Welcome to the final day of this Espresso Course!
In the previous two days, we’ve looked at the value of building your researcher identity, ideas for selection of best-fit tools, and highlighted ORCiD, Mendeley and Kudos.
Today, let’s focus on some of the challenges and issues.
Challenges and disincentives
Academics described their concerns around emerging tools (Nicholas et al., 2015) as a rise of ‘a scholarly Tower of Babel’, a confusing multiplicity of ways of providing recognition for scholarly work. In the same paper, other groups reported:
- a lack of time and incentive to engage fully with these emerging mechanisms
- that newer platforms don’t carry the weight or legitimacy of well-established more traditional channels and options
- weaknesses in the underpinning semantic systems or perceived insufficiently established trustworthiness of platforms.
In the news…
The broader scholarly communications environment within which researcher identity is one aspect, has thrown up a lot of reasons to be wary. The complexities faced by researchers and scholarly communities – and society at large – are illustrated in the following recent examples.
Some academics took down their Academia.edu profile due to the online platform’s proposal to charge authors for recommendations.
- In response, Paolo Mangiafico suggests this provides an ‘ideal opportunity for scholars to make informed choices about their work’. Jean-Christophe Plantin says it’s time for values-centred ‘algorithmic accountability’.
Research Gate has come under fire with Publishers demanding the removal of research articles from the site because they breach publishers’ copyright. A lawsuit has been filed alleging widespread copyright infringement (Van Noorden, 2017).
- As Dr Danny Kingsley Deputy Director Cambridge University Library – Scholarly Communication and Research Services tweeted, there’s renewed scrutiny on user obligations in the updated ResearchGate Terms of Service.
USER OBLIGATIONS for ResearchGate: You are responsible to ensure that the use or other exploitation of any Member Submissions by you as contemplated by these Terms does not infringe or violate the rights of any third party
— Danny Kingsley (@dannykay68) 8 November 2017
- This case highlights the very real challenges time-poor researchers face in navigating the parameters within which scholarly outputs can and can’t be shared. This applies not only in the context of digital researcher profile tools, but more broadly in our complex publishing environment.
Top tip: Contact your institutional repository for expert guidance on publishing your research outputs. ANU staff and students can contact Elke Dawson and the team from ANU Open Research at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Protect your hard-earned identity and reputation
Given these concerns and challenges, what are some protective measures you can take to guard your scholarly reputation if:
- you are published in a predatory journal?
- you are erroneously listed as an author?
- your research is claimed by someone else?
The key message is to take immediate action says Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian at the Australian National University.
Check out what steps to take when your research identity and reputation come under fire.
Cyber savvy – top tips
Your online identity is incredibly valuable. What would the implications of harm to your reputation or potential lost research be if you were hacked and lost control of your online identity?
- If using a number of online profile tools, consider either having one identity for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your academic profiles OR keep your professional/academic identity separate from general social media. There are pros and cons for both approaches.
- Two-factor authentication on your Facebook account is a good idea if using your Facebook ID to create accounts with researcher profile tools. The same principle applies to any online storage account like DropBox or Google Drive where you store your research or manuscripts.
- If you decide to no longer use (leave) a platform, delete your profile. Leaving unused profiles that may link into other active online accounts is a potential backdoor for hackers.
- Find more suggestions from ANU IT Security, including keeping your software up to date on computers and personal devices.
Learning activity 4
Check out responses to #DeleteAcademiaEdu on Twitter.
Share your thoughts in the comments section on one or more of the following talking points. As always, building upon other’s ideas is encouraged.
- What stands out for you about the conversations around #DeleteAcademiaEdu? Have you or any of your colleagues acted on #DeleteAcademiaEdu?
- What issues have you or colleagues experienced in the use of researcher identity tools?
- Has discussing the issues within this community of practice helped reduce some of the researcher identity “fear-factor” for you? What concerns remain?
- Let’s do a bit of Blue Sky thinking…In a perfect world, what would the ultimate researcher identity tool look like?
Resources and further reading
LSE Impact Blog. “Algorithmic accountability in scholarship: what we can learn from #DeleteAcademiaEdu” 2016.
LSE Impact Blog. “Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication.” 2016.
Nicholas, David, et al. “New Ways of Building, Showcasing, and Measuring Scholarly Reputation.” Learned Publishing 28.3 (2015): 169-83.
Riley, James. “The evolution of our online identity” 2017. Accessed 9 November 2017
Times Higher Education. “The A to Z of Social Media for Academia: Your Definitive Guide to Using Social Media as an Academic.” 2017. Accessed 9 November 2017.
Van Noorden, Richard. Publishers threaten to remove millions of papers from ResearchGate: Take-down notices “imminent” as lawsuit is filed alleging widespread copyright infringement. 2017 Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2017.22793
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