Guidelines on Raising the Profile of a Research Organization or University

“We are leaders in [Enter obscure research field], but people don’t know it because we don’t have the prestige of MIT or Stanford,” explains [Enter name of Vice Chancellor for Research of University X].

While talking with our Polaris customers, the MyScienceWork team has figured out that every research organization has similar concerns. Here’s a short guide to optimizing the exposure of research content on the web and making the most of it to raise the profile of your research organization or university.

The Carina Nebula, from the Top 14 best astronomy pictures from the Bad Astronomer blog.

Organize and Display All Your Research Content

An institutional repository is a way to display all the publications of an organization. It is a big online database of all your research publications, as well as books, theses, patents… Anything shareable, which means that it is not confidential and does not contain strategic, sensitive or personal data.

The more you share, the better people understand you. Don’t hesitate to share content such as project reports and successful grant proposals, for example.

Although institutional repositories have been built with great open source software, such as Dspace and Fedora, today it appears that researchers won’t use them unless:

- it doesn’t take any of their time

- they contain only perfectly accurate information and identify their publications perfectly (says Prof. Lee Kim or John Smith…)

And even then, they might not use it…

Automatized Creation of Researcher Profiles

Today, with all the data available on the web, we here at MyScienceWork can pretty well pre-fill a researcher’s profile and identify his/her publications.

So — Indeed! — let’s tweak the old institutional repository so that, instead of having researchers spend time uploading their publications, we help them SAVE time! Hurrah! (And, simultaneously, save librarians and university leaders from having to chase researchers with carrots and sticks.)

Suddenly, with a profile for every researcher in your organization and a list of all their publications, you are able to provide your members, as well as anyone on the web (students, early career researchers, engineers…) with an easy way to identify what your organization is doing in terms of research and who does what with whom.

Your institutional repository becomes a recruiting platform and a tool to find collaborators. Easy Peasy!

Help People Find Your Research

Once your research content is centralized and shared online, organized and linked to your researchers’ profiles, make sure people find it.

1- Build a good-looking user interface. We all like nice scientific images, such as this AMAZING Carina Nebula picture (here above).

2- Provide an advanced, faceted search interface.

3- Optimize SEO.

4- Optimize discoverability (by integrating with discoverability solutions, like Google Scholar, Deepdyve etc.), and by providing relevant suggestions to your audience)

5- And do some outreach, marketing, PR and communication. All of it to package scientific results into more understandable and enjoyable formats. Because some of your least known research projects and expertise definitely deserve to be in the spotlight.

Remember that only 20% of published research gets 90% of the citations. Is all the 80% leftover irrelevant? No. Of course not.

Open Access! Increase Access!

All research content that is shareable should be shared online for everyone to access and read.

It has been said many times, through several studies and uncountable blog posts, that Open Access increases citations of research publications. By how much? Um… we’re still not sure.

But whether it is by 2% or 80%, this doesn’t alter the fact that opening access to research has several major benefits for increased visibility and to foster and attract collaborations. And we shouldn’t need to mention it once again.

If you can share only metadata, that’s better than nothing.

If you can provide free access to the full text or a cheap way to read it, that’s better.

Universities and research organizations increasingly issue mandates or policies to make their research open access by default.

This post is based on MyScienceWork’s activity and expertise.

MyScienceWork provides Polaris platforms and outreach services to help research institutions increase the visibility of their researchers, PIs and research projects.

Polaris is a turnkey repository solution automatically generating profiles of researchers and organizing publications from multiple sources.

To learn more, contact us at [email protected].