There was an interesting post on the LSE Impact Blog last week which describes one academic’s experiences using blogging and tweets to highlight her research, which she made freely available in her institution’s open access repository:
As Melissa Terras explains, the bottom line is that tweeting and blogging about her papers prompted a significant increase in the number of downloads: from one or two downloads per paper to 70 on average! It also means that Melissa is author on 7 out of 10 of the most downloaded papers from her department on the UCL Discovery repository.
Of course this is just one person’s experience and we should be careful in drawing any conclusions about the value of blogging and tweeting academic research from this case study. For instance, the experience could be different in different disciplines and the effect of the “long tail” on actual citations has not yet been realised, as Melissa herself admits. Even so, it’s a timely reminder of the increasing importance of engagement with social media for researchers.
Northumbria staff who wish to emulate Melissa’s experiment could start by looking at Northumbria Research Link – make sure your research papers (at least the reference metadata) is uploaded and accessible. You’ll need to check compliance with publisher policies if you want to upload the full text. Once done you can set up a blog, either using a free provider such as WordPress or Blogger, or contacting LTech and asking them to set up a blog on the research.northumbria.ac.uk subdomain. Create an account on Twitter and remember to read the useful hints and tips in the guidance from LSE Impact Blog about academic tweeting.