This is a guest post by Gemma Sou. Gemma is a final year PhD researcher at the Institute for Development Policy and Management.
Academia is a slow ‘industry’ and often only a few people hear about your work. I decided to set up a social media platform that allows Humanities early career researchers set up free 4 minute podcasts about their research. It’s a great way to get your research out there. Your findings become more available, more accessible and more engaging for people outside of the academic bubble, and who are often directly applicable to the results. You could literally set up your own ‘Pod Star’ profile during your coffee break today; it really is that easy www.vivavocepodcasts.com
There is now a real emphasis on the need for researchers to engage with social media and to try and disseminate their research. Options include setting up your own blog, tweeting and creating a Linkedin, or other such profile. However, I have a few issues with many of the options available to early career researchers.
First, they can be text heavy and therefore not very engaging for the audience. Second, a lot of the available platforms are set up to showcase all of your achievements, publications, experience and the kitchen sink, which mirrors the academic environment, where the emphasis is on having a longer list of publications. This marginalises researchers with fewer publications and experience, and tends to overlook innovative researchers who may not have produced many articles, book chapters or conference papers. Third, many of these platforms network you with people who you know, have met or have worked with. There is no emphasis on encouraging people working on similar issues to read about your research. Finally, many platforms cocoon research inside academia and beyond the interest of the general public.
From this I set out on a one woman mission to pilot run a platform which ensures that the research topic is the conduit which increases the exposure and sharing of research. I tentatively launched the site in July 2014 and have since been awarded the University of Manchester Social Enterprise Award and grants from Social Science Space-SAGE in California and Campaign for Social Sciences.
Viva Voce Podcasts allows researchers to set up short (4 minute) podcasts about their research. The task is to get across the unique contribution of your research and/or an interesting finding, and the potential impact of your research. This latter point basically asks “Why does your research matter?” or to put it even more bluntly “Who cares and why?”
Viva Voce Podcasts levels the ‘playing field’ to a Podcast and a punchy profile, with direct links to up to two of your publications, personal websites, Twitter ID, and e-mail. The Podcast acts as a taster which entices people to click on the accompanying links and learn more about you. Each profile is visible on 3 keyword pages and a discipline page, which encourages interdisciplinarity and makes sure that the topic of your research is at the heart of your profile.
If you’d like to set up a profile please visit the site www.vivavocepodcasts.com It’s absolutely free and will take half an hour.
Looking forward to hearing about your research!