23 Things helped me to recall why certain social media and information tools are useful and I also learnt about new ones that might come in handy in the future, such as screencast and podcasting software. At the moment, I am still happy to mainly stay in the background and use social media for staying up to date and to learn new things, but not so much to produce my own content. I probably have to approach a slightly more ‘active’ professional online presence with occasional tweeds and blogs. I definitely enjoyed the writing and searching for pictures to illustrate my 23 blogs.
I see my current University of Surrey staff profile as my ‘number one professional website’ for obvious reasons: what else would be a better outlet for how you want to be perceived professionally than the university you are affiliated with? I’m not feeling limited by the default fields either, as there is an option to add additional headings if you feel the need to. My university profile is also linked with my other online profiles, where further information can be found if someone is interested. I like the rather static nature of the staff profile that I try to keep up to date, but which doesn’t require daily posts etc. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that ac.uk websites feature high in Google searches so people can actually find me and learn about my research interests.
The website Research Professionals was suggested to me by my supervisor at the end of my PhD and therefore I was aware that this is a great source to search for funding opportunities. As a subscriber of Research professional alerts, I particular like reading news items regarding research policy developments not only in the UK but worldwide. Thing 21 was a trigger to update my profile and to find out more about the services offered by this website. I didn’t know for example that you can highlight your interest in specific grant adverts so other people from your institution can see it. This could be very helpful to find collaborators for future projects. I’m sure I will be frequenting this website in the future.
Exploring the tools suggested by Thing 18, Thing 19 and Thing 20 to help scheduling meetings (e.g. Doodle), holding remote meetings and seminars (e.g. via Skype) and sharing resources and information (e.g. via Dropbox) was a quick and easy task: I’m pretty familiar with most of them already and depend on using them on a daily basis. Working on a Europe-wide research project, Skype and GoToMeetings are for example prerequisite to communicate with clinical sites in other countries. Additionally, being based in Scotland but working for the University of Surrey, numerous other activities such as attending training sessions and supervising students are facilitated this way.
Working remotely isn’t always without challenges: a bad internet connect, echoing and other technical peculiarities can be very frustrating! Also, if many people attend a meeting remotely, often without sharing their camera, it isn’t always easy to follow who is speaking. It’s very important to have clear rules and good facilitators for such meetings. One thing that can lead to further confusion when people from different time zones are involved in real time communication of course are time differences. Summer/winter time changes can really mess things up.
I’m sure that due to an increase in peoples’ willingness and often sheer necessity to move around the world, remote communication and co-operations will become rather the norm than an anomaly in the future. This should also help advance its technological requirements further.
What a complex topic and how difficult to stay on track with those ever changing legal regulations! Thanks Thing 17 for pointing out some good starting points to find out more about this!
The following picture available on Wikimedia Commons illustrates your point how passionate people discuss copyright issues.
I really appreciate the idea of open access, making research and knowledge freely available. As the public funds the bulk of research, they should have access to the findings, too! Considering that authors and peer reviewers do not receive monetary compensations for their contributions and especially in times were many journals publish exclusively online and don’t have to invest in printing, exceedingly pricy subscription fees don’t seem appropriate. Thank you Thing 14 for providing a useful summary table of the two main routes to open access to refresh my memory of what is possible and how to approach this topic.I also like the idea of Research Data Management (RDM) discussed in Thing 15: making not only research findings but also data available for further research can be immensely helpful to reduce unnecessary data collection, allowing research to progress faster and more efficiently. Coming from a social science background, the only challenge I see here is to ensure participants’ anonymity and to protect ethical and legal considerations. Something to think about but nothing that should make RDM impossible, helping to increase impact of research conducted.
Rounding off this topic, Thing 16 introduced the concept of Altmetrics, which provide detailed information about article views, downloads and citations in social media and the news. With social media and sharing of knowledge via this route still on the rise, Altmetrics might not only present an interesting addition to more traditional impact metrics such as impact factors, but might overtake the latter in importance in the future.
As the saying goes: Sharing is caring. Thing 12 pointed out a lot of tools facilitating sharing of research and knowledge more generally. A lot of them, I wasn’t aware of. Even though I’ve been watching various screen casts on YouTube in the past, especially on stats, I didn’t know that they are called screen casts or how to go about producing your own. I’m very grateful for all the people that put them up, as a demonstration of a programme is so much easier to follow than simple descriptions! For now though I’m not feeling ready to produce my own screen cast or video recording as I currently don’t have an inspiration for a topic the world could profit from. I don’t just want to add to the jungle of media out there without a solid reason for it. At the moment, I’m not involved in teaching but when I pick this up again, I’m planning on trying out technologies like podcasts as I can see its benefits.
Browsing around all the presentation sharing websites discussed in Thing 13, I felt a bit overwhelmed. Similar to online learning courses (Thing 10), there are a lot of presentations about a lot of interesting topics out there, making it easy to get lost on the way. But careful, not all are as good as they initially sound. On the other hand, I came across some truly amazing presentations and got ideas I’ll try to incorporate in the future. I also have put up some research posters on my LinkedIn profile in the past, but I’m still hesitant to make whole presentations available online due to copyright concerns, especially working on big projects with lots of partners.