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Lucy Frisch

The Source has launched a new series which details how authors can better promote their work (and themselves!). As part of this series, we will be featuring tips and tricks to author self-promotion and advancing discovery of their work. Today we look at one of the most prominent professional networking sites, LinkedIn. 

Are you under the impression that LinkedIn is all about making business to business connections? That it’s a gold mine for job seekers and head hunters, but a platform that isn’t quite relevant to you as a cholar? Think again!

Since its beginning in 2002, LinkedIn has become a valuable directory of over 430 million professionals globally. Building and maintaining an active presence on LinkedIn can help you grow your professional network, increase discoverability of your work, and aid you in connecting with people of similar interests and backgrounds.

Whether you’re an author, editor, reviewer, or early career researcher, here are five ways you can optimize your presence on LinkedIn today and help your work reach a wider audience:

  1. Build a robust profile. Every article you’ve written, every talk you’ve given, and every class you’ve taught is significant enough to be included on your LinkedIn profile. Use your page as a space to showcase your experience, achievements, and interests in order to give your connections a complete picture of who you are and what your work is all about.
  2. Constantly connect. Once you’ve connected with someone on LinkedIn, their activity (position changes, latest posts, etc.) will be included on your news feed. LinkedIn gives you daily opportunities to engage with the happenings of your connections, including something as simple as ‘liking’ their updates. Growing your connections also allows you to share your own updates with a larger audience.
  3. Get your group activity going. Joining professional groups on LinkedIn is a fantastic way to increase your discoverability. Pose questions or respond to queries from other members in groups to position yourself as a thought leader in your respective field.
  4. Open opportunities for partnership. Whether you’ve been trying to get funding for a new project, get in touch with policy makers, or you simply want to get your voice heard by a wider audience, use LinkedIn as a channel to reach out to people with whom it’s unlikely you’d get face time.
  5. Start a conversation about science. By introducing your research and ideas to your LinkedIn network, you are personally helping evolve the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge as we know it. Some of your connections may only know about your field of study because of your presence on their news feed, so maximize their exposure to your specific line of research with a comprehensive profile and engaging LinkedIn behavior.

Help the impact of your research grow beyond your scholarly community and take advantage of all that LinkedIn can do for you and your work today! Feel free to comment below with any questions, suggestions, or tips for maximizing a professional’s LinkedIn potential.

Written by: Tina Harseim, Head of Social Media, Springer Nature
Gregory Goodey, Research Analyst, Springer Nature

Social media is not only a way for authors and publishers to disseminate research findings, it’s also increasingly being used by researchers to discover and read scientific content.

To better understand how social media and scholarly collaboration networks (SCNs) are used within academia to support research activity, Springer Nature conducted a survey in February. This was in follow up to a Nature survey carried out in 2014. (The original survey can be found here: Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network)

Over 3,000 researchers from STM and HSS fields (humanities and social sciences) completed the survey, though numerically dominated by STM respondents (89%). Researchers covering all career levels gave us their views, with the largest groups of respondents from Europe (33%), the Americas (31%) and Asia (31%).

The survey revealed researchers’ views on their professional use of social media and SCNs, to what extent it can help them in their work, and the role publishers and journals can play to support researchers with activity on these platforms.

All data is available to view and download on Figshare, along with a summary of the key findings.

These include:

• Over 95% of respondents said they used some form of social media or SCNs for professional purposes
• ResearchGate was the platform with the greatest proportion of professional users (71%), followed by Google Scholar (66%)
• While respondents stated they used SCNs in high numbers, frequency of use, and therefore platform engagement, was reported to be higher for social media
• 50% of professional users said they accessed Facebook on a daily basis

• In the Nature survey conducted in 2014, the most-selected activity on both ResearchGate and Academia.edu was simply maintaining a profile in case someone wanted to get in touch (68%). This year’s survey revealed that the research activity that over three quarters of respondents stated that they use social media and SCNs for was discovering and / or reading scientific content (Nature’s 2014 study 33%)
• 57% of respondents to the survey used some form of social media and /or SCNs to support with self or research promotion
• Therefore, unsurprisingly, the content that the majority of researchers appreciate from publishers is information on new topics and trends; and research relevant to their field and article recommendations
• Over 80% of respondents would also expect to some degree that any research of content provided by the publisher / journal on these sites should be openly accessible

The survey enables us to provide the best service for our authors, and keeps us close to the views of our community. Over 70% of respondents did agree that they felt that they should do more to promote their research using social media / SCNs.

A significantly higher proportion of Twitter and Facebook professional users share scientific content than any other social media platform or SCN. This gives us confidence that SharedIt, Springer Nature’s content sharing initiative, is offering the functionalities that our users need.

We will use these results to support our approach to social media, discussions on the value SCNs provide for researchers, and how we can best shape our services to meet the needs of the academic community.


The data from this survey has been made open access for anyone who would like to use it. You can find it on Figshare.