I’m not surprised about the “slowness” that we see with respect to lab managers and scientists engaging in social media, as discussed in our earlier post. Many of us, scientists included, are still learning the ropes of productive online communication.
However in this video from Imperial College London scientists share some great insights how and why they actually use social media tools and how these tools help them with their research, their networking and managing their work.
Here are a couple of things I found interesting:
- They use those social media tools that they know others (colleagues etc.) use.
- Twitter seems the exception: Scientist may use Twitter (whether their colleagues use it or not) to follow science news feeds and people with interest in science. They appreciate that the breaking news coming out of Twitter are sometimes faster than the BBC. They tweet about their research and the research done by others.
- Some use social media tools to increase their chances of being identified as an expert in a certain field.
- Blogging and peer-reviewed publications don’t exclude each other: One researcher shares his experience how some of his blog posts have sparked follow-up discussions, have matured into scholarly articles and “accelerated the progress of science”. He also mentions that in some cases he gets more feedback (comments) on a blog post than giving a talk at a conference.
- Preserving precious work: Some write blog posts based on tutorials, seminars which they developed for their students, designed to explain things in the best way.
- Libel actions can become an issue, but it seems users of social media tools learn to deal with those as they go along.
- Mendeley seems popular: Scientists use it to find papers that are relevant to their research concept and what others have published in a certain area – 2 things that our research networking tool, UCSF Profiles, seems to do pretty well.
- Other tools they mention include Slideshare, Papers (a social paper management tool), Google docs, Google calendar, Wikipedia, Astrophysics Data System (a digital library portal for researchers in Astronomy and Physics) and arxiv.