Thing 23

Well, now that we are at the end, I must say that when the course started and the first ‘Things’ were about social media accounts and so on, I was a bit sceptical about where all this would lead me. However, I’m pleased to acknowledge that the course can really add value to the researchers’ career. Taking myself as example, the 23 Things course has highlighted the value of some tools for enhancing the on-line professional presence I was already aware of, but perhaps not well enough to use them in the most effective way. For instance, I think about the use of Researchgate or LinkedIn (still unsure though on the use of Facebook or Twitter to represent the professional side of my person). Another aspect of the course I liked is the invite to ponder on topics such as Open Access. This has opened new perspectives when planning to publish something in the future, which also involves thinking of the ethical side of Research as a more available cultural resource to people. Finally, I liked the 23 Things course because I could learn new ‘things’ from it and I’m sure these will be beneficial during my career in the Research field. A short list of new things is the following: Prezi, as a tool to further enhance the efficacy of presentations and enabling a more engaging approach with the audience; Future Learns and Coursera as tools to find interesting courses on-line to support the learning process; knowing more on bibliometrics and how impact of research is quantitatively determined; tools such as Research Professional, in order to selectively find opportunities (jobs and funding) in the Research field.

All in all, a very good course and formative experience. Thank you 🙂

Thing 21, Thing 22

Thing 21 was a very formative and informative step along the course, as it made me aware of some very interesting tools researchers can use to spot opportunities either they work in academia or in research centres/organisations. In particular, I gave a try to Research Professional and it looks a very good tool to seek and find relevant and serious funding opportunities in the research field. I also like the filters that can be applied to the search, therefore enabling very much selective searches. I will certainly make use of it in the future.

Finally, as mentioned in Thing 22, it makes all sense the fact that in order to make more effective my on-line professional presence I now need to tie all in to a single website. I think I will personally use LinkedIn for the moment and make it the hub of my other accounts associated to my professional identity.

Things 18, 19 and 20

Thing 18 touches base with ‘online learning and discussions’ and the tools to allow those. I must say that I have experienced several situations so far where I was in the need to arrange on-line meetings or to attend webinar or on-line training courses. Of course, Skype is one of the most commonly used tools. On the other side, my industrial sponsor, more often than not, let me use Cisco WebEx facilities to arrange meeting on-line with several participants from different locations. Cisco WebEx provides chat capabilities, allows to share videos, presentation, etc and participants can share their webcams during the meeting/event with no limits in terms of number. It was good to know though, by reading Thing 18, that there are other powerful tools such as Adobe Connect. I will certainly explore this further for future meetings/webinar and perhaps flag it to my industrial sponsor if they are not yet aware of it.

What to say about tools like Doodle, mentioned in Thing 19…thaaaanks God someone had the brilliant idea to invent it. I don’t think I am the only one on this Earth that has experienced great moments of frustration when trying to organise a meeting and thousands of emails were exchanged to decide date and time. Seriously…thanks to the ONE who has invented it.

Re. Thing 20, I have already made extensive use of Dropbox both for storing my personal files as well as for sharing with others some big files which I couldn’t send otherwise through email. For instance, I have used Dropbox for sharing with my supervisors microscopy images some of which are notorious to be many and big in size. Very useful tool indeed!

Thing 14, Thing 15, Thing 16 and Thing 17

Thing 14, Thing 15, Thing 16 and Thing 17

Things 14 to 17 offer another opportunity to go a bit more in detail on matters that are daily commonly mentioned by researchers but I doubt there is a comprehensive understanding of the same. Of course, among the researchers I include myself 🙂 I’ve found particular interesting the topics covered in things 14 and 15.

Re. Thing 14, when thinking about publishing a paper, to be honest I rarely questioned myself on the matter of OA. Having now read about this, I can better appreciate the value of publishing OA although I can foresee a long way to go before publishers will adopt OA extensively. It will be difficult for them to put aside the business aspect while focusing more on the knowledge transfer value by allowing OA to publications. I really hope I will have in the future opportunity to publish OA papers.

Thing 15 covered another interesting topic: bibliometrics and how impact of research can be quantitatively measured. We use the term ‘impact’ very often (when deciding where to publish or, perhaps, when we try to determine the value of a paper by its impact), but I personally underestimated the methodological approach behind the determination of the impact of research. I will certainly make good use of this knowledge and what a better time now that I am planning to publish a paper about my research? 🙂

Featured Image by Bernhard Huber (Flickr) CC: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Thing 12 and Thing 13

Sharing media (videos and audio recordings), as discussed in Thing 12, is definitively an effective way to reach the audience and let them know about your work and your achievements. I will probably consider that in the future and some of the means for sharing media mentioned in Thing 12 were new to me too. So, thank you ’23 things’ course 🙂

What to say about Prezi…it’s incredible. I’ve played a bit with it and, honestly, it opens so much in terms of novel ways you can present and engage with your audience. I will certainly use it in the future. Particularly attractive is the idea to use Prezi for mind mapping. Fantastic tool 🙂

Thing 9, Thing 10 and Thing 11

What to say about Thing 9. Wikipedia, my beloved tool for a quick check-up about topics, etc. Of course, Wikipedia is something that need to be handled carefully, but this is valid when using any other source of knowledge and information. Just to try Wikipedia…I’ve searched about ‘nanoindentation’. Being this a backbone topic of my research project, I could easily verify whether the information provided was reasonable as well as the references given. Well…I was very satisfied with the material I found.

Future Learns and Coursera are other two useful tools in order to find interesting courses on-line, which can definitively be used to support researchers during their learning process. I have been mainly using Youtube to find courses or lectures. I must confess I was not aware of Future Learns or Coursera. I’m sure I will make use of them in the future.

In terms of reference management tools, I have been extensively using RefWorks when writing periodic reports and other various documents. These type of tools are certainly very useful and make researchers’ life easier when there is the need to handle ‘tons’ of references as part of a document.

Things 7 and 8

Things 7 and 8 talk about some of the most commonly used professional networking tools, such as Linkedin and Researchgate. I have been using LinkedIn for quite a while, but I joined Researchgate only recently. Although they are both beneficial to enhance the professional presence on-line, enabling networking, I noticed there are some crucial differences between the two though. I found that networking as result of LinkedIn is more ‘business led’. What I mean by this is that when persons search for other people in LinkedIn, the criterion is very likely to be based on what role that person has in a company or institution, rather than on his/her technical expertise or knowledge. Researchgate (as for Academia.edu), instead, seems to be source of a networking aimed to gather together people that share the same scientific/technical interests/knowledge.

Based on the above, as researcher, if I had to find colleagues or authors I can discuss my research project topic with I would use Researchgate. In this sense, although LinkedIn could allow this too, Researchgate seems to be better organised with the aim to achieve this more easily. Having said that, LinkedIn offers the option to join some specialist groups in line with your technical expertise.  In there, you can find several opportunities to enrich both your knowledge and your network. I find this valuable.

Thing 4, 5 and 6

Alright…I typed my name in Google and the results were mainly related to my professional profiles, such as: LinkedIn , Researchgate  and various documents associated with conferences and workshop I attended (papers, abstract and proceedings). It was not showing any of the accounts (Facebook or Twitter) that are more linked to my private life (and I was very happy about this!).

Nowadays, certainly, using social media to improve the chances of increasing your professional presence in the scientific community plays an important role. No doubts about it! An aspect of using social media tools that strikes me is also the ease of achieving such ‘professional presence’ on-line. Everyone can do it!! As result, the following question arises: what’s the impact on the quality of what is published? What’s the real professional value of the persons publishing and using social media? As far as I know, in the old times (as it is still now…fortunately), if you wanted to be recognised for your work, the main vehicles were publishing ‘real’ papers, attending and presenting at conferences, publish ‘real’ book, etc. All this required (requires) going through some sort of review processes before to reaching the audience. This doesn’t apply to what people publish using social media tools. Does this means that the system in place sometime ago (before social media could be extensively used) was unfair? Or was it more meritocratic? Is today’s system more fair in terms of giving chances to anyone, regardless the real value of the persons or work associated with those persons? No matter what the answers are to these questions, I strongly believe that, while social media certainly facilitate the professional presence on-line, however when it comes to use them to gather information, this will require significant discerning skills .

Will I use social media as a researcher? Of course I will, carefully, use them.

Almost forgotten. Pinterest  is very useful for DIY ideas at home! However, I was very disappointed to notice that no many people share my interest in multi-scale modelling of metallic material. Most of the results that came out were about ‘small-scale armour modelling’. I may get into this hobby activities, actually! Yes, Pinterest…for DIY is one of the best!