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A framework for digital research communications

Using ODI's award-winning online strategy, this presentation outlines how to improve research communications through digital channels. Source: http://onthinktanks.org/2011/09/12/responding-digital-disruption-traditional-communications-odi-strategy/
by

Nick Scott

on 23 January 2013

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Transcript of A framework for digital research communications

'Reusing the wheel' 'Cradle to grey'
research
Publishing a blog on comment section of newspaper: Comment is Free etc.
Get a citation into an article on similar subjects.
Push a video of interviews onto YouTube. 'Being there' communications A framework for digital research communications Easy tools to use that don't require an IT department RSS news feeds to alert
you on website updates What are they? Why use them? Some tools to use What are they? Why use them? Some examples Wikis to produce
collaborative research RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’
Look for the RSS logo (above) on your favourite sites and subscribe to receive automatic updates when they add anything new Easy way of keeping track with what’s new on the web.
Create your own feed so people can keep up with your latest work (particularly useful for blogs) To read feeds: Google Reader, Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer or Firefox
To create feeds: needs to be built into your web system
To monitor your own feeds: Google Feedburner Some tools to use Why use it? What is it? Find people already working on the same subject.
Create and participate in discussions.
Let members know of any new research outputs. Dgroups, Google Groups, Eldis Communities, Facebook and LinkedIn Social networking to keep
up with colleagues Sites or mailing lists where people connect who work on similar subjects.
Offer lots of features to share information, facilitate events, highlight documents or discover more about colleagues. Sites and pages that can be worked on collaboratively, with many individuals building them.
Selectively make pages completely public, if you want wider input.
Keep track of changes through versions, and receive automatic emails when things are changed. Useful way of developing research papers and plans in the first place. pbWiki, Wikispaces Contact and credits Why use them? Why use them? Online versions of more traditional media (newspapers, magazines, videos); new online-only media.
Can have international, national or sectoral interest.
Often offer specific online-only features such as blogs or resource libraries. Your own/institution's blog can be used to respond to events and create immediate debate; put out findings as needed; publish draft papers for comment/ review.
Guest posts on blogs open up work to new audiences. Some tools to use Email papers, or links to papers, to colleagues. Find common announcement mailing lists which will send out notices to thousands. Send notices to any mailing lists you are a part of.Include links to work in any institutional email newsletters. What are they? To create blogs: Wordpress, Blogger.
To find blogs: Technorati, Twitter, Google Blog search.
To keep up-to-date with blogs: Google Reader. Emails and mailing lists What are they? Sheer number of users means that getting a 'retweet' or being on a Facebook group can generate a lot of interest / influence.
Unlike many research websites, people on Twitter and Facebook are in 'interaction' mode, so it can be easier to get comments. Why use them? Why use them? Reach a large audience quickly and easily.
Help to increase vital links to your papers (increasing credibility of research, and improving search engine ranking).
Journalist can create 'digest' version of longer papers. Most common internet tool and therefore offers the highest impact.Quickly and easily get your research to as many eyeballs as possible. Key ways to reach your audience For Twitter: Hootsuite to keep up-to-date and use multiple accounts, Twitterfeed to send items direct to Twitter from your RSS feed, Klout to measure impact or influence.
For Facebook: Facebook pages for your organisation, using Notes to import feeds. Some tools to use Some tools to use Blogs Some examples Twitter, Facebook
and LinkedIn For email: your email clients (keep emails personal for best impact).
For mailing lists: search Google, CATAList, Archivum.info The media What are they? Two of the biggest sites on the internet - with an estimated 190 million and 500 million users respectively.
Both are social networks - Facebook with many features, and Twitter limited to short, 140 character long, text message Online articles containing many links, written in an informal style, and offering others a chance to comment.
Tend to have lots of people 'following' who have subscribed because they like the author/their style. How to use them? ODI examples Exercises and checklists For websites: Google Sites, Wordpress, SquareSpace.
For documents: Google Docs (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations).
For presentations: Prezi (like this presentation). Take advantage of the wealth of freely available content online Some tools to use Image libraries For photos: Flickr, Google Picasa
For photos and other media (including drawings, maps): Wikimedia Commons Why use them? Some examples Huge range of photos uploaded on many topics.
Many photos and images available under Creative Commons License. What are they? Offer a number of easy-to-use templates that can set you out from the crowd.
Can be more intuitive to create easy pieces of work.
Outputs can be shared very easily with others, or worked on collaboratively. Document creators
and editors Writing for the web
- drawing people
into research As people find reading online harder than paper, it can be useful to make it as quick and easy as possible for a reader to decide whether they want to read a full research paper. Here are some steps to creating web friendly text that can act as a 'funnel' to a full paper Online monitoring
and evaluation - things and ways to track your communications CC is a “some rights reserved” copyright
It helps you choose what rights you’d like to reserve
Individuals and non-profit organisations can use lots of free content What is it? SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo Why use it? Some tools to use Build surveys very quickly and easily by using built-in fields (for example, countries) or survey examples.
Easy to extract data through built-in reporting and export to PDF or CSV (for Excel). Websites with easy-to-use tools to create surveys, including surveys.
Include the ability to automate questions so certain answers show certain other questions Why use it? Some tools to use Best known is Delicious.com
Other services include socialmarker.com
For research, citeulike.com and Zotero offer social citation and bookmarking services What is it? Online services that replace Internet Explorer 'Favourites' and Firefox 'Bookmarks'.
Allow you to save good sources of information and see who else has saved the same sources. Social bookmarking to
track your research Help your research by browsing what others have saved in your areas of interest.
Bookmarking your own work will improve its’ ranking on search engines.
Add bookmarks as online resource libraries on your website Online versions of common software, such as document or presentation tools.
Online website builders to create quick and easy pages Online photo and image galleries where amateurs and professionals upload their image. For data: Gapminder, World Bank data, Climate Funds Update, Guardian Datablog
For visualisations: Gapminder, Google Fusion Tables, IBM Many Eyes What are they? Access datasets relevant to your work, and visuals that can allow you to compare datasets (how does inequality link to health in different countries/states, for example).
Use visualisation tools to publish dynamic charts. Some tools to use Why use them? What are they? Sites collating common national or global datasets, as well as sector-specific data.
Sites that can take datasets, and turn them into dynamic visual representations. Why use them? Statistics and visualisations Survey tools to collect views
or statistics Sites dedicated to storing content for generations to come.
Content can be in the form of books, websites, videos, or much more. Why use them? Internet archives Look back through the history of websites, content.
Free access to scholarly articles from the past century.
Free access to read and download all books out of copyright. For web history: Internet Archive Wayback Machine, British Library Web Archive.
For books: Project Gutenberg.
For scholarly articles: Google Scholar What are they? Some examples Views: how many people are you reaching? Followers: how big is your online base? Engagement: are you getting people interested? Conversion: are people acting to help you? Monitoring areas taken from http://www.idealware.org/measuring-online-communications Web 'hits' Use: Google Analytics, web logs on your server Use: Facebook insights to see number of page views Social networks Use: MailChimp or tracking through Google Analytics Email clicks Use: Logs on your server, parsed by software like Weblog Expert Downloads RSS subscribers Use: Google Feedburner Use: MailChimp or organisation mailing list Other online tools Use: Facebook 'fans' or Twitter 'followers' statistics Use: Built-in indicators of followers, subscribers Social networks Email subscribers Use: Comments on your blog or references from other blogs Use: 'Likes' on Facebook or retweets on Twitter Web 'mentions' Social networks Blogs Use: Social Mention alert, Google Alerts Invitations to
speak or present Subscriptions Use: Sign up to newsletters or further updates Offers of funding for more research Praise for your work Email replies and enquiries Search engines, like Google, are responsible for generating the majority of traffic to other websites. For your papers or websites to appear near the top of search engine results requires some work, but without it people may never be able to find them at all. Consider what terms you would use to search for your paper and: Try and get them into the paper/site as often as possible.Get people to link to your site using these words (rather than ‘click here’ use ‘see a research paper on the need for better sanitation to reduce poverty in the developing world’) Search engine
optimisation Ensure your website uses:
Useful keyword text in page addresses.
Keywords in titles Have as many links into your site as possible. Get other relevant sites to link to your paper/site, and add links on other sites wherever you have the chance. Finding your
online audience and
developing an online
communications plan Develop a table identifying online tools you will use to support your research, to communicate research when it is completed and to develop your 'long tail'.
For each activity, highlight the audience, channel, message and monitoring activity.
Carry out searches of the internet as appropriate to identify key channels or sites your potential audience might use that you will need to engage with. Checking search
engine optimisation
of your existing site / research Search google for keywords relating to your paper/research. If it appears in the top 20 links (first or second page) then note the position. If it doesn't, try a more specific search until you find it.
When you find it, check the link text (the blue text). Is this enough to understand the title? - for pages, this comes from the page title, for PDF files, from the document properties. You'll need to edit these to improve your ranking.
Are any of your keywords in the file name (my-file.pdf or my-page.html)? If not, can you rename? Replaces spaces with dashes (-).
How many times do your keywords appear on the actual page or in the file? If not many, you may want to consider editing the text or adding an introduction which uses your keywords (as well as variants, for example 'research', 'researches', 'researchers', researching'). Image credits:Elderly partners: flick/adwriter (http://www.flickr.com/photos/adwriter/257937032)Bookshop: flickr/_SiD_ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/_sid_/1985502428/)Town crier: Johnny English (http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnyenglish/262249193/)Sunset scene: flickr/Christolakis (http://www.flickr.com/photos/43052603@N00/3391952890/)TV news of London bombings: flickr/kitta (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kitta/24273396)Network (Atomium): flickr/fatboyke (http://www.flickr.com/photos/fatboyke/2617432325/)School cheat: flickr/Mr Stein (http://www.flickr.com/photos/5tein/2347819459 /)Fireman/clock: flickr/Roby Ferrari (http://www.flickr.com/photos/roberto_ferrari/281640001/)Metal detector: flickr/nathaninsandiego (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathaninsandiego/4201091665/)
Map of internet traffic around the world: Oxford Internet Institute data visualisation site (http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/vis/?id=4e3c0200)
Pyramid of online communication methods: adapted from Idealware (http://www.idealware.org/blog/2008/11/pyramid-of-online-communication-methods.html)Red/black icons from icons etc. (http://icons.mysitemyway.com/) and site icons from various locationsHot rod Google Icon (http://en.loadtr.com/Hot_rod_Google_Logo-437073.htm) Writing and pen: flickr / churl http://www.flickr.com/photos/churl/250235218/ Email: n.scott@odi.org.uk
Webpage: http://www.odi.org.uk/about/staff/62&-nick-scott
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/nicholasmscott Nick Scott Now see which other pages link to your page. Put the following search into Google (replacing the address with the address of your research): 'link:http://address.of.your.paper' Note who is linking to your paper, and what text they are using to link. If
the text is 'click here', consider asking the site owners to change to text
keywords (for example: 'see research from the Overseas
Development Institute on the Paris Declaration' Continue going through the Google list, and note any important sites that are not linking to you that could (for
example, resource libraries) - contact the
owners or submit your
research direct. Find a page on Wikipedia to which you’d like to add your information.
Click the ‘edit this page’ button.
Add your text, keeping in mind the tips for following Wikipedia style.
Preview the text.
If you are happy with it, add details of your edits and click save.
You can track changes by checking the page history. Add your
research findings to Wikipedia Writing a
blog Think about a piece of research you have completed or worked on.
If you don't already have a blog, go to wordpress.com or blogger.com and create one.
Write a short blog, in a personal style, linking to relevant other pieces of information on the internet.
Remember the tips on writing for the web: highlighted keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others) meaningful sub-headings (not "clever" ones) bulleted lists one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph) the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion half the word count (or less) than conventional writing Digital Manager
Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Natural territories for
influence are changing The blogosphere Old broadcast media Harder to
define 'media' Rise of social media Also do as much as possible to get people to share your content on social media sites, as search engines increasingly use information from these sites. Changing forms
of content Some forces of digital disruption of communications Organisations can
have global reach
and influence and
encroach on 'natural territories' Some tools to use What is it? Eldis, Zunia (formerly dgCommunities), FRAMEweb, GDNet and many other subject- or country-specific sites. Why use it? Sector resource libraries Allows you to sell your papers in book format, opening up new audiences and making it easier for people to read longer papers without difficult contracts or extra costs. For book publishers: Lulu, Morris Publishing. blurb.com
To sell books or papers: Amazon Marketplace, Google Checkout Some tools to use What are they? Sites dedicated to collating research on international development.All you need to do is register, fill in a form, and/or email (depending on the site). Wikipedia Book publishers and sellers Will store details of your research, link to it, email details to their subscribers and some will summarise papers too.
Mailings of all/best new papers sent out to thousands of subscribers.
Links to your papers will increase search engine ranking. Why use it? Sites that allow you to offer free Google Books-style digital versions of papers, or presentations from events that can be clicked through direct from the web. One of the most visited sites on the internet – pages or documents linked to from Wikipedia often receive a large boost in visits and are pushed higher up search engine results.
Even if it doesn't drive your page to the top, pages on Wikipedia appear near the top - including your ideas means your information is more likely to be seen at all.
Research is at the core of Wikipedia – while edits linking to news or blog sites are often edited out, those linking to research are generally left What are they? Support and develop your long tail Some examples Why use them? Companies allowing you to create books that can be published even in very low quantities, or sell existing books directly. Share your work in a form that can be read without leaving the web browser and on mobile phones.
Can reduce the bandwidth necessary for longer documents.
Can find a wider audience who are searching through the resource sites. Digital editions of papers: Isuu, Scribd
Digital editions of presentations: Slideshare Digital editions of documents or resources What is it? Largest user-generated encyclopedia on the internet – anyone can edit.Articles on most subjects in hundreds of languages. Why use them? Create demand for an idea Empower researchers Communicate on a tight budget Creative Commons How can you measure
the success of research
communications? Too many statistics
Too many tools
Too much information How to track citations?
How to identify good and bad links? How do you keep up-to-date with ever changing technologies? Without the right organisational capabilities, it is hard to move up the pyramid of online communications methods from basic work to more advanced work How do you help your
research to stand out
from the crowd? The internet is huge... here are
some of the big players And that is still only a tiny proportion of the whole 109.5 million
websites (2009) 550 billion
documents (2001) How do you get your complex message across, when most web users 'scan' rather than read How do you use online
tools to help you
research? 371,000
results 2,100,000
results How do you get it
into the hands of the
people that need it? In some places, there are huge numbers of content producers and pages competing with you. In other places, particularly African countries, there are fewer competitors, but also fewer users 2 billion people online Digital challenges for researchers Taken from http://onthinktanks.org/2011/09/12/responding-digital-disruption-traditional-communications-odi-strategy/ How am I
going to measure the success of our efforts at research
uptake? It is easy to talk about
what works in communications
and what
doesn't In short, to get very limited statistics for a research communications output was usually a pain in the ass. You CAN get output-level statistics... BUT they are generally only available to the privileged few - those in the communications team But those communications people were SLOW! To get any statistics for a particular output
takes them time and effort And when you got them, the
statistics were a mess and hard for you
to interpret Those aren't the only things we can't measure. As researchers, our hearts might like to see into the mind of people using our outputs and know that...
they took the message in
they changed their mind as a result
they campaigned to change the world (or at least policy) as a result Strategy and direction:
The basic plan followed in order to reach intended goals – was the plan for a piece of communications work the right one?
Management:
The systems and processes are in place in order to ensure that the strategy can succeed – did the communications work go out on time and to the right people?
Outputs:
The tangible goods and services produced – is the work appropriate and of high quality?
Uptake:
Direct responses to the work – was the work shared or passed on to others?
Outcomes and impacts:
Use of communications to make a change to behaviour, knowledge, policy or practice – did communications work contribute to this change and how? Using the information we have to identify where
we have the best chance of influencing and
informing policy and debate 1. Only measure what you can measure
2. Don't measure everything you can measure
3. Don't let the desire to measure get in the way of a good strategy Given this, you should be
pragmatic: Was it worth the time and effort it took to develop? Is the private sector catching up anyway? Will it provide increased income for ODI? (Through better reporting of our success and more projects as a result)? How much ongoing work will there be to keep it up-to-date? Questions about the cost
(and benefit) But organisations published statistics for the whole website But taking steps to
actively measure
communications
success used to
be difficult There ARE lots of statistics out there... But those statistics tended to be reported at organisation or publication-wide level You produce these... Or participate in these... And journals published impact factors for the whole journal Luckily for us, the world is changing, and researchers have more metrics at their fingertips Topsy.com - tweets around a piece of content (just enter the address) google.com/alerts - new media or web
content around a search term (your
name, a project title) ImpactStory.org - for academic articles,
a view of how much they have been
shared or bookmarked on social media
and in academic tools (like Mendeley) google.com/citations -
Google Scholar citations - can
create a profile for academics Things you can't measure... Downloads Number of readers of emails Views of blogs on other sites Our brains tell us that level of detail is impossible without lots of effort and expense... and perhaps not even then
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