Happy ending

The experience of carrying out this programme has been very satisfactory. I’ve learned to use different tools I didn’t know about, and I’ve developed others that I was already using. My goals: further develop some of my profiles, especially the ResearchGate one and my professional Twitter account. They are both very important in terms of impact and to give more visibility to my research and interests.

I will definitively go through all the posts of the programme at least once again, and save all the materials. I think they will be of good use in the short-term future. Some of the tools I got aware of I decided to save them in my Delicious account, which is also a very useful website.

I just want to thank to the people who have created and coordinated this, for their generosity of sharing this knowledge with us.

Profile, future, non stop

Building our profile, building up our future is a non-stop task. That is what I feel and that is what I try to do. The tasks of week 11 reminded me to update my Linkedin profile, which I could use as my website. I created a new position since I started teaching as part of my PhD training. ‘Lecturer’ sounds very cool, and that is what I am doing, so it is good to give visibility to it. I also posted that one of the books I wrote is now part of my university’s library’s catalogue, which is also amazing. Inmediately, I received a message from a colleague congratulating me. I have posted the same on FB, but audiences are completely different. On FB I want my friends to know I am happy. On Linkedin I am building my CV when I add a position, or when I post something about my academic development… I think it is a good idea to work on your profile often. Every time I go to a conference and present, I add it. I should use Twitter also in this sense, writing about what is going on at the conferences I attend. Twitter could help with our professional profile as well.

I have found Research Professional and Euraxess very useful in order to find funding. Before this, I had gone trough the funding links that my university provides in its website and it was very messy and a waste of time. But on these websites I think I can really find what I need. I could set the alerts for the funding I am interested in, and they have a big list of funders. I think both having an updated professional profile and knowing where the funding comes from are essential things for being prepare for the future to come!

online online online

Dropbox, Google Drive, Doodle, Hangouts… tools for people to organise themselves, among each other and with their own documents. All online tools. This is the only and main concern I have about them. What if your connection is slow? What if you are in a place doing your research with limited access to the internet? It happens to me once, during an important Skype interview that the connection failed. I was in the UK with a laptop that used to work well. The interviewees were in a recognised institution of the same country, with a good internet connection. However, my Skype got completely frozen.. And not just one but three times… Fortunately it did not affect to my performance and the outcome of the interview was positive. Nonetheless, it could have been a complete disaster. On the one hand, Hangouts, Skype and these other tools allow us to communicate with people that are far away, which is great and could have never happened before. On the other hand, reliance on the internet connection could be a problem. In this sense, maybe what we need to learn is how to overcome or mitigate those problems. For example, in the case of my interview I must have had an alternative computer in case mine failed. Regarding Dropbox or Google Drive I always try to download to my computer or my phone any document I might need, so I do not depend on a network to have access to it. Having a Plan B where no internet is involved is probably my advice related to the tools we have checked this week.

 

Invisible drops?

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I have always tought that a small gesture, a smile, a stroke, may create a big change. An invisible drop of water may become a waterfall, or it might make us aware that the rain is coming, or it may turn visible when dropped on a sheet of paper with valuable notes. Invisibility might be turned to the visible through the unexpected.

When I started my PhD I found many people worried about the best place to publish, the journals with more impact – because now that is what is needed for the Ref.. It sounded alien to me. My thought about publishing has been always linked to those media that I liked, whose audience would be interested in my ideas, publishers that I wanted to support, editors that I trusted, those journals where I found revealing articles… This was not the case anymore. However, I still have no idea about the journals with more impact in my area.

During this week’s readings, I can see that the measuring of research output has many different elements to consider. The main discover of the week has been the Altmetrics. For me, these alternative tools for measuring impact have the sense of considering not just the spectacle of the waterfall in a very known settlement, but also how a waterfall might be created by one drop that leads to another, that merges with others. Without being visible from the beginning, a good article, a good paper, a good researcher may have impact in the research community and beyond even if it is not published in a recognised journal. Tweets on that paper, views on academia.edu or research gate, citations by other colleagues… All that is part of the impact, of making the invisible visible. Being aware of that, I will definitely better develop my Tweeter profile. An online presence is important because the smallest thing can create a big change. Thanks to the development of some tools like the Altmetrics, the research community might start to understand it.

(picture by Birgit Fostervold).

Prezi or PPT?

I’ve started to use Prezi one year ago. One of my teachers used it during the classes and it made the lessons more fun. I liked the way you can navigate through it, jumping from point to point, having the feeling that you are getting the knowledge step by step. I first used it for a presentation in my first conference in UK. Out of more than 20 presenters, I was the only one using Prezi. It made me feel a bit cooler – lol. I dedicated about two days just in the preparation of the Prezi. It was not a waste of time at all. It made me have the structure of my presentation in my mind. When I had to speak about my research, I did not read it (as other presenters did), but I navigated the audience through the different topics I wanted to tackle. Prezi made it so dynamic and interesting.

Having said that, for my second presentation I went back to Power Point. I felt I did not want as much dynamism. I wanted clear text, with images, and some videos, one slide after another. And it was beautiful.

For my last presentation, I don’t think I made the most of Prezi. I basically stop at one of the slides/frames and showed my list of ideas using animated content. It was too static and I wondered whether I was using Prezi with a PPT mentality… Sometimes it is not easy to set our minds for new tools. Other times, probably is the lack of time in the preparation what makes presentations not appealing.

My lesson from these experiences and from what I learnt this week 7 is that time must be dedicated to think about how to present your work. It is worthwhile to spend time thinking about the structure, designing it. It is not just for giving a cool presentation, but it also improves the way you think about your own research. Presenting is a process of reflection on our own research. These presentation tools are helpful as they may enhance this process that makes our research better.

Accessing and creating online knowledge

I’m a bit behind in the course again, too much stuff going on during these pre-Easter weeks!

I’m going through week 6 and I’ve found the information about wikipedia fascinating. A website that most of the people use, but with so much to learn from and to contribute with. I found that the searching tool is very interesting, as it allows you to look for key words related to your research and wikipedia finds those words in different articles. For example, my field is on post-conflict and gender. After some tries, I wrote down peacebuilding and feminism and I was redirected to this article on Feminist Ethics. Even though the article is very useful, and the discussions from the contributors to the edition very interesting, there is not a lot about peacebuilding and feminism. This has given me the motivation to write about it for wikipedia. I have not done it yet, but I am decided to do a review on this topic. My my aim is to contribute to expand kwnowledge that I find essential. However, I have some questions about this that maybe some of you might answer. I’ve seen that contributors normally have nicknames, so if contributions are near to anonimity, In what way writing for wikipedia may boost citations as the course has suggested? And also, if we are writing our thesis and some of the parts are written in wikipedia, will our examiners consider that plagiarism even if we were the online authors of that wikipedia article?

 

Networking, networking, networking

LinkedIn, Academia.edu and ResearchGate are great tools for networking. They are also very useful to have access to interesting publications and for other researchers to have access to both your CV and papers.

I thought I already knew how to manage LinkedIn. I created my profile two years ago, I joined different groups and made a lot of contacts (probably the number now is close to a thousand). However, using the 23things course suggestions, I went over my groups, and left some of them that I do not find useful anymore. I tried to join the Women in Higher Education Unite, but it does not seem to exist. Nonetheless, I’ve found out that it is possible to search for ‘Groups about PhD’ and I’ve joined some of them. In addition, I unfollowed some of the companies that appeared as part of my interests. Moreover, I asked for a recommendation about the last job I had (which I got through LinkedIn!) and sent reminders to other people in order to get more recommedations. I think it is useful to after some time go to your profile in social media and clean and review what you have, as our career and interests change during time. What I could not do was to link my academia.edu profile to my LinkedIn, which I think could enhance my academic visibility. Does any of you know how to do it?

I also created my profile on academia.edu some time ago, a month after I started my PhD. I find it very useful not just to show my work (including in that work the ‘grey literature’ of non published papers), but to seek for literature on my field. Following different scholars is interesting in order to have access to their last publications and to know about other papers that they bookmark. Bookmarking is a great tool, as it allows to have like a database of all the papers that are worth reading as part of your research.

Then, I decided to create a profile on ResearchGate, due to the advantages highlighted by the 23things course, which includes contacts suggestions based on mutual research interests. I found my supervisor, who does not have a profile in academia.edu has a profile here. I also found a PhD colleague who has her profile on both sites. I have to start loading my work here, during the next weeks. I feel I need to get used to this site, as for example I can’t find a tool similar to the Bookmark in academia.edu. I guess clicking ‘Follow’ on a paper is the way to save them… The searching tool is very useful as you put keywords and have access to publications and questions and researchers and institutions.