“Social media: a guide for researchers”

This guide shows how social media can help researchers in their work – based on the experience of 10 researchers. It lists commonly used social media into groups for: communication, collaboration, and multi-media sharing.

Communication via blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. can identify a network of potential colleagues – not just those within the faculty or department but worldwide.

Identification of knowledge: Researchers use a range of filters (librarians, bibliographic databases etc.) to identify the data they need. The network can help with both discovery and filter. Social bookmarking and citation sharing can be useful here.

Creation of knowledge: There are concerns about disclosure of unpublished data, but the benefits can be: effective and new collaborations; drawing in expertise on techniques, methods, analysis etc.; receiving feedback; raising your profile. Nevertheless a balance between the benefits and potential downside is necessary.

Quality assurance of knowledge: This is of primary importance to the scientific community. Traditional peer review is used by traditional academic journals. Social media use the power of “crowdsourcing” and feedback. Blogs and twitter for instance provide an informal space where new ideas can be reviewed and discussed.

Dissemination of knowledge: Social media are good at disseminating research. But there are considerations that researchers need to take into accont: Writing style, audience sought, regulations of journal to which item is to be submitted, copyright and intellectual property rights.

The rest of the guide describes some of the social networking tools available:- social networking services, social bookmarking, social citation sharing, blogging, microblogging, collaboration tools. [They don’t describe my favourite Netvibes though it is mentioned in the text.]

Thanks to Susan Smith via LinkedInfor this information. Full text of this well written guide (46 pp. from Alan Cann (University of Leicester) Konstantia Dimitriou and Tristram Hooley of the International Centre for Guidance Studies. Research Information Network, 2011). It is available as an attachment to this site.

Jean Shaw, Phi


About jgreigshaw

I work with Partnerships in Health Information which promotes partnership between libraries in Africa and the UK with an emphasis in African leadership. I have visited Kenya, Mali, Uganda and Zambia though Phi has contacts in many more African countries.
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