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Getting Yourself Known: an online guide

Find out more about enhancing your public research profile
Using online academic networks, Open Access, and social media to enhance your research profile 

Journal Impact Factors

Journal Impact Factors are the measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year.

They can be used to:

  • compare journals in the same field.
  • evaluate the relative impact of a journal in its field.
  • help you decide which journals to publish in.
  • reflect the changing status of a journal over time.


However, critics argue that they are still a crude numeric metric. Caution should be exercised in comparing journals across disciplines. 

See the Journal Impact Factors Libguide for more information.

Dimensions Plus

Online academic networks

You may wish to enhance your research profile by joining an online academic network.

Academic networking sites can be used to:

  • connect with other academics and students in a shared research area
  • share ideas, citations and documents
  • work collaboratively


  • their usefulness depends on the size and quality of the user base
  • they can change in popularity and use: some decline, others are available long term
  • be aware of copyright considerations (see this guide for more information)

The tabs above provide more information about some specific academic networks.

A platform for academics to share research papers.

  • over 40 million members
  • create a profile, showing your institutional affiliation(s), research interests, CV etc
  • upload links to your work and research
  • blog
  • post status updates
  • follow others' work

Email discussion lists for education and research communities in the UK and worldwide.

  • 1.5 million+ subscribers
  • discuss your work, ask questions and share news
  • collaborate on projects and publications
  • announce conferences and arrange meetings
  • keep in touch with subject colleagues
  • funded by Jisc, a charity which champions the use of digital technologies in UK education and research

A tool to help scientists to make connections worldwide.

  • over 9 million members in 193 countries
  • hare publications
  • connect and collaborate with colleagues, peers, co-authors and specialists in your field
  • ask questions
  • find solutions to research problems
  • obtain statistics on who has been reading and citing your work

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences online:

An international interdisciplinary organisation of scholars and teachers.

  • aims to advance teaching and research in the arts, humanities and social sciences
  • co-ordinates 200 free interactive networks edited by scholars around the world; many are co-sponsored b ya professional society
  • more than 100,000 subscribers in over 90 countries
  • communicate current research and teaching interests
  • discuss new approaches, methods and tools
  • share information on internet resources, books and articles
  • test new ideas and share comments

Free reference manager and academic social network.

  • over 4.6 million users
  • public and private groups
  • import papers from other research software
  • search and sort your references, documents and notes
  • automatically generate citations and bibliographies
  • share and collaborate with other researchers:
    • publicly or privately share bibliographies, references or full-text articles
    • create groups to collaborate on research, share feedback and write papers
  • showcase your published research
  • connect with colleagues and peers to follow their research output

An online network for the community of researchers, from students to professors, engaged in research methods.

  • Discuss and debate articles
  • Create interest groups and invite other members to join
  • Write blogs
  • Upload presentations and videos, share teaching resources


Using Google Scholar you can create a public research profile, so that if people search for your name they can link to all of your publications easily.

You can see who is citing your work, and track citations over time.

Visit the Google Scholar citations page for more information. You will need a Google account to use this service.


Social media tools

Using social media tools effectively can raise your profile and extend the reach of your research.


"Most of my papers, before I blogged and tweeted them, had one to two downloads, even if they had been in the repository for months...Upon blogging and tweeting, within 24 hours, there were on average 70 downloads of my papers. Seventy."

- Terras, Melissa. " The Impact of Social Media on the Dissemination of Research: Results of an Experiment"


See the following tabs for an introduction to some of the main social media tools. The Research Information Network provides a social media guide for researchers with a more in depth list of available options.

Researcher Development offers training courses to postgraduate researchers, including 'Doing and disseminating research', which covers Blogging and Tweeting: Communicating Your Research Online.

Blogs are a popular method of disseminating timely information and facilitating discussion. 

Many blogs allow you to use RSS feeds so that new content is automatically delivered to you.

You can set up your own blog using software such as TypePad or WordPress.

The University offers support for postgraduates and staff who wish to use blogs and wikis to aid their research.

Twitter is a microblogging platform, limited to 280 characters per tweet. 

You can use Twitter to:

  • Network and collaborate with other researchers 
  • Keep up to date on news and events
  • Link tweets on a topic using hashtags (e.g. #phdchat, #Historians)
  • Publicise and share your research findings
  • Promote yourself 

To help you, here are some academic tweeting tips.

LinkedIn originated as a business oriented site, but it can be useful in academia to build up a network of connections.

It is a professional networking site where you can join groups and share your work. You can also have specific skills endorsed by colleagues, and write them recommendations.


Open Access


Open access (OA) is the free, immediate, online availability of research publications, together with rights to use them subject to proper attribution.



The use and re-use rights are generally conveyed by the application of a Creative Commons Licence (usually CC-BY). Generally, a user must be able to do the following, free of publisher- imposed charges:

  • read the published paper in an electronic format
  • re-use the content with proper attribution


Traditionally, academic research sat behind expensive paywalls. Researchers could access publications only via personal or institutional subscriptions, or by paying for individual articles. 


The OA movement is now growing internationally, with the recognition that publicly-funded research should be freely available. In the UK, OA gained momentum through support from policy makers and research funders, in particular HEFCERCUK and the Wellcome Trust.

In terms of enhancing your research profile, open access:

  • enhances both the visibility of your research and your research profile
  • can increase the number of citations for your work
  • can increase the impact of your research
  • facilitates collaboration and sharing in your research community


In terms of the wider benefits, open access:

  • provides the public with access to publicly-funded research
  • allows the research lifecycle to be accelerated: research is more quickly published > read> cited > built on
  • facilitates collaboration and sharing in the research community
  • allow researchers in developing countries, where many institutions may not be able to afford journal subscriptions, to access, share and advance research

Here are some ideas to consider when thinking about the dissemination of your research:




The responsibility for disseminating your work rested with the publisher

Effective dissemination of your work is in your hands


The printed article was the format of record

Increasingly the digital article is the format of record

Other scholars had time to search out what you wanted them to know


Unless you routinely publish in high-impact, prestigious journals, it is up to you to make your research widely available


[Concepts derived from: Swan, Alma. Open Access and you: a relationship with promise (2012).]

If you have been recommended for award by your Board of Examiners, you must submit a copy of your  thesis/dissertation to ORE, the University's institutional repository, before your degree can be formally approved.


Please read the information on the Postgraduate Administration webpages before submitting your thesis to ORE. 


Note that it is possible to request that an embargo is placed on your thesis if:

  • it contains politically sensitive material
  • it contains commercially sensitive material
  • you subsequently want to publish papers or books from your thesis/dissertation


​You will need to liaise with the Postgraduate Administration office for any queries relating to the submission/graduation


There are two ways to make your work open access, of equal scholarly value:


Green: deposit a copy of your paper in an institutional or subject repository. This also referred to as self-archiving, and is usually the final copy of the peer-reviewed publication (known as the accepted author manuscript). NOTE: some publishers allow deposition of the published version. 

Gold: pay the journal publisher an article processing charge (APC) to provide free and unrestricted access to the final published version, immediately on publication. 

You can find out more in our open access webpages.

For the University:

  • the guiding principle is the paramount importance of academic freedom in where, what and when to publish. 
  • green open access is the cultural norm - free and open to all equally - by deposit (via Symplectic) in ORE the institutional repository of the University of Exeter.


University policy is that all researchers, including postgraduates, should deposit in ORE the research papers they produce while at the University.


You can find out more in our open access webpages.

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