Starting a career is very exciting but can also feel complex and intimidating at times, regardless of the professional environment, and the highly competitive world of academic research is no exception.
As an early career researcher (ECR) there are multiple dimensions to your career: first and foremost pursuing your post-doctoral research project, ideally by securing a fellowship or grant, which might also come with mentoring and teaching responsibilities; contributing to the wider academic community by collaborating with other researchers, writing and getting your research results published; working towards a permanent academic post and meeting the performance expectations of your organization. It would take less to unnerve most professionals!
This blog is part of a series of articles that will help you navigate these complexities and make the transition from ECR to experienced senior researcher. Here we start with the basics: how to build your online researcher identity and reputation to increase the discoverability of your work.
Build your online researcher identity
Use your institution’s resources. Make sure you have an up-to-date bio on your institution or department’s website or database, and deposit your research outputs in the institutional repository (including any unpublished work such as theses, working papers or technical reports). Works placed in the repository are more easily discovered in common internet search engines, making your research more visible. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your subject specialist librarian to get advice on making the most of all the tools your institution provides.
Distinguish yourself from every other researcher by creating a unique and persistent identifier that will be attached to all of your publications and grant applications to help ensure proper attribution of your scholarly work. Unique Identifiers eliminate any confusion surrounding names (similar names, name changes, inconsistent name formats, etc.) to ensure you get recognition for your work. The main identifiers are ORCiD and Web of Science ResearcherID. They complement each other and it’s useful to have both for a proper trail of information. ResearcherID links you to your publications on Web of Science and will enhance the data on your ORCiD.
Create an online researcher profile to be discoverable and showcase your work. Publons is the only profile that allows you to track your publications, citation metrics, peer review history and editorial affiliations in one place. Publons is powered by integrations with Web of Science and thousands of scholarly journals, making it easy to create and maintain a verified record of your works. Registering for Publons will enable you to get a Web of Science ResearcherID and manage your publication records across Web of Science.
Increase your visibility and impact
Embrace Open Access. You should aim to make your research as accessible as possible to increase the chances of others in the community reading it and citing it, thus increasing your visibility. You can make your research outputs open access in two ways: either by publishing your work in an open access journal, or via putting your manuscript in an open access repository such as your institution’s repository or subject specific ones like ArXiv, bioRxiv, or SocArXiv (for both preprints and published work). Learn more about Open Access
Share your data. Store your data in an online repository such as Figshare, Dryad, or Open Science Framework and link it to your research outputs to allow other researchers to verify your work and build on it, enhancing your scholarly reputation.
Present your research at conferences. Giving a presentation will allow you to get feedback on your work (helping you develop conference papers into journal articles), to gain visibility with future collaborators and employers and to start networking and interviewing for jobs. You can use websites such as papercrowd.com or cfplist.com to find relevant conferences, and here’s some comprehensive tips for presenting a conference paper (from application to the actual presentation) and more specific writing tips.
Build your presence on social media. This will help you develop your online reputation, maximise your impact and build your network with other scientists as well as more diverse audiences.
- Use Twitter to disseminate your thoughts and findings (linking to your personal blog if you have one) with hashtags to help people find your tweets and broaden your network of followers. Engage in conversations with your followers and tweet at conferences you attend.
- Kudos is a useful tool for explaining your research in layman’s terms, disseminating it and tracking mentions.
- Use professional social networks such as Academia.edu and LinkedIn to build your network
- Share your conference presentation on slideshare and share on social media
Standing out from the crowd isn’t easy, but these basic steps can get you a long way. Building and boosting your online researcher identity may increase the discoverability and citation of your work and create networking opportunities, strengthening your reputation.