Last year I conducted a 2 hour workshop on how to develop a research profile online.
These days the dilemma is no longer so much about having or not having an online presence, but rather how to develop one that is reputable. We search the web looking for all sorts of information. We search for information on universities we are interested in and which we could potentially enrol to, we look up information about its staff, their work and latest publications. We also use the web to find other like minded people who might help us with our own research. So if such information is available, and if we make use of it, why shouldn’t we also create our own presence, so that we too become searchable and our work more prominent?
These days every “knowledge worker“, who wants to minimally updated his/her field, uses the web to enhance his/her activity, because online news travel even faster!! Besides that, the web is an extreme efficient channel for dissemination of information we can interact with. Hence, as researchers, some projection regarding what, how and where we research, and whom we collaborate with can be beneficial. It can help raise our profile in our professional field.
Thus, it is important we start thinking about the impact the web can have on our practice, even if technologies are not really our direct field of interest or study. Yet, many issues arise when considering the implications it has once we enter cyberspace wearing our professional hat. identity, copyright, dissemination of work, collaboration, networking, just to name a few are some of the areas of discussion that automatically come to mind and which we have to give some consideration when entering cyberspace. These issues shouldn’t scare us away from going down this route, it just means we need to be prepared to tackle them consciously.
So the first thing we should ask ourselves is:
- How much do you want your research to be known?
- How much are you willing to make it available to a wider audience?
- And also important, how are you making yourself known in your field?
Have you been networking? And I don’t really mean just chatting with friends on Facebook or adding your profile to Linkedin, to never again go back to it? I mean: have you really been participating and engaging in learning circles which will give your personal learning network a boost and ‘put’ your research activity out there, giving it visibility beyond the institution?
What strategies should we be adopting to communicate our work, collaborate with other people engaged in our field, and broaden our horizons and connections?
I am running another workshop on Developing a Digital Identity for Researchers (originally called How to Develop a Researcher Profile through Social Media) [ Check the SPoRT Programme ] and would be interested in learning more about what people have been doing regarding these issues. Any examples of innovative practice and ideas are most welcome.
I always find it more interesting to work on these topics when I am also able to share what other people are doing. For the participants it makes it so much more real and menaingful! It means someone is already working on these questions! 😉
So, please keep those ideas coming!