Popular Platforms
Researcher Platforms


About this guide

Research impact is traditionally measured through scholarly metrics, which rely on numbers of publications and citation counts.  Increasingly there are ways in which you can not only broaden your research impact but also extend your audience and academic network. 

Using social media sites and popular digital platforms are ways in which to share your work, engage with others, and bring your researchcomputer-sharing to a wider audience.  This guide will help you identify tools and strategies to maximize these sites and platforms.

Participate in the digital environment 

  • Share
    • Promote your work more broadly
    • Establish professional profile
    • Cultivate personal image
  • Connect
    • Exchange ideas
    • Career networking
  • Discover
    • New issues your field
    • Collaborators



Broaden your sphere of influence!

Popular Platforms



Social platforms are now common ways of communicating and networking in the digital environment.  They can be particularly useful for establishing a digital identity, sharing work, exchanging ideas, and engaging with a broader community beyond academia and researchers. 

While there are numerous social platforms to choose from, the following are established platforms that highlight different approaches to participating in the interactive digital environment.




This free blogging software includes ready-made themes, plug-ins to incorporate interactive elements, and other features. Use it to:

  • Establish a unique, professional voice
  • Place your research work in the broader context of society, industry, etc.
  • Create a central space to highlight your accomplishments and showcase your work.
    • Librarians can help!  See  blogs@NTU to learn how we can work together to disseminate and showcase your research and more.
  • Link your blog to social platforms (like Facebook) and profiles (like LinkedIn & ResearchGate) to promote and share
  • Engage with a broader, diverse audience in the “blogosphere”
    • Add others to your blogroll; they will add you!
    • Develop your community and add ping-backs



For professionals from many different professions, LinkedIn is a social network that enables you to build your professional identify and connect with others across different fields.

  • Attach your CV and links to blogs, author identifier, etc. as part of your professional profile
  • Establish and maintain professional connections with classmates, colleagues, and others
  • Explore professional opportunities and find collaborators



A social network where you can easily share and follow “tweets” of 140 characters or less.  Use it to:

  • Expand your reach by sharing research, observations, etc. with diverse community
  • Join conversations based on topics categorized by hashtags
  • Follow professional organizations, journal publications, etc.
  • Engage in real-time conversations
    • During conferences and professional activities
    • News and events while they’re taking place
  • Reach out to potential collaborators










Researcher platforms

researcher-platformResearcher platforms are other tools that you can use to establish a digital presence and interact with others. Along with popular social platforms, there are growing online networks specifically for scholars. These platforms provide ways to promote your work, highlight aspects of it, and connect with others who share your research interests. 

The following are widely-used, interdisciplinary networks for scholars:


A social network for researchers, ResearchGate allows you to share papers, participate in conversations, and find new connections, groups, and literature in your areas of interest.  Use it to:

  • Increase your impact by sharing papers (check any copyright agreements with your publishers first!)
  • Share your work at any stage of the research cycle to gain visibility and garner feedback
  • Connect and collaborate with others; share your skills and expertise
  • Participate in Question and Answer Forums
  • See how many people are reading and citing your work 



A paper sharing platform, as of November 2016 Academia.edu boasts over 44.7 million users from around the globe.  It’s best for:

  • Increase your impact by sharing papers (check any copyright agreements with your publishers first!)
  • Keep others up-to-date on your research interests and progress on projects
  • Follow others in your field
  • Update your status and respond to questions



Mendeley is primarily a citation management system, yet it also has some social networking capabilities.  Use it to:

  • Share reading lists, references and full-text articles with your network
  • Build a profile and keep track of views and downloads of your papers
    • Note – Mendley tracks the saving of articles to libraries as a type of alternative metric (altmetric)
  • Create groups to collaborate
  • Follow colleagues and peers
    *Learn more about Mendeley with our Mendeley Research Guide.


By establishing an online identity and interacting with others in the digital environment you can create and communicate the image that you want to cultivate.  Additionally, through sharing and connecting with others in the digital environment you can increase your research visibility.


General tips

  • Consider which platforms you want to engage with based on who you want to connect with and what you want to do with the platform.
  • Try to share (post) regularly and keep your information current. As a rule of thumb you should expect to spend between 15-45 minutes per week on your profile; potentially even more with social networking!
  • Determine the tone of your profiles and posts and maintain in.
  • Finally – be mindful of what you post and what information you make public.

Further reading

An Introduction to Social Media for Scientists by Holly M. Bik and Miriam C. Goldstein is an excellent article on getting started with social media, and the advice included is applicable to all researchers, not just scientists.  The section on “advice for new users” may be particularly helpful, as well as the handy flowchart that shows a decision tree for scientists who are interested in communicating online.


The above is taken from the following article which is published under the Creative Commons License
Bik, H. M., & Goldstein, M. C. (2013). An introduction to social media for scientists. Plos Biology, 11(4), 1-8. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001535

Learn more about the effective use of these social platforms and establishing your digital identify, read How to Curate Your Digital Identity as an Academic by Kelli Marshall in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  The short article provides keen insight into establishing your digital identify through:

  • Taking control of your online presence
  • Building a network
  • Practicing uniformity
  • Monitoring yourself

References and more reading

readGetting Found – Using Social Media to Build Your Research Profile by Julia Gross and Natacha Suttor

Social Networks for Academics Proliferate, Despite Some Doubts by Katherine Mangan

An Introduction to Twitter for Researchers by Ned Potter