In the January issue of Transplantation, an editorial by Carla Baan and Frank Dor claimed that articles published by the journal during 2015 were 3 times more likely to be downloaded when tweeted by @TransplantJrnl.1 Further, they claimed that posting a video synopsis of newly accepted articles to YouTube led to a 15% increase in daily traffic through the journal's website when a link was posted on Transplantation’s Twitter feed. These statistics affirm the message from many publishers that “self-promoted” articles receive more online attention and are more frequently cited.2 Perhaps, then, researchers should be taking greater advantage of social networking to publicize their own output. Here, we provide readers of Transplantation with tips for promoting their research through social media and other research-sharing platforms. Specifically, we recommend 4 simple ways for busy transplant scientists (or their assistants) to promulgate their work through free-to-use online services.
Register With ORCID
ORCID associates researchers with a unique, permanent identifying code that can be used to automatically link them with all their professional activities, especially publications. Read more and register through the ORCID website [A].
Announce New Publications Through Social Networking Services
Social networking services or “social media” are online platforms used to create connections with other people who share similar personal or professional interests, or real-life relationships. Some care and effort is required to build an audience of “followers.” In the transplantation arena, there are a few dedicated social media enthusiasts with sizeable followings, lending them considerable “exposure” that arguably enhances their professional reputations. Readers who are presently unfamiliar with social media are encouraged to register with these well-known services:
- Twitter is an online news and social networking service that allows users to post and respond to short messages, known as “tweets,” through the Twitter website, mobile device app or SMS. The uninitiated should first refer to “getting started with Twitter” guidelines before registering through the Twitter website [B]. Once signed-up, readers should consider “following” Transplantation (@TransplantJrnl) and Transplantation Direct (@TXPDirect). Based on the interests of individual users, Twitter will suggest other individuals or other groups of potential interest to which users may subscribe. Look for Twitter accounts with a blue checkmark indicating an authenticated Twitter feed of an individual or organization.
- Facebook is the most popular social media service worldwide. Facebook is similar to Twitter in many respects, but importantly does not limit the size of individual messages. New users can register for a personal Facebook account through the website [C]. To avoid mingling personal and professional media streams, we recommend readers create a “fan page” or “group” dedicated to their research interests. Once registered, users may “friend” or “follow” other users or groups, so that their “posts” appear in the user’s “news feed.”Readers are encouraged to follow Transplantation’s Facebook updates.
- Google+ was established as a competitor to Facebook, but is yet to capture a significant market share. The principal benefit of Google+ is its integration across Google services and Android smart devices. Readers can sign-up for a Google+ account through the website [D].
- LinkedIn was one of the earliest professional social networks, designed to promote projects and news stories [E]. Readers are encouraged to join Transplantation journal’s LinkedIn network. Within LinkedIn, there is a dedicated section for uploading scientific references. LinkedIn’s SlideShare allows users to upload and share presentations in a variety of formats [F]. SlideShare users can rate, comment and share content through the website.
- Other social media are less text based, depending more on uploaded images and videos; notable examples include Instagram [G], Pinterest [H] Tumblr [I] and StumbleUpon [J]. Reddit is a more specialized interface that operates like a bulletin board [K].
Announce New Publications Through Academic Networking Services
ResearchGate, Academia.edu and GoogleScholar are social networking services dedicated to research activities, including sharing manuscripts and datasets.3,4 discussion with peers and developing “academic profiles.” Mendeley [L], CiteULike [M], Loop [N] and Figshare [O] began primarily as user-curated repositories for articles and datasets, but gradually developed as peer-to-peer sharing and social networking tools.
- ResearchGate is a widely adopted service allowing registered users to upload manuscripts, data, book chapters, patents, research projects, methods and scientific presentations [P]. Users receive email notifications of newly posted articles of interest and statistics about the impact of their publications within the ResearchGate network. Users can request reprints of articles from peers. A significant drawback of ResearchGate is the high volume of unsolicited emails sent by the service unless users opt-out of email notifications.
- Academia.edu [Q] is a US-based competitor to ResearchGate that has not yet gained the same traction in the transplant community.
- GoogleScholar is primarily a search engine for freely available articles, out-of-print articles and book chapters. GoogleScholar can obtain pdf or html versions of manuscripts from any freely available source. GoogleScholar also serves as a citation index. Users can create a personal profile linked to their Google+ account via the GoogleScholar website [R].
Announce New Publications on a Website, in a Blog or a YouTube Post
Many researchers maintain their own personal websites or regularly update an institutional website. Readers are directed to Leonardo Riella’s exemplary website, which links into many interesting online resources [S]. Web logs (blogs) are personal websites where individuals post messages, images, or videos. Blogs offer authors a greater degree of ownership over their content; however, in most respects, social networking services have supplanted blogging. This said, readers are directed to an excellent, long-established transplant-related blog [T]. Apart from writing their own blogs, authors could reach out to well-recognized bloggers in the field to help promote their work.
YouTube is primarily a platform for sharing user-created content, usually in the form of short videos [U]. Of note, Transplantation has recently introduced a new feature called “#PresentYourPaper” [V,W].5 Young investigators are encouraged to make a 1-minute video synopsis of their work published in Transplantation that is posted to the journal's YouTube channel and Twitter feed. Readers can register for a YouTube account through the website.
Must We All Learn to Tweet?
Most journals, including Transplantation and Transplantation Direct, actively promote their content through social networks, which is a natural extension of their traditional editorial and marketing activities. Apart from publishers’ social media strategies, there are many ways for authors to publicize their own academic output through online platforms. It is unknown whether self-promotion of articles through social media can generally extend the message of any article to a broader audience; nevertheless, many publishers encourage authors to try [X-Z]. With this innovation in publishing come new questions and concerns. As social media are not accountable to editors or readers, is the scientific record at risk of being distorted? Should readers be guided by the opinions of their social networks or is popularity a poor measure of quality? Is attention within the online community a saturable commodity? The value of social networking as a means for researchers to gain recognition for their work is still controversial, so for now, self-promotion of published articles remains a grand sociological experiment. Only time will tell whether we must all learn to Tweet, or not.