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Social media is relevant to your research 

Does the mere thought of social media make you shudder? Maybe you've signed up but don't know why? Or you might just want to make social media work better for you. Then you've come to the right place as the BOU's Steve Dudley explains why blogging, search engine optimization, individual article metrics and wider social media are important to you and your research.

Blogging is the new black for promoting your research

A summary of a more extensive blog post:
The benefits of blogging about your research
Blogging is nothing new, but many researchers continue to shun this popular and effective medium as irrelevant. How wrong they are.

Blogs contribute the second highest score to your article metrics (after traditional news media) and often provide a more digestible summary of a research article.

A good blog, such as our very own #theBOUblog, will deliver you much more too -
  • Blog posts linked to a research paper contribute to its individual metric score
  • new audiences - #theBOUblog reaches researchers outside of your immediate research circles, wider research community and media outlets
  • a larger audience - #theBOUblog is read by thousands
  • many people prefer to read shorter summaries before accessing a full article
  • not everyone has access - many research articles sit behind paywalls
  • search engines love blogs so your work is sure to be picked up delivering even broader coverage
  • we promote all #theBOUblog posts heavily on social media, driving people to your post, and each tweet and post also contribute to your article metrics
We publish ornithology posts from authors publishing in any journal. If you want to promote your work in #theBOUblog, then let us help you.

Christina Ieronymidou
BOU Social Media Engagement Officer



Individual article metrics are here. But what are they? What are they for? And why should you be bothered?

A summary of a more extensive blog post:
What is Altmetric?

Did you know that your published research articles are now scored individually? But is it important? 

Individual article metrics are here and will soon be the norm across all major journal publishers and subject areas. This now includes IBIS which, as a Wiley journal, is now signed up with Altmetric. And once mainstream they will begin to impacts on many areas of your work - 

  • they will contribute to individual researcher reputations
  • institutes will use them to monitor impact
  • funders will use them to monitor outreach and value for money

Altmetrics capture the online impact of your paper using available online data including -

  • traditional media including mainstream and science specific media
  • blogs linked to research papers
  • social media coverage including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
  • online reference managers - e.g. Mendeley, CiteLike

The data collated by Altmetric measures the impact of your article and provides a single metric score. This score is generated by ranking individual data, so a mention on a mainstream news site (e.g. The Guardian) scores more than a blog which scores higher than Twitter, which itself scores more than Facebook. In this way all measurable media coverage of your article contribute's to your overall article score.

Altmetric goes further still by providing details of all the data which contributes to your score. This means that you can see who and how your article was covered and where the impact was greatest

See also:

Optimizing your research articles for search engines

A summary of a more extensive blog post: 
What do you mean you "don't know how to optimise your paper for SEO?".

It's in all authors' interests to promote your research papers and help make your work more discoverable, read and cited.

One way is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which starts with the author using the right keywords in the title and abstract.

Some simple tips

  • Prepare a list of relevant keywords
  • Lead with keywords in the title
  • Repeat keywords throughout the abstract 
  • Repeat keywords throughout the article
  • Use keywords in headings
  • Include keywords and synonyms in the keyword field
  • Link to the published article and social media, blogs and websites

Further reading

Making social media and the web work for you

A summary of a more extensive blog post:
Making social media and the web work for you


It is very easy to think that once you’ve arrived and found your feet on any social media platform, all you have to do is keep tweeting and posting and that’s that. But what is it all about? What are you actually achieving? What do you want to achieve? Can you do anything to help you and your work get noticed more? 


Take a look at any of your social media accounts and look down the avatars of followers, friends, etc. and you’ll be surprised at just how many you recognise without looking at the name below them. This is branding at the subconscious level - simple familiarity.

The best avatars are human faces or simple image, logo-style icons. When it comes to individuals it’s all about the face, and some individuals heading up their own companies choose to use their own face rather than their company logo to deliver a more personal feel and to tell the world ‘this is me speaking’.

More and more of us are using social media and other online platforms for work. But can you get your work noticed beyond the odd tweet or post to followers, colleagues, peers and friends? In a word, yes.

With over 495 million users generating over 20 billion page requests per month and over 79,000 users registered as content editors (Wikimedia Highlights April 2014), Wikipedia is the largest citizen science project on the planet and a great example of a community working together. Anyone can add content to Wikipedia, all you have to do is register for free. You can then add and edit content yourself by searching for items relating to your work and links and references to your work and papers.

Write a blog
See article above left and #theBOUblog here.



There is an increasing number of blogs and other online articles offering advice and tips on improving your social media presence and to help you get more out of social media and online research. Find articles relevant to your needs and try out their advice and tips.

See also:


About the author 

Steve Dudley, the BOU's Senior Administrator of 17 years, is responsible for the day to day running of the BOU including social media and communications.
Copyright © 2014, British Ornithologists' Union. All rights reserved.

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