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5 tested ideas to disseminate your research and increase research impact

5 tested ideas to disseminate your research and increase research impact

You have just got a paper published in a prestigious journal. That is fantastic news for your academic career!

But what do you do after your paper got published to further disseminate your research?

Relying on the publishers to promote your research can be a risky approach, simply because of the volume of articles they publish every day. If you do not disseminate your research further, the impact of your research may be hindered, and less potential users of your research will be reached.

In my previous article on “publish or perish” culture, I mentioned that some academic papers do not get cited at all. The quality of research plays a crucial role in such an outcome.

However, I do believe that you can ensure your research gets noticed and read by a broader audience if you embed research outreach, dissemination and engagement activities in your day-to-day work.

I saw a substantial increase in engagement with my research after I started making my research open access and sharing it via social media.

I do believe that this will increase the impact of my research in the long term. I expect that this will have a positive influence on the number of times my research is cited and enable me to engage with the audience who may use my research in practice.  

Why you should disseminate your research on social media?

Considering social media in your dissemination strategy is crucial to increase the impact of your work and enable engagement with your audience.

Allen et al. (2013) suggest that this is because social media platforms shift the mode of your dissemination activities from a “pull” model to a “push” model.

The “pull” model relies on researchers interested in your research area to search for relevant information. For example, they may be searching for a specific phrase using research tools like Scopus during their literature review.

The “push” model allows you to feed the outcomes of your research directly to researchers in your network. This means that you make your audience aware of the critical findings of your work. As a result, they are more likely to use it in their work. They may also reshare your work, helping your research to reach even more prospective readers and users that you would not reach with “pull” model.

Disseminate your research on social media to achieve academic career success
Use social media to disseminate your research – you will see a substantial increase in engagement!

The analysis performed by Klar et al. (2020) confirmed that research article that was shared on Twitter at least once received 4 more citations that corresponding article that was not shared.

Regression analysis by Klar et al. (2020) suggests that tweeting information relevant to your paper will increase your citations.

Active dissemination of research outputs can increase number of citations. (Image source: Klar et al. (2020))

Moreover, a survey among the members of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) by Pew Research Centre (2015) has shown that:

  • 87% of surveyed scientists agree that we should take an active role in public policy debates around science and technology;
  • 43% of surveyed scientist agree that media coverage of your work can advance your academic career;
  • 47% of surveyed scientist indicated that they use social media for exploring research and stay up-to-date with recent scientific developments

I believe you now agree with me that sharing your research via social media has its benefits. Below I will share with you 5 ideas that I apply to disseminate my research and engage with key audiences.

LinkedIn post

LinkedIn has been identified as one of the top 5 sites visited by scientists and engineers in the survey by Von Noorden (2014). I read this research in the early stages of my PhD degree to decide on how I am going to disseminate my work.

At that time, Twitter was extremely popular for posting work-related content and links to research articles. However, I decided to build my presence on LinkedIn for one simple reason – it is a professional network that helps me to develop myself as a thought leader in the field of decarbonisation and clean growth.

The easiest way to disseminate your work through LinkedIn is to write a post and include a link to your paper.

My experience showed, however, that it is insufficient to just post the title and link to my paper to attract readers. By experimenting over the years, I learnt that in professional networks like LinkedIn, the audience seeks to learn something.

Therefore, it is important to clearly present the key messages and outcomes of your research. Remember to use relevant hashtags too! See the example of my optimised posts below.

I highly recommend using LinkedIn posts for discussing your research! If you share anything as a result of this article, you can tag me (@DawidHanak) too and I will share your work with my network.

LinkedIn document

Did you know that since 2018 you can share documents in the PDF format on LinkedIn?

This means that you can disseminate your research article with your network. Thanks to the in-build document reader, your audience can easily read your paper and engage with it!

I learnt about this feature only recently and decided to test it.

I used one of the research articles I published a couple of years ago in Applied Energy – Hanak and Manovic (2017).

I followed the same approach to writing posts promoting my document as I mentioned for LinkedIn post. This means that I emphasised the key learning and outcomes of the article and used relevant hashtags in the document description, as you can see below.

The result?

My post and document were viewed 4,122 times and stimulated quite significant engagement among my network connections.

This is significantly more than mere 29 reads on Research Gate and 43 reads on Mendeley…

Therefore, I highly encourage you to share your articles as PDFs (author copy!) on LinkedIn! If you share anything as a result of this article, you can tag me (@DawidHanak) too and I will share your work with my network.

ResearchGate profile

As I briefly mentioned above, I do share my research on ResearchGate, which is an example of a research network.

Portals such as Academia or ResearchGate provide you with an opportunity to build your research portfolio, including research papers, conference posters or presentations, and even projects you worked on. You may also follow your colleagues, join labs and engage other researchers.

I used to use this platform more to disseminate my research during my PhD degree. However, I recently rely more on LinkedIn as I found it offers more meaningful engagement with broader audiences, including academics, policymakers and industrial professionals.

Nevertheless, all my papers get pulled from the relevant databases automatically so my profile remains up to date.

ResearchGate is popular research network where you can disseminate outputs of your research

Open-access depository          

Making sure that your research is as widely accessible as possible is critical towards making an impact. The more researchers read your work, the more likely they will cite it or use it in some way. And we all want our research to have some meaning, right?

Open-access depositories aim to help you achieve just that! Once your research paper is accepted for publication, you usually have an option to go for Gold or Green Open Access route. What does this mean?

The former will require you to pay the article processing fee, which can be quite hefty for the top journals. For the latter, however, you can disseminate your published work for free, as long as it is not in the publisher formatting and acknowledges the original source.

To ensure my work is widely accessible, I upload my published work on the open-access depository maintained by my university. As a result, other researchers, such as yourself, do not need to pay for access to my work (unless your institution has a subscription) of course.

You can find the open-access versions of my research here: Cranfield CERES.

Open-access depositories can be used to disseminate your research

Trade articles

If your research focuses on a particular industry, it is worth to become familiar with the trade magazines relevant to this industry.

Such magazines aim to keep the professionals in that particular trade or industry informed about the recent advancements in science and engineering. Therefore, a trade article in some way is similar to a research paper.

I want you to remember that such an article is written for a different audience. Therefore, it may not be sufficient to just shorten your published article.  

Although trade articles are usually not peer-reviewed, these carry high regard among academics and professionals.

Therefore, writing such pieces of work is a great opportunity to disseminate your research with professionals in your field of research and build your academic profile and industrial network. This will also enhance your academic career.

Last year, I published several trade articles in reputable magazines in the UK, such as the one in the Air Quality News – Hanak (2019).

Use trade articles to disseminate your research and engage with industry!

As a result of this article, I received several collaboration enquiries and was invited to speak at the National Air Quality Conference in London, UK. This was an exciting experience!

Yes, these take more time to put together, especially since you need to tailor your writing to a different audience. Nevertheless, it is worth to try to disseminate your research directly with the industry!

A final word…

Remember, you are the ambassador for your research!

Leveraging social media and alternative ways to disseminate your research will enable you to raise awareness of your research.

As a result, you will become recognised as an expert in your research area and your research will achieve a more significant impact.

In this article, I shared my approach to sharing research that does not take a lot of time (except for the trade articles).

I trust these will inspire you to actively disseminating your work, leveraging the “push” model.

If you want to learn about more ways to disseminate your research, you can download the free eBook that Magda and I prepared for researchers like you.

How do you disseminate your research? Did you find social media useful to disseminate your research? Do you use LinkedIn or Twitter? How do you increase the impact of your research? Share your views in the comment!

Resources

Allen H. G., Stanton T. R., Di Pietro Flavia and Moseley G. Lorimer (2013), “Social Media Release Increases Dissemination of Original Articles in the Clinical Pain Sciences”, PLOS ONE, 8(7): e68914, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0068914

Cranfield CERES (2020), Cranfield University, https://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/browse?value=Hanak%2C+Dawid+P.&type=author

Hanak, D. and Hanak, M. (2020), “12 PhD tools to supercharge your literature review”, Motivated Academic, https://motivatedacademic.com/phd-tools-to-improve-literature-review/

Hanak, D. and Hanak, M. (2020), “Publish or perish: did we get lost in the pursuit of academic success?”, Motivated Academic, https://motivatedacademic.com/publish-or-perish-culture/

Hanak, D. (2019), Why carbon capture is crucial if industry is to cut emissions, Air Quality News, https://airqualitynews.com/2019/04/11/why-carbon-capture-is-crucial-if-industry-is-to-cut-emissions/

Hanak, D. and Manovic, V. (2017), “Economic feasibility of calcium looping under uncertainty”, Applied Energy , 208: 691-702, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.09.078

Klar S, Krupnikov Y, Ryan JB, Searles K, Shmargad Y (2020), “Using social media to promote academic research: Identifying the benefits of twitter for sharing academic work”, PLoS ONE, 15(4): e0229446, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229446

Pew Research Center (2015), How Scientist Engage the Public, https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2015/02/15/how-scientists-engage-public/

Van Noorden, R. (2014), Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network, Nature, https://www.nature.com/news/online-collaboration-scientists-and-the-social-network-1.15711#/

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