Step 1: Prepare - a quick start guide

 

Want to give a quick boost to the visibility of your research? At the Maastricht University Faculty of Law, we are happy to help in any way we can, including offering personalised support for promoting your research. To help you give your research an immediate boost, we have prepared a quick start guide that you can follow. This guide takes you through simple steps that can help you improve the visibility of your research and boost its impact right away.  What better way to start than by picking the low hanging fruit?

Quick start guide for improving your findability

Making it easier for others to find your research is the first step towards boosting its impact. Improving the visibility of your work results in increased citations and the expansion of your network. It is also important to lay the groundwork for your overall approach to communication, and we have outlined the steps to help you do just that. This will make your communication more effective and will make it easier to take the next steps.

1. Upload all of your publications to PURE

Be sure to submit all of your publications to the Institutional Repository of Maastricht University (Pure). From there, the Maastricht University Library makes sure that your publication or Green Open Access author’s version (if access to the published version is prohibited by the publisher) is indexed in all major search engines for the world to find, download and read.

2. Update your personal profile page (PPP) on the UM website

Your personal profile page on the Maastricht University website provides an overview of your role at the university, your areas of expertise, your publications and your work for third parties. You should keep this page up to date so people know what you are working on, and make sure your contact details are correct so people can get in touch. Find out how to edit your personal profile page here.

3. Create an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCiD) and profile 

ORCID is a personal ID number for researchers, similar to an ISBN is for books. It provides you with a unique and persistent identifier, connecting you and your research activities throughout your career. Signing up for an ORCID identifier and using it in your research workflows will ensure that you receive credit for your work. It can also simplify manuscript submissions and improve author search results. This is extremely useful if you have used multiple combinations of your name across your publications or if you share a name with other researchers. Find out more about ORCID and how to link your identifier with PURE on UM’s ORCID support page.    

4. Update your social media profiles

If you already have social media accounts on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, check out your profiles and make sure they are up to date. Ask yourself what you can do to promote your research using your profile. Can you add any past or recent publications to your profile? Can you add your ORCID iD, link to your research output in PURE or link to your personal profile page on the UM website? For more on how to use social media to boost your research impact, see our social media guide

5. Set up your network to build your online presence

It is important to consider what you want to achieve by communicating and engaging with others about your research. You may have multiple communication goals, so write them down in order of importance and make sure that your communication supports your goals. Some common goals that researchers have are:

  • to promote interesting aspects of your research and generate interest among a wider audience
  • to explain insights from your research in plain language to boost scientific understanding among the general public
  • to review books or articles and improve your profile as a subject-matter expert
  • to demonstrate the social impact of your research to facilitate public engagement in implementing the results
  • to comment on court rulings to explain the legal impact to other academics, professionals and the public
  • to persuade policymakers or voters to take evidence-based actions
  • to develop a professional network to get information and feedback relevant to your work

6. Identify your target audiences

As you get started with promoting your research, what kind of audiences do you want to reach with your communication? Be as specific as possible. Are there certain segments of each group that you want to focus on? List them in order of importance. Below are some general examples, which can be divided into more specific segments:

  • the general public
  • academics in or outside your field
  • students
  • policymakers
  • lawyers
  • prosecutors
  • judges
  • citizens involved with social organisations

Determining your target audiences will help you identify the most effective ways to reach these audiences. For instance, if you are using social media, undergraduate students may be more likely to use Instagram, whereas postdocs may be more likely to use Twitter. Twitter may also be more ideal if you are looking to connect with policymakers and social organisations, for instance. 

7. Map out your ideal network

Determine your ideal network and list the specific people and organisations that you want to engage with. This includes specific members of your communication target groups from step 6 and specific organisations and people that you want to get information from and engage with online (by following them on social media, reading and engaging with their blogs or participating in or collaborating on events).

Identifying your ideal network means that you have a ready-made list of which people and organisations you want to connect with on social media. It also helps you determine which channels you want to use, which blogs you want to follow and which people and organisations you want to reach when you promote your events. Furthermore, it helps you to determine how to craft your messages to effectively facilitate engagement with members of your ideal network.

8. Decide where you want to start and take the first steps!

You can start anywhere, but we recommend starting with the area that you find the most interesting. Are you curious about joining a social media or want to boost your impact on a platform you are already on? Then follow our step-by-step guide on ‘How to use social media’. Want to try your hand at blogging first? Follow our guide ‘How to use blogs’.  

 Is there another form of communication that you want to know more about besides those listed above? Let us know by sending an email to our Faculty of Law research communication advisor, Frie Hoekstra at frie.hoekstra[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl.