25 Nov 2015

This is a guest post by RSA Student Representative, Eduardo Oliveira. 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 Publications - LinkedIn - Presentations - Blog - RSA Student Representative

I have been recently challenged by the editorial team of thRegional 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, through social media platforms. With this post, I aim to share with the readers my viewpoints on how sharing published research findings on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms can boost readership of a paper and desirably your career. As above mentioned, I will particularly focus on my latest article - Constructing regional advantage in branding the cross-border Euroregion Galicia–northern Portugal which has recently reached the second position of the most read articles published in Regional Studies, Regional Science. In addition, and according to RSRS editorial team, the article is the first most read article of the Early Career articles and it’s in the top 5% of all articles ever tracked by Altmetric with an Altmetric score of 51.

The paper was published in 11 of May 2015 and since that date I have been sharing it via different social media platforms almost in daily bases. 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 devoting attention to regional development. I have been doing it in different ways that eventually will inspire my fellow early career colleagues and the readers of this blog in general 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, place branding) as well as policy makers working closely to the research area, for the matter the Euroregion 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. This snowball effect produced by multiple shares on social media, it definitely generates additional views and increases the readership. I often say that is a tailored made tweet - which cares about the readers and cares about the content. I have been employing this tailored made posting on Facebook as well by posting the link on large discussion groups of people interested in understand regional dynamics, regional development and looking for envisioning better futures for Galicia in Spain and the northern Portuguese region. As my aim is not to make of a scientific topic a subject matter of a daily tabloid, but instead increment the discussion around the topic, I opt to share the link with additional information following new regional policies or decisions which impact the research area or the countries involved.

In my viewpoint sharing a published paper with preliminary or final research findings not only gives the possibility to share knowledge about 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 contribute to 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 employees (for example, universities, research centres, NGOs, enterprises) will get to know our work in an easy and dynamic way. With dynamic here I mean the multiple possible ways we can choose to share knowledge in a freely, friendly and fruitfully manner.

I hope the readers of this blog find my experience and methodology on using social media to spread research findings and published work useful.

To conclude, in my personal view an early career research could benefit from a clear win-win relation between publishing a paper on the Early Career Section of RSRS – sharing the link to the published work and the 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 highly confidence on the findings and I do believe that it can inspire other regions to develop a similar approach as well as inspire early career to invest in an Early Career paper for RSRS. Bearing in mind these positive sides, I have been spreading the article worldwide. The RSRS editorial team will welcome with enthusiasm your unique, novel and interesting paper proposal.