A Guide to Using Social Media for Research Purposes by Matt Holland

This guide is aimed at Allied Health Professionals (AHPs). It takes you though the basics of building a research profile using social media, how to maximise your impact and the tools you can use to assess your impact. If you have any comments or want to add any resources contact Matt.Holland@nwas.nhs.uk.

Your Profile

Your profile tells the world about you and makes you easy to find for like minded researchers. It should allow you to post details of your publications and the full text if you have the right to do so under the Green Open access route. See guide to Open Access here. The following suggestions for profile sites have different emphases and audience appeal.


Katz, M., 2014. How to promote your work on LinkedIn. Available from: http://exchanges.wiley.com/blog/2014/05/01/how-to-promote-your-work-through-linkedin/ [Accessed 26 March 2016].

Posner, M., 2011. Creating Your Web Presence: A Primer for Academics. Available from: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/creating-your-web-presence-a-primer-for-academics/30458 [Accessed 26 March 2016].

Your Communication: ways to share your ideas, opinions and research

You need a forum to share information with your audience. As a minimum you need your own Twitter account [ http://twitter.com ] so that you can Tweet and follow the Twitter feeds of other researchers and research organisations. Important too is a blog either on WordPress [ http://wordpress.com ] or Blogger [ http://www.blogger.com ]. Sustaining a blog alone can be hard work and time consuming. Consider contributing to another blog as a guest or share a blog with interested colleagues.


Davies, F., 2015. Tips and Tricks: How to promote your research successfully online. Available from: https://www.altmetric.com/blog/tips-and-tricks-how-to-promote-your-research-successfully-online/ [Accessed 26 March 2016].

Eassom, H., 2014. How to promote your research through blogging. Available from: http://exchanges.wiley.com/blog/2014/08/07/how-to-promote-your-research-through-blogging/ [Accessed 26 March 2016].

Your Identity: Managing your researcher identity online

Manging your identify means using one of a few web based systems to create an alpha numeric tag that uniquely identifies you. This tag links your biographical data to your publications. The benefit to you of identity software is that your can maintain your information in one place and share that data with other systems without having to input it each time it is needed, just by giving your tag or unique ID. For example:

  • publishers can drawn down your data for their article submission and publication systems;
  • your data can be shared with university repositories, research funders online application systems and research assessment systems;
  • these systems can feed back to your profile enhanced bibliographic data when you publish anything or are successful in a research application.

Which system should you use?


ORCiD [ http://orcid.org ]. This system works with major publisher and academic systems and it’s easy to register. You get an ORCiD, private page and control over what data is exchanged and is seen on your public profile. See example [ http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8389-0154 ].


ResearcherID is from Thomson Reuters [ http://www.researcherid.com ]. Researcher ID and ORCiD can work together to exchange data if you have both ID’s. See an example here [ http://www.researcherid.com/rid/A-8600-2008 ].

Scopus ID

Scopus ID which is preassigned by Scopus to published authors. You can’t self register. See and example here [ http://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.url?authorId=7201661511 ]. Your are able to correct and update the information attached to your Scopus ID, by contacting Scopus with Updates.


Johnson, R., 2016. Maintaining an Online Scholarly Identity. Available from: http://blog.mathed.net/2016/03/maintaining-online-scholarly-identity.html?m=1 [Accessed 29 March 2016].

Utrect University Library. 2016. Researcher Profiles. Available from: http://libguides.library.uu.nl/researchimpact/profiles [Accessed 26 March 2016].

Your Outputs: making your research findable

You can enhance the impact of your writing by making it easy to find by search engines. This is also called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. Typically, it requires a careful choice of keywords to include in your title, abstract and other article metadata. Metadata is information about your article e.g. author supplied keywords. You may just consider this clear and concise writing. If you look at the readings you can see there is some strategy as well. These lessons might equally apply to blog posts and other types of publication.


Green, A.M., 2013, Search Engine Optimization and Your Journal Article: Do you want the bad news first? Available from: http://exchanges.wiley.com/blog/2013/07/23/search-engine-optimization-and-your-journal-article-do-you-want-the-bad-news-first/ [Accessed 26 March 2016].

Grieves, C., 2015. Maximising the exposure of your research. Search engine optimisation and why it matters. Available from: https://methodsblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/seo/ [Accessed 26 March 2016].

OpenScience, 2014. Why and how should you optimize academic articles for search engines? Available from: http://openscience.com/optimize-academic-articles-search-engines/   [Accessed 26 March 2016].

Your Outputs: putting your research online

Setting aside the debate about the effects of Open Access, OA removes barriers between you and your reader so it is easy to share across social media. This section looks at tools to publish your research using the Green (self archiving route). Check publishers conditions on SherpaROMEO. In general you can publish a pre or post print in some form of repository.

Institutional Repositories (IR) If your work is associated a university you can deposit their IR if they have one.

figshare [ https://figshare.com ] allows you to upload posters, data files and presentations. Gives you a DOI to allow you to share your work.

Mendeley [ http://www.mendeley.com ] you can upload your own articles. Mendeley automatically links to these on your Menedley profile page.

PeerJ Preprint Server [ https://peerj.com/preprints ] Upload pre publication versions of papers for feedback. Note there is a basic screening process for Pre prints. See instructions to authors.

ReseachGate [ http://researchgate.net ] acts as a repository with facilities to upload and maintain the full text of your work.


Hoyt, J. & Binfield, P., 2013. Who Killed the PrePrint, and Could It Make a Return? Available from: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/who-killed-the-preprint-and-could-it-make-a-return [Accessed 29 March 2016].

Swoger, B., 2013. Understanding your rights: pre-prints, post-prints and publisher versions. Available from: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/information-culture/understanding-your-rights-pre-prints-post-prints-and-publisher-versions [Accessed 29 March 2016].

Your Impact: measuring your impact

You measure your impact by counting mentions of your work or interactions with your published outputs, for example the number of times the full text of your articles are downloaded. Traditionally these impacts or metrics were citation based. However, on the internet all activity is trackable creating a new series of metrics also called altmetrics, for example number of Tweets, mentions on blogs or number of downloads.

Citation Metrics

These tools are free to register and access. The number of citations will vary depending on the dataset from which citations are derived. Google Scholar citations counts tend to be high, ResearcherID lower.

Google Scholar Citations [ http://scholar.google.com ] Tracks your citations and calculates additional metrics e.g. h-index.

ResearchGate (RG) [ http://researchgate.net ] Calculates citations and downloads by RG users. Other metrics such as the RG Score are not widely accepted.

ResearcherID [ http://www.researcherid.com ] Calculates citation metrics.


Altmetric [ https://www.altmetric.com ] calculates article level metrics based tracking a number of sources including social media.

The Altmetrics Bookmarklet for your web browser can automatically calculate Altmetrics for articles with a DOI or PubMed.

ImpactStory [ http://impactStory.org ] Now subscription only but with as 30 day free trial. Draws in bibliographic data from ORCiD, Google Scholar and other sources and generates a profile page where you can track your metrics.

Mendeley [ http://mendeley.com ] records readership statistics, the number of times a reference is saved into a personal library. This is used by some services, such as ImpactStory as a metric.


altmetrics: a manifesto Available from: http://altmetrics.org/manifesto/ [ Accessed 27 March 2016 ]

Matt Holland
NWAS Librarian
March 2016


This entry was posted in Introduction to ..., Resources and Tools, Top Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Guide to Using Social Media for Research Purposes by Matt Holland

  1. Pingback: A Guide to Using Social Media for Research Purposes (Version 2) by Matt Holland | LIHNN Clinical Librarians

  2. January Gear says:

    I do trust all the ideas you’ve introduced for your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for beginners. Could you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

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