Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Kickstart Your Research

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Few startups are lucky enough to win backing from big investment firms, so innovators have drawn on the power of social media. Kickstarter allows people with an idea to appeal directly to potential financial backers. By collecting hundreds of small donations, new companies can get off the ground.

Now a new site has adopted crowdsourcing for research projects.  On 1investigators can explain the benefits of their projects and seek funding. So far the projects seem to involve wildlife conservation, which may make for more visually appealing descriptions. But any scientist can take a turn explaining the benefits of their research.

Online donations in amounts as small as $20 may not fully replace NIH funding, but it can support small projects and potentially demonstrate to larger funders that people see value in your projects.

Pitfalls of Peer Rerview

Monday, November 14th, 2011

In 2006, Nature tried an experiment. The journal receives about 10,000 manuscripts a year and sends 40% of them out for traditional peer review. In the trial, the editors asked authors if they would also submit their paper for open peer review where any scientists could leave signed comments. 71 authors agreed.

The journal promoted the experiment heavily on their website, through e-mail blasts, and with targeted invitations to scholars in the field. After four months, they reviewed the results. nature05535-i2Despite sizable web traffic to the site, 33 papers received no comments, and the most heavily commented on paper received only 10 replies.

Nor did the editors find the comments influential in their decisions whether to publish. They found that although many scientists approved of the idea of open review, very few would perform it.

Their experiment demonstrates both the promise and the pitfalls of social media. It opens up the possibility for dialogue, but it depends on self-motivated users to enrich the content.

Facebook for scholars

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

At the Group on Faculty Affairs conference next month, one of my fellow panelists will be describing her office's experiment with Facebook. It seems just as higher education has become comfortable with one social media outlet, another pops up. After Facebook came Twitter. Then it's LinkedIn and Google Plus and Tumblr.

The proliferation of networking sites can overwhelm you. Once you've built up a following on one site, you're loathe to switch to another platform and start from scratch.

One site that I am experimenting with is This social networking site will look familiar to Facebook users, but instead of celebrating birthdays and parties, the profile highlights intellectual work. A scholar can upload publications and research interests. He or she can join interest groups and follow the work of colleagues. It also tells you when another user has read your materials, creating possible collaborations.

There's not as much activity on as there is on Facebook. New publications don't come out as frequently as status updates. At least there's no chance of being caught in an embarrassing photo on, and it does offer a chance to promote your work.