Thing 17: Crowdsourcing

crowd

“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)

kneeling

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

Bibliometrics

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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Thing 15: Open Access and Surrey Research Insight

access

“Delicious Access…”

In the last few Things, we looked at alternative ways of sharing your research. In order to give your research proper academic credibility, it is important to provide readers with links to peer-reviewed, published articles. However, this presents the reader with a problem: Access.

(If your research is not yet published, there is also the problem of copyright, which we talked about in Thing 8.)

Traditionally, research is written up into articles, which are submitted to a publisher, peer reviewed, and then published in an academic journal (if you want to know more about this process come to our publishing workshops). Institutions must pay both to submit the article, and to buy the access to the article (called a journal subscription).

This limits the availability of academic papers to subscribing institutions, journal members, and one-off fee-payers.

Open Access is about making research papers freely available to anyone who is interested.

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Thing 14: Sharing research online

postits
“That’s lovely, Keith, but do you have a PowerPoint version?”
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Videos and podcasts are a growing part of sharing information, and sharing research through presentations. In Thing 12 we introduced some of the tools for making and sharing media. Now we’re going to look at applying those tools to research. We’ll explore some new tools for creating presentations, and you can experiment with sites such as Slideshare that let you share your research and presentations online.

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Thing 13: Making information beautiful

A picture is worth a thousand words. Standard film runs through 24 frames per second. On this basis, turning your thesis into a film should allow you to communicate it approximately 15 times in a minute.

Efficiency aside, make data approachable through visualisation techniques is increasingly important – and getting easier all the time. There are now many tools to help you turn your information into maps, animations or charts, making it much easier to grab the attention of your audience, explain complicated ideas, and demonstrate the impact of your research.

data

‘It’s basically a knitting pattern’
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Thing 12: Making and sharing media

cello“This is how I start all my lectures”
Photo by Arūnas Naujokas on Unsplash

 

You will not need to make or upload a podcast or video to complete this thing, but this post should give you some idea of the tools available. Please take some time to explore these tools and think about how they might be useful to you. If you’re feeling brave, we do encourage you to try them out – even if it’s only for a brief screen capture or a video to introduce yourself. Increasingly, universities and other employers are asking for short videos by applicants, especially for teaching roles, so it’s good to have had some practice.

For inspiration see these examples from past 23 Things participants seeking neverneverland and Iloveclassicalukelele.

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Thing 11: Finding presentations and podcasts

sunnies
“The information is everywhere”
Photo by Giorgio Encinas on Unsplash

The internet is swollen with interesting content, including broadcasts, lectures, slideshows and demonstrations. Materials are becoming easier to obtain on almost any subject. Knowing what’s out there and how to get it can supplement your research, and especially teaching.

Podcasts are audio – or increasingly video – files broadcast online (for example, recordings of radio programmes, lectures, readings, drama, interviews or music). You can listen to or view a podcast online, but they can also be downloaded, and you can usually subscribe to a series of podcasts via RSS, so that it automatically downloads to your computer or mobile device (iTunes makes this easy).

Podcasts aren’t the only way to put presentations online, however; sites such as Slideshare allow users to post presentations of all sorts. YouTube can also be a treasure-trove of quality information.

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