Scholarly Impact Challenge

This guide contains 10 challenges for scholars to better understand and manage their online scholarly presence, as well as the impact and reach of their research.

Introduction to Social Media Audit

The Art of Social Media

The Art of Social Media | mkhmarketing | CC BY 2.0

Social media is a powerful tool with great potential to influence your scholarly impact. Consider using social media to promote your research because 1) reader response can demonstrate interest in your scholarly work long before citations to your publications appear, and 2) promotion may increase the chances of being cited in the future. 

This week you will reflect on your use of social media in order to consider how these tools pertain (or don’t!) to your professional/scholarly identity, and make some thoughtful decisions about where to focus your time and effort in the coming year. 

Let’s get started!


This week's challenge: Social Media Audit

Here's how to do it: 

1. First, use this worksheet to take an inventory of the social media platforms you use, especially noting those that have a connection of some kind to your scholarly identity. Go to File > Make a copy (as seen in the linked image below), or File > Download, to create a copy that you can edit.

Image of Google doc worksheet, illustrating the path of File > Make a copy

2. After filling out the chart, take 10 minutes or so to reflect on the questions at the bottom of the audit, and sketch out your priorities for this year.

Consider This

There are no right or wrong answers in this exercise. The audit is not a to-do list, and the goal of this activity is not to encourage you to create a presence on all of these sites. Rather, this week's goal is to take stock of where you already are, and to spend some time thinking carefully about where you want to focus your attention and efforts going forward.  

Social media use may be more practical and useful in some disciplines than others. It can enable powerful connections with new colleagues and provide a platform to communicate about your work to the world. At the same time, there are risks, including harassment, abuse, and even job security. People of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, contingent faculty, people working on controversial scholarship, and other vulnerable groups may be more exposed to these risks.

The decision to engage on social media is always personal, as well as professional, and the stakes are not the same for everyone. Only you can decide the most meaningful and productive ways to engage with these tools for yourself and your work. Be sure to keep self-care—and care for your colleagues—in mind as you decide where to put your time and energy and how to share your work with the world. 

What next?

You may already have started planning where you want to invest time and energy in your scholarly identity on social media this year.

Some advice from others who have been there may help you decide.

Going Social

Ready to talk about your scholarship online? This set of articles from the Chronicle of Higher Education recommends strategies for talking about your work to a broader audience. 

Remember the altmetric challenge? Build on that with these tips.

When using social media, you'll want to provide a link to a shareable version of your work whenever possible to allow people without access to the publication to read your work. See these pages for ways to ethically share your research with others.

Be safe online.

Are you experiencing harassment or abuse on social media?

How well do you understand the rights that you’ve granted to the sites, platforms, and apps that you use? The following tool may help. 

Learn More

Read about the ways that women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, scholars doing controversial work, and other vulnerable populations may be disproportionately burdened by harassment and trolling online. 

License Statement

Content for the EMU Library's Scholarly Impact Challenge has been derived from “The 30-Day Impact Challenge” by Stacy Konkiel © ImpactStory, and used here under a CC BY 4.0 International License,and the University of Michigan Research Impact Challenge LibGuide created by Rebecca Welzenback, also licensed CC BY 4.0.

The EMU Library's Scholarly Impact Challenge is licensed CC BY 4.0.