23 Things is in hibernation


Thanks for checking in on our 23Things web page.  The course for 2019 has now finished, but you’re welcome to browse all the ‘Things’ in the blog below, or visit our contributor’s blogs.

The next version of 23Things will be launching in March 2020, with exciting new collaborations and content. We’re delighted to announce a collaboration with Victoria University of Wellington and University of Otago, New Zealand.  Taking the 23Things concept international, participants will again be introduced to exciting and invaluable tools, but now with added interaction and resources. If you’d like to build global connections and networks, make sure you sign up!

23 Things International (2020) is open to all doctoral researchers and staff of the University of Surrey, Victoria University of Wellington and University of Otago. We also welcome doctoral researchers from the current cohorts of Techne, SeNSS and SEPnet studentships.

To register or for any questions, please email RDP@surrey.ac.uk.

The course will begin 2nd March 2020, with the website available soon:  23things2020.wordpress.com


Image result for hibernation

Thing 23: What have you learned? Where do you want to go from here?

You’ve made it; this is the final Thing!


We had to use it eventually…
Photo: Hannaford.  (CC)

Thank you all for following the programme, and congratulations for sticking with it to Thing 23. I’m sure you’ve found it tough to keep going at times, especially if you’re new to blogging and are trying to fit 174 other things into your week.

I believe you have been promised a certificate and a party. Quite right. We’ll be in touch shortly to let you know about the party; glorious certificates will be awarded there.

We’ll be in touch shortly to ask you for some feedback on what worked for you and what we can improve for next time. Meanwhile, do leave your immediate comments here – are you jubilant, relieved, excited, hungry?

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Thing 22: Your Website(s)


“I’m pretty sure my iPhone can turn this into a website for me.”
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

By now you should have realised that all these tools and resources can help you to develop and progress. You should be well into the habit of writing and you should be part of a thriving community of researchers, both within your institution and outside. You will have a considerable online presence.

In order to make all of this really work for you, you need to be able to tie it all back to a single website that tells the world who you are, what you do and what you can do.

This is your number one professional tool in the digital age. After thinking about your professional brand very early on, you should have set a nice tone for your online presence. Your website is the place where you really define the professional you.

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Thing 21: *Research and EURAXESS

This week we’re looking towards the future.



If you’re considering a career in research; either in academia, or elsewhere, being an effective user of this Thing will help you to maintain your awareness of current issues, trends, and opportunities.

To look at the information below you will need to sign up to Research Professional. If you sign in on a University of Surrey computer, the website will likely recognise this and usher you to join the institutional newsfeed. You can follow this and use your Surrey login to create an account.

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Thing 20 ½: What to do when you have no internet connection

So far, no one has made a horror movie called “Blue Screen… of Death” or “The Buffering”; nor has a bitter-sweet coming-of-age drama come out entitled “Intermittent Loss of Wi-Fi Connection”. But surely it’s only a matter of time. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with yourself when your phone signal disappears or you give up the struggle to sign into Eduroam. Many of the tool and services we’d discussed are only online, too. So what can we talk about this week?

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Thing 20: File sharing and online storage

robinson crusoe

You’ve set the date, you’ve had your meeting, and you’ve set SMART objectives: it’s time to start sharing resources. Now we’re going to look at tools which support online collaboration and file-sharing. As well as among groups, there are also benefits to using these tools for your individual work.

It can be frustrating to work on group documents; keeping track of versions is difficult, and emailing updates around every day can be time consuming. Being able to store and edit documents online can help solve these problems, and tools such Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), WeTransfer and Dropbox make it possible.

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Thing 19: Online scheduling and polling

In the last Thing we looked at tools for collaborating with others online. It’s a lot easier to get everyone together online than in the real world, but it can still take a lot of organising. But fear not! There are tools for this too. Here we will look at some easy tools for running scheduling polls and other simple surveys.

One of the most popular scheduling tools is Doodle. Doodle is free, easy to use and doesn’t require any registration (although it offers added features to registered users). For this Thing, please explore Doodle and, if you can, give it a try for scheduling something.

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Thing 18: Webinars, Whatsapp and Video conferencing

Despite their prevalence in Hollywood images of academia, meetings in council chambers, lecture halls full of academics, and communication by owl-post are on the decline.

As collaborating online becomes cheaper and easier than the physical equivalent – and as the technology becomes more reliable and flexible – it’s important to know what your digital options are, for teaching, meeting and networking in real time.


“Competition for room bookings at the institute was becoming ever fiercer.”


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Thing 17: Crowdsourcing


“ARE YOU READY… to meticulously annotate 12,000 documents of 18th-century French paleography?!”
Photo by Marc-Olivier Paquin on Unsplash


Researchers in a variety of disciplines are tapping into the possibilities of crowdsourcing and what it can accomplish. This can mean crowdfunding to support scholarly projects (such as a recent campaign to pay for the restoration of Mary of Gelderland’s unique medieval prayer book), or a relatively passive involvement, such as SETI@Home, in which participants allow the project to harness the power of their computer processors when not in use.

More active varieties extend to ‘citizen science’– calling on the public to volunteer their involvement. At one end of the scale, this may mean massive data projects like those Zooniverse hosts, which have attracted over 1 million registered users thus far. Participants are given tasks which are relatively low-skill, but which humans perform better than computers – such as identifying animals from captured video. Current Zooniverse projects range from providing checks on census data to mapping vibration patterns on steelpan drums. Crowdsourcing isn’t limited to the sciences; the Transcribe Bentham project at UCL asked members of the public to transcribe Jeremy Bentham’s letters, and proved wildly successful.

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Thing 16: Research Impact (Bibliometrics and Altmetrics)


“It was you citing me all this time?!”


Bibliometrics is a well-established approach for studying one type of research output: the academic publication, and especially, the journal article.  Most bibliometric work is quantitative in nature. See this article in Nature for an overview and a short history of the Leiden manifesto.

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