Getting noticed as an academic is getting tougher...Why? Because the numbers are increasingly against you.
As of January 2021, there have been over 70,000 published scientific papers about COVID-19 and its effects (according to covidpapers.com). There are also over 30,000 journals for publishing research. Given the volume of material out there, it is no longer possible to just publish your work and let it speak for itself.
Publishing your work through the traditional channels is also challenging, with editors, reviewers, and multiple review stages. Grant proposals, conference submissions, or written publications all pass through the same gates, and the gatekeepers are often influential members of your research field, who may be more resistant to radically changing the status quo.
Social media platforms offer academics a fantastic opportunity to circumvent conventional review pathways. Your work can be viewed and reviewed quickly by academics in your area and colleagues in the wider community. The barrier to entry into these communities is extremely low, with easy to access guides such as Twitter for Scientists.
The potential for social media to be a key driver in building an academic profile is well understood, with a flurry of articles published in the early 2010’s. These were primarily concerned with the rise of the personal text-based platforms ascendant at the time - like Facebook and Twitter, and more academically targeted platforms like Researchgate, Academia.edu, and Mendeley. The diversity of options has only increased since then, with academic communities developing in media like audio (podcasts), video (YouTube, TikTok), and livestreaming (Twitch).
Though originally designed and developed for video games, Discord offers a perfect environment for developing academic networks. Combining the best elements from both forums and social media platforms, Discord offers an inclusive space for interested parties to take part in high quality academic discussions, find interested partners, and break down traditional structures in knowledge exchange.
Discord has already been taken up by several innovation focussed groups, such as the global Open Science movement with their “Git Gud Science” server, which enabled the development of the Psychological Science Accelerator. Similarly, the Economics Server has over 3000 members, offering a space for both researchers and industry professionals to keep up with cutting edge research in a broad range of topics and promote their own work.
Edify is a platform for using Virtual Reality to create immersive and engaging lessons. By removing the physical limits on teaching, Virtual Reality has the potential to revolutionise the educational environment. Students can be transported to locations which would be too expensive or dangerous to physically encounter, or interact with the cells of the human body. However, realising these experiences can be challenging as they are very different from standard pedological techniques.
Edify Communities launches later in the spring, so watch this space for more news!