Being open to open
Open Educational Resources (OER)
An open vision for the future
One of the most popular features of the week was Brian Kelly’s top 10 tips on how researchers can make their open research visible online. Brian works for the Jisc-funded Innovation Support Centre at UKOLN, which is based at the University of Bath.
Top 10 tips on how to make
your open access research
visible online, by Brian Kelly
So you’ve deposited your research paper in your institution’s online repository, now what? Just because it’s online and available in an open access repository doesn’t automatically mean it’ll get lots of interest. However, you can now harness the power of the social web to promote your papers and engage with your peers.
Here are a number of tips which I feel can help researchers make use of social media and related online activities to maximise the visibility of their research papers.
These are based on my personal experiences and I’ve learnt a lot through trying to make my own papers more visible:
1. Be pro-active
For example, for the delivery of a recent paper, the co-authors agreed a plan on how to inform the members of our professional networks. We uploaded the paper to the institutional repository and included the URL on our presentation slides, which were then uploaded to Slideshare (an online resource for sharing slides) shortly before the presentation. This meant that we could write blog posts with appropriate short URLs available in advance, which we could use whilst we responded to questions on social media channels such as Twitter during the presentation. The key is to find the opportunities you have to promote your work and then make sure you maximise these by being prepared.
2. Monitor what works
Monitor where people are getting your report from to find out the best channels for promoting it. A good way to do this is through usage statistics. Look at Slideshare and YouTube views and Google Analytics (which can tell you how many visits you have had to a page and track where they are coming from). Websites like Topsy provide statistics on URL usage and Twitter hashtags (these mark your work on a subject area and mean you can monitor twitter responses and activity). Topsy can also provide comparisons with previous work and approaches taken by your peers.
3. Make it easy for readers
Make it easy for those who are interested in your research to
access your research by providing links to the papers.
Remember that they’ll want to read the paper and not the
metadata about the paper, so provide direct links to the paper or
key parts of it. You may find that readers view your papers in
mobile devices – perhaps even in bed! So consider making your
paper available in a mobile-friendly format such as HTML (this is
the ‘language’ that web pages are written in).
4. Don’t forget the links
Between 50-80% of traffic to institutional repositories comes from Google. A good way to ensure you come up near the top of a search is to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques, making sure key words in the content are placed effectively to increase web traffic. For papers hosted in open access repositories you will probably not be able to address ‘on-the-page SEO’ – tailoring the content or headings. Therefore it will be important to provide ‘off-the-page SEO’ – links to the repository item.
5. Encourage feedback and discussion
Unlike many repository services, social media services can support feedback and discussion. We can exploit this by being involved with social media discussions, by using them as an opportunity to answer questions or correct mistakes and ask for feedback.
6. Develop your network
Seek to grow your network and create new contacts. For example, conferences
that you attend may have their own Twitter hashtag (which people can search by
to find out information on the event). This provides you with an ideal opportunity to
develop your Twitter network. You could follow other researchers who have
similar interests to yourself, or tweet about the conference.
7. Understand your social media network
Understanding who is getting to your information and how, is key to successful promotion and this is is the same with social media. Twitter analytics tools such as SocialBro and Crowdbooster can provide insights into your network, by showing you who your followers are.
8. Know your limits in the social media environment
‘Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Academia.edu, YouTube… I haven’t got the time!’ Remember that you can’t expect to make use of every social web service which is available. Prioritise channels based on relevance and the potential to reach your key audiences. Analysing these channels will help you to prioritise.
9. Seek improvements
Reflect on your use of social media and online services and identify improvements you can make. If things aren’t working, change it!
10. And finally my top piece of advice
If you’re not there you can’t reap the benefits!
Brian Kelly works for the Innovation Support Centre at UKOLN, based at the University of Bath.
These tips were given in a series of presentations at the Universities of Exeter, Salford and Bath during International Open Access Week 2012 and published initially on the Networked Researcher blog.