Category: Essential ‘how-to’ Guides

Four strategies to increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining successful research teams

Modern scientific expertise rests heavily upon work carried out by teams, rather than scholars working on their own. Proper preparation is key, with some research suggesting that the effectiveness of collaborative work is determined before any of the work is carried out. Howard Aldrich and Akram Al-Turk have identified four structural elements that increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining […]

Addressing ethical issues in peer review – new guidelines available from COPE

Ethical issues related to the peer review process are increasingly complex and can be tricky to navigate and resolve. This Peer Review Week 2017, COPE (the Committee on Publication Ethics) released a revised, updated version of its guidelines for editors, reviewers, and would-be reviewers. These expanded resources include more information for early-career researchers, as well as addressing some of the […]

Starter tips on sharing data and analysis scripts

Researchers are increasingly encouraged to make their data openly accessible and usable for others. To early-career researchers in particular, this can seem daunting, with different considerations when posting data publicly rather than retaining it solely for internal use. Katherine Wood has compiled a short open data starter guide to make the process less overwhelming and help researchers do their bit for […]

Scientist Selfies – Instagramming to change public perceptions of scientists

Scientists have an image problem. Women and minorities are often told they don’t “look like scientists” as stubborn stereotypes depict scientists as white, male, and more competent than warm. Instagram, with its huge and growing community of users and obvious capacity to relate human interest stories, represents a great opportunity to address this problem. Paige Jarreau and Samantha Yammine introduce […]

How to plan, create and launch a successful multi-author academic blog

A multi-author blog collective is an effective way for a university or other knowledge-based institution to host discussion and debate. As part of a series previewing their book Communicating Your Research with Social Media, Amy Mollett, Cheryl Brumley, Chris Gilson and Sierra Williams look at how to set up an institution-based multi-author blog platform; from planning all the way to launch. Planning and launching a social […]

So you’ve decided to blog? These are the things you should write about

The centuries-old tradition of writing for advocacy is continued into the digital era by blogging. But what should you be writing about? As part of a series previewing their new book Communicating Your Research with Social Media, Amy Mollett, Cheryl Brumley, Chris Gilson and Sierra Williams consider the various different types of blog posts and how each might be used by academics. Blogging has become ubiquitous […]

A number of freely available tools can help you improve your literature review routine and stay on top of published research

The sheer proliferation of newly published research articles can make staying on top of the literature a daunting, time-consuming task. Moreover, not being a deadline-driven activity, it can also fall down lists of priorities and be difficult to integrate into the everyday routine. Erzsébet Czifra-Tóth and Jon Tennant have put together a short sequence of steps and flagged a number […]

Writing a peer review is a structured process that can be learned and improved – 12 steps to follow

Peer review not only helps to maintain the quality and integrity of scientific literature but is also key to a researcher’s development. As well as offering opportunities to keep abreast of current research and hone critical analysis skills, writing a peer review can teach you how to spot common flaws in research papers and improve your own chances of being […]

Why has submitting a manuscript to a journal become so difficult? A call to simplify an overly complicated process

It is widely acknowledged that submitting a paper to a journal is a fraught activity for authors. But why should this still be the case? James Hartley and Guillaume Cabanac argue that the process has always been complicated but can, with a few improvements, be less so. By adopting standardised templates and no longer insisting on articles being reformatted, the […]

Using Twitter as a data source: an overview of social media research tools (updated for 2017)

Following his initial post on this topic in 2015, Wasim Ahmed has updated and expanded his rundown of the tools available to social scientists looking to analyse social media data. A number of new applications have been released in the intervening period, with the increasing complexity of certain research questions also having prompted some tools to increase their data retrieval […]