18 February 2014


Alex Hayes is leading me into the emerging world of web-based tools that help manage a researcher's distributed online presence and impact. Alex has drawn focus on Figshare and ImpactStory. I've just quickly set up my ImpactStory profile.

My new profile is here: http://impactstory.org/LeighBlackall

first up - what a pleasure the site and service is to use. I was easily able to comprehend and use what it was set up to do.. and while I waited to be at a desktop to do it, I can see that it would have been just as easy on my phone.. fresh!

I will recommend my research active contacts to start using this site.

However, as an "early career" researcher, and someone who deliberately operates on the edge of what may be called mainstream (including my use of the various self publishing sites that ImpactStory draws in), I may eventually struggle to use their site. Up until today, I've been trying to get a better control on my Google Scholar profile, but it wants to push me into the mainstream much more so than ImpactStory.

I use Wikiversity to develop and organise my research. I wonder if or how services like ImpactStory might be able to draw in that data? Wikiversity is one of the Wikimedia Foundation projects, I contribute to several of them, so perhaps the likes of ImpactStory would want to go for the data someone has across all those projects. Here's my contribution record.

I'm note sure if they'd be able to mine the impact data of those contributions.. perhaps page views of the works contributed to should be easy enough, but more complicated stuff like number of other editors on those pages, how active the discussion pages are, and which of my contributions were discussed on project pages and which contributions were actually 'scholarly'...

My Wikiversity userpage is: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/User:Leighblackall and there lists a range of teaching, research and community engagement works in progress - the three pillars of academic work in my opinion.

Archive.org is another publishing venue I use, and by now you should be seeing a pattern of free and open source venues as my preference. Here are the search results for works on Archive referring to and authored by me. Basic data on each of those items includes the number of downloads. More interesting data might be the number of seeders of the bit-torrent files..

My personal website (hosted on Blogger) has data in it too: leighblackall.blogspot.com
Other data sources that may or may not be relevant to a researcher's "impact" would be:
  • Published files out of Google Drive
  • Contributions to Google Groups and LinkedInGroups
  • Google search results
  • LinkedIn testimonials and recommendations
  • Twitter and Google+ profile views, connections and reshares
I'm sure they're thinking about this range. The big one for me is the Wikimedia projects. Recognise and crack that nut and I think they'll be on their way toward capturing a unique if small niche of researchers who are particularly interested in web integrated research beyond the simple prosumer idea.


Alexander Hayes said...

As always a powerhouse user perspective and given your free-ranging informatics background it's good to see your challenging Heather and Jason to think more deeply about what "impact" actually now means.

Well done mate....you've taken the plunge :)

jasonpriem said...

Great ideas! As you mention, we have indeed been looking into some of this stuff. Twitter profile views, for instance, are going to be coming pretty soon.

The Wikipedia parts would be really interesting to add...just depends on how many people would use it. If you get a chance, it'd be great if you made a suggestion for this on our feedback forum; that way other folks could upvote it and it could move up in our feature queue.

Leigh Blackall said...

Thanks Jason.. I fear this will result in the feature not being developed by ImpactStory. Academics editing Wikipedia, much less recognising it as an academic output or publishing, is certainly not mainstream, but should be self evident to 'progressives' none-the-less. I think we need a product of service willing to suggest and lead such practice, and attract the relative few who will speak to the value of this particular point of difference.

Bronwyn hegarty said...

Good to hear about your successful use of Impact and how a researcher might potentially link other sites. I have decided to give it a go.

Leigh Blackall said...

Stop Bron. They're about to charge $10 per month. I'm not sure that's worth it yet.

Bronwyn hegarty said...

Thanks for the warning Leigh. I was asked to download Mendely. I am wondering how it is different to Zotero?