‘Publish or perish’: no longer the mantra of academics?
Victoria Merriman | Next Generation
Astonishingly, 2 million new papers are now published annually. However, the time available to find and read articles has not increased correspondingly. The result is that around 50% of published research papers are never read, and 90% never cited.
Academics are consequently at increased risk of ‘publishing and perishing’, giving rise to a new mantra: ‘be visible or vanish’. It’s becoming crucial to raise your research above the parapet by promoting it. This new step is recognised in modern academia, as grant applications increasingly require researchers to demonstrate the impact of their research, rather than just the quantity.
The idea of self-promotion may seem daunting (and perhaps not natural), but this three-step guide should set you on your way.
1. YOUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT
Establish what about your paper is new and important, and then create content to promote this. It could take the form of an infographic, a video or an article, but all should include a summary and an impact statement to give context and explain how your results advance your field.
You can communicate your research without seeming like a shameless self-promoter. Science blogging or injecting humour can both help, just remember to link to your latest publication at the end. You don’t need to create multiple formats for multiple media channels: you can ‘COPE’ – Create Once, Publish Everywhere!
The best channels to publicise your work depend on the medium (or media) you are using, the nature of your research and your personality. The following are some of the most popular options.
TOP TIPS FOR MAXIMUM VISIBILITY
- helps you explain, enrich and share publications
- great if you have videos, presentations and additional data
- can be a hub for all your publications
- allows you to share your work through other channels and measure the results
- maintain your profile to showcase your work
- increase your visibility and find collaborators by asking and answering research questions
- this will increase your discoverability, even if you have no followers
- ‘hashtags’ make a topic easily discoverable (e.g. #SfEBES2016)
- ‘handles’ prompt colleagues, institutions and journals to see and share your tweet (e.g. @Soc_Endo)
- a shared lab account will help you divide the workload
- tweet at different times of day to reach different audiences
- hashtag your research field in your biography, and include a link to a blog or profile
- ‘pin’ a tweet about your latest paper to fix it at the top of your profile
Blogging (e.g. on Wordpress)
- raise your profile with deeper exploration of specific topics
- guest blogging (writing on established blogs) takes less time and reaches a larger audience (see the Society’s blog ‘The Endocrine Post’)
- topics could include ‘your typical day’, ‘awareness days in your field’, ‘research gaps’, ‘advice you would have liked when just starting out’
- link your blog to your social media accounts to quickly share articles
Vlogging (e.g. on YouTube)
- video blogging makes it easier to explain complex ideas
- keep the video short, speak clearly, use natural language – and smile!
- include subtitles for those without audio and for non-native English speakers
- use the description box to link to your research
Emails and signatures
- include extra information in your signature: links to your professional
- and LinkedIn profiles and Kudos, plus your Twitter handle
- add a link to your latest article – someone might click!
- don’t distribute PDFs of your papers – if you send a link the downloads will count towards your metrics
- maintain your profile on your institution’s website
- give a departmental talk about your research, or discuss your article at a journal club
- promote your work on your institution’s social media channels
Publishers and the media
- ask the journal that published your article to include it in their marketing
- significant findings may be of interest to the media; work with the press office at your institution, your journal’s publisher or the Society for Endocrinology to engage with journalists
3. TRACKING YOUR PROGRESS
You can monitor the impact of your research using article-level metrics found on Kudos or on most journals’ article pages. Usage statistics show the number of article views while the Altmetric Attention Score (see example) allows you to instantly visualise coverage from non-traditional outlets, such as news stories.
All your hard work in promoting your research really should pay off. In the case of Kudos, for example, authors using their tools were found to experience a 23% rise in downloads.
Marketing Manager (Publishing), Bioscientifica