3.3. Facilitating Open Dissemination

Activity 12: Tools that support Open Dissemination

Think about some technologies that support and facilitate open dissemination (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, blogging platforms, Flickr, SlideShare, Scoop.it, etc.). Select which of these tools you would use to disseminate your research and give a short explanation to justify your selection in the forum.

In selecting a channel, think about your project’s audience and what they could easily gain access to. For example, does your community have ready access to internet? Is your community active on a particular social network? Does your community regularly engage with blogs?

When you’ve finished, head back to section 3.3.

My first choice would be a platform such as FigShare for non-data outputs and Zenodo for data. The quality of the metadata especially is very welcome for dissemination purposes, and FigShare allows for a huge range of resources to be curated through it.

I would list Twitter as I’ve seen some fantastic things done with that platform, but it does seem that Twitter really needs quite a substantial investment in network building, and lacks metadata capacity. Am I correct in saying this? The research projects I’ve seen using Twitter have done so on a very strategic level, often with a dedicated communications consultant to help maintain and build the Twitter network. Is there a way for someone with less time to fruitfully use that platform for dissemination?

In choosing a platform or medium the issue of potential users/learners’ internet connectivity is important. There are many millions of potential users/learners in development areas who have no or unreliable internet connection but can nevertheless benefit from downloaded and curated material on a local server.
Offline browsing will never be quite as rich as online but, as a means to introduce remote learners to discovery learning and digital literacy it has significant value. For OER too, a collated downloadable archive will have a much wider educational catchment area than content that relies on live search.CDs too are not dead as a digital resource in development areas.

1 Like

Great, I’m not familiar with FigShare or Zenodo so thanks for sharing, will definitely have a look.

At the OERRHub we take turns at minding our Twitter account, so each week one of us is in charge of tweeting and retweeting. It’s true that it can be a bit time-consuming but for a one-person situation I suggest that you tweet at strategic times of the day, lunch time maybe? depending on when your audience are likely to be listening.


True, we should also think of the format of the resource we are sharing and how easy/difficult will be for others to download.


Some of my research project’s audience has access to the internet so would follow the blog, look at photos on flickr and a few may use twitter. Others use Facebook where the project has a presence, so my online dissemination strategy for research is usually to write a blog post about it explaining the latest activities and findings then tweet the post and share it on Facebook. If there are any related images these are posted within the blog post or on flickr. Raw data in spreadsheet format will soon be shared online via Google spreadsheet, inviting those who are interested in participating in the research activity to contribute as well. I also update the research page on the project website with links to the blog posts. I am more likely to get comments via Facebook than via twitter, flickr or the blog (there are several followers of the blog, but they rarely comment). Most comment is in face-to-face events when I stage an exhibition of the research and discuss it with those who attend.

Similar to my thoughts on licensing, the answer to this depends heavily on what you’re doing. From where I’m sitting, flickr would be entirely inappropriate, mostly because my audience isn’t there, but partially because flickr isn’t set up for science. Figshare is pretty awesome, partially because you do get a DOI for your work, which makes it citable) and DataDryad is becoming more popular. SlideShare seems to be the location of choice for presentations, though some people host their own. (As infuriating as SlideShare’s UI is…I can understand why self hosting might be attractive.) You’d want to make sure your location of choice supports the metadata that your field expects (or would like to see) to ensure your information actually can be viewed, read, and reused.

Twitter is great for less formal communication, but it’s not appropriate for a formal report. At the moment, unless you’re a rockstar, you can’t really say “I have a great twitter feed” on your CV when putting together your tenure application either. Facebook is similar.

One thing to keep in mind with nontraditional dissemination is to mind who owns your stuff once you publish it. Just like you turn over some (or all) of your rights to your work when you publish with a traditional journal, you might be relinquishing a lot of your rights when you post to various sites.

From my own experience, my current practices and the the type of qualitative research that I’m interested in, the technologies that I’d choose in the first instance for open dissemination are Blog, Twitter & Slideshare. I’d also consider using an open Google document during the data collection stage.
However, I’m now curious about the platforms mentioned above FigShare & Zenodo; I’m wondering who the audience might be. It’s also elpful to know that having a DOI helps make your work citable.Thanks

I use twitter for some things, blog others, even have an old steam powered website. I don’t tend to be a particularly early adopter of new platforms, because using each media well and upkeep are a real time issue. For art projects the balance of what research to disseminate is tricky - some processes just have to wait until the grand reveal. In exhibition terms, openness may not always be shared online digital information, but physical transparency about art processes and research.