I’ve always tried to make sure that my academic work wasn’t tucked away on a dusty shelf (or paywalled in an obscure academic journal, which is the equivalent in the digital age) and that has meant that my digital footprint is huge. I have accounts on ResearchGate, Twitter, Slideshare, LinkedIn, Figshare, Google Scholar, Academia.edu, Flickr, and Google+ (as well as probably a few more that I’ve forgotten!). I don’t think I have lost anything by “scattering my wild oats” across a huge swathe of the internet, because I assume that it increases visibility. Indeed I get a few views across all platforms:
- ResearchGate: 2,106 reads, 454 profile views,
- Twitter: 976 followers
- Slideshare: 2,386 views
- Figshare: 20-200 views per article, but full stats require institutional subscription
- Academia.edu: 484 views, 35 downloads
However, what I have been looking for is a service that allows me to aggregate all this content. Ideally it would have (i) a single page per publication, where I could bring together all the bits of information relating to that paper (data, preprints, press coverage, and a lay summary), and (ii) a personal profile page that brings all of those publication pages together under my profile. Well, I think I’ve found it!
I’ve been aware of Kudos for quite a while, but it always seemed like a lot of work to set up. The idea of writing a hundred words for each of my papers and posting them all seemed too much. However, I realised that I had actually compiled all this information, anyway, as I had been trying to write lay summaries of my papers on my blog. I also have a section on my website where archive press mentions, and my publication page on my website already has links to preprint versions of my papers and some datasets which are hosted on Figshare. Rather than making people run around to all these sites, I can bring it all together in Kudos (you can see the page below here):
This is definitely the way forward, and I’ll be using it from now on for promoting new papers. There’s a clear benefit in sharing a link to the Kudos site rather than simply sending people to the publisher website (hello, paywalls!). I get to have my commentary and perspective upfront, alongside the data (if available), and a link through to press releases (if the work deserves one). Kudos also aggregates the Altmetrics scores for each paper, and the number of citations (although those are a little low – I’m not sure why). That gives me control over how the work is viewed, and being able to have all of that in a single publication page is really neat. Also, Kudos is focusing on evidence-based dissemination, so they are actively looking at how to enhance the service to increase readers.
There are a few things that could be improved, though (hope you’re reading this, Kudos folk!). First, they could make sure that the cover image of the journal is always present (sometimes it is a fairly ugly placeholder). I assume that the reason we can’t pick our own image is that the server space is limited so Kudos don’t want users uploading content – everything else is just aggregated links of content hosted elsewhere. Second, there are some minor user interface issues that I would like to see fixed (such as click-and-drag to reorder links in the Resources box). Third, it would be nice to have the option to turn on a comments system whereby readers could discuss the paper with the authors and among themselves. I know some people aren’t fans of post-publication peer review, but making it an option at least opens the possibility of some really interesting discussions. There still isn’t a good place for that, and if everything else is linked in to Kudos they might as well have that, too.
Those very minor quibbles aside, I’m very impressed. A few small tweaks and it could be really great, but Kudos is already my new favourite dissemination tool.