Seven ways to increase the visibility of your research

This post is by Library Research Support Advisor, Sally Dalton

So, you’ve published your research and you’re now hoping to sit back, relax and get ready for all those citations to roll in?

Unfortunately the hard work doesn’t stop here!

Now you need to promote your research to make sure it reaches the widest possible audience, this is part of the job of being a researcher. By making your research more visible you could potentially open up future collaboration / job / publication opportunities, increase citations to your work and increase the number of people finding, reading and building on your work.

Image source: (CC-0)

1. Promote your research at conferences

Conferences are a great opportunity to promote yourself and your research. Even if you aren’t presenting your work you can use the conference as an opportunity to meet other researchers and start to develop your research network. Keep an eye out for names of researchers you would like to meet and practice introducing yourself and your research. You may only have a few minutes so make sure you’re prepared!

2. Carefully consider which journals you are going to publish in

Choosing where to publish in an academic matter but there are certain questions you may want to ask yourself before choosing where to publish. Are the articles in the journal easily discoverable? Are they indexed in services such as Web of Science or Scopus? Does the journal have suitable open access options? Have you and your colleagues heard of the journal? The answers to these questions will determine how visible your article will be to other researchers. Think Check Submit provides a simple check list to make sure you choose trusted journals for your research.

3. Sign up for an ORCiD 

Having and ORCID can help to make your research more visible. ORCID is a digital identifier that helps to distinguish you from other researchers. You can link all your research outputs to your ORCID and you can keep it throughout your career. It is particularly useful for researchers with common names, who change their name throughout their career or who change institutions. No matter what changes are made you will always have the same ORCID, so other people can easily see details of your research outputs. More details on how to sign up for a free ORCID can be found here.

4. Make your research open access

Open access publishing makes scholarly works available online, free for anyone to find and read. The potential readership of open access articles is far greater than that for articles where the full-text is restricted to subscribers. Making your research open access will make it more visible. There are 2 ways to make your research outputs open access; by self-archiving in an open access repository or by publishing in an open access journal. More information on open access can be found on our open access pages.

5. Share your research data where appropriate

There is growing evidence that sharing data can increase the visibility of research. Sharing your data could allow other researchers to validate your work, build upon it and could potentially help to open up future collaboration opportunities. Learn more about managing and sharing your data on our Research Data Management pages.

6. Promote your research online

Promoting your research online will help you reach your potential audience, connect with other researchers and help you to start developing a network of online colleagues. There are a number of different social media tools such as Twitter, Instagram, Blogs and LinkedIn. Whichever tool(s) you use it is important to identify who your audience is, engage with them by asking questions, speaking up about issues that interest you and use eye catching images, videos or visualisations. You don’t need to spend a long time keeping your social media accounts up to date but you do need to be willing to write and check your account(s) regularly.

7. Track when your research is being used

Keeping up to date with who is discussing, citing or sharing your research is important. You can use this type of information on CVs and when applying for funding/jobs etc. To check who is citing your work you can look at your articles on sites such as Web of Science, Scopus or Google Scholar. If you are an early career researcher it may be more appropriate to use Altmetrics. Altmetrics looks at who is talking and sharing your research on places such as social media, in news outlets and on course syllabi. For more information on Altmetrics have a look at our Altmetrics pages.

The Research Support team run regular workshops on increasing the visibility of your research focused on different faculties, book online here (N.B. currently for postgraduate research students only, let us know if you would be interested in similar sessions for research staff).

Further reading


Twitter and Scholarly Communication: do you pass the Turing test?

Robinson-Garcia, N., Costas, R., Isett, K., Melkers, J. and Hicks, D. (2017). The unbearable emptiness of tweeting—About journal articles. PLOS ONE, 12(8), p.e0183551.

Underlying data to the study

This recent paper from Robinson-Garcia et al, part of a project looking at dissemination channels for dentistry in the US, has (ironically enough) gained considerable traction on Twitter:

As a low-barrier platform to interact with a broad audience Twitter has proved popular with social-media savvy academics as a channel to disseminate their research outputs. It’s also infested with automated accounts, the dreaded Twitter bot, spewing links into the ether, everything from pornography to cutting edge research.

Robot image from Research Data Leeds dataset
Robot image from Research Data Leeds dataset

It’s so easy to tweet a link to an article, in fact, by clicking a button on a journal or repository for example, that many real people are indistinguishable from robots and the paper finds that, at least in the field of dentistry, less than 10% of tweets exemplify “an ideal of curating and informing about the literature”.

“The bulk of tweets about dental papers were sent by accounts seemingly run by people but whose dental journal article tweeting could be easily automated”

It’s an interesting and valuable paper. However, the value of Twitter as a tool for disseminating research is not as badly undermined as the provocative title might suggest. No disrespect to the authors who clearly know a thing or two about promoting their work (as of 1pm on Friday 1st September it has a very healthy altmetric score of 448 – including 659 tweets from 606 users, with an upper bound of 1,316,619 followers).

To see the live score see

Metrics have a lot to answer for and the paper is about counting tweets as a potential indicator of reach and impact. What it’s NOT really about is tweeting about your research, which can be valuable if you do it properly, spend time developing your network and interacting with them and with your research in a meaningful way.

This is the type of interaction we hope to encourage via the Open Research Leeds Twitter account @OpenResLeeds, which rather than that 90% of noise, we aim to be amongst the (nearly) 10% of valuable dissemination channels and a node in various academic networks across the University of Leeds and beyond.

One initiative is to leverage altmetrics to disseminate research when the ‘green’ self-archived version of the manuscript is released from embargo from the White Rose repository. The colour coded altmetric ‘score’ that is embedded in all WRRO and Symplectic records can be used to identify how and where journal articles have been disseminated and Twitter can be used to amplify the impact of research outputs, by retweeting a Leeds based author, for example, or linking to an open version of a paper from a mainstream news article discussing the research. The actual score doesn’t really matter, it’s simply a convenient method to visualise the network.

We are keen to develop synergies with other Leeds based accounts, through reciprocal retweets for example, and have curated a list of nearly 700 accounts associated with the University of Leeds – lists are a feature of twitter that offer a great way of limiting ‘noise’ by focusing on a specific subset of users such as a research community. ‘Hashtags’ can also be employed to emphasise specific types of content, #openaccess, for instance or #JiscRDM which is a powerful method of building community and attracting subscribers to your network.

(#JiscRDM is promulgated by Jisc to foster a community around Research Data Management and is used at community events such as the Research Data Network –

So tweeting your research need not be unbearably empty, just don’t be a robot.

Further reading:

To Tweet or Not To Tweet –  an Academic Questions [blog] (by Dr Ben Britton)

What happens when you tweet an Open Access Paper [blog] (by Melissa Terras)

Network effects: on alternative metrics [blog] (by @ukcorr)

Social Media for Academics [book] (by Mark Carrigan)

RDN Lightning talk – Open Research Leeds (@OpenResLeeds): networks, metrics and #openresearch

These are slides for a lightning talk next week at the Research Data Network in York:

N.B. Altmetric data (slide 9) – I ran all DOIs available from IRUSdata-UK against the API on 22/06/2017, available in this Google sheet.*

Note that not all repositories appear to expose DOIs in a manner that is currently available to IRUSdata. In addition, several repositories do not differentiate types of DOI (i.e. DataCite DOIs assigned to a dataset vs publisher DOIs pointing at an associated journal article.)

* Instructions how to do this available at

Open Research Leeds

Since it was set up in January 2012, mandated by Jisc as part of the Roadmap project, the Research Data Leeds @ResDataLeeds Twitter account has been somewhat underused with a grand total of 7 tweets between 2012 and 2015.

Latterly, however, we have been utilising the account a lot more, focusing on building a network, disseminating datasets and highlighting broader issues around RDM and scholarly communication so we are rebranding the account as Open Research Leeds @OpenResLeeds and will explicitly disseminate open access research papers from WRRO and associated datasets as primary research outputs. Please come and join our network!

An introduction (to RDM)

As the very newest member of the Research Data Management team here at Leeds, Rachel has seen fit to entrust me with the password for this blog and for the Twitter account @ResDataLeeds, both of which we hope to use to communicate with institutional stakeholders and with the wider RDM community.

I have worked in Scholarly Communications for nearly ten years supporting Open Access (OA) and repository systems up the road at Leeds Beckett University, including exploring issues around RDM. Inevitably, though, I am currently on a steep learning curve, albeit one that the sector as a whole is still traversing together.

Resoundingly the case has now been made for Open Access to research papers, if not necessarily the best mechanism to achieve it (gold or green routes), and the sector is moving (almost) as one, with HEFCE requiring that to be eligible for REF submission, journal articles and conference papers must be deposited in an open access repository on acceptance for publication. There is also an evolving consensus that underlying research data should also be made available, openly where possible but with suitable access restrictions where necessary – for reasons of commercial sensitivity for example.

While HEFCE do not currently advocate a comparable mandate for research data, their consultation paper published last week asks how they can incentivise units of assessment to share and manage their research data more effectively as well as emphasising that research datasets and databases that meet the REF definition of research* will (continue to) be eligible for submission in the outputs element of the assessment (HEFCE, 2016).

Whether or not you are thinking about the REF, as a key element of the research process, RDM should be considered at the very outset of a research project and a plan put in place to manage data throughout its lifecycle as illustrated below:


© Stuart Macdonald/EDINA. Used with permission

See our guidance for more information around how we can support your data management planning at the University of Leeds or please get in touch

* Definition of research for the REF

  1. For the purposes of the REF, research is defined as a process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared.
  2. It includes work of direct relevance to the needs of commerce, industry, and to the public and voluntary sectors; scholarship8; the invention and generation of ideas, images, performances, artefacts including design, where these lead to new or substantially improved insights; and the use of existing knowledge in experimental development to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products and processes, including design and construction. It excludes routine testing and routine analysis of materials, components and processes such as for the maintenance of national standards, as distinct from the development of new analytical techniques. It also excludes the development of teaching materials that do not embody original research.
  3. It includes research that is published, disseminated or made publicly available in the form of assessable research outputs, and confidential reports (as defined at paragraph 115 in Part 3, Section 2).

Assessment framework and guidance on submissions (Annex C, p48)