As a natural extension of wider trends towards greater privatisation and deregulation, plans are currently underway to make the UK a global centre for the so-called ‘sharing economy’. Gary Hall examines the potential effects of this transformation on higher education. The data available on certain platforms could be used to develop an intermediary business model for education services. Higher education workers would have […]
Terry Wheeler was at the 100th annual conference of the Ecological Society of America last week. Alongside community shifts towards openness, the rise of Twitter has led to a huge shift in the way science is shared. But with little explanation from the organisers, a confusing opt-in policy for live-tweeting was implemented. Social media is one of the most powerful tools scientists […]
Smartphone apps for public engagement: The value of combining online, offline and mobile strategies.
Smartphones are now ubiquitous, making it possible to connect with users on a mass scale and without hindrance. But can they be used to create a climate of public participation? Dr Carolin Schröder and Anna Schuster used an app – Flashpoll – to test what does and doesn’t work, and found that various factors can influence participation levels.
This piece originally appeared on […]
Hacking the system of social influence: How can we use the mechanics of influence to drive behaviour for public good?
Social influence is one of the most cited and yet least understood concepts in strategy and public policy today. While many people understand its critical importance in viral marketing campaigns, technology adoption, protest movements and other collective behaviours, there is little agreement on how it can be measured and harnessed for the greater good. In this post Vyacheslav Polonski explores how […]
Despite their lowly reputation as a kind of dark collective unconscious of the Internet, the process of commenting and the comments themselves are everyday activities that not only provide outlets for our negative side, weaknesses, and vanity but also structure our lives significantly. Ignas Kalpokas finds three significant contributions that Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the […]
When is the best time to post on social media? Analysis of 100+ million posts suggests there is no single answer.
Nemanja Spasojevic, Adithya Rao, Zhisheng Li, and Prantik Bhattacharyya share findings from their large-scale analysis of user behaviour on social networks. Every network has a unique audience with unique reaction patterns, and as such, each network has a “snowflake”-like schedule for ideal response and engagement. City-based or network-based schedules may be better than posting at random times, but these […]
Planning your online engagement strategy? Don’t go it alone. Well-chosen partnerships can maximise reach and impact.
What are the conditions needed to create real engagement via social media? Heather Doran shares three case studies of successful public engagement. All three examples highlight that building an engaged audience doesn’t happen overnight and requires flexibility, training and a targeted communications strategy. True public engagement with research should be a two-way street.
The use of social media by researchers […]
Rather than narrow our definition of impact, we should use metrics to explore richness and diversity of outcomes.
Impact is multi-dimensional, the routes by which impact occur are different across disciplines and sectors, and impact changes over time. Jane Tinkler argues that if institutions like HEFCE specify a narrow set of impact metrics, more harm than good would come to universities forced to limit their understanding of how research is making a difference. But qualitative and quantitative indicators continue […]
Who’s talking about your research? Tune in to the digital debate and discover what happens post-publication.
Searching for anything in the vast chaos of cyberspace can be a major case of needles and haystacks. Alistair Scott describes how his team has established systems for capturing data related to research outputs. By using carefully constructed search strings (combinations of search terms) and a bit of fine-tuning, you can map and visualise online conversations and the progression of […]
What will the scholarly profile page of the future look like? Provision of metadata is enabling experimentation.
From multi-stakeholder platforms like ORCID, to commercial services like Google Scholar, academic profiles exist in a complex landscape of information flows. Lambert Heller provides an overview of the available scholarly profile pages and offers insight into their future development, which is set to be shaped by business models, technology, and available data streams.
We’re used to easily finding researchers’ profile pages on the […]
The case against the journal article: The age of publisher authority is going, going, gone — and we’ll be just fine.
Heidi Laine evaluates the often unsubstantiated claim that the journal article is central to the research communication process. Is a formal article really such a law of nature? She argues that the journal article (at least as we know it) will become a thing of the past. It will soon be replaced by article-style narrative reports, blogs, wikis, video and audio […]
The popularity of social media sites and the ease at which its data is available means these platforms are increasingly becoming primary sources for social research. Wasim Ahmed presents a quick look at some of the tools available to social scientists for analysing social media data and also reflects on the limitations of the platforms and the methods used for this […]
The bulk of discussion around why academics use social media primarily focuses on social media as a dissemination strategy to get more citations and views of scholarly articles. But social media has also opened up new and exciting ways for researchers to collaborate online. Following an exchange on Twitter, we volunteered to pull together a reading list of posts on how researchers […]
Academic blogging in the “accelerated academy”: How to build a personal, professional and public community.
As a dynamic space, a group blog can be particularly suited to the rapidly changing context of researcher development. Claire Aitchison, Susan Carter and Cally Guerin share their experiences developing a doctoral support blog, a global space for personal and professional development and for building community. Individuals and their institutions stand to benefit from blogging, they argue, but if it were to be mainstreamed, would the […]
The economics of attention: Is there an appropriate balance between the interests of information providers and users?
Attention has become a critical resource for decision-making in the digital age. But differing approaches in economics present widely different understandings of the role attention plays in modern life, argue Agnès Festré and Pierre Garrouste. There are risks in confining the field to be concerned solely with information provision and noise filtering, without recognising how attention shapes problem-solving and rationality.
The “economics […]
Helen Kara’s new book explores the messy realities of research and emerging, creative opportunities. Sarah Lewthwaite finds Creative Research Methods in the Social Sciences a reflexive, dialogic book that demands active reading. As a creative text for students and teachers, the book is designed to enable and support, rather than prescribe. The book looks at the breadth of innovative […]
The digital scholar and the academic job market: Including hyperlinks in your CV can make a big difference.
How can academics ensure their job application stands out from the rest? Patrick Dunleavy advocates going fully digital , where clearly clickable and open-access hyperlinks are provided for all your publications, writings and alternative outputs. Alongside the ease this provides the selection committee, adding digital links to all your recent top research articles will reassure UK selectors that your research falls under the […]
‘Picturing the Social’: Questions of method, ethics and transparency in the analysis of social media photography.
Anne Burns has been researching current norms of social media sharing, particularly in relation to photo sharing practices, and reflects here on the implications this research might have for social media research in years to come. Whilst there are many opportunities for researchers, more reflection is needed on the potential for harm that can be caused by the unauthorized reproduction […]
There is now substantial space and appetite for academic content on the web, but maintaining momentum on these platforms can be an uphill struggle with other pressing teaching and research priorities. Kevin Anselmo looks at what researchers can learn from media companies and argues it is important to think about the driving forces that will enable you to execute your […]
From literature searches to collaborative online writing, a significant amount of the research process now takes place online. Andy Tattersall provides a list of useful Google Chrome extensions that can be added to the browser to help facilitate the daily academic workflow. Recommendations below cover tools for reference management, link saving, and finding quick access to academic articles.
Not everyone uses Google Chrome […]