Monday, 28 November 2016

Working with the media can be beneficial but linking to and citing your research should be compulsory

Image of Andy Tattersall
Andy Tattersall
It’s great when academic research is covered by the media but too often this coverage fails to link back to or properly cite the research itself. It’s time academics insisted on this and Andy Tattersall outlines the benefits of doing so. As well as pointing more people to your work, the use of identifiers allows you to track this attention and scrutinise where and how your research has been used. At a time when academic work is vulnerable to misreporting, such a simple step can help ensure the public are able to view original research for themselves.
Academics are increasingly being sold the benefits of working with the media as an effective way of gaining impact and presenting their work to a wider audience. Yet all too often media coverage of research has no direct link to the research it is referring to. The general public are used to seeing news stories that say ‘researchers have found’ or ‘researchers from the university of’ yet these reports are often lacking when it comes to linking to or citing the actual research. Academics dealing with the media should make a point of insisting on linking to their original research outputs where applicable as there are several benefits. Given that Oxford Dictionaries just named ‘post-truth’ as their word of 2016, we need to do everything we can to ensure fact retains its importance in the reporting of research.

Allow the public to see for themselves what the researchers found

How research is framed in the media can be very important as not all research is reported accurately. Giving links so that readers can fact-check is almost effortless if the corresponding academic insists on this at the point of writing the story. Of course this depends on how accessible the research is but there should be a link to the open access version or at the very least the abstract of the research. Certain national newspapers are very good at cherry-picking parts from a piece of research to provide an attention-grabbing headline. This can be extremely problematic in the reporting of health news and websites such as the NHS’ Behind the Headlines addresses misreporting of health news stories. The problem is that most people reading the news are not aware of such resources, but adding the original link to the research in the hypertext or as a reference at the end of the paper copy gives readers direct access to the published work. Of course that does not mean they will read the original work, but it does open up the possibility. It also saves interested parties from trying to track down the original paper, the title of which is rarely reported in full, so what is lost by adding the links to the research? Remember, it is much harder for a journalist to misreport your work if you insist on linking to what you actually wrote.

Newspaper Stand by Yukiko Matsuoka.  CC BY 2.0 license.
Track mentions of your research

Tools such as, Kudos and ImpactStory use unique identifiers to track the attention a piece of published research receives. So when someone publishes a peer-reviewed research article it receives a digital object identifier (DOI), or it could be a PubMed ID, ISBN, or other such identifier. If a piece of research is covered in the media and there is no link to the research via these identifiers it can miss out on being picked up by altmetric tools. The researchers may know about this coverage, and perhaps their institution’s media team might too, but what about departmental peers, managers, colleagues in the research office or library? What about the funders? All of these are interested parties and coverage in the media, whether this is a specialist research blog or an international publication, is worthy of attention, especially when we are trying to capture that elusive ‘impact’.

Follow the long tail of your scholarly communications

If you are a researcher working with the media to help disseminate your findings then it is presumable that you would be interested in how that research is being covered. With many online media platforms, whether blogs or news sites, it is common for an article to be republished elsewhere. If your work is covered on one media platform it might be picked up and published on another, and that second platform may carry more influence than the first. The problem is this: how do you know this has happened if there is no way of tracking back? Of course you might find your work covered on the web by carrying out a search, but that is hardly scientific. By insisting on linked DOIs or similar recognised identifiers then you should be able to discover where your news coverage has been republished using tools like In addition it allows you to discover how third party websites may have interpreted your research. You may not be interested in whether your research has been covered in the media, but I guarantee you would be if it was widely misreported.

Question the journalist’s motives

We cannot expect everyone who reads about published research in the media to fully understand what it might mean. That is why the media writes in such a way as to break down the scholarly communication into easier-to-read lay summaries. Yet researchers have to understand that if you work with the media it may report your research in a way that you do not totally agree with. Journalists may focus on one part of your research in particular, they may even be critical of it, and how they form the story may depend on their platform’s agenda, editor or owner. This problem is exacerbated by social media; the general population can now publicly comment on news stories and so potentially perpetuate the bias reported by inaccuracies in the original news story. The tone and angle applied by a journalist to a news story can potentially be addressed if links to the original research and lay summary are added to the news article.

If a journalist or news site is unwilling to link to your published research then you have to ask the question: why? Are they looking to put their own slant on your work and if so are they in a position of expertise to do this? The chances are that most have not thought about adding links or references to your work – they may not appreciate that you, your organisation or funding body might be interested in tracking it for impact. (Of course this leads to other questions around whether you should be talking about your research in the first place, but that is a conversation between you, your manager and funder.) The only way to address this is to ensure that all communications about your research with journalists, bloggers and media organisations are on the caveat that they track back to your published work and that this work has a unique, recognised identifier.

© LSE Impact Blog

What can researchers do?

Any academic knows that to cite another’s work in their own outputs they must cite it in the body text and add a reference to the research pointing readers to this supporting work. Students are taught this as being part and parcel of the process of conducting research. So it should follow that anyone dealing with the media should insist that their work is correctly cited and linked back to once online. Not only does this linking aid interested members of the general population find the research for themselves but also peers, research groups and bodies as well as other journalists and people working in the media.

You may not always be able to control how your research is reported in the media and how the general public talk about it, but you can do more to ensure readers get better access to the actual research. In addition you can do more to ensure that media coverage is picked up by altmetric platforms that will help build a picture of where your research is being discussed. Working with the media is a very valuable and rewarding opportunity to disseminate your research to wider audiences. By adding the checks and balances with links and references you ensure you get to see the long tail of conversation that takes place afterwards. A conversation that you will also be able to engage with and possibly benefit from.

Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Impact Blog, nor of the London School of Economics. Please review our comments policy if you have any concerns on posting a comment below.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License unless otherwise stated.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Wear Your Old Band T-Shirt To Work Day

This year colleagues from HEDS including Information Resources own Anthea Sutton Back row right) and Andy Tattersall (back row third from right) took part again in BBC Radio 6 Music's 'Wear Your Old Band T-Shirt To Work Day'.  Anthea donned her 2000 edition Blur t shirt, whilst Andy bent the rules a bit and wore an Upsetter Records t shirt, the label set up by Lee Scratch Perry. Frank the Skeleton can also be seen in a fetching Depeche Mode t shirt, also belonging to Anthea.
Our own Claire Beecroft sent a Portishead selfie from home.

The usual suspects…….2015’s post.

Image of HEDS staff
'Wear Your Old Band T-Shirt To Work Day'
Image of Claire Beecroft
Claire Beecroft

Monday, 14 November 2016

An Advanced Guide to using Social Media and the Web to Communicate and Measure your Research Impact - 1 day course: Wednesday, 25th January 2017

Image of Andy Tattersall
Andy Tattersall

Image of Claire Beecroft
Claire Beecroft
 Many academics and professionals are already using social media tools such as Twitter, blogging and ResearchGate as part of their work. Some are using the tools daily, whilst most just dip in and out of using them for a variety of reasons. Whilst Twitter and ResearchGate are useful, they are just a small part of a large set of tools that academics can use to communicate and network. Andy Tattersall and Claire Beecroft are running a one day workshop that helps academics and professionals make better use of the tools they may already be using.

Some academics are using the wrong tools and others just not getting the best out of them. Open access, data re-use and scholarly communications are opening up a myriad of further options on how research can be archived, shared and re-used, and the workshop will look at the options available to transform any academic into a modern digital academic.

Course Overview

This one day course will show academics and professionals who will have some experience of using some of these tools but are not quite sure how to maximise them and what other options exist. We will show you how to get more from your mobile device from presentations to conference calling, from taking polls to making videos, and how you can truly be a digital academic fit for the 21st Century.

We will look at the options around self-archiving and the benefits, barriers and pitfalls for doing so. The workshop will also look at different ways of communicating and sharing your research with special attention to infographics, video, podcasting and animation.
Communicating research is only part of the story and we will look at how altmetrics can be employed to show what is being said about your research and how you should respond. We will also explore the ethical and practical issues around open peer review and public comments and how you can deal with them.

Who will benefit from this course?
This short course will benefit a wide range of people including (but not exclusive of):
  • Researchers;
  • Masters and PhD Students;
  • Research Support Staff and Managers;

Course Materials

A copy of all course materials will be provided on USB (including presentations).  Participants are asked to provide their own laptop/tablet for the duration of the course

Date and Times
1-day course:  Wednesday, 25th January 2017
Start:  9:30 am
Finish: 4:30 pm


£TBC - Early Bird Rate for confirmed bookings received on or before Sunday, 27th November 2016
£TBC - Standard Rate for confirmed bookings received on or after Monday, 28th November 2016
Last Booking date for this course is midnight on Wednesday, 11th January 2017

Booking and Payment

Provisional bookings are now being accepted. Please email to reserve your place. You will then be contacted when the course has gone live on the Online Store, where all our bookings are processed.

All our bookings are processed via our Online Store. Payment is by Credit/Debit Card or PayPal. If you are a UK organisation and would prefer to be invoiced, then please select this option on our Online Store and ensure that all invoice details are provided (contact email address, full address, purchase order number) and also forward a copy of the Purchase Order to
If you have any queries regarding our booking process then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Meals and Accommodation

The course fee includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day plus all course materials provided on USB and teaching fees.  NB:  Accommodation is NOT included.
If you have any particular dietary or access requirements then please contact the Short Course Unit with your requirements at the time of booking.


Halifax Hall Hotel & Conference Centre

Endcliffe Vale Road, Sheffield, S10 3ER.


For further information please do not hesitate to contact the Short Course Unit via email at

 Tel +44 (0)114 222 2968

Thursday, 10 November 2016

ScHARR Library Open Day

The ScHARR Library welcomed all staff and students to its annual open day on Thursday 20th October 2016 . The Open Day proved to be very popular, and the library was busy throughout the day with students and staff. Our  Information Specialists provided a number of well attended drop-in sessions. There was also an exciting competition and if that wasn’t enough, there was a bake sale raising money for Amnesty International, in memory of our colleague Tony Mead.

Drop-in Sessions
Our Information Specialists shared their expertise:
  • Helen Buckley Woods presented an overview of IRIS - Information Resources Information Study Skills. This is an online course for ScHARR Students which assists with student Information literacy understanding and competency.
  • Magda Bell our resident expert on Inter-Library Loans and Copyright talked about the service offered in ScHARR and dealt with any copyright queries from staff and students
  • Anthea Sutton presented an overview  of the Systematic Review Toolkit, demonstrating how this tool can be used for searching, study selection, quality assessment and more.
  • Information Specialists deliver a session
    Information Specialists deliver a session
    Angie Rees talked about how to use and get the best out of Google Scholar. What it’s good for and what it’s not so good for.
  • Claire Beecroft  provided guidance on how to quickly and easily improve your searching to ensure nothing is missed by using citation searching and reference lists. Essential for all types of reviews.

Competition Time!
ScHARR Library Open Day Competition
Sonia Rizzo organised a tough but fun competition ‘Guess the 1st tune’ with lots of great prizes courtesy of Dialectable.  Liz Kitchen and Jean Hamilton came joint first in the competition and collected lots of lovely goodies!

Bake Sale - Raised £150 for Amnesty International!
Finally, there were lots of delicious home baked cakes made by the Information Resources team. These went down well with students and staff! An amazing £150 was raised  for Amnesty International,  in memory of our colleague Tony Mead. Tony worked in the ScHARR Library for nearly a decade and Amnesty International  was Tony’s favourite charity.

A big thank you to everyone who came to the Open day,  and a big thank you to everyone who helped out, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

App Hacks - Some of the best research and medical apps

Image of Andy Tattersall
Andy Tattersall
Andy Tattersall and ScHARR Learning Technologist Dan Smith have created a series of short informative videos called App Hacks. The videos are to help academics and students, especially in a medical and healthcare setting see useful apps in action and make an informed choice as to their application and use. 
App Hacks Logo
App Hacks

The apps were captured on screen and gives potential users a basic but informative tour. The videos range from research and annotation tools like Mendeley to Evernote, to content creation like Adobe Spark and Haiku Deck as well as healthcare apps such as Medline Prime and NICE Guidance. The videos are hosted on the ScHARRvid YouTube Channel and soon on the University of Sheffield's iTunes U Channel.

The playlist can be viewed here:
App Hacks