Welcome to the November Impact Challenge!
Over the next 30 days, we’re going to work together to supercharge your research impact. You’ll:
upgrade your professional visibility by conquering social media,
boost your readership and citations by getting your work online,
stay atop your field’s latest developments with automated alerting,
lock in the key connections with colleagues that’ll boost your career, and
dazzle evaluators with comprehensive tracking and reporting on your own impacts.
Each day’s challenge will look like this: we’ll describe that day’s important principle–why it’s important, how you can get started, and some resources to help you excel–and then share a homework assignment, where you’ll apply the concepts we cover in that day’s post.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in, starting with scholarly social media.
Make a profile on Academia.edu
You know all those things you wish your CV was smart enough to do–embed your papers, automatically give you readership statistics, and so on? Academia.edu and ResearchGate (which we’ll cover in tomorrow’s challenge) are two academic social networks that allow you to do these things and a lot more.
Perhaps more importantly, they’re places where your colleagues are spending a lot of their time. Actively participating on one or both networks will give you ample opportunity to have greater reach with other researchers. And getting your publications and presentations onto these sites will make it easier for others to encounter your work, not only for the social network they help you build, but also to improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of your research, making you much more “googleable”.
Generally speaking, both platforms allow you to do the following:
Create a profile that summarizes your research
Upload your publications, so others can find them
Find and follow other researchers, so you can receive automatic updates on their new publications
Find and read others’ publications
See platform-specific metrics that indicate the readership and reach you have on those sites
Today, we’ll cover getting started with Academia.edu. Let’s dig into the basics of setting up a profile and uploading your work.
Basic profile setup
Logon to Academia.edu. If you’re a firm believer in keeping your professional online presence separate from your personal one, you’ll likely want to sign up using your university email address. Otherwise, you can sign up using your Facebook or Google profile.
From here, you’ll be directed through the basic signup process.
Post a publication
How do you choose what to share? If you’re an established researcher, this will be easy: just choose your most “famous” (read: highly cited) paper. If you’re a junior researcher or a student, choosing might be tougher. A peer-reviewed paper is always a good bet, as-is a preprint or a presentation that’s closely related to your most current topic of research.
Got a paper in mind? Now comes the not-as-fun-but-incredibly-necessary part: making sure you’ve got the rights to post it. Most academics don’t realize that they generally sign away their copyright when publishing an article with a traditional publisher. And that means you may not have the rights to post the publisher’s version of your article on Academia.edu. (If you negotiated to keep your copyright or published with an authors’ rights-respecting journal like PLOS Biology, give yourself a pat on the back and skip the following paragraph.)
If you don’t have copyright for your paper, all hope is not lost! You likely have the right to post your version of the article (often the unedited, unformatted version). Head over to Sherpa/Romeo and look up the journal you published in. You’ll see any and all restrictions that the publisher has placed on how you can share your article.
If you can post your article, let’s upload it to Academia.edu. Click the green “Upload a paper” button and, on your computer, find the publication you want to upload. Click “Open” and watch as Academia.edu begins to upload your paper.
Once it’s uploaded, the title of your publication will be automatically extracted. Make any corrections necessary to the title, then click in the “Find a Research Interest” box below the title. Add some keywords that will help others find your publication. Click save.
Add your affiliation and interests to your profile
Adding an affiliation is important because it will add you to a subdomain of Academia.edu built for your university, and that will allow you to more easily find your colleagues. The site will try to guess your affiliation based on your email address or IP address; make any corrections needed and add your department information and title. Click “Save & Continue,” then add your research interests on the following page. These are also important; they’ll help others find you and your work.
Connect with colleagues
In this final step, you’ll be prompted to either connect your Facebook account or an email account to Academia.edu, which will search your contacts and suggest connections. Select and confirm anyone you want to follow on the site. I recommend starting out small, to keep from being overwhelmed by updates.
Congrats, you’ve now got an Academia.edu profile!
You can continue to spruce it up by adding more publications, as well as adding a photo of yourself and other research interests and publications, and connecting your Academia profile to other services like Twitter and LinkedIn, if you’re already on ‘em. (If not, don’t worry–we’ll cover that soon.)
Now that you have a profile, set aside half an hour to explore three important uses of Academia.edu: exploring “research interests” in order to discover other researchers and publications; getting more of your most important publications online; and using the Analytics feature to discover who’s following you, how often others are reading and downloading your work, and in which countries your work is most popular.
Research interests: To get started exploring, click on the research interests in your profile:
For the search results that appear, take some time to explore the profiles of others who share your interest(s) and follow anyone that looks interesting. Click on the Documents tab of the search results and explore relevant papers and presentations (below is an example of what the “Human Microbiome” research interest page looks like); I’m willing to bet you’ll find many papers and connections that you weren’t aware of before.
You can also search for other research interests using the search bar at the top of the screen.
Upload more papers & presentations: click the “Upload papers” tab at the top right corner of your screen and upload at least two more papers or presentations that you think are worthy of attention. Remember to abide by any copyright restrictions that might exist, and also be sure to add as much descriptive information as possible, adding the complete title, co-authors, and research interests for your paper, all of which will make it easier for others to find.
Analytics: click the “Analytics” tab at the top of your screen and poke around a bit. Because you just created your profile, it’s possible you won’t yet have any metrics. But in as little as a few days, you’ll begin to see download and pageview statistics for your profile and your publications (as seen below), and other interesting information like maps, all of which can help you better understand the use your work is getting from other researchers!
So–you’ve claimed your professional presence on one of academia’s biggest social networks and learned how to use it to find other researchers and publications. More importantly, you’ve optimized your profile so others can find you and your research much more easily.
Congrats! Day 1 Challenge: achievement unlocked!
Let’s see your results
Post a link to your profile in the comments, and let us know if you have any questions or tips on how to use Academia.edu.
See you tomorrow for our Day 2 challenge: mastering ResearchGate!