After some recent reshuffling of the departmental “cabinet”, I am excited to have picked up some new responsibilities and opportunities within the Department of Computing Science and Mathematics. These include “research communication and outreach”. This involves public engagement activities like the Sciencegrrl events we have previously organised, the Scottish Maths week activities we are planning in September and the Faculty Challenges or our Time lecture which is planned for the 20th September.
It also includes ensuring that we are raising the profile of the research that we do across the department. I am therefore running a session on research communication tomorrow. This blog serves as an illustration for part of that session, but is also an excuse to discuss the sorts of things I think we ought to be doing.
Traditionally the way we academics publicise our work is through peer reviewed papers and conference presentations. In order to achieve impact from that work and to influence other researchers then we need people to read and cite those papers or to be in the room when we give talks.
Whilst we still need to focus on publishing in the right journal and attending appropriate conferences, these day social media is an excellent way of letting people know that our work is out there. In addition to citation rates we now have altmetric scores which indicate the influence of our papers and how widely read and used they are. We can also use Kudos to give simple explanations of our papers and promote them through twitter Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Personally, the main social media platform that I use is twitter (@AFSRachel) which I find a really useful way of finding out about grant calls and research in my area. I also use it as a way to promote work which is going on in the department.
From a departmental point of view we now use a number of different outlets to let people know about our activities. We have departmental twitter and facebook (@csmstir and https://www.facebook.com/StirUniCSM/ ) a news section on our departmental webpage (www.cs.stir.ac.uk) and a new Faculty newsletter (https://stir.app.box.com/s/xrwtmnzqz9nxjm4m3u783csfb8967ohn ) all of which give us an excellent opportunity to share news with internal and external academic colleagues as well as local schools and businesses.
I will also be encouraging colleagues to write blogs (perhaps contributing to the Research and Innovation Services blog) and to write for The Conversation (https://theconversation.com/uk) both of which I found to be a really interesting way of presenting ideas.
So, hopefully the session tomorrow will encourage some of my colleagues to get more active in promoting their work and they will get more recognition for the excellent and exciting research which they are carrying out.