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.

05 February 2014

Are the Wikimedia projects social media?

I used a phrase "socially constructed media" back in 2004 when everyone was using "Web 2". I even coined "socialist media" but let that one go. I've been more than a little agitated by the use of "social media" these last few years, at the exclusion of the Wikimedia projects. Either all the stats, commentary and infographics are based on a poorly defined category, or my understanding of the words social and media somehow missed the new speak.

Does anyone who knows the inner workings of the Wikimedia projects have an argument for me? I find them to be the MOST social of all the user-generated sites I use. From sharing photos, video and graphics on Commons, constructing reports on News, negotiating courses or documenting research on Versity, writing on Books, or attending a Meetup.. Why does this not warrant more than a mention in the stats, commentary and infographics about "social media"? Why do almost none of our public institutions engage in these projects? (State Library of Queensland excepted).

Please don't tell me it's a commercial interest (therefore relevant) thing!