This post is the fifth part of my series ‘How to promote an Open Access book?‘ Although having realized that it may apply to both books and papers, I decided to change the title a little bit.
It is impossible to imagine promotion without the Internet and especially without social media. Obviously, this also includes promoting research. However, it is important not to overestimate the significance of Internet promotion – it can be worthless without the use of other methods. Therefore, before you start to think about Twitter, Facebook or Academia.edu, make sure that you have thought through all the steps I have described in my previous posts on book promotion. Especially networking, discussed in my first entry, which is unavoidable when talking about efficient strategies in social media. Social media may support your action conducted in the ‘real world’ (like attending conferences, participating in workshops, discussions etc.) but it will not replace them.
A second important truth about social media is that no third party service offers you full control. One day a post you submitted on a social media platform or even on your own account might be blocked or deleted. Services themselves might also be discontinued (who remembers MySpace?)
Create a personal website
It is clever to establish your personal website and to treat it as a primary place for on-line publication (this is easy thanks to free, modern content management systems such as WordPress). Create the website in the domain of your research institution or university. If you do not have such an opportunity, buy your own domain (it is not very expensive). All your publications, databases and research outputs should be first of all submitted there (I hope you have chosen a publisher who allows it) and then promoted via social media. It is wise to create a separate page named ‘publications’ on your website. Remember that the file or article metadata (title, author etc.) should be visible on the page that is linked to the document. Post your academic CV on to your website (you can create separate page for it).
Ok, you are done with the website. Now it is a good time to get your Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID). ORCID is a persistent and unique number, which distinguishes you from other researchers, even those with similar names. It is used by authors and publishers (including De Gruyter) to attribute works to respective contributors. You can use ORCID to link all your online publications – your website, blog entries, as well as social media profiles – to one account, with complete information about your scholarly works.
Use your website as a blog
Finally, you can use your website as a blog to share information about your new professional concepts and all promotional events, discussions and conferences that you are taking part in. Write about your involvement in the research community, let your blog entries become a part of your every day social networking. Every time you write about something, try to inform the people who are involved in this particular event or discussion, but do not be annoying (social media and especially Twitter is a perfect tool for letting people know that you have mentioned them – more below).
Choose Social Media Platforms
Nowadays there are several social media platforms, including some dedicated only to scientists. In my opinion Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn and Academia.edu are the ones that you should consider when thinking about promoting your work. You probably do not have enough time to contribute everywhere. Cheer up, nobody has. Twitter, G+ and Facebook are quite dynamic and are good for continuous communication with people that follow you. You should choose at least one of these services to promote your blog posts and to discuss recent events and issues connected to your work. I think it is wise to choose the one that you are already familiar with, and that is used by your co-workers and friends. If you have no personal preferences I recommend Twitter – it is the most popular among scientists in Western Europe and USA. Do not forget to link your social media profiles to your website and your ORCID.
On the other hand, LinkedIn and Academia.edu allow you to submit a lot of information regarding your career as a researcher and to post your works. I would recommend doing that, even if it duplicates the information on your personal website. These services have their own internal search and recommendation tools and are quite popular, so your profile here might be more discoverable for some people than your website. If you decide to create your profile on one of these social networks do not hesitate and publish as much professional information as you can and add publication lists (with full text PDFs – if your agreement with a publisher allows this), your ORCID and your personal website.
At the very end, I would suggest publishing the final version of your book or paper, including your data, notes, etc. on Figshare. Figshare is attracting growing popularity due to two important facts: You can upload data in every format (images, audio, charts, tables, as far as full text etc.) and each separate piece of content uploaded there receives its own DOI number, which makes it more discoverable.
Is it a lot of work? Hmm, maybe even too much. Above all, remember to take care of the quality of your research, then discuss it with colleagues, find a good publisher, promote your work at conferences, meetings, seminars, etc., and then if you still have some time left, think about Internet promotion.