All 31 entries tagged Researcher Profiles

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March 11, 2013

Things to do when you're leaving!

I shall be leaving the University of Warwick: my last day here will be on 30th April. Many researchers must go through the process of leaving an institution. What are the basic things that need to be done to make this a smooth transition?

Here are the things that I've been trying to put in order, as I prepare to leave Warwick:

1) Use my personal e-mail account properly - unsubscribe from all that junk mail that always clogs up the inbox and start creating meaningful folders there.

2) Use Evernote to forward useful e-mails and copy useful files to. Tags on all kinds of items in Evernote are more efficient than trying to replicate folder structures in e-mail and desktops and cloud based document stores. But then again, duplication guards against loss and acts as a back up, so I'll probably create an archive file from Outlook, too.

3) I have lots of online accounts that are infrequently accessed so I need to transfer the useful accounts to my personal e-mail address because password reminders going to a dead e-mail account are of no use at all! Or, make a note of the passwords to avoid needing to use those reminders.

4) Add my Twitter handle to my signature on my work e-mails: this will stay with me even when my e-mail address changes, and so it's a way for people to find me later when they want to contact me and all they've got is an old e-mail I sent them from my Warwick account.

5) Update/complete my profile on LinkedIn: I haven't done this yet but intend to. If there is a hierarchy of social networking sites, then this one is at the top of my pile: then others can be updated in time, too.

6) Start a new blog: well I created one over on Wordpress but I haven't got started blogging there yet. I plan to write a farewell post here and introduce my new blog at a later date. Not every researcher will be using their institution's proprietary blogging system and so need to transfer in this way, of course. Since I'll have blog content across two sites, I've been clipping my blog entries into Evernote, as a way of collating and curating them.

There's bound to be more that I need to do, but that'll do for starters!

February 04, 2013

Measures of journal article quality?

Writing about web page

The TechCrunch blog post linked to is by the founder of and it discusses the possible contribution that journal article metrics could make, to academic publishing.

In order to interpret readership metrics provided by sites/services like the three mentioned in that post, Academia, ResearchGate and Mendeley, researchers should ask, "what is the level and quality of activity on these sites?" My experience is that there are a lot of students amongst those "researcher" numbers advertised. Students can be readers too, of course, but we need to be clear about what the metrics are actually telling us. Activity and membership varies from one site to another and from one discipline to another, of course, so researchers would need to investigate for themselves. If you're investigating and interpreting for yourself then you're not going to be entirely comfortable with others using such metrics to make some judgement about the quality of your work!

My previous blog post was about publishers who display reader metrics. I wish I had time to investigate them some more!

Mendeley's metrics used to be available for others to use through an API: as ImpactStory, once called TotalImpact were doing. That seems to me to be the most useful model for researchers: then they can follow readership metrics for their papers from all locations. In my opinion, collated stats are great for researchers to track which activity affects their readership numbers most: their paper featuring on their mate's Twitter feed, or professor x's blog, or being delivered at a conference.

But are reader numbers going to lead to a new way of assessing a journal article's quality? They would need to be available from all sources where the article is displayed: publishers, repositories and networking sites would all need to count reader accesses in the same way, and share their data publicly, so that they can be collated and displayed in a reliable and consistent way. They would need to become trusted and used by the researchers themselves. That is going to take a lot of time and effort, I believe, if all the discussion about citation metrics and altmetrics that I've seen is anything to go by.

January 08, 2013

Some Twitter tips for the New Year

I've heard it said that:

You get the Twitter feed that you deserve!

The key to using Twitter effectively is to know who you want to listen to and be in discussions with. There is nothing inherently frivolous about Twitter itself, it's just that you do need to be brief and that can lead to spontaneity and frivolity but equally, you can spend a long time crafting a perfect 140 character tweet to express your idea in as brief a way as possible.

Twitter is a great way to get a summary or overview of what's going on in your field, if you follow people who do craft their tweets carefully. Twitter is not only a great way to listen to those people but also to interact with them: you can publicly tweet at people who you want to reach and you can tweet directly at people who follow you, for a private conversation.

If you can't find the right people then you could always start tweeting on your topic yourself, and others will find you. It's worth investigating the profiles of people who follow you on Twitter, to see if you might want to follow them back.

And if you find you're not following the right people after all, well you can clear out your twitter feed and unfollow people here or there. It's up to you to create and curate your own experience of Twitter!

December 12, 2012

Where is my most up to date profile?

Writing about web page

I have blogged about author profile sites a number of times. I've investigated quite a few of them, and I've not properly invested in my own profile on any of them. So as a totally unscientific measure of the ease and useability of the many sites where I could have put my profile, I thought I would look at my own profile on these sites to see which one is the most complete, in terms of the listing of publications I have authored!

And the winner is: Google Scholar!

The truly surprising thing here is that this is the profile site I have invested least in. I haven't even blogged about it properly!

August 20, 2012

Is the LinkedIn “appearances in search” metric of interest to an academic author?

Follow-up to Who is interested in my online profile? from Library Research Support

LinkedIn recently emailed me details of who is looking at my profile. It reminds me of a previous blog post that I wrote, about who’s looking at my profile online: I often wonder if academic authors might find it valuable to track who is interested in their work.

LinkedIn told me how many profile views there have been in the last three months, how many “appearances in search” there have been, and who has been looking at my profile. I can see why it would be relevant for academic authors to see the details of others who have been looking at their profile: these might be other academics in the same field, so watching this measure is a bit like seeing who wants to listen to you at a conference. If, indeed, LinkedIn is a conference that you are attending!

I wondered what “appearances in search” meant, and found an explanation in some LinkedIn Q&As, that it is about my profile matching others’ search terms when they were not searching for my name specifically. Should academic authors be interested in this metric? I think probably not, and here is why!

I’m not 100% sure, but it seems to me that the “search” referred to must be the LinkedIn search box, on their own site. So these stats are also reflective of the amount of activity happening in LinkedIn. Since it’s not a dedicated, academic forum, our academics might not be too worried about LinkedIn activity.

If your discipline has some really active discussion groups on LinkedIn, or you wanted to generate interest in your work beyond the academic community and within the LinkedIn one (which is pretty large), then you might want to watch LinkedIn metrics more closely. You might want to see more of those search appearances being converted into profile views, as evidence that your work is relevant to that community, and as a channel to direct readers to your scholarly articles and other outputs. In order to do this, you would need to ensure that your profile describes your work accurately. But this is a good idea anyway, so I see no reason to pay attention to the number of “appearances in search”!

I blogged last time about Google Adwords but I must have had a free preview or something because I can’t find the same feature for free now. I often pop in to Google Analytics and Feedburner to see who is looking at my blog, and I regularly look at the stats for the Library’s Support for Research pages, and using these tools I can see who is looking at my site(s) and what keywords are bringing them there. These are far more rich and valuable to me than the LinkedIn stats, so I guess that they will be to academic authors, too.

But how nice of LinkedIn to send me the stats from time to time: it works for me as a reminder to update my profile!

July 09, 2012

Mendeley and ResearchGate: profile sites and repositories used in tandem to raise research profiles.

Writing about web page

There are so many places for authors to put their papers and information about their papers online, so what is the best way to make use of them? I don't have the answer exactly, but I have plenty of ideas!

Drive traffic to the repository by creating links to your papers

Brian Kelly of UKOLN (see Brian's UK Web Focus blog) and I have co-authored a paper for the international repositories conference, OR2012. The full reference is:

Kelly, B. and Delasalle, J., 2012. Can LinkedIn and Enhance Access to Open Repositories? Submitted to: OR2012: the 7th International Conference on Open Repositories, 9-13 July 2012, Edinburgh, Scotland.

and naturally, it is in an open access repository and linked to from this post.

The article title mentions LinkedIn and, and this blog post title mentions Mendeley and ResearchGate, but the concept that the article explores and that this blog post is about, is that these kind of external, profile hosting sites could be useful to researchers in raising the profile of their work, especially when used in conjunction with repositories.

I have blogged in the past about these kinds of profile hosting sites and listed a few other such sites in a piece about, and I have written on this blog about the number of Warwick researchers I could find on such profile sites.

One point explored in the paper is that the profile sites offer a way for authors to create inbound links to their papers in a repository, and such links might help to optimise those papers' search engine rankings, since the number of links to a page or site are a factor in search engine rankings.

I don't quite understand how search engine rankings work (that's their business, and it's getting ever more complex... SEOmoz have a useful article), but inbound links have long been a factor, one way or another. And as a former repository manager and a long-time information professional, I'm very, very aware of the important and sizeable role that Google has to play in bringing visitors to papers in a repository. Some of my early blog posts on the WRAP blog attest to that.

So profile sites are useful to researchers in offering a quick and easy way to generate inbound links to your repository papers: it's a simple concept, but as the example of Brian's work that is given in our paper demonstrates, there are probably a lot of other factors as well that might raise the profile of a researcher's papers.

Maintaining profile details on these sites

Naturally, Brian Kelly and I have profiles on these sites, and our paper is appearing on our publication lists on these sites... thanks Brian, for uploading it and making it easy for me! I confess, that I have left partial profiles on most of these sites: it takes a lot of time to create and update profiles properly. Brian is really good at doing this but I'm not a great example to other authors about how to use these sites.

The two sites I have been looking at most recently are Mendeley and ResearchGate:

I like ResearchGate for making it easy for me to "claim" articles that it has found, as ones that I am an author of. In particular, I like that it harvests records from my institutional repository, so if I kept that up to date with all my papers, then it would be relatively little effort to also keep my profile on ResearchGate up to date. Bravo, ResearchGate! (I have blogged about ResearchGate recently, in greater detail).

However, the thing that I find most irritating about ResearchGate when it comes to using it in tandem with an open access repository, is that it invites me to upload the full text of my paper in a huge box on the top right hand side, and it displays my paper to others with a "Request Full-text" button. Meanwhile, the link to the repository where the full text is available is almost invisible and it is not recognisable as a potential full text source. It simply says "Source:OAI" and the "OAI" part is a link to the WRAP repository record from where the full text can be retrieved.

This makes me have considerable sympathy with authors whose papers I have requested copies of, when I was a repository manager, because it is irritating when your article is already available on open access to all, to be asked to put it in another place as well!

Mendeley has similar features and issues in that I can import records from all sorts of sources using its "web importer", including Google Scholar which does index a lot of repository content... but it's not so simple to use as ResearchGate, when it comes to updating my profile with my own papers from the institutional repository. When I carry out a search on Mendeley itself, I find a sophisticated advanced search form, which I like, although I don't like that I can't edit my search string in the search box after running the search. I tried to do that after my first advanced search and got no results but when I went back to the advanced search form and put my revised criteria into the form, I got results. I think that's clunky and there is work to be done on it as a publications discovery tool.

On Mendeley, I am able to refine the results of my search further by selecting a tick box on the right hand side "Open access articles only". I tried this and was disappointed. It finds papers that I have written, but it doesn't know that the ones in WRAP are available on open access.

How do I tell Mendeley that the paper is already available on OA? Why doesn't it already know?

Both Mendeley and ResearchGate have got it wrong

Or at least, from an open access point of view, they have got it wrong. It ought not to be up to the author to upload their content into several places online. And they should be making it easy for people searching within their environments to get through to the existing open access versions of papers: after all, it's hardly in the spirit of OA to make it difficult for people to access the open access version!

Repository managers' perspectives

One of the points that Brian and I made in our poster for OR2012 was to ask 'why don't repository managers recommend use of external researcher profile sites?' Well, it would help if the profile sites worked nicely with repositories, I think.

And of course another answer to our question is that repository managers have enough of a struggle getting papers for the repository itself, never mind encouraging authors to put their papers elsewhere as well.

Beyond that, it is likely that others at the University are advising on the use of social media, so it might be something that repository managers don't see as their role.

Recently, I posted to a repository managers e-mail list to double check if any of them were recommending such sites:

One replied to say that she had noticed some researchers from her institution who were putting their documents onto sites like these, in full text, but not into the institutional repository. So perhaps repositories should be harvesting from the likes of Mendeley and ResearchGate, too.

At the University of Glasgow, they are sometimes using the "Related URL" field to link to a version of the article on Mendeley (see this example record), which is a step towards integrating these two approaches.

Social Media more generally

One repository manager responded that she did encourage authors to use social media "like LinkedIn, Twitter and a blog". And I was sent a very useful link to a blog post by Melissa Terras at UCL, entitled "Is blogging and tweeting about research papers worth it?" (Short Answer: yes, if you want to attract visitors!)

I think that the use of "social media" is a much bigger topic than the use of profile sites as such. I know that most of the places where researchers can put their profile information are also social media tools in some sense. But this blog post is not intended to cover the social aspects of these tools: that is perhaps for a future blog post!

One more relevant aspect is that publisher websites do often encourage authors to use such profile sites and social media in general, to raise the profiles of their papers. I have blogged about publishers' instructions for authors already.

And finally, I must say that Brian Kelly is an excellent example of an author who uses profile sites and social media. He has uploaded details of his papers onto these sites, but he has also deposited OA copies into his institutional repository and blogged and tweeted about his papers before the conference itself, to raise interest in them. I'm not at all surprised that Brian is the author of the 15 most downloaded papers in the Bath repository, from his department!

June 28, 2012

Scholarly social media use

A couple of articles have come to my attention lately, documenting researchers' use of social media. One is about early career Victorianists:

Amber K. Regis (2012) Early Career Victorianists and Social Media: Impact, Audience and Online Identities, Journal of Victorian Culture. Online at:

This article compares a tweet to a postcard!

Regis says that social media are important because "they are able to create and sustain inclusive communities", i.e. communities with reach beyond academia. I like this because it relates very much to the work we are doing with the Wolfson Research Exchange and the PG Hub with their digital presences and emphasis on peer support. We use blogs, Facebook and Twitter and websites for both facilities and their communities. And of course it relates to the research impact agenda, as Regis goes on to discuss.

Regis picks out some particular researchers and their blogs:

And Regis describes the changing academic landscape, where job adverts ask for candidates to demonstrate "imagination in terms of the dissemination of research findings", and for a "modern portfolio of research skills". Employers will be thinking of the REF exercise and the priorities of research funders, and googling the names of candidates.

According to Regis, the REF panel criteria only mention social media as a general term once, and blogging gets a mention as a potential citation source beyond academia, but in the matter of public engagement and impact of research, Regis says that "social media haunt the spaces between the lines." What a lovely turn of phrase!

Regis explains that "comments, replies, tweets and retweets are an immediate source of 'third party engagement' and 'user feedback or testimony' as required under the REF" and she quotes Warwick's own Charlotte Mathieson, who says "...public engagement is something that occurs while research is taking place and not simply after the fact." Charlotte has written some good blog posts and guides on the topic of impact, whilst working for us.

I find the Regis article important because of the disciplinary focus it has. It discusses the role of social media with examples from those researching a specific field, that of Victorian culture. However, the points it makes could be widely applicable to other fields of research. A few years ago I was writing an internal report for our library and looking for examples of researchers' blogs, and I found it difficult to identify research blogs by individuals. But perhaps if I had been a researcher within a particular discipline I would have been more likely to find the kind of examples I was looking for, as the author of this article was able to do. Finding good blogs and engaging with social media relevant to your field requires an immersion in and awareness of your field, just as with keeping up to date with research papers and articles.

The other article on the theme of researchers' use of social media that came to my attention lately is on the LSE Impact of Social Science blog, which is one also mentioned by Regis, but which I've been following for some time, latterly on my RSS feed reader and lately via their Twitter feed. It's a blog which covers lots of the themes I'm interested in. In particular the blog post of interest is: Scholars are quickly moving toward a universe of web-native communication

This blog post has multiple authors and a very academic style: it is a taster for a conference paper soon to be delivered. It deals with the theme of altmetrics, which might become important in the online, social media research era, just as bibliometrics have become important in measurement of research through the formal publication channels.

The authors state: "But before we can start to seriously examine scholars’ personal altmetrics, we need to get a sense of how wide and established their presence on the social Web is..." and they go on to describe how they measured the work of a sample of 57 authors who presented at a Science and Technology Indicators conference.

Of their sample, 84% had homepages, 70% were on LinkedIn, 23 % had Google Scholar profiles and 16% were on Twitter. I don't know if they also looked for the authors on other profile sites like or ResearchGate, but I do like their methodology and perhaps other researcher samples could be taken and assessed in this way. I think that their sample might not be representative across the fields.

Another aspect of the work the LSE blog authors carried out was to source activity relating to the researchers' papers, on Mendeley and on CiteULike, and to correlate this activity with the number of citations for the papers on Scopus, and they found some significant correlations. I am interested in that these researchers may or may not have had their own profiles on Mendeley and CiteULike, but that's not the point, because their work can be bookmarked on these sites in any case. They conclude their blog post by saying " It’ll take work to understand and use these new metrics – but they’re not going away."

Having read these two articles in quick succession, I am minded to believe that researchers' use of social media is growing and that these two articles describe two different ways to survey that growth and the significance of it. Regis has investigated blogging within a particular speciality, whilst the LSE blog's authors investigated online presence more broadly.

My next interest is in how researchers keep track of the social media relating to their field, and indeed share that current awareness tracking with others. There were once RSS feed readers but nowadays there are tools and sites like, storify, pinterest and pinboard and the stacks feature on Delicious, Bundles on Google Reader, Bundlr, and Mendeley and Zotero and CiteULike no doubt offer similar features, etc, etc, etc! These allow you to not only keep track for yourself but to also share your tracking with others: there have always been tools that did this, but there is an abundance these days and I wonder which ones researchers use and why...

June 18, 2012

ResearchGate is growing

Writing about web page

I've noticed a growth in activity on ResearchGate lately, so have investigated it a bit more thoroughly.

Warwick researchers

Back in January 2012, I blogged that there were 313 researchers from a search for "university of warwick". Now it just tells me that there are "1000+" researchers.

One recent e-mail from ResearchGate told me that that "over 65" researchers from warwick had joined in the last month. That seems like quite fast progress, and ResearchGate has introduced the facility to navigate by institution. When navigating this way, there are 380 University of Warwick members of ResearchGate. Perhaps the other researchers in my search results have mentioned Warwick in some way but are not currently members of the University. This seems like a much better way for me to keep track of Warwick researchers' engagement with the site.

Discussions on ResearchGate

I'm also interested in the activity on ResearchGate in the discussion forums. I'm following a handful of topics, including "Academic writing", "Digital Libraries" "Science 2.0 and open access". I get an e-mail every now and then to tell me about a new question or answers to a question that I am following: there is activity there, and from time to time it is useful to me.

ResearchGate's topics are similar to way I use jiscmail mailing lists, although more efficient because I only get notifications of discussions once, and if it's not of interest then I don't get notifications of further engagement on that topic. Also, the community is different: there are more researchers on ResearchGate and more librarians on jiscmail. LinkedIn offers similar functions in terms of groups where discussions can take place, but perhaps I am not on the right LinkedIn groups because I'm not seeing so much interaction happening there: for me it is more of a useful place to keep up with news than to watch or take part in discussions.

Another difference in the way I've used LinkedIn and ResearchGate is that I can find more people on LinkedIn who I am connected to, whilst on ResearchGate I haven't used the "follow" function very much, for researchers. I don't regularly check what my LinkedIn contacts are doing anyway, so I suppose it's natural that I haven't used the similar feature on ResearchGate. I just selected a few people from the University of Warwick to follow, so will see if that function becomes more interesting to me.

More about the Warwick researchers on ResearchGate

Most have not uploaded photographs. Some have used jokey pictures and a few I recognise as PhD students here. One or two are names of established researchers here, and a few are from our IT Services or from central administration departments. The Departmental breakdown offered by ResearchGate tells me that there are researchers from 18 departments, but it isn't simple to see how many are in each department.

ResearchGate is now displaying an "impact points" score for the institution and for each department. Today, Warwick has 17,028.13 points. The department with the highest number of points is the Department of Chemistry, with 2778.64 points. I can't see any more information than that about the department: ResearchGate displayed a message that they are "still crunching the data" for this department and that I could request that the data be processed for one department only, so I should choose wisely! I requested Chemistry and was told that there are now 2 requests, and that "Once we're done, you'll be able to see stats that visualize this department's research output." I look forward to it!

Publications on ResearchGate: a literature source?

So what are those impact points all about? It appears that they are something to do with activity around publications on ResearchGate. Warwick has 7,185 publications on ResearchGate today. Researchers can upload publications, with citation and abstract information displaying on ResearchGate: it is another place where researchers can search for articles, and it takes data from the likes of PubMed and RePEC and CiteSeer: it claims to have data for over 35 million documents. Which is great, but as a librarian, I don't much like the simple search features: even the "advanced search" is way too simple for properly filtering quite so many documents, in my view. I like to use lots of limits and criteria. I didn't try the "similar abstracts" function out, but I did note that the search tips are helpful in explaining how to do boolean logic based searches with keywords.

I liked the journal title record, when I did a "journal finder" search: lots of valuable information there, including impact factors and SherpaRoMEO data. I might recommend it as a source of journal information in my "Getting Published" workshops, because it brings lots of information together in that way.

There is also a function to bookmark publications in ResearchGate. I bookmarked a couple easily enough, and I notice that there is a function to share an item on Twitter too, so these are features that I ought to investigate further.

I just quickly added three of my publications that ResearchGate identified for me to my profile: I could have uploaded a file from EndNote or tried other methods, but this was enough for now. I now have the option to upload the papers themselves, but I won't do that because they are freely available online already. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the source data for this was Warwick's Institutional repository, WRAP, which is great because Warwick researchers who use WRAP will find it easy to create complete profiles on ResearchGate.

My ResearchGate profile looks pretty poor and I probably ought to invest in it a bit more, especially now that there is so much more going on there. I wish I had time to investigate more thoroughly, but perhaps I will come back to it!

June 08, 2012

Unpublished papers: what happens to them? How do we tell a quality paper?

Writing about web page

Researchers are discussing some interesting topics on ResearchGate. I have linked to a discussion on what happens to papers that they don't manage to get published. I like the answer that they keep refining papers until they are good enough to get accepted for publication eventually. Academic authors need to be persistent and resilient, and published content needs to be of high quality!

However, there is a hierarchy of publication quality out there, and as well as improving their articles, authors can approach less selective or rigorous journals, if their aim is simply to get their work published and out in the public domain. The discussion on ResearchGate was started by someone who has established a website for "Unpublished Articles In Science" ( It's a new site and I didn't find any content. I am also not sure if they want any kind of article or only review articles, and they are asking for donations so I will wait and see if it takes off in any way.

This is not a new idea, to provide a "mop up" place online for academic work that would otherwise not be discoverable. Some institutional repositories were set up as places to make all kinds of research outputs available, including unpublished work. I guess that some authors might just get frustrated enough that their work cannot be published in any other way and put their article(s) somewhere like that, but I wonder what the value is in doing this? Perhaps some really important scholarly works are being missed by the world, but perhaps some works are just not of high enough quality and so should not be publicly available: they might even be misleading.

Surely the peer review and editorial processes of journals exist for a reason? If the work is not of high enough quality to be published, then should it really be in the public domain? Would it not damage an author's career, to have lesser quality work attributed to him/her in such a public way? It is possible that a particular piece of research is just too different for there to be an appropriate journal or publishing outlet, even though it is of high quality and importance. The "differentness" of the output could be that it is in an unusual format or that the subject is highly unusual, and the researcher might be glad of a place that simply makes the work publicly available.

Institutional repositories which accept any kind of output, whether published or not, rely on their academics' judgement about what is a good output. In a way, there is a quality filter of some sort because the author must be employed by the institution, so there is some likelihood that s/he will be able to select what should and should not be in the public domain and associated with his/her name. Some institutions even introduce internal peer review in some way, for unpublished outputs.

At the same time, publishers are introducing new journal titles which appear a little less selective. I am thinking of their author-pays open access (OA) titles, since authors' letters of rejection from their journal of choice sometimes include a suggestion that the article could now be submitted to the publisher's open access journal. The concept of the author paying a publication fee has always been an argument against the open access model of publication, because it interferes with the quality filters in the existing reader-pays model. Of course, the article could still be rejected from the OA journal and there is no reason why peer review could not operate just as rigorously in OA journals as in any other journals.

New, online journals or article collections are not bound by the same format and issue restrictions as traditional journals, and that does allow them to accept more "different" content. The selectiveness or otherwise of an online journal need not be dictated by the amount of print space and paper, but it can use selective criteria based on quality alone. That sounds like a "good thing"!

OA journals can still be of very high quality, as evidenced by the PLoS journals' high impact factor. (I have blogged about these kinds of publication before, and of course I know that impact factors are not infallible measures of quality.) PLoS ONE is the largest, most inclusive journal from PLoS and it has some really interesting features and filters, to enable people to discover high quality research outputs.

With online journals and collections of academic outputs, as with all online materials, the reader needs to be more aware than ever of the features that indicate the quality of the work s/he is reading. Hopefully, the reader will read widely and so be aware of the field, when reading academic content, but beyond the readers' own expertise and academic insight, websites and online journals have features to help readers to assess quality.

Here is a little list of clues on academic quality, including traditional as well as new online features:

  1. place of publication: eg journal title, or special collection within a wider collection like PLoS ONE
  2. information about the authors: institution employed at, membership of organisations, etc
  3. information about who funded the work - they value it, but you might also want to ask why.
  4. when the work was published: this might be recent or it might be before a defining discovery altered academic understanding, so dates are important clues!
  5. whose work is referenced and acknowledged, and therefore this work builds upon
  6. news & media coverage
  7. reviews or comments by other readers, either on the collection site or on readers' blogs.
  8. ratings/scores by other readers
  9. tweets about the article (or other social network discussions)
  10. number of "likes" or bookmarks by other readers
  11. number of views or downloads of an article
  12. citations of the article by others (NB citation sources might matter, i.e. who is citing the work)

Publishers can help readers to access these clues, and providing trackback URLs and ways for readers to bookmark articles in their tool of choice, in a way that the publisher can monitor and publicise are important contributions that a publisher can make. And bullet points 7 onwards in my list are numerical scores, and as such should be taken in context. What is a high score for an article in one discipline might seem low in another discipline: publishers could also provide that context, if they want to help readers to appreciate the quality of the work that they are publishing.

Sites like the UNAIS, institutional repositories and even authors' own sites need to be as good as publishers at providing clues as to quality, if not better, since their quality filters are less well known and understood. And readers do need to be aware.

March 07, 2012

Authors' guidelines on publishers' websites

I recently started to look at publishers' guides to authors, and I noticed which profile sites they recommend authors to use in the promotion of their work. There is quite a lot of variety amongst the publishers I visited today:

The Taylor and Francis website has a neat piece of advice on how authors might promote their work: Taylor and Francis advise the use of LinkedIn and academic social networking sites, mentioning MyNetResearch and Academici as examples… they wouldn’t have been my first choices as I didn't even cover them in my recent piece on profile sites ( However, they could be worth exploring.

Springer’s Author pages ( offer advice on using online tools and social media as well. They mention Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and ResearchGate, Twitter and Wikipedia.

Sage’s section on “Promote your article” for authors ( lists YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr and other Sage provided channels that authors can use. Their section on “Help readers find your article” also offers valuable advice on Search Engine Optimisation:

OUP's journal authors' "Social Media Author Guidelines" ( are very comprehensive, covering blogs, twitter, facebook and youtube, and linking to the OUP channels on such sites in a similar way to Sage. They also list LinkedIn, Goodreads, flickr, tumblr and Quora.

Emerald’s “How to Guides” for authors include some valuable advice on disseminating your work: but it is their advice on “drawing attention to your book” which covers the use of social media best, in my view.

None of these author guidelines mention repository deposit, however!

As an aside: I did also look for Elsevier and Wiley's guides but couldn't find comparable content easily: I recall Elsevier having published a very good guide to getting published, as a pdf file, but my link was broken.

With all this variety and plethora of strategies, then researchers could spend their entire time promoting their work. However, Brian Kelly's recent blog post on the value of inbound linking to enhancing access to papers gives a practical example of how some of these sites can be used in a strategic way. The difference between using these strategies to promote a repository version of a paper and the published version of a paper could be dependent on whether you're going to get article level metrics to tell you which of your activities are having the desired effect. Does your publisher or your repository give you such metrics?

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