3 tools for developing your online academic profile

Spoiler alert!

There is nothing in this post about digital mobile language learning.

[editor argues that there are elements of digital and learning here, and possibly language, because of the writing. -ed.]

However, if you’re interested in supporting your career sharing mobile solutions in your language classroom, I urge you to read on. I teach at two Japanese universities. I’m employed full-time as an assistant professor at one school and I lecture part-time at another. I love both jobs, and the support I get from both institutions is fantastic. I am, however, employed on short-term contracts. My situation is not unlike many other language teachers in Japan, where according to Nagatomo (2012) the number of contracted or part-time faculty greatly outweighs the number of permanent staff.

Regrettably, my employment conditions have a big influence my motivation to grow professionally. That is to say, I’m not necessarily driven by my will to grow as a teacher, but rather how I can build my resume and position myself in way that my head isn’t first on the chopping block when contacts are reviewed. To compound my fear of the future, competition between teachers is fierce, so I’ve been looking into how I get ahead of the pack by building my academic profile online.

In this blog I wanted to share three sites I’ve been starting to tinker with: Google Scholar, Academia.edu, and Read&ResearchMap. Descriptions:

GoogleScholarCitations

As most people are already searching for papers using google scholar, this new google application seems like a logical step.
Citations provides academics with a platform to share their publications online. As the name suggests, Google Scholar Citations tracks who’s citing your paper. You can also create a google scholar profile, which enables an interested party to access your scholar profile after googling your name, for example.
One of a number of measures a university is ranked on is how many times the research of faculty members has been cited by other researchers. Therefore, having the tools to illustrate the amount your work has been cited could be a very useful piece of ammunition for the next hiring committee you face. Furthermore, access to Google Analytics data can guide you in taking steps to enable your work to be found and hopefully cited by more researchers.

As of writing, Academia.edu has attracted 6,073,547 academics worldwide to join the site and they report that 1,619,608 papers have been shared. The site has more of a social network feel and it does a good job at connecting you to other academics in your chosen field. In addition to academic articles, members can share other professional activity such as, presentation slides or online contributions like this one.Screenshot 2013-12-12 21.54.43 What I like about this site is that you are sent regular reports on who’s searching your research and how they are doing it. Similar to a google analytics report, this feedback can be very useful in ensuring your work is found (and hopefully cited) by as many people as popular. Furthermore, after learning that your research is being read, it might be just the positive reinforcement you need to roll up the sleeves and dig a little deeper with your research.

While working in Japan one of my mentors has always stressed that it’s important to recognise the places where Japanese academics gather and to keep my professional profile visible. After all, it is the local Japanese who make the ultimate hiring decisions. With this advice in mind, I thought I should share the academic profile site which one of my institutions strongly urges me to update regularly.
ReaD & Researchmap was created by the Japanese National Institute of Informatics in 2009 as a platform primarily for research collaboration.  This site is now promoting itself as a context for enabling academics to create personalised websites, manage research information, and network and collaborate with other researchers. I update my profile on my university’s server and they upload this information to the ReaD & Researchmap website.
Best of luck securing a more stable academic future.
Reference:
Nagatomo, D.(2012). Exploring Japanese University Teachers’ Professional Identity. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
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