This week I received an invitation from a colleague at Cardiff Metropolitan University to spend an hour or so sharing my experiences of integrating my use of the ORCA institutional repository with this blog and my Twitter account in the service of promoting research and scholarship. This has given me the impetus to create this set of slides, embedded here:
Tag: institutional repository
My first post was written and uploaded to this site on November 24th last year. I wrote about my interest in exploring the mental health system’s ‘wicked problems’, and drew attention to an article Michael Coffey and I had recently published in this area. In this, my 100th post, I want to think a little about what I have learned using a blog as a medium of communication.
As a mental health nurse academic my job involves researching and writing. I have wanted this site to be a vehicle for bringing some of this work to a wider audience. The main way I have gone about doing this has been to write posts to surround published articles, and where copyright makes this possible to add links to full-text green open access versions of papers stored on Cardiff University’s ORCA digital repository. The link above to Michael’s and my paper on wicked problems is an example. I’d like to think that this strategy has had some effect. As I wrote in this post last month, copies of papers I have deposited and then blogged about have been downloaded. By whom I cannot know. Nor can I be sure what use, if any, people have made of what they’ve read. If anyone wants to let me know, then that would be all to the good.
Over the last eight to nine months I have also learned that a blog needs looking after. So in addition to writing about research I have taken the opportunity to write generally about other things I do at work or am interested in, or about stuff which has simply caught my eye. My approach has been to write little, but to write often. I reflect that adding small pieces here and there has helped me in my teaching, as I noted earlier here. I also realise that in blogging beyond research I have blurred my boundaries somewhat, having added notes along the way about (for example) the simple pleasures of running. As an aside, I’ve been plagued by minor, but annoying, running-related injuries over the last few months and am missing my forest jaunts very much.
Just as a peer reviewed, published, article can be given a leg-up by a post on a blog, so too can a new blog be supported by a tweet. I have taken to using Twitter to draw attention to newly published posts, and indeed have started using this (sporadically, it has to be said) as another, independent, way of exchanging ideas.
That’ll do, for now. But I conclude that I’ll maintain this site in its small niche for a while longer yet.
There are plenty of places where academics can tell the world about their interests and expertise, and generally show off their publication records, ‘h’ indices and all the rest. Blogs, like this one, are an example. Then there are services like ResearcherID, ResearchGate, Academia.edu and so on. These often have a networking function to allow people to get in touch and develop collaborations. Some also have space to store open access papers, in much the same way that university-based digital repositories (like Cardiff University’s ORCA) do.
Yesterday I published my Google Scholar profile. This may be just another way of promoting and networking, but I’ve also spotted a button titled, ‘My updates’. Here it is, pointed to with a big red arrow:
And, here’s a description from the Google Scholar blog of what this new(ish) function does:
We analyze your articles (as identified in your Scholar profile), scan the entire web looking for new articles relevant to your research, and then show you the most relevant articles when you visit Scholar. We determine relevance using a statistical model that incorporates what your work is about, the citation graph between articles, the fact that interests can change over time, and the authors you work with and cite. You don’t need to configure updates or enter any queries. We’ll notify you about new updates by displaying a preview on the homepage and highlighting a bell icon on search results pages.
This service looks very useful, not least because it appears to actually work. When I’m logged into Scholar and click on the ‘My updates’ link today I get interesting references to crisis resolution and home treatment research, continuity of mental health care and interprofessional community mental health work (amongst others). All very much up my street.
Where publishers’ copyright rules permit, since last year I have been uploading green open access versions of peer reviewed research papers I have written or co-written to ORCA, Cardiff University’s digital repository. I have then been adding hyperlinks to these papers to research-related posts on this blog. To round this all off I’ve been using Twitter to draw attention to what I’ve been up to.
Having a WordPress blog means that I get to see which hyperlinks anonymous readers are following, and I know that some onward clicks are taking people to my open access articles. At the end of last week I asked colleagues managing ORCA if any tools existed to help me find out which of my papers have been downloaded, and when.
What I now have is access to an application allowing me to interrogate ORCA in all sorts of ways. So I know, for example, that full-text papers I have authored and saved to the repository have been downloaded 360 times between January 1st 2005 (the earliest date I can select) and today, July 3rd 2013. Two hundred and eighty eight of these downloads have taken place since November 24th 2012, this being the date I created this blog and first posted.
Here is a summary of my ORCA ‘eprints’ and the number of times each has been downloaded up to today:
All are papers I have specifically blogged about, and have subsequently flagged up on my Enduring posts page. I am therefore going to tentatively conclude that the approach I have taken to increase the visibility of my research is having an effect.
What I do not know is who has been downloading (and hopefully reading!) these articles, and for what purposes. I would like to think it has been a mixture of researchers, practitioners, managers, policymakers and service users. I also hope they have found what they have read to have been both interesting and useful.