With Julia Reeve, I have just returned from leading session for 10 PGR students from across all four of DMU’s faculties on social media for researchers. Our notes are given below. Here are the slides.
The session focused on linking our individual uses of social media to researcher development, through the Vitae RDF, and especially in terms of developing the following capabilities:
A1: Knowledge Base
B3: Professional and career development
C1: Professional conduct
D2: Communication and dissemination
The session also demonstrated the potential of social media for academic practice/scholarship in public, and for co-operative, scholarly work. It closed with some considerations for future practice for PGR students.
The connections between the Vitae Researcher Development Framework and specific technologies are important.
For Knowledge Base (A1), which focuses on subject knowledge, research methods, academic literacy and so on, we focused on the following.
- Access/chance/trust: Twitter [see this article on Twitter accounts for PhDs to follow]
- Verification/trust: Subject blogs [c.f. the GSO literature searching course and the Library’s support for researchers]
- Verification/trust: Open libraries
- Resources/groups: Mendeley
- Resources/groups: ResearchGate
- Searching: Tagging, folksonomies
- Collecting: Evernote; Tumblr [See Catherine Flick’s blogpost on Evernote and Zotero for research/writing]
For Professional and Career Development (B3), which focuses on career management, CPD, responsiveness, reputation and networking, we focused on the following.
- Networking/reputation: Twitter
- Networking/reputation: LinkedIn
- CPD: Subject blogs [see the DMU Centre for Learning and Study Support workshops]
- Publication: Open libraries [see this call for engagement in International Collaborative Writing Groups]
- Publication: Academia.edu
- CPD/publication: Mendeley
- CPD/publication: ResearchGate
- Reputation: ImpactStory [see the LSE’s Impact Handbook]
For Professional Conduct (C1), which focuses on Ethics, legal requirements, IPR and copyright, co-authorship, we focused on the following.
- Collaborative work [see Martin Weller’s article on ethics and digital scholarship]
- Privacy settings [see Paul Bernal’s blog]
- Intellectual Property
- Permissions, use, sharing and re-use [e.g. Creative Commons] [see Josie Fraser’s blogpost on the permissions given by Leicester City Council to its teachers]
- Open data [Manchester; .gov; data visualisation]
- DMU-specific rights [see below]
For Communication and Dissemination (D2), we focused on the following.
- File sharing: Dropbox, Google Drive, Zend [see this Guardian article on secure storage and Dropbox]
- Conferencing Skype
- Social presentation: Prezi, SlideShare, Storify [see this Storify on digital academia]
- Multimedia: YouTube
- Plus those in B3, above.
We also looked at some specific cases of how researchers have used social media and our interpretation of that use (or what we think is interesting/possible). These include the following
- Tressie McMillan Cottom’s site that acts as a pivot for other engagements. The structure of the site enables ready access to a wealth of public scholarship, with pointes to “most read” work. There are also links to speaking/engagement events, as well as external content/multimedia. The site enables an understanding of the relationship between the public, social media and personal academic formation.
- Lucy Atkins adventures in EdTech, is a representation of a journey through a PhD. Lucy uses PhD notes grounded in verbs to articulate the process of the PhD, using a standard open technology. It then links to her Twitter feed to enable a public face at low cost.
- The transition through a PhD can be analysed through on-line engagements like #phdchat, and also the updates to networks like the Guardian HE Network. However there are also therapeutic networks for PGR students, and other support networks that relate not just to PhD study, but also to the precarious nature of labour in academia.
- There is a wealth of useful material on academic writing using social media, including seven reasons why academic blogging is valuable. The DMU Commons is a space for open writing at DMU.
- Social media can be used effectively for collective work/co-operation. Joss Winn’s site acts as a blog and a site for notes, as well as pointing to his academic writing, and presentations, but it also highlights the scholars that he follows, and his networks. This has reputational consequences.
- The use of social media enables alignment with research nodes/centres/projects, as witnessed by the DMU Centre for Pedagogic Research and the Digital Building Heritage project, both on the DMU Commons.
- The use of social media enables participation with user communities, for instance: the DMU Square Mile project on the Academic Commons; the Galaxy Zoo; and the RunCoCo project.
- These tools enable public Scholarship. See, for example: Melonie A. Fullick interviews Raul Pacheco-Vega; Doug Belshaw’s Never Ending Thesis; and The Social Science Centre.
There are some follow-on resources for attendees about work at DMU.
DMU Commons: http://our.dmu.ac.uk/
DMU/CELT Guidelines when using Social Media Technologies for Teaching http://bit.ly/1iDiIc2
See also DMU Email, Internet and Social Media Policy: briefing; policy
DMU Library Copyright pages: http://library.dmu.ac.uk/Support/Copyright/
There are also some matters arising for PGR students to consider.
- What is the balance between the intensity of reading/research needed for a PhD, versus the intensity of networking that you are willing to commit?
- How risk averse do you *need* to be when working with social media?
- How open do you *need* to be when working with social media, and with other researchers, students, research stakeholders, participants, supervisors and so on?
- What is the balance between soft and hard publishing?
- How do you use your networks to challenge your own orthodoxy/previously held views and conceptions?
- What permissions do you need to use public or published stuff?
- What permissions do you want to give your public or published stuff?
- Think about your identity across disparate platforms. How coherent do you need it to be?
- Think about being true, necessary and kind on-line.
- Think about your e-safety, especially in terms of your personal relationships with those you know or don’t know, the institution/your funder, the State.
Slides 8-12 in the presentation are amended from “Social Media for Researchers” by Tanya Williamson and Louise Tripp at Lancaster University Library.
The presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.