Thing 23: What have you learned and where do you want to go from here?

You’ve made it; this is the final Thing!

Thank you all for following the programme, and congratulations for sticking with it to Thing 23. It’s probably been tough at times but now you have something to be proud of.

We’ll be in touch shortly to ask you for some feedback but feel free to leave comments on this post if you have any immediate feelings (of relief, most likely!).

We promised a certificate and a party. And the good news is that we meant it! We’ll be in touch shortly to let you know about the party and your certificates will be awarded there.

The Last (blog) Post

  1. For this last Thing, we would like you to reflect on the programme in general and on what you want to do next. What did you enjoy? What do you think you will use in future? What would you like to explore further? What will you do differently from now on? What value has 23 Things added to your research? What value has 23 Things added to you? Maybe it’s not what you did, but how you did it? You may wish to refer to the Researcher Development Framework (more explanation here) for help in your reflection.
  2. Keep blogging and let us know how you get on!
Advertisements

Thing 22: Your Website(s)

By now you should have realised that all these tools and resources can help you to develop and progress. You should be well into the habit of writing and you should be part of a thriving community of researchers, both within your institution and outside. You will have a considerable online presence.

In order to make all of this really work for you, you need to be able to tie it all back to a single website that tells the world who you are, what you do and what you can do.

This is your number one professional tool in the digital age. After thinking about your professional brand very early on, you should have set a nice tone for your online presence. Your website is the place where you really define the professional you.

You have several options about where to host this website and you may well find that you end up with several profile websites. However, you should ensure that all of them link back to the one that YOU consider to be the most important.

Here are some websites you may wish to consider using for your profile website, with some examples where possible:

There are pros and cons to each of these. In particular, you may feel limited by the fields that you can fill in for some of them. Conversely, having an ‘About’ page on a blog or a personal website can be freeing but difficult to set up and to make ‘professional looking’.

Having one does not (and should not) preclude you from having others. However, the one that you choose to focus on will probably set the tone for what you are trying to achieve. We will talk about some of these in more detail.

Surrey.ac.uk

If you are looking to continue in academia, obviously you should have a good staff profile page on the University of Surrey website that clearly outlines your research interests. You can also use this to attract the interest of local businesses for collaboration/consultancy purposes, etc. It is relatively easy to modify your profile yourself, using the University of Surrey’s website content management system, Rhythmyx. There are guides available here, and there are some instructions here for making necessary changes to Java settings on your computer before you can use it. You can contact the RDP for more help in developing your Surrey online profile. It is also worth mentioning that websites with .ac.uk suffixes also have the highest search engine optimisation, so Google searches for you will always feature your staff profile page highest. You can use this fact to link to your preferred profile page, if not this one.

LinkedIn

You may be surprised that I have included LinkedIn here. Traditionally this is considered to be a ‘networking’ website, and ‘networking’ is obviously not a professional aim (but a professional means). The reason for inclusion is that this website tends to also have search engine optimisation, which means it also returns higher in Google searches (not as high as .ac.uk websites). If you aren’t sure what you want to do in the future yet, LinkedIn is a great place to start your professional profile because it is so generic. There is a lovely guide for students here on using LinkedIn. There are some advantages to using this website as your main profile page because it has built-in functionality to link to your other sites, and it will post updates on your behalf. Other websites might require more attention from you. However, you can also be more selective with the things you choose to present about yourself.

Whether you’re using the university website to create your profile page, or any other for that matter, your profile website should include the same basic things:

  • A professional profile picture. Not just the nicest snap of you, something where there is good lighting.
  • Your name, or the name you go by.
  • Your current role. If you want to sound less like a student, call yourself a postgraduate researcher or a doctoral candidate.
  • Your qualifications. No, you can’t say you have a PhD if you haven’t finished yet (as in, Viva-ed), but you could give a projected qualification date.
  • Your professional contact details. This doesn’t have to be your university email address, but equally it doesn’t have to be your mobile number. If you do use a personal email address, PLEASE make sure it’s professional sounding, for example john.smith@rdpmail.com and not john.smith@likethebeer.com.
  • A biography. A short paragraph (~250 words) written in a personable way that tells readers who you are, where you’ve come from, and where you’re going in life. In research. What motivates you. Tell us your story.
  • Your achievements. By this, I really mean the things you want to show off about yourself. In academia this might be publications or collaborations. On LinkedIn, it might be a project that you’ve participated in. It might well be your successful blog, or a particular piece of writing. The key thing is, shout about it here. Link to it. Don’t make your readers hunt for it.

Task

If you’re going to have a professional profile page, it should look good or not exist so I won’t ask you to create one right now. Do spend some time looking at great examples though and make some decisions about what you would like to include in yours. What sort of tone do you want to set? What things do you want to include? Do you have all the necessary resources and information to create it? If you’re stuck for examples, think about the people that influence you, and see if you can find their profile pages.

Week 11 blog post

This week we’d like to hear about your experiences with this week’s Things or your thoughts on using them.

Or, you could use your blog to hone your thoughts about your profile website. Perhaps you have some ideas about what things to include/not include for specific purposes.

Don’t forget to tag your post Thing 21, Thing 22.

Thing 21: *Research

This week we’re looking towards the future. Specifically, your future.

If you’re considering a career in research; either in academia, or in a support role, being an effective user of this Thing will help you to maintain your awareness of current issues, trends, and opportunities.

*Research

*Research has existed for 20 years, and as a company it describes itself as a “Knowledge Innovation Network”. It offers several leading services to universities across the UK and Ireland, some of which we will describe in more detail below. From here however, you can look at research job listings in areas such as research policy, management, support and even expert committees. You can also subscribe to job alerts.

*Research Professional

*Research Professional boasts “Total funding awareness”, and it achieves this through its online database, and through various subscription journals, including *Research Fortnight. It covers all research disciplines, all types of funding sources, and all grant amounts, from across the world. It has various filtering options (guidance here) that ensure you can only search for funding that is applicable to you.

*Research Professional is itself a subscription service which Surrey has invested in. Here is an excerpt from pages maintained by Research and Enterprise Support at the University of Surrey:

The University of Surrey subscribes to Research Professional, the electronic news and research alerts service provided by Research Fortnight. This database of funding opportunities and news articles can be accessed from the University’s internal network, using the “campus access” option on the Research Professional front page.

This service also enables staff and students at the University to set up an individual account and create personal searches and email alerts for up-to-date news items regarding research policy and funding. Please use your University of Surrey e-mail address when registering to ensure that you are able to access all the services that Surrey subscribes to.

User guides and tips are available from the Help pages on *Research Professional itself, from Research and Enterprise Support, and there is also this document which was lovingly prepared by Dr Sam Hopkins from the Researcher Development Programme (N.B. This document is NOT covered by the 23 Things for Research Surrey Creative Commons license).

Task

Use the instructions on *Research Professional to log in and set up an individual profile. Have a look at the options for personalised alerts and select any or all that are relevant to you.

If you have a research project in mind currently, you may also wish to use the instructions in Dr Sam Hopkins’s guide to looking at funding opportunities that are currently available. Perhaps your idea isn’t for a research project but a dissemination or impact project following your participation in 23 Things.

Euraxess provides links and information on potential funding sources so that you can discover research opportunities on an international level. Euraxess has a searchable database for funding opportunities and this is specifically for fellowships and here is a list of places that may offer funding.

One to Watch – *Unity

*Unity is a ‘cloud collaboration platform for academia’ to which Surrey is subscribed. This service allows users to share files and discuss subjects online, not only with users at their own institution but at all subscribing universities.

Thing 20: Google Drive and Dropbox

You’ve set the date, you’ve had your meeting, you’ve set SMART objectives: it’s time to start sharing resources. Now we’re going to look at tools which support online collaboration and file-sharing. As well as among groups, there are also benefits to using these tools for your individual work.

It can be frustrating to work on group documents; keeping track of versions is difficult, and emailing updates around every day can be time consuming. Being able to store and edit documents online can help solve these problems, and tools like Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) and Dropbox make it possible.

Google Drive

One of the main purposes of Google Drive is to allow multiple people to edit the same document, spreadsheet or presentation without creating duplicate copies. Documents can either be uploaded or created from scratch within Google Drive and the fact that everyone can access the file in one place means that it is much simpler to edit and update. This can be very useful for researchers who are collaborating on a project; for example, drafting a research publication with multiple authors.

Task

Accessing Google Drive is quite straightforward. Simply login with the same username and password that you would use to access your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, you can quickly set one up by clicking here and completing the online form.

Once you have logged in to Google Drive, click ‘Create’ and choose what kind of document you would like to create – such as a spreadsheet, word-processing document or a presentation.

Create your document and it will save automatically, or you can force a save by pressing Ctrl+S.

Now you are ready to share your document, either with a colleague or even with another 23 Things participant if you wish! Click on the ‘Share’ button in the top right-hand corner of the screen. In the ‘Add People’ box, enter the email address of the person with whom you would like to share the document and decide whether you will allow them to edit the document or just to view it. Click ‘Share’ and this person will now receive an email with a direct link to your document.

Dropbox
Dropbox is a free application (available on mobile and on desktop) which allows you to store your documents online so that you can access them from multiple computers.

Like Google Drive, Dropbox can also be used when collaborating with others on a project as it enables easy file-sharing without the need for creating duplicates. For example, one person can drop documents and files into Dropbox and then invite other people to access and edit those files.

Task

If you don’t already have a Dropbox account, go to the Dropbox website and create one. Once you have created an account, you will be directed to a page that explains how to download Dropbox, although you can continue using the online service if you wish.

After you have downloaded and installed Dropbox, you will have a Dropbox folder on your computer where you can store any files that you want to share with others. You can access these files from any computer by logging into the Dropbox website with your username and password. From here, you can view, download and upload files securely using any web browser.

Sharing documents using Dropbox
Sharing with someone who already has a Dropbox account
Create a new folder inside your Dropbox folder, select a file from your computer and paste it into this folder. Now go to the Dropbox website, log in if you aren’t already logged in and click on the tab called ‘Sharing’.

Select the option to share an existing folder, click ‘next’ and then select your folder. Enter the email address of someone with whom you wish to share your folder and click ‘share folder’. This will send an email inviting the recipient to view your folder via Dropbox. If the recipient is not yet a member of Dropbox, the email will direct them to a page asking them to register.

Sharing with someone who does not have a Dropbox account
Dropbox will also allow you to share single files (but not folders) with people who do not have a Dropbox account. To do this, simply copy and paste a file into the folder called ‘Public’ which is already inside the Dropbox folder on your computer.

Next, navigate to your Public folder via your account on the Dropbox website, right-click on the file you want and select ‘Copy public link’. This will give you a URL which links to your file and you can then paste this, for example, into emails or blog posts in order to share it with others.

Week 10 blog post
Write about your first impressions of any or all of these tools and/or their potential uses for your work. If you are already using one or more of them, you could write about the kinds of projects for which they have been useful. If you wish, you could also compare and contrast the value of each of these different tools and consider how they could be used to further your own professional development.

Thing 19: Doodle and online scheduling

In the last Thing we looked at tools for collaborating with others online and we considered the limitations of such technologies. As Webinars and Hangouts happen in real time, one of the limitations might be finding a time when all your participants are available. Fear not! There are tools for this too.
One of the most popular scheduling tools is Doodle. Doodle is free, easy to use and doesn’t require any registration (although it offers added features to registered users). For this week’s Thing, please explore Doodle and, if you can, give it a try for scheduling something.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Go to http://www.doodle.com/.
  2. Click on the ‘Schedule Event’ button.
  3. Follow instructions for Steps 1-4, each time clicking ‘next’ to get to the next page. Decide on the dates that you are free and the time slots within each date that you are free and add them in the chart.
  4. At Step 4 you need to decide whether you want to send an email to your colleagues yourself or whether you want Doodle to do this.
  5. If you have chosen to send the poll out yourself then check your emails from Doodle and follow the clear instructions in them.
  6. Send the link out and wait for responses!

Exploring further

You can integrate Doodle with other online tools, including your Microsoft Outlook calendar, Google calendar or iCal; Doodle can sync meetings you set up with these calendars and update based on poll results. Doodle’s calendar integration page provides more info on how to set these up.

Doodle isn’t the only online scheduling tool, although it is one of the most popular. You might want to explore other options such as Meet-o-Matic or Scheduly.

If you’ve had a proper nose about, you will have noticed that you can use Doodle for more than scheduling dates. Imagine you’re holding a dinner party and want to know what the majority of guests would prefer to eat. Can you think of a more research-appropriate use of this function?

Thing 18 – Webinars and Hangouts

With the rise of online media sharing and the growing desire to get out of rooms and on to the internet, it is now possible for groups of people actively to participate in online learning and discussions in real time.

Google+ Hangouts

Cast your mind back to the days of the ‘internet chat room’, and now imagine them with photosharing and group video calling capabilities. There you have the Google+ Hangout. This platform can operate on mobile as well as desktop devices and is popularly used amongst academics for discussion, skills training or professional development opportunities from higher level bodies like Vitae or the Guardian Higher Education Network. Although video calls are limited to 10 people, 2 or more can be involved in a text-based Hangout.

Similar functionality is offered by

Webinars

An online seminar, or Webinar, can allow groups of people to interact with each other, or allow multiple individuals to interact with an existing group, as well as multimedia.

Check out this list of Webinar possibilities from Wikipedia:

  • Slideshow presentations – where images are presented to the audience and markup tools and a remote mouse pointer are used to engage the audience while the presenter discusses slide content.
  • Live or streaming video – where full motion webcam, digital video camera or multi-media files are pushed to the audience.
  • VoIP – Real time audio communication through the computer via use of headphones and speakers.
  • Web tours – where URLs, data from forms, cookies, scripts and session data can be pushed to other participants enabling them to be pushed though web based logons, clicks, etc. This type of feature works well when demonstrating websites where users themselves can also participate.
  • Meeting Recording – where presentation activity is recorded on the client side or server side for later viewing and/or distribution.
  • Whiteboard with annotation (allowing the presenter and/or attendees to highlight or mark items on the slide presentation. Or, simply make notes on a blank whiteboard.)
  • Text chat – For live question and answer sessions, limited to the people connected to the meeting. Text chat may be public (echoed to all participants) or private (between 2 participants).
  • Polls and surveys (allows the presenter to conduct questions with multiple choice answers directed to the audience)
  • Screen/desktop/application sharing (where participants can view anything the presenter currently has shown on their screen. Some screen sharing applications allow for remote desktop control, allowing participants to manipulate the presenter’s screen, although this is not widely used).

One of the most common uses in research is to allow remote researchers to participate in a workshop or conference.

There are hundreds of providers for this service, however one of the most popular platforms is Adobe Connect.

The University of Surrey has a paid subscription to this service, meaning it is free to use. More information can be found here.

Task

Have a look at the university’s information on using Adobe Connect and imagine a situation where you could use it. Could it be a meeting between multiple supervisors? A workshop or seminar to your peers? A collaborative brainstorming session between research partners at different universities?

What might the limitations be?

Thing 15 – Research impact

About

Research Data Management (RDM) is an essential building block for good research and involves creation, organisation, storing, sharing and re-use of data through (and even after) the various stages of the project lifecycle. The recent increase in UK activity in this area matches efforts across Europe, the US, and Australasia, as “research funders have recognised that to achieve the best return for their funding, the resulting research data should be reused where possible and this is best accomplished through making it openly accessible” (from, University of Sheffield Library. ‘Publishing and sharing research data’. Library RDM website).

Most research funders now have requirements around managing and sharing Research Data, that their award holders are expected to comply with. To find out more about the requirements and what you need to do to be compliant, please read on.

Benefits

Research Data Management makes the research process including scholarly communication more efficient, and helps meet requirements of the funders, the University and the legislation. It increases the exposure and impact of your research, and also aids reliable verification of results and further new and innovative research to be built on existing information (from, Whyte, A., Tedds, J. (2011). ‘Making the Case for Research Data Management’. DCC Briefing Papers. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre).

Further benefits of RDM, as researched and presented by the Digital Curation Centre in ‘Making the case for RDM’ are –

500% Growth in datasets downloaded from Economic and Social Data Service 2003-2008 (Benefits from the Infrastructure Projects in the JISC Managing Research Data Programme)

69% Increase in citations for clinical trial publications associated with making their microarray datasets publicly available (PLoS ONE, Sharing Detailed Research Data is Associated with Increased Citation Rate)

37% Projected saving in staff time from moving Oxford University Classics Dept database to centralised virtual service (HEFCE Shared Services and the Cloud Programme)

1-day delay cut to 5 minutes Estimated time saving for crystallography researchers to access results from Diamond synchrotron, by deploying digital processing pipeline & metadata capture system (HEFCE Shared Services and the Cloud Programme)

 Requirements

University of Surrey’s Research Data Management policy shows the University’s commitment to promoting highest standards in research, including excellent in Research Data Management.

The Research Councils UK Common Principles on Data Policy, which form the basis of the UK Research councils, are summarised below –

  1. Public good: Publicly funded research data are produced in the public interest should be made openly available with few restrictions
  2. Planning for preservation: Institutional and project specific data management policies and plans needed to ensure valued data remains usable
  3. Discovery: Metadata should be available and discoverable; Published results should indicate how to access supporting data
  4. Confidentiality: Research organisation policies and practices to ensure legal, ethical and commercial constraints assessed; research process not damaged by inappropriate release
  5. First use: Provision for a period of exclusive use, to enable research teams to publish results
  6. Recognition: Data users should acknowledge data sources and terms & conditions of access
  7. Public funding: Investment is appropriate and must be efficient and cost-effective.

Individual funders’ requirements can be found on the University’s RDM webpages. It is also worth noting that even if no specific demands are currently made by your prospective funder regarding data management, it is likely that they will respond more positively to grant applications which have clear plans for re-using existing data, managing, preserving and sharing their data.

If you are working on a project funded by another funding council, please ensure you enquire about their Research Data Management policy.

What you need to do

Guidance on what you need to do, according to which stage of the project you currently are at, is available on the University’s Research Data Management webpages.

If you are unsure whether RDM requirements apply to you or you have questions on any specific areas not covered on the University’s RDM webpages or FAQs, please contact researchdata@surrey.ac.uk for clarification.