Hello WGST grad students! You have written a journal article, and it is now published in an open access journal. You chose to go open access so that the article would be visible sooner than through other publishing options. You chose to submit your manuscript to that particular journal because it is indexed in key databases that are relevant to your discipline, so that like-minded researchers are able to find your work. Even before the article was published, you were on the conference circuit, presenting your data through panels and posters. You have taken full advantage of key scholarly modes of communication. Can you do better?
Aside from formal scholarly publishing, and conference attendance, there is a wide range of informal ways to communicate with like-minded researchers. Are you taking full advantage of all of the informal ones? RSS provides a great way to bring information to your desktop. Many journals provide tables of contents for new issues via RSS feeds. There are several apps out there to help you organize your RSS feeds. Scholarly societies also have special interest groups which communicate via RSS or email. Are you on these lists?
But it’s more than this. You want to be out there to make people aware of your research, but being out there means giving as well as receiving. Do you blog about happenings in your area of research? If so, do you make sure that you tweet links to your blogs (especially if not submitting to an RSS feed)? Follow fellow researchers in social media; many use Facebook groups and Twitter for posting. Confirm that you belong to social media groups for the scholarly societies and organizations to which you belong. Are you on Google+? Be a good citizen and make people aware of related research, not just your own, within these communities: be a Retweeter. You want to connect with like-minded people, so that everyone can stay informed of new developments. To be a successful academic, you need to be seen as an active producer and reproducer of information. This is how people will remember your name, your interests, and your ideas.
Check out this article for the ways in which informal communication contributes to the dissemination and use of your research. Yes, you can use the social network of your citation manager to keep track of what’s hot!