As a researcher you want to reach as many people as possible. For sure, open access would help by making sure everybody that wants to read of your papers can, but before anybody tries to read one of your papers s/he has to find it first.
This is not a problem for your fellow researchers who know where to look. But what about the rest of the world? They use other channels to keep up to date with what’s going on and you need to show up there as well if you want them to know your work. That’s why every researcher should have a blog and be active on the social media platforms (I’m basically everywhere so I’ll save you the full collection of links :-), you can find some of them at the bottom) even if this is something that your institution (or even your peers) may see as a waste of time.
But it turns out that I had underestimated the power of another channel: SlideShare. A quick count reveals that the presentations I’ve uploaded there have been viewed around 25.000 times. I have no idea how many people have read (or glanced through) one of my papers but I´m pretty sure that there is a difference of at least one order of magnitude. And no, this is not because my powerpoints are specially attractive. My good friend Marco Brambilla has even more impressive results with several presentations close to the 10.000 visits mark. I’m sure if I start looking at other researchers with active SlideShare accounts we would see similar results.
So, if you think research is more than growing your list of publications and believe that disseminating your results is part of your mission as a researcher get the habit of sharing not only your papers but also your presentations online. And yes, I know that the extensive use of powerpoint has its dangers (there’s even an “antipowerpoint” political party! ) but I’m more than willing to take the risk.
What about you?