With a 40% cut in funding for Higher Education expected from central government over the next 4-5 years, and the tightening up of departmental budgets, academic, jobs will inevitably be lost. Don’t despair, because now may be the best time to raise your academic profile. See this as an opportunity to use your time wisely and get to grips with the fastest growing technology, peer websites and blogs, to create and/or develop an online academic profile. You will soon realise that these online sites are not only for kids and teens, but they also have powerful tools that academics can use as well.
The basic concept – shared online communities
As an academic, one of the first and most important things you will learn is that you will be expected to network and make contacts with your peers.
- Historically, this has entailed attending as many conferences in your field as possible and hooking up with likeminded people in order to collaborate on similar projects and, ultimately, produce academic papers.
- Now that has been made even easier as online, you can do almost everything you did at a conference using websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and blogs, and all from the relative safety of your office or home.
- This is because sites like Facebook and LinkedIn put users with similar interests and profiles in touch with each other to form online communities.
Advantages of having an academic profile online
- You can seek out other academics with similar research interests.
- You can collaborate on small as well as large team-led projects.
- You can participate in online meetings with academics around the world
- You can get information about new developments in your field in real time.
- You can get feedback on papers from your peers along with proofreading and editing services.
- You can create your own pages to invite others to share ideas about a pet academic project of your own or create your own blog.
- You can share data including videos (e.g. of academic presentations), graphs, photos, sound files, indeed anything related to your research.
If you don’t already have membership to sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, then sign up and complete the personal and professional information pages in as detailed a way as possible.
- This will help you get in touch with people with similar backgrounds and interests.
- Include all academic achievements, interests, qualifications, length of service, institutions studied at/worked at, and include photos as people like to be able to put a name to a face.
- Perform detailed searches for people with similar research interests as there will be many links highlighting such people in your peer community
- Devote at least 2-4 hours per week communicating with or seeking out others to develop a rapport and/or an online academic relationship with.
The following are some sites for you to check out in the first instance: