Openness and the networked researcher

Barry, W. (2013) Openness and the networked researcher. In: Postgraduate Research Association Conference - "The Accessibility of Research", 13 June 2013, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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This presentation will explore how engaging with social media should be a critical skill for the 21st century researcher in building and maintaining their networks both in and beyond the University. Delegates will be asked to consider a range of tools, technologies and services that could facilitate and enhance the accessibility of their research and scholarly outputs within their own research contexts.


The proliferation and rapid emergence of pervasive, ubiquitous and networked information and communication technologies (ICTs) has fundamentally changed the way we conduct our social and professional lives. For the researcher, the Internet, the World Wide Web (WWW) and social media presents a staggering array of opportunities to create and maintain your academic digital presence and identity; communicating and disseminating your work in different online fora (such as blogs, wikis, YouTube and podcasts); developing and sustaining online networks and collaborations (through Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and; organising and managing your own professional development (through RSS feeds and e-mail alerts); finding out what others within your discipline are doing.

This smorgasbord of online tools, technologies, services and spaces has facilitated and enhanced scholarly activities, improving the way academic research is undertaken and communicated. It has also introduced new levels of openness and transparency that have allowed researchers to have their work scrutinised and critiqued by a much wider audience.


However, this kind of ‘accessibility of research’ may not be recognised by others as having legitimacy and value, especially if more traditional and established routes to research and publication are seen as a more acceptable, accredited path to tenure, promotion and reward (Weller, 2011) and that in many cases print is still considered as the “gold standard” (Cheverie et al, 2009) over digital artefacts.

Paradoxically, in order to appreciate the value and nature that social media technologies and services have to offer researchers, one has to experience them over a prolonged period to get the measure of them (Weller, 2011). This exposure to digital artefacts is especially crucial when attempting to measure or recognise the quality of these various formats.


Through the considered selection of social media tools and technologies, the researcher can begin to construct a Personal Learning & Research Environment (PLRE) and use it as a conduit towards membership within Peer Learning & Research Networks (PLRNs), thus giving the networked researcher unprecedented access to, and participation with, their peers on a global scale.


Cheverie, J.F., Boettcher, J. & Buschman, J. (2009). “Digital Scholarship in the University Tenure and Promotion Process”. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 40(3), pp. 219-230. Available at: [Accessed 5.4.2013].

Weller, M. (2011). The Digital Scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. London: Bloomsbury Academic

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LA History of education > LA0173 Higher education
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit
Depositing User: Mr Wayne Barry
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2013 15:39
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 12:50

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00