e-Research: social media for social sciences (revisited)

On February 15, 2012, I am speaking at a research seminar at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute on how to use online tools on the process of doing research. This is a very slightly modified version of a former seminar that I did back in January — e-Research: social media for social sciences —, so all the things that were said there apply here: RSS feeds (and a feed reader) are your best friends, a personal website is not an option, adopt tools as you need them (not all of them in a row and without a sense of purpose), and be digital.

Since I began my crusade for the adoption of web 2.0 tools (now social media) to enhance research, I have evolved from the “you do need all this stuff” motto to “you do not need all this stuff… but a couple of things are a must”. So, I would really like to stress a couple of points:

  1. In a knowledge society, ICTs are a must. They are a train that you cannot let pass: you will either jump in or you will be crushed under its wheels, but there is no stepping aside. This especially applies for knowledge workers (e.g. scientists). Some people still see the use of some tools (blogs, twitter, RSS feeds) in science as rocket science: this is not even wrong. ICTs are to scientists what tractors are to farmers. Of course you can live without them, but it is very likely that you will be working with less efficiency and less efficacy.
  2. Yes, mastering ICTs and those always changing social media require a certain degree of digital competence, which is not innate and, thus, has to be acquired. As the Spanish saying says: there are neither hurries, nor pauses. But lack of digital competence should not stop you from trying to use social media for research (“those ain’t for me”), the same way you began with your elementary maths to end up calculating multinomial logistic regressions.
  3. Be digital. Just be it. If you are duplicating your tasks, you are not being digital (enough). Social media is about leveraging what you already did on your computer by putting it online. Your papers, your slides, your notes, your readings… if they’re on digital support, they can be online with minimum effort (if they ere not on digital support, please see point #1). I tend to say that e-Research is about making your “digital life” overlap 90% of your “analogue life”. There is an added 10% extra work, indeed, but it is worth doing it compared to benefits.

[click here to enlarge]


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Prezi slides:
Peña-López, I. (2011). e-Research: social media for social sciences. Research seminar at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute. February 15, 2012. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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Slides as a PDF:
Peña-López, I. (2011). e-Research: social media for social sciences. Research seminar at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute. February 15, 2012. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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Book chapter:
Peña-López, I. (2009). “The personal research portal”. In Hatzipanagos, S. & Warburton, S. (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies, Chapter XXVI, 400-414. Hershey: IGI Global.

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2012) “e-Research: social media for social sciences (revisited)” In ICTlogy, #101, February 2012. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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Sobre Mí

    Soy Ismael Peña-López.

    Soy profesor de los Estudios de Derecho y de Ciencia Política de la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, e investigador en el Internet Interdisciplinary Institute y el eLearn Center de la misma. Desde noviembre de 2013 estoy a media jornada para poder añadirme al equipo de Open Evidence como investigador y analista senior. También dirijo el proyecto de Innovación Abierta de la Fundació Jaume Bofill.