Best tips for building a research profile.

As a researcher it is important to build a reputation and name recognition in your field. You want to share your research with others, and you want to demonstrate the impact of your publications. There are many reasons why researchers build a profile including, building their CV, networking with colleagues, sharing the results of their research, and being invited to participate in academic events and activities like keynote talks and serving on boards. For academics today having an online presence is very important. So here are some tips for building a research profile.

Develop an online presence.

You should have a professional webpage that includes your institutional affiliation, your professional bio, a current CV, recent publications and presentations, current research projects, and any professional organizations or bodies to which you belong. Most institutions host webpages for faculty and academic staff. However, too often researchers do not keep their webpage current. As part of developing and maintaining an online profile make sure to have a professional social media profile. 

There are many social media tools that professionals use including Twitter, LinkedIn, ResearchGate, and Facebook. Twitter is a great tool for microblogging, and many academics build a strong following on Twitter. This is a great way to share about presentations, publications, webinars, and new research projects. LinkedIn is a platform designed to connect professionals with others working in the same area. Many research institutions, universities, professional organizations and networks have LinkedIn pages. So, this platform can be an effective way to share the work you are doing and find out about research happening currently in your discipline. 

Share outputs of your research broadly.

Present at conferences, write blogs about your research, publish in traditional and open access journals, and participate in research working groups and collaborations. All these activities will help you build name recognition which in turn will entice other researchers to seek out your work. Promote your research at conferences and use social media, like Twitter, to share when you will be presenting. Look for ways to share your work with appropriate public agencies. For example, if you conduct research in education you might want to share you work with government departments of education or local school districts.

Work with your development office.

Many institutions have a Development and Communications office, and the role of this office is to communicate the research conducted at the institution to the broader community. This includes the general public and local businesses. Get to know the staff in this office at your institution. Discuss your research with them and explore ways that they can include your work in their communication materials. In addition to informing the wider community about the research you are conducting, this also has the potential benefit of appealing to local corporations, foundations and/or private donors who might be looking for research to support financially.

If there is not Development and Communication office at your institution, reach out to local media outlets. Local newspapers, radio networks, and television networks are often interested in publishing stories about research being conducted locally, especially if you can articulate the importance of the outcomes for groups within that community.

Engage in social networking communities.

Join social networking communities that focus on research. ResearchGate, for example, is an online network of researchers who share papers, engage in dialogue, and find collaborators. ResearchGate also provide tools for measuring the impact of papers you share through this platform. 

Tips for setting up an online profile.

 Use a professional photo and do not leave the profile icon blank. Use a photo that clearly shows your face and do not wear sunglasses. Dress professionally. As an academic or researcher there will be many times you might be asked for a professional headshot. This can happen for presentations, publications, when you serve on a committee or on a board, and certainly for any development and communication materials. So, investing in having a professional photo taking is worthwhile.

 Never mix your personal and professional life through an online venue. If you have a personal twitter account, or Facebook account, develop a separate professional account. Our social and professional interactions and dialogues when we are face to face with people are very different. Our language, dress, and tone of voice differ in professional and personal contexts. This should be true for social media communications too. 

 Choose a URL with your name at the end so it is easy for people to remember. For most professional platforms, like LinkedIn you can customize the URL. Do not use clever names or nicknames for any social media tools you are using. Part of the reason you are using these is to build up name recognition, so use your name whenever you can.

 Keep everything current and use the social media tools you have regularly. If you have a twitter account post regularly. This will make it more likely that you will build up a following. You can retweet other interesting tweets related to your area of research, share publications, and alert followers of events. If you write an academic blog, you should be writing something and posting it at least every other week. Make sure to update your online profile regularly because it is one way that other researchers, graduate students, prospective employers, and potential partners will find out about your background and current work. 

 Get an ORCID ID. ORCID is a nonprofit organization that provides researchers and academics with a unique identify number which you can then associate with publications and grant funding. This helps make sure that you get credit for the work you have done, and you are not mistaken with someone who authors under the same name.

 Actively engage in dialogue with other researchers online. You can comment on other research, ask questions, make suggestion, and share ideas. Dialoging in this way connects you to an intellectual community and is a great way to get to know researchers in your field and for them to get to know you. Make sure that all your communications are professional and do offer criticism unless it is constructive and articulated professionally. Rather than saying, “I don’t think you did a very good job with …..’ you could say, ‘I was interested in this aspect of your work....., and I wondered if …....’ Or ‘I would have approached that analysis differently and was interested in understanding more about your approach.’

Do not share the full text of published articles online unless they are published through a venue that allows you to do so. If you have published in a traditional journal, share the publication by including a link to the article as displayed on the journal's website. Furthermore, do not share the full text of any article you intend to submit for publication.

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