful for funding applications. You could make short notes on the following:

  • The number of followers you have
  • The names of those who could be useful for future collaboration
  • Invitations to write blog posts or speak at events, which have come via Twitter
  • Number of hits to your own blog posts via Twitter

Over time, you can build upon what you’ve learned from your Twitter metrics, tweeting more content that your followers will love, in a manner that will engage them the most.


Twitter is, like many of the other platforms we’ve covered so far, a for-profit company. Though it’s technically free to use, you pay for your account by allowing Twitter to show ads in your timeline and access and sell your personal data to other companies.

Twitter has also recently announced plans to experiment with users’ timelines, meaning that the uncensored, time-based updates you see on your home screen could soon be replaced with updates selected by an algorithm. That’s something that Facebook currently does, and it led to a near blackout on updates for its users about one of the biggest news items of the year in the US: the Ferguson protests.

What could it mean for you? Well, if Twitter’s future algorithms inadvertently decide that your tweets about H1N1 studies or field research or science funding aren’t compelling to your users, it could remove them from others’ homepages, killing potential conversations and connections.


For today’s homework, you’re going to find other researchers to engage and begin tweeting in earnest.

We recommend following 20 people to begin with, adding a few each day using the techniques described above (keyword searches, Twitter lists, and following researchers that your colleagues are following). Aim to follow at least 100 people by the end of the month.

In the next few days, as you start to get a few followers, take some time to learn more about them. Using the Twitter Analytics “Followers” dashboard, check out their interests, what countries your followers are tweeting from, and who else they’re following – this can be a great source of new people to follow!

Finally, commit to tweeting at least 20 times over the next week. It will help populate your timeline, which will make others more likely to follow you. Share at least one of your own articles, a blog post (if you blog) and engage someone else in conversation.

If tweeting that often seems like a lot – don’t worry! Tomorrow, we’ll show you how to automate your social media updates.

Day 8: make LinkedIn work for your research

Many academics use LinkedIn “just in case someone contacts them.” Our job today is to make your LinkedIn profile great enough that others will be eager to contact you. We’re also going to build out your network a bit, so others can see the high profile work you’ve done.

For today’s challenge, we’re going to:

  • Highlight your best work
  • Connect with other researchers
  • Create a profile that presents the best version of you and also doesn’t need a lot of regular maintenance

Firstly, sign up for a LinkedIn account, if you don’t already have one. Or login to your current LinkedIn profile.

Note: Your LinkedIn profile is set by default to notify other people when you have viewed their profile. Some people don’t like this, and prefer to “lurk” in private. You can turn this off in your “Privacy & Settings” menu (see the limitations section below).

Step 1: Create a solid, low-maintenance profile

You want to create a profile that presents the very best version of you, and also doesn’t need a lot of regular maintenance. (Who has time for that?) You’ll do this by writing a headline and summary that makes it clear in general terms why you’re a smart and talented researcher and choosing a profile photo that’s both professional and inviting.

 Make yourself memorable with a good headline

LinkedIn includes a short text blurb next to each person’s name in search results. They call this your “Headline,” and just like a newspaper headline, it’s meant to stimulate enough interest to make the reader want more.

Here are some keys to writing a great LinkedIn headline:

  1. Describe yourself with the right words: Brainstorm a few keywords that are relevant to the field you’re targeting. Spend a few minutes searching for others in your field, and borrowing from keywords found in their profiles and Headlines. For instance, check out Arianna C’s Headline: “Conceptual Modeling, Facilitation, Research Management, Research Networking and Matching”. Right away, the viewer knows what Arianna is an expert at. Your headline should do the same.
  2. Be succinct: Never use two words when one will do. Barbara K., who works in biotech, has a great Headline that follows this rule: “Microbiologist with R & D experience.”
  3. Show your expert status: What makes you the chemical engineer/genomics researcher/neuroscientist? Do you put in the most hours, score the biggest grants, or get the best instructor evaluations from students? This is your value proposition – what makes you great. Those with less experience like recent graduates can supplement this section by showing their passion for a topic. (I.e., “Computer scientist with a passion for undergraduate education.”)
  4. Use a tried and true formula to writing your headline: 3 keywords + 1 value proposition = Headline success, according to career coach Diana YK Chan. So what does that look like? Taking the keywords from (1) and value proposition from (3) above, we can create a Headline that reads, “Computer scientist with a passion for undergraduate education and experience in conceptual modelling and research management.” Cool, huh? As we mentioned in Day 1, well-written headlines that include your keywords are also key to making you more findable online.
  5. Add your eye-catching headline to your LinkedIn profile: go to the “Profile” tab at the top of your LinkedIn screen and selecting “Edit Profile” from the drop-down menu. Then Copy + Paste your headline into the text box below your name.

Add your keyword optimised Bio

Again, go to the “Edit Profile” screen, scroll down to your “Summary” section, and Copy + Paste your web-optimised bio from Day 1.

Add your profile image

In the “Edit Profile” screen, click on your image (or spot where image should be) and upload your professional-looking profile image from Day 2.

Step 2: Highlight your best work

Next, let’s prepare for making a good impression on your LinkedIn network by highlighting the work that’s most important to you. And you’re going to get others to notice it by making sure some of it’s eye-catching.

Brag about your best publications and awards

Consider your publications and awards the vegetables – the stuff you really want to be consumed. You’re going to make others notice them by listing them alongside the sweets – your eye-catching content.

You’ll want to highlight only your best publications (especially those where you’re a lead author) and most prestigious awards (i.e., skip the $500 undergraduate scholarship from your local Elks club). List no more than 5 total.

Here’s how to add them: in Edit Profile mode, you’ll see a “Recommended for you” panel to the right of your profile photo and header section. Click the “Publications” tile to add that section to your profile.

On the Publications section, you’ll need to manually add publication details. Here are the most important details to include:

  • Title (this one’s a no-brainer)
  • Publication URL (so others can click through to read your work)
  • Description (include your abstract in this space)

You can also add your co-authors, if they’re on LinkedIn and you’re already connected.

Now that your articles are added, drag the Publications section to appear just above or below any eye-catching content on your profile.

 Add some eye-catching content


With a little ingenuity you can make LinkedIn pretty good for showcasing what researchers have a lot of: posters, slide decks, and figures for manuscripts. If you’ve ever given a talk at a conference, or submitted a figure with a manuscript for publication, you can upload it here, giving viewers a better taste of your work.


Neuroscientist Bradley Voytek has added a Wow Factor to his profile with a link to a TEDx talk he gave on his research.Rebecca Mitchell

Pharmacology professor Ramy Aziz showcases his best con
ference talks using links to Slideshare slide decks. In the screenshot to the right, Rebecca Mitchell provided eye-catching links to media articles about her research and her opinion pieces.

You too can upload links to your best – and most visually stimulating – work for a slick-looking profile that sets you apart from others. Here’s how:

  • Add links, photos, slideshows, and videos directly to your profile using the Upload icon on your profile’s “Summary” and “Experience” sections.

One caveat to adding content to your profile: LinkedIn does not offer analytics that show you how often your work is viewed or downloaded on the site. So, you’ll be unable to say with certainty what LinkedIn has done for your readership and so on, but that’s okay: LinkedIn is more about relationships and the boost they’ll give your reputation, instead. Read on.


Step 3: Connect with other researchers

Connecting with other researchers on LinkedIn is just one more way to build an audience for your research. Connections help you maintain relationships with past and current colleagues, who are likely interested in your work and want to read about it.


It’s surprisingly easy to find people you already know and add them to your network on LinkedIn.

Use the Add Connections tab in the top right corner of your profile to connect LinkedIn to your email account. LinkedIn then suggests Connections based on your contacts.

Note: an important rule to follow for LinkedIn is to only select Connections you actually know and feel comfortable asking to keep in touch (former collaborators, co-workers, and friends are good choices). When Connecting, it’s a nice touch to send a message saying hello. Networking is all about building meaningful relationships, not how many people you have in your virtual Rolodex.


LinkedIn is a decent tool for professional visibility, but it’s not without its headaches. Chief among them is that it’s yet another information silo. (And that’s why you’re setting up a profile that’s going to be easy to maintain, so you don’t have to update it but once a year.)

LinkedIn’s also overzealous with their notification emails, sending more in a month than most of us would care to receive in a year. Luckily, they’re easy to turn off.

  1. Under your Account & Settings menu in the top right-hand corner, scroll down to “Privacy & Settings”.
  2. Click on the “Communication” tab on the left-hand side, and set the frequency of emails, push notifications etc.

LinkedIn account settings

You will also see in the above screenshot a “Profile” tab on the left-hand side. Here you can change your visibility, select what others see when you view their profile, etc.


Add your best work

First things first: get at least three of your most important publications onto your profile, add some eye-catching content, then rearrange your profile sections so your Publications get prime real estate next to the most visually-stimulating pieces on your profile.

 Make yourself more “googleable”

Next, you need to make it easy for others to view your profile. What good is a killer LinkedIn profile if no one can find it, or if your profile is so locked down they can only see your name?

Check your “public profile” settings (go to Privacy & Settings > Edit your public profile) to make sure people can see what you want them to. What might others want to see? Your past experience, summary, and education, for starters; also include your best publications.

Next, double-check your settings by signing out of LinkedIn completely and searching for yourself on LinkedIn.

Expand your network

Finally, let’s expand your network by requesting an introduction to a new contact. If done correctly, it can get you name recognition with important researchers.


Here’s an example of how that would work: I’m not currently Connected to genomics researcher Mike Eisen on LinkedIn, but let’s say I want to collaborate with him to do some research on a great idea I have.

The first thing I need to do to connect with him is find a contact that we have in common.

So, I visit Mike’s profile. On the left-hand side is a “How You’re Connected” graphic. I can scroll through the list of contacts we have in common to find a suitable middleman – Mendeley’s William Gunn.


Next, I would click on the “Ask William about Mike” link. In the dialog box that appears, I’d write my request for an introduction and send it to William. The request should follow three key rules:

Be specific

William might take 10 minutes out of his day to write a recommendation for me, so I shouldn’t waste his time. That means telling him exactly why I want to meet Mike: what Mike does that interests me (he’s a genomics researcher), and what I’m looking to get out of an introduction (an opportunity to tell him about my great research idea: widgets for genomics researchers).

Include a “pitch” as to why an introduction would be valuable

Likewise, I should make it clear what Mike would get out of meeting me. What do I bring to the table? In this case, it’d be the chance to learn about a well-received new widget, and a future NSF grant opportunity.

Show appreciation, and also provide William with an “easy out”

William’s time is valuable, so I should make it clear that I’m thankful that he’s considering writing an Introduction. A good way to do that in addition to saying thanks is to give him a way to turn down your request without feeling too guilty.

Two additional rules for special scenarios are: 1) If we didn’t know each other well, I’d want to remind William how we met, and 2) If William does introduce Mike and I, I should follow up with an update and thanks.

Here is an example introduction request:

Hi William,

I’m writing to ask if you’d be kind enough to introduce me to Mike (if, of course, you feel you know him well enough to do so). As you know, I’ve been toying with a new idea for widgets for genetics researchers. The prototype has been very well received by our initial user group; I think it has the potential to be a success, with the right stewardship.

It’s for that reason I want to connect with Mike. Being a well-known genomicist, Mike might be interested in the widget and, eventually, collaborating with me to go after a round of NSF funding. I hear there’s an upcoming “Dear Colleagues” letter that may be specifically related to genetics research widget design.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read this and considering my request. Feel free to decline if you don’t have the bandwidth to make the Introduction right now, I completely understand.


One final note: keep your requests for introductions to “2nd degree connections”– that is, friends of friends – because your chances of getting a meaningful introduction to a stranger through a friend of a friend of a friend depends on too many variables to be successful.

You’ve just completed the Day 8 challenge. Congrats! But there is plenty more to come! We’ll be bringing you a challenge to find your community on Twitter. See you tomorrow!


Day 7: Connect with other researchers on

Next up for our Impact Challenge is Mendeley.

Are you surprised? While it is marketed more as a reference manager than a social network, Mendeley remains popular with many academics and librarians. It offers ways to connect with other researchers that you can’t find on other platforms.

Mendeley Web (the online counterpart to the desktop reference management software) is similar to Google Scholar in several ways. What’s distinctive about Mendeley is that it offers better opportunities to interact with other researchers and get your research in front of communities that might be interested in it, in a context where they’re largely interacting with scholarship they intend to actually read and cite.

Moreover, Mendeley’s Readership Statistics can tell you a lot about the demographics that have bookmarked your work – an important indicator of who’s reading your work and who might cite it in the future.

Step 1: Create a profile

Logon to and click the “Create a free account” button. Create a login and, on the next screen, enter your general field of study and your academic status (student, professor, postdoc, etc.).

As you advance to the next screen, beware: Mendeley Desktop will automatically start downloading to your computer. (You’ll need the Desktop edition to make the next step a bit easier on yourself, but you can also make do without it. Your call.) Download it and install it if you plan to use it for the next step – importing your publications.

Step 2: Import your publications

If you’ve got Mendeley Desktop installed, your job is easy. Export your publications in .bib format from NURO.



  • Fire up Mendeley Desktop and select “My Publications” from the “My Library” panel in the upper left corner of the screen.
  • Click File > Import > BibTeX (.bib) on the main menu.
  • On your computer, find the .bib file you exported from NURO, select it, and click “Open”. Mendeley will begin to import these publications automatically.
  • In the dialog box that appears, confirm that you are the author of the documents that you’re importing, and that you have the rights to share them on Mendeley. Click “I agree.”
  • Click the “Sync” button at the top of the Desktop screen to Sync your local Mendeley library with your Mendeley Web library.

If you didn’t install Mendeley Desktop, here’s how to add your references manually using Mendeley Web:

  • Click the “My Library” tab, then the “Add Document” icon.
  • On the “Add New Document” dialog box that appears, select “My Publications” from the “Add to” drop-down menu, then use the “Type” drop-down menu to specify what type of document you’re adding to your “My Publications” list (article, book section, thesis, etc.).
  • The dialog box will automatically expand, giving you many fields to fill out with descriptive information for that publication. Complete as many as possible, so others can find your publication more easily. If an Open Access link to the full-text of your publication exists, provide it in the URL box. And be sure to add a DOI, if you’ve got one. Click “Save” when finished.
  • Rinse and repeat as necessary, until all your articles are added to your profile.

That’s it! You’ve just added all your publications to your Mendeley profile.

Tips from Faculty Librarian Ruth Talbot-Stokes: provides you with a button that you can drag to your links tools bar. When you are on a page that has bibliographic metadata on it, e.g. a database results page, you can just click that button to send the reference to your Mendeley desktop software. The negative is that sometimes it harvests incomplete or incorrect data and it isn’t easy to edit (maybe you can but it isn’t obvious). Endnote might be slightly harder to get a citation into but it’s easier to manage/edit citations.

If you have a pdf you can drag it into your Mendeley desktop collection and it will automatically create a citation and attach your pdf to it, but once again it isn’t usually a very good citation (I may have been unlucky) it isn’t easy to edit once it is there. You may like to drag pdfs into Mendeley to just make content available there, for the social networking benefits, but still use Endnote as a citation manager for referencing.

This guide  has useful information on how to move material from Endnote to Mendeley and from Mendeley to Endnote, which can be very useful if you have multiple citation managers.

Don’t forget to add your profile image and web bio!

  • Click on your name in the top right-hand corner of your web profile, and then add missing information and an image.


Here’s what your profile page will look like, now that you’ve added an image and uploaded publications to your My Publications library:


Step 3: Follow other researchers

Now you’re ready to connect with other researchers. Consider this step akin to introducing yourself at a conference over coffee: informal, done in passing, and allowing others to put a face to a name.

First, you’ll need to find others to follow. Search for colleagues or well-known researchers in your field by name from the Mendeley search bar in the upper right-hand screen of Mendeley Web:


Be sure to select “People” from the menu, so you search for profiles and not for papers that they’ve authored.

When you find their profile, click on their name in the search results, and then click the “Follow” button on the right-hand side of the profile:


That’s it! Now you’ll receive updates on your Mendeley homepage when they’ve added a new publication to their profile or done something else on the site, like join a group.

Step 4: Join groups relevant to your research

If Step 3 was like introducing yourself during a conference coffee break, Step 4 is like joining a “Birds of a Feather” group over lunch, to talk about common interests and get to know each other a bit better.


Mendeley groups are places where researchers interested in a common topic can virtually congregate to post comments and share papers. It’s a good place to find researchers in your field who might be interested in your publications. And it’s also the single best place on the platform to learn about work that’s recently been published and is being talked about in your discipline.

To find a group, search for a subject using the search toolbar you used for Step 3, making sure to select “Groups” from the drop-down menu. Look through the search results and click through to group pages to determine if the group is still active (some groups were abandoned long-ago).

If so, join it! And then sit back and enjoy all the new knowledge that your fellow group members will drop on you in the coming days, which you can view from either the group page or your Mendeley Web home screen.

And you can feel free to drop some knowledge on them, too. Share your articles, if relevant to the group’s scope. Pose questions and answer others’ questions. Openly solicit collaborators if you’ve got an interesting project in the pot that you need help on, like Abbas here has:


Use groups like you would any other professional networking opportunity: as a place to forge new connections with researchers you might not have a chance to meet otherwise.

 Step 5: Learn who’s bookmarking your work

Once your work is on Mendeley, you can learn some basic information about who’s saving it in their libraries via Mendeley’s Readership Statistics. And that’s interesting to know because Mendeley bookmarks are a leading indicator for later citations.

To see the readership demographics for your publications, head to the article’s page on Mendeley. On the right side of the screen, you’ll see a small Readership Statistics panel:


Readership Statistics can tell you how many readers you have on Mendeley (how many people have bookmarked your publication), what discipline they belong to, their academic status, and their country. Very basic information, to be sure, but it’s definitely more than you’d know about your readers if you were looking at the number of readers alone.


You can’t easily extract readership information for your publications unless you use Mendeley’s open API (too high a barrier for many of us to pass). So, you’ll need to cut-and-paste that information into your website, CV, or annual review, just as you would when using Google Scholar.

A final drawback: if you want to add new publications, you’ll have to do it yourself. Mendeley doesn’t auto-add new publications to your profile like Google Scholar or other platforms can.


First, complete your profile by manually adding any works that the BibTeX import from NURO didn’t catch.

Next, build your network by following at least five other researchers in your field, and joining at least two groups. On each of the groups you’ve joined, share at least one publication, whether it’s one you’ve authored or one written by someone else. Remember, make sure the publications you share are relevant to the group, or else you’ll be pegged as a spammer.

Over the next few days, log onto Mendeley Web at least one more time, and become acquainted with your home screen timeline to stay abreast of new research that’s been added to groups or your colleagues’ profiles.

Are you hanging in there? Tomorrow, we’ll master LinkedIn. Get ready!


Day 6: Create a Google Scholar profile


We’ve covered two of academia’s most popular social networks so far. Now, let’s dig into the research platform that’s used most often by researchers: Google Scholar.

Google Scholar is a popular way to showcase your papers and the citations they’ve received. Google Scholar also calculates a platform-dependent h-index, which many researchers love to track (for better or for worse).

In today’s challenge, we’re going to get you onto Google Scholar, so you can up your scholarly SEO (aka “googleability”), more easily share your publications with new readers, and discover new citations to your work.

Step 1: Create your basic profile

Log on to and click the “My Citations” link at the top of the page to get your account setup started.

  • On the first screen, add your affiliation information and Uni email address, so Google Scholar can confirm your account.
  • Add keywords that are relevant to your research interests, so others can find you when browsing a subject area.
  • Don’t forget to provide a link to your UON researcher profile in the “Homepage” section.
  • Click “Next Step,” and–that’s it! Your basic profile is done.

Now, let’s add some publications to it.

Step 2: Add publications


Google has likely already been indexing your work for some time now as part of their mission as a scholarly search engine. So, this step is pretty easy, compared to what it takes to get your work on to and ResearchGate.

Google Scholar will provide you with a list of publications they think belong to you. You’ll need to read through the list of publications that it suggests as yours and select which ones you want to add to your profile.

Beware – if you have a common name, it’s likely there’s some publications in this list that don’t belong to you. If this is the case you’ve probably already got a bit of practice sifting through what is your work and what isn’t in NURO – same applies here. And there’s also possibly content that you don’t want on your profile because it’s not a scholarly article, or is not representative of your current research path, and so on.

Read through the publications list and deselect any that you do not want to add to your profile (like the below newsletter item that Google Scholar thinks is a scholarly article). Then click the grey “Add” button at the top of your profile.


Next, confirm you want Google to automatically add new publications to your profile in the future. If you’ve got a very common name, note that this might add publications you didn’t author to your profile. But if you’re a prolific author, it can be worth it for the time it saves you approving new articles every month.

Your profile is now almost complete! Two more steps: add your professional-looking profile photo by clicking the “Change Photo” link on your profile homepage, and set your private profile to “Public.”

Step 3: Make your profile public

Your profile is private if you’ve just created it. Change your profile visibility by clicking “Edit” next to “My profile is private” and then selecting “My profile is public” in the drop-down box.

Bonus: Add co-authors



While your profile is technically complete, you’ll want to take advantage of Google Scholar’s built-in co-authorship network. Adding co-authors is a good way to let others know you’re now on Google Scholar, and will be useful later on in the Challenge, when we set up automatic alerts that can help you stay on top of new research in your field.

To add a suggested co-author, find the “Add Co-authors” section on the top right-hand section of your profile, and then click the plus-sign next to each co-author you want to add.

That’s it! Now you’ve got a Google Scholar profile that helps you track when your work has been cited both in the peer-reviewed literature and is yet another scholarly landing page that’ll connect others with your publications. The best part? Google Scholar’s pretty good at automatically adding new stuff to your profile, meaning you won’t have to do a lot of work to keep it up.


Dirty data in the form of incorrect publications isn’t the only limitation of Google Scholar you should be aware of. The quality of Google Scholar citations has also been questioned, because they’re different from what scholars have traditionally considered to be a citation worth counting: a citation in the peer-reviewed literature.

Google Scholar counts citations from pretty much anywhere they can find them. That means their citation count often includes citations from online undergraduate papers, slides, white papers and similar sources. Because of this, Google scholar citation counts are much higher than those from competitors like Scopus and Web of Science.

That can be a good thing. But you can also argue it’s “inflating” citation counts unfairly. It also makes Google Scholar’s citation counts quite susceptible to gaming techniques like using fake publications to fraudulently raise the numbers. We’ve not heard many evaluators complaining about these issues so far, but it’s good to be aware

Google Scholar also shares a limitation with ResearchGate and it’s somewhat of an information silo. You cannot export your citation data, meaning that even if you were to amass very impressive citation statistics on the platform, the only way to get them onto your website, CV, or an annual report is to copy and paste them – way too much tedium for most scientists to endure. Their siloed approach to platform building definitely contributes to researchers’ profile fatigue.

Its final major limitation? There’s no telling if Google Scholar will be around tomorrow. Remember Google Reader? Google has a history of killing beloved products when the bottom line is in question. It’s not exaggerating to say that Google Scholar Profiles could literally go away at any moment.

That said, the benefits of the platform outweigh the downsides for many. And we’re going to give you a way to beat part of the “information silo” problem in today’s homework.


Google Scholar can only automate so much. To fully complete your Google Scholar profile, let’s manually add any missing articles. And let’s also teach you how to export your publication information from Google Scholar, because you’ll want to reuse it on other platforms.

1. Add missing articles

You might have an article or two that Google Scholar didn’t automatically add to your profile. If that’s the case, you’ll need to add it manually.

Click the “Add” button in the grey toolbar in the top of your profile.


On the next page, click the “Add articles manually” link in the left-hand toolbar. Then you’ll see this screen:



You can add new papers to your profile here. Include as much descriptive information as possible – it makes it easier for Google Scholar to find citations to your work. Click “Save” after you’ve finished adding your article metadata, and repeat as necessary until all of your publications are on Google Scholar.

2. Clean up your Google Scholar Profile data

Thanks to Google Scholar Profiles’ “auto add” functionality, your Profile might include some articles you didn’t author.

If that’s the case, you can remove them in one of two ways:

  • Clicking on the title of each offending article to get to the article’s page, and then clicking the “Delete” button in the top green bar
  • From the main Profile page, ticking the boxes next to each incorrect article and selecting the “Delete” from the drop-down menu in the top grey bar

If you want to prevent incorrect articles from appearing on your profile in the first place, you can change your Profile settings to require Google Scholar to email you for approval before adding anything. To make this change, from your main Profile page, click the drop-down menu that appears in the top grey bar. Select “Profile updates”:


On the next page, change the setting to “Don’t automatically update my profile.”

Prefer to roll the dice? You can keep a close eye on what articles are automatically added to your profile by signing up for alerts and manually removing any incorrect additions that appear. Here’s how to sign up for alerts: click the blue “Follow” button at the top of your profile, select “Follow new articles,” enter your email address, and click “Create alert”.

In coming days, we’ll also cover how to use Google Scholar to stay abreast of new research in your field and new citations to your work. Tomorrow, we conquer social bookmarking and reference management website, Mendeley.


Day 4: Make a ResearchGate profile

Yesterday, you used to make new connections, find new readers for your work, and track how often your work is being read.

Today, we’re going to look at one of the major players in the scholarly social network space, ResearchGate. ResearchGate claims 5 million researchers as users, and it will help you connect with many people who aren’t on It can also help you understand your readers through platform-specific metrics, and confirm your status as a helpful expert in your field with their “Q&A” feature.

Given ResearchGate’s similarity to, I won’t rehash the basics of setting up a profile and getting your publications online.

Go ahead and sign up, setup your account, add detailed affiliation information (including a hyperlink to your UON web profile, which you will find a spot for on your profile under ‘Info’, ‘Contact’, ‘Website’), your profile photo, web bio and add a publication or two.

Got your basic profile up and running? Great! Let’s drill down into those three unique features of ResearchGate that you’re going to explore for your Day 2 Challenge.

Find other researchers & publications

Finding other researchers and publications on ResearchGate works a bit differently than on Rather than allow you to specify “research interests” and find other researchers that way, ResearchGate automatically creates a network for you based on who you’ve cited, who you follow and what discipline you selected when setting up your profile.

So, key to creating a robust network is uploading papers with citations to be text-mined, and searching for and following other researchers in your field.

Searching for other researchers in your field is easy: use the search bar at the top of the screen and type in your colleague’s name. If they’re on the site, they’ll appear in the dynamic search results, as we see below:


Click on your colleague’s name in the search results to be taken to their profile, where you can explore their publications, co-authors, and so on, and also follow them to receive updates.

ResearchGate also text-mines the publications you’ve uploaded to find out who you’ve cited. Using that information, they add both researchers you’ve cited and those who have cited you to your network. Your network also includes colleagues from your department and institution.

RG2To explore your network, click the “Publications” tab at the top of your screen to begin discovering the publications that are in your network. You can browse the most recent publications in your area of interest, your network, and so on, using the navigation bar seen here:

If you find an interesting publication, you can click the paper title to read the paper or click on the author’s name to be taken to their profile. And on the author’s profile, you can explore their other publications or choose to follow them, making adding a new colleague to your network a snap.

ResearchGate Score & Stats

RG4If you’re into metrics, the ResearchGate score and stats offer lots to explore. The ResearchGate score is an indicator of your popularity and engagement on the site: the more publications and followers you have, plus the more questions you ask and answer, all add up to your score.

ResearchGate also helpfully provides a percentile (seen above on the right-hand side), so you know how a score stacks up against other users on the site. The score isn’t normalised by field, though, so beware that using the score to compare yourself to others isn’t recommended.

Some other downsides to be aware of: ResearchGate scores don’t take into account whether you’re first author on a paper, they weigh site participation much more highly than other (more important) indicators of your academic prowess, and don’t reflect the reality of who’s a high-impact researchers in many fields. So, caveat emptor!

The ResearchGate stats are also illuminating: they tell you how often your publications have been viewed and cited on ResearchGate (recently and over time), what your top publications are, and the popularity of your profile and any questions you may have asked on the site’s Q&A section.

On your profile page, you’ll see a summary of your stats:


If you click on those stats, you’ll be taken to your stats page, which breaks down all of your metrics with simple visualisations:


A word of caution: like stats, ResearchGate stats are only for content hosted on ResearchGate, so it can’t tell you much about readership or citations of your work that’s hosted on other platforms. And since it’s likely that your entire field isn’t active on ResearchGate that means ResearchGate stats aren’t representative of your full impact.


Now that we’ve made some passive connections by following other researchers, let’s build some relationships by contributing to the Q&A section of the site.

On the Q&A section, anyone can pose a question, and if it’s related to your area of expertise, ResearchGate will give you the opportunity to answer. Basically it’s a good opportunity to help other researchers and get your name out there.

Click on “Q&A” at the top of your screen and explore the various questions that have been posed in your discipline in recent weeks. You can also search for other topics, and pose questions yourself.

Two more cool ResearchGate features worth mentioning: they mint DOIs, meaning that if you need a permanent identifier for an unpublished work, you can get one for free. However, keep in mind that they haven’t announced a preservation plan, meaning their DOIs might be less stable over time than unique identifiers issued by an institutional repository like NOVA.

You can also request Open Reviews of your work, which allows anyone on ResearchGate who’s in your area of expertise to give you feedback – a useful mechanism for inviting others to read your paper. It’s a feature that hasn’t seen much uptake, but is full of possibilities in terms of publicising your work.


As is often pointed out, and ResearchGate are information silos – you put information and effort into the site, and can’t easily extract and reuse it later. And they’re absolutely correct. That’s a big downside of these services and a great reason to check out open alternatives like ORCID (which we will cover later).

Some other drawbacks to both and ResearchGate: they’re both for-profit, venture capital funded platforms, meaning that their responsibility isn’t to academics but to investors. And sure, they’re both free, which seems like an advantage until you remember that it means that you are the product, not the customer.

One solution to these drawbacks is to limit the amount of time you spend adding new content to your profiles on these sites and maybe concentrate on getting your work published full-text in a repository like NOVA (we’ll look at this more on Day 11), which is committed to Open Access and keeping your work discoverable. Instead use them as a method of profile Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) that can help others find you and your three or four most important publications. Even if you don’t have all your publications on either site, their social networking features are still useful to make connections and increase readership for your most important work.

In the coming days, we’ll cover other web services that offer auto-updates and data portability, so you don’t end up suffering from Profile Fatigue.


Set up your ResearchGate profile and add at least three publications you think deserve attention. Next, search for at least 5 colleagues or well-known researchers in your field and follow each of them. Once you’ve established a network, take 10 minutes to explore the “Publications” tab of ResearchGate, browsing publications that have been recently published in your network.

In the coming days, take another 10 minutes to explore your ResearchGate score and stats. Are there any metrics that surprise you, in terms of what’s getting a lot of readers? How might you incorporate this information into your professional life outside of ResearchGate: would you put it on your CV or website, into an annual review or grant application in order to showcase your “broader impacts”? It’s ok if you say “no” to these ideas – the point is to get you thinking about what these metrics mean, and how you might use them professionally.

Now you’ve got connections on two of academia’s biggest social networks, and you’ve increased potential exposure for your publications, to boot. You’ve also got two new sources of metrics that’ll show how often you’re read and cited.

Are you ready for week 2? Next week we will cover more social networks for engaging with other researchers and the broader community, we’ll continue to improve your “Googleability”, and set-up social media automation to make your life easier. Have a great weekend!