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Sharing your research findings, boosting your career

The win-win relationship between early career researchers, social media and open access publishing

Eduardo Oliveira, Regional Studies, Regional Science author
Eduardo Oliveira, Regional Studies, Regional Science author

I have been recently challenged by the editorial team of the journal Regional Studies, Regional Science (RSRS) to briefly share my ideas and experience on sharing my publications, specifically my article published in the early career section of RSRS on social media platforms. With this post, I aim to share my view on how sharing published research findings on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms can boost readership of a paper, and your career. As mentioned, I will particularly focus on my latest article, Constructing regional advantage in branding the cross-border Euroregion Galicia–northern Portugal, which has recently become the second most read article in Regional Studies, Regional Science. In addition, according to the RSRS editorial team, the article is the most read early career article, and is in the top 5% of all articles tracked by Altmetric, with a score of 51.

The paper was published on 11th May 2015, and since that date I have been sharing it via different social media platforms on an almost daily basis. The fact that the journal also offers open access makes it easier to tweet, post or blog the link which gives access to the article, as well as the possibility to download it – without any costs. I mainly have been tweeting my article, as well as posting it on LinkedIn or Facebook groups which are focused on regional development. I have been doing it in  ways that eventually will inspire my fellow early career colleagues, and the readers of this blog, to also submit a paper proposal. I have been using Twitter to share the link to the paper by “targeting” potential interested readers – those who have been doing research on the same topic or related ones (in this case constructing regional advantage, strategic planning, and place branding) as well as policy makers working close to the research area, Euro region Galicia-northern Portugal (in this case governmental entities in Spain and Portugal as well as European Union institutions). I have been fortunate enough to see the link being shared several times by other Twitter users, including by some national and supra-national governmental institutions. The snowball effect produced by multiple shares on social media has generated additional views and increased the readership. I often say that it is a tailored tweet which is of most interest to readers and is most descriptive of the content. I have been employing this tailored posting on Facebook as well, by posting the link on large discussion groups of people interested in understand regional dynamics, regional development, and envisaging a better futures for Galicia in Spain and the northern Portuguese region. As my aim is to incrementally add to the discussion around the topic, I am sharing the link with additional information on new regional policies or decisions which are impacting on the research area or countries involved.

In my view sharing a published paper with preliminary or final research findings not only gives the possibility to share knowledge about a certain topic or research area but also helps researchers to position themselves in the academic discussion, for instance among those conducting research on regional studies and regional science, as well as contributing to the praxis. In addition, and I am sure that my fellow colleagues will agree with me on this matter, in today’s competitive academic job market and beyond, it is of paramount importance to let the world know our expertise through publications and other relevant academic outputs. Sharing published work on social media platforms could also open doors for career opportunities, as potential employers (for example universities, research centres, NGOs or enterprises) will get to know our work in an easy and dynamic way. By dynamic I mean the multiple possible ways we can choose to share knowledge in a freely, friendly and fruitful manner.

To conclude, in my personal view an early career researcher could benefit from a clear win-win relation between publishing a paper in the early career section of RSRS – sharing the link to the published work and open access publishing. The mentored route of the early career section is helpful and constructive. The open access format allows accessing the article without any additional fees for the reader, which in turn contributes to knowledge exchange across different social media platforms. It is very important to believe in our work as well as being confident in our research and in the academic and practical value of our findings. The final version of my article, improved with the help of the corresponding editors and other experts, gives me much confidence in the findings, and I do believe that it can inspire other regions to develop a similar approach (as well as inspire early career researchers to write an early career paper for RSRS). The RSRS editorial team will welcome with enthusiasm your unique, novel and interesting paper proposal.

This is a guest post by Regional Studies Association (RSA) Student Representative, Eduardo Oliveira, first published on the RSA blog. He is a Ph.D. Candidate in strategic spatial planning & place branding at the Department of Spatial Planning, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. To find out more about Eduardo: 
Academic PublicationsLinkedInPresentations / BlogRSA Student Representative