Danielle Photo (1)Cat_WilliamsAltmetrics offer a record of the wider attention and engagement that academic work generates and these broad indicators can provide a helpful starting point for understanding the influence and impact of your research. Danielle Padula and Catherine Williams provide ten simple steps for researchers looking to boost online engagement and wider attention of academic research.

Authors are facing more competition than ever for funding and career development opportunities. The volume of scientific content has risen dramatically in the last 10 years, and continues to do so. Processes in place to evaluate research vary greatly from country to country, with criteria coming from a range of governmental initiatives, funders, and even internal review bodies. Demonstrating the broader impacts of your work is crucial to telling the full story of your research, and the benefits that it gleans. But how can scholars demonstrate, or even at first identify, these broader impacts?

Altmetrics, although of course not the whole story, can provide a handy indicator for identifying where there is a tale worth telling. The importance of different sources of altmetrics data captured will vary enormously based on the criteria of your research. Showcasing insights gathered via altmetrics (for example, that your work has been featured in news outlets local to the geography that the work focuses on, or that it has been shared and discussed amongst a certain target community online) alongside things like citation counts, face to face interviews, economic measures or other quantifiable types of impact, can really help to highlight the full picture of your research.

1280px-Semaphore_Signals_A-ZImage credit: Semaphore signals for the letters of the English alphabet CC BY 2.0

Altmetrics can be particularly useful for early-career researchers and authors who do not typically select to publish a journal article as their main form of research output. In both instances it is possible that the author would struggle to accrue citations and other more traditionally recognized indicators of impact. Altmetrics offer a record of the wider attention and engagement that their work has generated: where it has been shared, where someone influential has picked it up, perhaps even where it has gone on to influence public policy or product development. Here are some steps you can take to use altmetrics to show the broader impact of your work.

10 tips to get your work the attention it deserves

  1. Early on in your research, determine what success will look like for you: who do you want to see this work? What influence or impact do you want it to have? Use this to determine your outreach and engagement strategy.
  1. Where possible, publish your work Open Access or get a sharing link from your publisher that will allow people you share it with direct access to your work.
  1. Tweet about your work at conferences (you could even set up some tweets to automatically post during your presentation), and promote it via your other social profiles.
  1. Take a look at altmetrics for other articles in your field, and use this to identify channels and sources that might be interested in your work.
  1. Set yourself up a trial ImpactStory profile to start monitoring the effect of your outreach activity.
  1. Write a short lay summary of the key objectives and outcomes of your work to help make it more accessible to a wider audience.
  1. Work with your university and/or publisher press team to plan well ahead for the announcement of any major findings.
  1. Share a link to your latest research in your email signature.
  1. Get yourself an ORCiD ID so people can easily identify which research is yours, and ensure you get credit accordingly.
  1. Make your data, posters, images, and other supporting files available (and citable) via a platform such as figshare or Dryad.

This article is an excerpt from The Evolution of Impact Indicators: From bibliometrics to altmetrics, a collection on the state of research impact co-produced by Scholastica and Altmetric.

Note: This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of the Impact of Social Science blog, nor of the London School of Economics. Please review our Comments Policy if you have any concerns on posting a comment below.

About the Authors

Danielle Padula is Community Development Coordinator at Scholastica, where she heads up community outreach and content creation. Danielle manages Scholastica’s blog and social media feeds, and creates resources to help journal editors and researchers navigate the evolving journal-publishing landscape. She tweets for Scholastica at @scholasticahq.

Catherine Williams is Head of Marketing at Altmetric. Cat is responsible for determining and overseeing the overall marketing and outreach strategy of the company, and is actively involved in the scholarly community. Prior to joining Altmetric, Cat held marketing roles at Nature Publishing Group and SAGE publications, where she worked across a range of science, social science and humanities titles.

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