Ania Gruszczynska
Ania Gruszczynska
Academic Career Coach

shutterstock_150591119.jpgAs a proud holder of a PhD in Sociology and a part-time career coach with a special interest in working with PhD students and early career researchers on their post-PhD journeys, I feel I’m well equipped to discuss some of the key challenges that ECRs experience. I’ve been there, and many of my coaching sessions focus on common themes.


  1. Coping with change: Getting a PhD is more than merely attaching two letters in front of your surname and hoping that they will lead to a life filled with research and publications. Many ECRs I talk to seem quite unprepared for the emotional upheaval that follows the end of their doctoral studies and the transition into what often feels like a very insecure future. Even if everything went swimmingly – and that’s more of an exception than a rule – the transition process and letting go of the “old me” can be unexpected and challenging. Knowing that others go through a similar process can be quite comforting.
  2. Post-PhD blues: Sometimes, instead of the anticipated elation at finally completing the thesis, there is a feeling of emptiness. Some feel lost once the project that took up so much of their lives over the past three or more years is over, and they struggle to find anything that will offer similar intensity and a sense of purpose.
  3. Personal life changes: As the old adage goes, life is definitely something that happens while you are busy making other plans and the post-PhD period is no different. Given how long it can take to either secure an academic post or figure out a way to transition out of academia, many new PhDs will be making those transitions alongside major life changes such as getting married, having children, coping with caring responsibilities, etc., and will be searching for a way to bring some control back into a messy and chaotic time.
  4. Lack of access to resources: It is quite a sad paradox that very often ECRs find themselves disconnected from sources of support (networking, professional development or career advice) at a time when they need those most. Instead, they might find themselves cut off from resources that are only available in permanent roles, precisely the ones that the ECRs are aspiring to. Recreating those networks without any official institutional affiliation can be quite challenging and coaching can help jump-start that process.
  5. Lack of support from supervisors: While the official relationship may be over, some ECRs will be keen to maintain the informal connection with their supervisors. However, I often hear about a mismatch of expectations and some misguided, if well-intentioned advice. Many supervisors managed to secure their academic roles in a much friendlier economic climate and don’t understand the harsh reality faced by current ECRs attempting to find academic jobs. Equally, even though the majority of ECRs end up outside of academia, there are times when supervisors can be dismissive of those choices, thus leaving their previous supervisees feeling like they failed.
  6. Time management: The same PhD students that came to me wanting to carve out a better routine to their days often turn into ECRs that need support with managing their time better in a new situation. It seems to be feast or famine: They will either be juggling a couple of part-time jobs, a cross-country move (perhaps with a baby thrown in for good measure), or they might find themselves unemployed, with long stretches of time that they now struggle to devote to publications or job hunting.
  7. Sustaining writing productivity: The ability to produce academic publications will make or break somebody’s career, plain and simple. At the same time, this is possibly one of the most challenging aspects of being an academic, whether it is part of your job or part of the plan aimed at getting you a job. For that reason, I devote a lot of my coaching work to helping people establish a regular writing practice in order to slay some of their writing demons (while sometimes reminding myself to listen to my own advice!).
  8. Doubts about academic careers: The glorious "life of the mind" that doctoral students sometimes fantasize about when in the midst of writing up doesn’t always materialize. Even if they win the academic lottery and secure that coveted lectureship, the reality involves a sobering mix of teaching, administration, academic politics, and a whole set of new rules to live up to, including the infamous "publish or perish." On the flip side, those who keep buying the lottery tickets (a.k.a. keep attempting to secure academic roles), while failing to succeed, might start feeling quite disillusioned and wonder if it is worthwhile to keep applying for membership in a club that clearly isn’t accepting them.
  9. Identity crises: The truth is, most PhD holders will end up working outside of academia, yet academic employment is something they spent years preparing for. It can be really difficult to let go of a vision of a future in which somebody embraces the so-called "life of the mind" (whether that exists anymore is up for debate) in exchange for a future as a self-employed project manager or consultant. Leaving academia can feel like having to learn a new language and adapt to a whole new set of rules, and often ECRs find they need a space to grieve for their old identities before they can move on to a different version of the story they tell about themselves.
  10. Career issues: The path to post-PhD employment is rarely linear and can involve blind alleys, sideways moves, and a lot of twists and turns, leaving people confused about what their next steps should be. Some, before they can even start thinking about career progression, need a career and a quick refresher on basic job hunting skills, and so I find myself putting on the hat of a career advisor on a regular basis.


The list could potentially go on and on, but the above seem to crop up on a regular basis. What do you feel are the biggest challenges ECRs are up against? Feel free to share your own challenges in the comments below.


Image credit: anyaivanova/Shutterstock


    Helen Eassom
Helen Eassom
Author Marketing

Did you know that more than 50% of traffic to Wiley Online Library comes directly from Google, Google Scholar, and other search engines? You can play a key role in optimizing the search results for your article, helping others to find, read, and ultimately cite your work. We’ve put together this infographic which summarizes five top tips for increasing your article’s search engine discoverability. For more tips on preparing your manuscript, visit our site for authors.



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    Robin McGuire
Robin McGuire
Senior Marketing Manager, Wiley

new logo.jpgWhy study the humanities? Does it have a place in our ever-changing world?


Join us to explore the multi-faceted impact of this discipline at the first-ever Wiley Humanities Festival, a two-day online festival featuring a star-studded lineup of free live events, free access to research, thought leadership pieces from leading academics, and more.


Headlining the festival is our round-table webinar, where a distinguished panel of experts in the humanities will discuss the importance of the discipline and debate the challenges and changes in humanities education today. Join us on September 9 to hear from our four panelists: Dr. Willem B. Drees (editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Sciences), Dr. Chris Higgins (editor of Educational Theory), Dr. Ethan Kleinberg (editor of History and Theory), and Caitlin Pollock (Digital Humanities Librarian at Purdue University).


You’ll have the opportunity to ask your own questions and share your personal perspectives on the discipline. There will even be opportunities to enter to win prizes. Seating is limited, so be sure to register today.


“Education in humanities, at its best, furnishes you with a stock of knowledge and thought essential to understanding the world around you.” – Dr. David S. Oderberg, Professor of Philosophy and Editor of Ratio. Visit the festival site on Day 1 at 12:00 PM EST to experience his full Q&A!


“There is one simple reason to study the humanities: they teach us what life might be for.” Dr. Sara Dant, Professor of History and author of Losing Eden: An Environmental History of the American West. Visit the festival site on Day 2 at 10 AM EST to read her full Q&A!


Be sure to follow the festival using #WileyHumanitiesFest on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll be giving away prizes and previewing content from the festival.


    Christiana Wittmaack
Christiana Wittmaack
Marine Mammal Researcher

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Last month, we shared with you one early career researcher’s story of inspiration. His amazing story was submitted as part of our #becauseofyou campaign, which celebrates the work being carried out every day by researchers, authors, editors and reviewers. In the second of these features, marine mammal researcher Christiana Wittmaack discusses the driving forces behind her passion.


Christiana Wittmaack: #becauseofyou Story


Being a marine mammal researcher is not easy. Long hours of research, internships, volunteer work, and years of higher education loomed before me as I made the decision to work with marine mammals. Of course, I was only three years old when I made that decision. I am the typical cliché, the person who has always wanted to work with marine mammals. When asked why I never changed my mind, my reply has always been that I am just too stubborn to do so. As a child, I delved into every book and documentary I could find on the subject. My passion led to terrible bullying by my classmates that became so severe I was pulled out of traditional school and placed in home school for my own protection. There, my instructors encouraged me and incorporated marine mammal science (involving actual animals) into my curriculum. Of course, hardship was still just around the corner.


During my M.S., my major advisor, Dr. Edward Keith, tragically passed away. He had been inspirational to me through his wealth of knowledge and his easy, approachable nature. Students were his number one priority and he instilled in them a hard work ethic within the field. After his death, I found myself taking care of my mother, who had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that carried only a 16% chance of survival. During that time, I was pulling a full-time research and academic load. People in the field were telling me to just give up, but I remembered the last thing Dr. Keith said to me before he died: “Nothing can or will ever stop you, because you just keep going." I took that to heart and persevered. I also listened to my mother, who insisted that she had not spent her life raising a child obsessed with the marine mammal sciences to die before seeing her become a successful marine mammal researcher.


I started writing my M.S. thesis in a nuclear medicine waiting room and, ironically, I finished writing it there a year later. Little did I know that my mother would beat all odds and astound her physicians by going into and staying in remission. Even untreated tumors would vanish!


Once I had obtained my degree, my passion for science burned brighter than ever. I knocked on every door and arrived at a very unique place (marine mammal toxicology). My mother insisted on picking up her life and moving across the country with me to help both financially and domestically during my Ph.D. program. I am now preparing to investigate the effects of toxicants on cetaceans. My drive, my passion for marine mammals is enhanced every day as I learn, discover, and embark on a lifelong adventure that will, hopefully, have a lasting impact.


I never do anything the easy or traditional way. I expect to encounter more hardships along the way. I also expect my career to be anything but ordinary. When I am old and look back on my life as a marine mammal researcher, I am confident that I will say, “It was hard, it was extraordinary, and it was an awesome ride.” Then I will go out into the field for more research, because nothing ever stops me.


Christiana Wittmaack is a marine mammal researcher and PhD candidate at Texas Tech University.


    Peter Kivisto
Peter Kivisto
Professor, Augustana College


During my tenure as the editor of a generalist sociology journal, I came to appreciate the need to help younger scholars seeking to get their work published better understand the editorial process. The popularity of “meet the editors” sessions at academic conferences attests to this need. From the viewpoint of these junior colleagues, the process often seems to be a mystery. Editors are viewed as wielding enormous power, while in the blind review system a veil of anonymity separates authors from those making judgments about their scholarship. And there is truth to this impression given that the editor will ultimately write a letter that seals the fate of the manuscript and in so doing points to particular comments provided by the reviewers to make the case.


One way of making the process less opaque is for authors to consider it from the perspective of the editor. To begin with, while outsiders tend to see the role as characterized by power, editors are inclined to understand what they are doing in terms of the responsibilities of the job. They have a responsibility to the journal, and to that end want to enhance its reputation and ranking. This can only happen if the manuscripts chosen for publication are of high quality and of interest to scholars in the field. The flip side of the quest for quality is avoiding making a mistake by publishing something of questionable value. Thus, the quest for that article that will really ring the impact factor bell is matched by the wish to not have a respected colleague ask, “How could you have published that piece of rubbish?”


Editors are gatekeepers. Quality journals receive far more submissions than they could possibly publish, even if all were publishable. Thus, editors are tasked with not only weeding out work that should not appear in print, but with selecting the very best among meritorious papers, and in helping authors transform a good paper into a better one. Does this sound presumptuous? After all, how can an editor be knowledgeable about the range of methodologies, theories, or areas of inquiry that fall under the big tent called “sociology”?


Here is where the peer reviewer role enters. Editors could not accomplish their goals without the willingness of experts in various disciplinary subfields to provide assessments of submissions. Thus, the quest to find the right reviewers for submissions is a constant time-consuming aspect of the job. Finding the person whose expertise is right for the specific manuscript at hand is part of the challenge. Finding a person who has the time at that moment to commit to writing a review is yet another aspect of the challenge. And the goal is to find three to five such reviewers. What does the editor hope to receive from these reviewers? The answer, in short, is a substantive, critical, yet fair review of the paper, with enough commentary to assist the editor in making an informed decision.


It’s on the basis of those reviews that the editor crafts a decision letter. The ideal letter is clear, explicit, and charitable without raising false hopes or expectations. When the decision is to reject, those letters are typically short, with the message being that there will be no further consideration of the paper. In the case of an unconditional accept (I wrote only one such letter in five years), the letter will also be brief: something along the lines of “congratulations, well done” will suffice. However, for a revise and resubmit or a conditional acceptance, the letter ought to offer concrete guidance and suggestions about what needs to be changed and how that might be accomplished. Given that reviewers frequently offer conflicting assessments, it behooves the editor to point the author to the comments that the editor takes to be most important. Since it is a common practice to share reviews among reviewers, as well as to share the decision letter, authors should not expect editors to write something along the lines of “reviewer C is way off base” or “you can ignore reviewer D’s comments altogether.” The key thing to remember is that the editor, and not the reviewers, is the person making that final call.


Once the decision letter arrives, the author needs to decipher the letter and to think through the reviewers’ commentaries. How to do that is a topic for another post. What is crucial here is to realize that I have described the ideal. Not all reviewers are ideal reviewers, and not all editors are ideal editors. This is a simple truth all too obvious to any experienced author. However, as someone who has lived the peer review process for several decades as author, editor, and reviewer, I can state with conviction that the vast majority of editors and reviewers strive for the ideal. What we have is an imperfect but functional system.


Peter Kivisto is the Richard A. Swanson Professor of Social Thought at Augustana College and Head of the Research Laboratory on Transnationalism and Migration Processes at St. Petersburg State University. His research focuses on immigration, social integration, and civil society. His most recent book is National Identity in an Age of Migration (Routledge, 2016).


Image credit: somchaij/iStockphoto


    Samantha Green
Samantha Green
Society Marketing, Wiley

Scientist, greenhouse.jpgAt the Wiley Society Executive Seminar in Washington DC in June, many speakers touched upon the future of research, with topics ranging from how to build collaborative and interdisciplinary communities to how to measure the impact of research with new digital tools. The room buzzed with energy, especially during the spirited discussion provoked by a talk given by Brian Nosek from the Center for Open Science (COS).


Nosek’s talk explored the many ways in which scholars and scientists are discouraged from sharing their research information and how publishers, societies, and researchers themselves can help to change that. Nosek began by illustrating the gap between research values – transparency, reproducibility, and objectivity – and the reality of research practice. For example, surveys have shown that most scientists do want to share their research data, but most simply don’t follow through. Likewise, in a “publish or perish” knowledge economy researchers are incentivized to publish as much and as quickly as they can, leading to problems of quality in study design, data analysis, and a bias for publishing “exciting” results.


And Nosek didn’t stop at the need for more open data. Taking reproducibility as an example, he shared the results of a study conducted by the Center for Open Science showing the power of individual researcher decisions during data analysis: 29 research teams were asked to answer the same research question, and given the same exact data sets, they came up with 29 different conclusions.


Publishers and others are responding to this “reproducibility crisis” in a variety of ways. Nosek highlighted the TOP guidelines (Transparency and Openness Promotion) as one simple way societies and publishers can encourage more open research practices. The guidelines currently have 62 organizations – including Wiley – and 714 individual journal signatories. Nosek then shared an example of how the analysis bias might also be diminished by a shift in the peer review process being piloted by the COS project Registered Reports. Registered Reports signify real change that have the potential to transform the role publishing plays in the research process. Instead of peer review occurring after the study has been designed and conducted, Registered Reports move up the review process, so it takes place before the experiment is conducted or the paper is written. With this process, the publication workflow more closely matches the process for grant application.


The power of the Registered Report model – which Nosek is piloting as a submission option with over 20 journals – is that papers are accepted in principle, regardless of how significant the experimental outcome. This incentivizes strong study design, and discourages analysis choices which might make the results more “exciting.” In a research community where the importance of impact is at an all-time high, this focus on the research question rather than the outcome represents a fascinating shift in thinking.


When it was time for questions, multiple hands shot into the air. One audience member asked if peer review under the Registered Reports model risks biasing study design through strong reviewer recommendations? Nosek explained that it shouldn’t, as design still ultimately remains the decision of the research team conducting the study, though he acknowledged that the Registered Reports workflow is too new to know what its wider impact on the research process would be.


What was clear, however, was the interest and commitment of the 64 society leaders in the room to improve the publication process to encourage more data sharing and support reproducibility. Sara Rouhi, of Altmetric, declared that her “mind was blown” and, honestly, so was mine. Nosek presented powerful arguments for how open science can improve the research process and bring our community’s values in line with practice.


Sam Green is a member of the Society Marketing team at Wiley.


Image credit: avemario/Shutterstock


    Joanne Thomas
Joanne Thomas
Sense About Science

lab scientists.jpgWhen it comes to involving the public and patients in research matters-they should be involved, and they should be involved early in the process. At Sense About Science, we see this as a core responsibility of researchers, and over several years have established a number of successful public engagement partnerships to encourage and support researchers to trust the public by sharing their findings and making them understandable.


A diverse portfolio

Our remit is to promote understanding and use of scientific evidence and advocate openness and honesty about research findings. We focus on socially and scientifically difficult issues where evidence is neglected, politicized or misleading. Our public engagement portfolio reflects this; we prioritize partnerships in these difficult research areas. The projects we take on involve the release
of information that has the potential to be misinterpreted by the public, journalists and policy makers
, and/or are cases where our involvement provides an opportunity for the public to access evidence that they would otherwise miss.


As a result, the projects we’ve been involved in have all been challenging and important, the latest of which launched in June 2016. We were approached by Dr Christina Pagel, UCL and Professor David Spiegelhalter, University of Cambridge to work with the public to co-develop a website that explains how children’s heart surgery is monitored. The website, Understanding Children’s Heart Surgery Outcomes, was launched by Christina in response to previous misinterpretation of these statistics, which led to confusion and unnecessary anxiety for parents and families of children undergoing surgery. To prevent this recurring, Christina established a team to develop a website which would transform this important information from simply being available, to also being accessible to these key non-specialists audiences.


Our recent partnerships have also included working with the UbbLE research team last year to design their public-facing website which generates the risk of mortality for an individual based on a series of questions. And in 2014, we partnered with Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU) on the release of their potentially controversial Atlas mapping potential environmental hazards and select health-outcomes across the UK over a 25-year period. You can read more about our other partnerships here.


Facilitating the discussion

Our role in partnerships is two-fold. Firstly, we recruit the key audiences and evidence-users that should be involved in each project, to attend user-testing workshops. Over the last 15 years, we have worked with a great number of groups across civil society including the media, medical and environmental charities, patient groups, other clinicians and researchers. Our network is unique,
diverse and ever-expanding and is a great resource to draw from to make sure the views of those that need, use and rely on the information in question, are represented.  With our most recent
project, we held 8 user-testing workshops in two streams: one with parents and families of children who have had or will have heart surgery, and one with people who might use the site professionally such as policy officers for medical charities, press officers at royal colleges, academic press and health professionals.


Secondly, our role involves acting as neutral facilitators in the user-testing process. In each workshop, we probe participants for feedback on all aspects of the information being presented - including content, language, accessibility and appearance. Their feedback drives the evolution of content, and the updated iteration is then reviewed at the next stage of user-testing.  This process allows participants to directly shape the resource into a format that is accessible and useful to the very audiences that will be using it. Our neutrality is particularly important. While with most projects we invite some of the researchers to observe the workshops, they are present only in a passive capacity and to answer technical questions that participants may have. This allows participants to more freely ask questions and scrutinize the information, and enables us to capture all queries, different interpretations and suggestions without influence from the researchers.


The researchers’ response

Many of the researchers we’ve partnered with have found listening to the public a transformative experience and have been inspired to involve them more in their future work.


Dr Rebecca Ghosh and Dr Anna Hansell, SAHSU following the launch of the Environment & Health Atlas:

"It became clear from the very first workshop that what we as academics thought was an
accessible publication had been written in a very formal academic style!”


Erik Ingelsson, University of Uppsala, on working with Sense About Science on the UbbLE website:

“We would like to recommend other researchers to consider this before new health-related tools
are introduced to the public. It’s exciting that people are so interested and engaged.”


Professor David Spiegelhalter, University of Cambridge, after our most recent project, Understanding Children’s Heart Surgery outcome:

"This has been a humbling and invaluable experience. I thought I knew something about communicating statistics,

but sitting listening to enthusiastic users struggling to understand concepts made
me realise my inadequacy. If we want to genuinely communicate statistical
evidence, I am now utterly convinced that users have to be involved from the
very start."


Get involved

If you are planning a public resource that shares data or research and would like to discuss your public engagement approach or partner with Sense About Science, do let us know: Contact Emily Jesper: enquiries@senseaboutscience.org.


Joanne Thomas is Projects and Events Coordinator at Sense About Science.


Image Credit: Alexander Rathers/Shutterstock


    Anne-Marie Green
Anne-Marie Green
Communication Manager, Wiley

While you may know how important it is to promote your research via social media, chances are you could still stand to increase the amount of social media exposure you're getting. Below are some great hashtag tools to help you target and broaden your reach on Twitter. Which social media tools do you find most useful? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @WileyExchanges.

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    Catherine Bowley
Catherine Bowley
Author Marketing, Wiley

What’s the difference between open, single and double blind review and what does it mean for your paper?  In the final video of the series, we explain the different types of peer review available, as well as introduce new developments in the peer review process that will streamline your journey to publishing.


    Brandon West
Brandon West
Librarian, SUNY, Geneseo

students in library.jpgI recently had the pleasure of attending the ALA 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida thanks to being awarded the Wiley Scholarship for Early Career Librarians. This was my second time attending an ALA Conference, and I was much more prepared this time around. I had all of my sessions, events, and exhibit floor exploration planned ahead of time and this greatly improved my conference experience.  Despite the 100+ degree temperature and humidity, I have returned to work invigorated with many great ideas that I look forward to implementing in the upcoming fall semester.

Many of the sessions I attended provided me with some useful ideas for my work as a liaison librarian. One of my favorite ACRL programs was titled “Data to Discourse: Subject Liaisons as Leaders in the Data Landscape.” The panelists, Daniel Shanahan, Shannon Farrell, and Jessica Ritchie, discussed ways in which instruction librarians can better teach students to find appropriate data as well as ways to partner with faculty to identify data sources and figure out ways to use the data to formulate research questions. As a social sciences librarian, teaching students about data is becoming increasingly important, so I was thankful for the panelists’ insights.

Another session that stood out to me was “Framing out New Partnerships: Redesigning Library Instruction and First-Year Writing Programs Through Shared Understanding.” Brittney Johnson and Moriah McCraken discussed their approach to incorporating and assessing threshold concepts into their information literacy instruction. As my library is in the experimentation stage of using the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy, I appreciated their practical advice. This session was timely as well, as the ACRL Board of Directors voted to rescind the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education at this conference.

Another highlight of the conference was providing my own contributions. I presented two ACRL programs with my esteemed colleagues Michelle Costello (SUNY Geneseo) and Kimberly Hoffman (University of Rochester). Our interactive presentations included “Expanding Your Assessment Toolbox: Creative Assessment Design for the Novice Instruction Librarian” and “Practical Instructional Design: Diverse Perspectives in Academic Librarianship.” Curious readers may find our presentations on the ALA Annual website. Our turnout was impressive and we have received offers to present our ideas in other venues.

As a leader of the ACRL Distance Learning Section’s Award Committee, I was able to host the DLS Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Orlando with my co-chair, Rebecca Norwicki (Ashford University).  During this event, we presented Elizabeth Brumfield of Prairie A&M University with the DLS Award. This award recognizes a librarian’s contributions and dedication to the field of distance librarianship. Elizabeth’s 19-year career in libraries has been devoted to serving the needs of distance students through the development of mobile apps, her role in developing quality online education at her campus, and her numerous scholarly contributions to the field. Elizabeth’s acceptance of the award was both moving and inspirational.

Overall, ALA 2016 turned out to be a fantastic experience. I appreciate the opportunities that the Wiley Scholarship for Early Career Librarians provided me. I hope next year’s recipients have a transformative experience as well.


Brandon West is a Social Sciences Librarian at State University of New York, Geneseo.


Image credit: Diego Cervo/Shutterstock


    Lauren McNeill
Lauren McNeill
Marketing Manager, Kudos

First impressions count, and with over 2 million new publications added to the literature every year, it is important that your work stands out to readers, and can be readily understood.


A recent study by Nanyang Technological University revealed that proactively explaining and sharing publications on Kudos is correlated to a 23% increase in full-text downloads.


‘It is the start of evidence that will help researchers have the confidence to share their work more actively. Many researchers feel that their supervisors frown upon efforts to communicate, particularly via social media. Our ability to correlate those activities with the more meaningful metric of full text downloads can help justify time spent on such endeavours.’*


It can take as little as 10 minutes to claim, explain and share your work using the Kudos toolkit. Here are some top tips to make getting started easy!


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Tip #1

You can connect your ORCID account to your Kudos account to easily bring all of your publications together. If you do not have an ORCID, we suggest you start by finding one of your publications to explain and share.


Tip #2

When using Kudos for the first time, try not to claim all of your work in one go. Claim one publication, explain it in plain language using the ‘explain’ tools, share your work online and then measure the effects of this in your ‘Author Dashboard’. You can then go back and claim your other work with a good idea of how to effectively explain your work, with some real-time insight into which sharing channels (Twitter, for example) attract most attention to your work.

Tip #3
Researchers are using Kudos not only for newly published work, but also to draw attention to older research - using the ‘explain’ tools to set it in the context of how the field has developed since the work was published. The Kudos blog has a useful step by step, to guide you through the explain tools: ‘How to explain your work – the Kudos way’.


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Tip #4

You don’t need to be a social media genius for Kudos to work for you; several of our researchers are achieving higher views and downloads of their work simply by sharing links over email. Kudos recently published some useful blog posts: ‘Getting started on social media’ and ‘how to build a social media following’ on the Kudos blog series ‘Improve your results’.


Tip #5

Get your co-authors involved! Inviting co-authors to leave their own perspective, gives readers a broader understanding of the publication and what it’s about. Co-authors can then use the sharing tools provided in the Kudos toolkit, to share the publication with their own network of people, which again, will increase the work’s impact amongst a wider audience.

*A full overview of the study and its key findings (by Kudos Co-founder Charlie Rapple) can be found on the LSE Impact blog here, along with this companion piece on the Kudos blog.


Lauren McNeill is a Marketing Manager at Kudos.


    Matt Thompson
Matt Thompson
The Mariners' Museum Library

Matt Thompson VR.jpegI never set out to work in archives or special collections; it’s something I fell into by accident. While I was at library school I didn't take any coursework specific to the fields, choosing to focus instead on my interests in digital libraries and open access. However, I learned the most through internships I completed in the Special Collections department of Swem library at the College of William & Mary where I worked with a variety of documents about Virginia in the age of the New Republic, and in the library and archive of The Mariners' Museum where I worked on an IMLS grant cataloging items about a Civil War naval battle known as the Battle of Hampton Roads. Through these experiences I learned that work in special libraries offers more opportunity for research than some other positions, and I was hooked. When a job opened up at The Mariners’ Museum library, the stars aligned and in June 2015 I became a project cataloger.


Despite the internships, I felt like I had some catching up to do. Special libraries seemed to cover a variety of topics and I only knew my tiny corner of the library world. I was instantly intrigued by the annual meeting of the Special Libraries Association. This would be my first opportunity to explore my new field in greater depth. I hoped to get a handle on all the different types of special libraries out there. What issues did they think were most important? I was also looking towards the future. If I want to present at a similar conference in the future, then I want to learn how their panels are structured. I was interested in the conference's format as much as its content.


Although I had anticipated a great breadth of specialization, I was still blown away by all the different kinds of work people are engaged in. And it was all so fascinating: historical preservation, citizen science, local historical societies, and more. I was especially heartened to see major efforts being put into digitization, digital libraries, and online publishing. One panel from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania was about a project that entailed a great deal of fieldwork. These archivists were traveling to small, volunteer run organizations—churches, schools, clubs, community organizations—that had notable historical collections but due to their size lacked access to professional archivists. Working quickly they performed triage on document organization and arrangement, put some basic preservation measures in place, and generated a finding aid. It was the information professional as activist, performing archival work in service of the community. I daydreamed about the possibility of somehow melding my love of libraries with my love of road trips. I felt inspired, and maybe a little hamstrung sitting at a computer all day long.


One of the most important experiences I had was outside the conference. The 2016 annual meeting of the SLA was held in Philadelphia, which is also home to the Independence Seaport Museum, another maritime culture museum and peer to my home institution. I barged into their museum library quite unannounced (and dressed like a tourist to boot) but the staff there was extremely gracious. I met their head librarian as well as a library student working as intern and after a tour of their facilities we enjoyed an extended conversation. Independence Seaport was a much smaller operation than The Mariners’ Museum. They have only one full time librarian and there are great demands placed on her time. No effort could be wasted! We commiserated around shared problems: the impossibility of cataloging everything in the library and educating museum professionals who want to treat archives like collections. It’s funny to think that working in a role as niche as Maritime Culture Museum Librarian that you could meet someone in the same field who wrestles with the same problems you do. I think they were as appreciative to see me as I was them.


Arriving back home I perused my notes, scribbled hastily throughout the sessions in a leftover composition notebook with my third-grader’s name on it. This chicken scratch would have to become a report for my colleagues so that I could share with them all I had learned at SLA. At first the task didn’t seem straightforward, the breadth of special libraries meant the topics were all over the place. But soon themes emerged, such as the librarian as mediator or connection-maker. Although our resources and clientele might differ, all professionals in special libraries are tackling the problem of helping people answer questions in a dynamic and complicated information environment. We cannot be content to sit behind the reference desk and wait for “them” to come to “us.” At the SLA I met folks who were taking a more active role in connecting people to the information they needed. The librarian of the future is anything but passive. More than anything, the Special Libraries Association embraced this proactive and future-forward ethic. Now if I could just collar my CEO and make him listen to all these good ideas!


Matt Thompson is a Project Cataloger at the Mariners' Museum Library in Newport News, Virginia.


Image: Matt Thompson experiencing some virtual reality at the SLA conference. Photo credit: Matt Thompson


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