Now in its 5th year, we held our most recent conference in Edinburgh on June 30th. For some background, see this earlier guest blog on Digital Science.

This year’s event was our most well attended to date and attracted >100 attendees from around the UK. Some early feedback we have received:-

“Wonderful conference!”

“I think every research PhD student should hear topics such as the ones raised in this conference.”

“Thought-provoking and engaging, I enjoyed it very much.”

“Very productive, should consider this as an essential training session.”

“The event expanded my knowledge regarding research impact strategies and techniques. The presentations were well-delivered and sufficiently detailed.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day; the experience and knowledge of the different speakers was as interesting as it was useful. I am hopeful I will be able to attend next year.”

“Informative, friendly, engaging.” “Excellent!”

“A really good experience, would recommend!”

Almost all of the attendees were Early Career Researchers (ECRs), mainly PhD students. We were especially pleased with this given the name and theme of this year’s event. We wanted to cover (and did) publishing at all stages, from preparing for publication, submission, preprints, journals, open journals, metrics, altmetrics and more.

Some highlights from the day

SESSION ONE: Publishing’s future: Disruption and Evolution within the Industry

Phill Jones’s talk “Inputs, Outputs and emergent properties: The new Scientometrics” was extremely interesting and well thought out.

The analyses of citation counts and the Impact Factor have long formed the basis of research evaluation at the individual, institutional, and national levels. While an important indicator of scholarly interest and reuse, citations do not entirely capture the impact that a given piece of research makes, nor does it provide insight into every facet of research activity. This concept is known as the ‘Evaluation Gap’. Over the past decade or so, new forms of research evaluation have begun to gain traction among policy makers, including those who hire and promote academics. Starting with the altmetric revolution, scientometricians are looking at awarded grants, patents, policy documents and a range of other indicators to give a more complete picture of research activity and outputs.

SESSION TWO: The Early Career Researcher Perspective: Publishing & Research Communication

Highlights for us were Becky Douglas: University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy

‘How to share science with hard to reach groups and why you should bother’

Increasingly, institutions and researchers are recognising the benefits of science communication and public outreach. Many are now finding it necessary to report on outreach activities in order to complete annual reviews and promotion and grant applications. Certainly, with so much research being publicly funded it is clearly only fair that the public get to hear about where their money goes. However, it is important that this does not become a simple box-ticking exercise.

Lewis MacKenzie: Biomedical Physicist, University of Leeds

‘What helps or hinders science communication by early career researchers?’

Early career researchers are often excellent science communicators. However, they also face substantial and numerous pressures around their career and life, resulting in science communication falling by the wayside. This talk explored the factors that make it hard for early career researchers to pursue science communication, and ask what can be done to help science communication continue through the turbulent career transition phases that face early career researchers.

UNCONFERENCE SESSION 2 – Main Room

Laura Henderson (Frontiers) & Michael Markie (F1000): ‘Peer Review: The Basics & What you Need To Know’ VIDEO

SESSION THREE: Raising your research profile: online engagement & metrics

All of these talks were excellent and we would encourage people to watch them. Laura Henderson (Frontiers) VIDEO, Rachel Lammey (CrossRef) VIDEO, Jean Liu (Altmetric) VIDEO and Charlie Rapple (Kudos) VIDEO.

Some key take home points:-

  • There are several aspects to publishing that researchers need to be aware of and it is never too early to start learning about how scholarly publication works.
  • The peer review process is evolving: open peer review, collaborative peer review, naming reviewers and more.
  • Researchers are investing time in public engagement and there is an appetite for more short science communication fellowships.
  • We are doing more research than we ever have before. Finding and publishing papers, sharing outputs, encouraging public engagement activities, tracking citations, understanding metrics and managing large volumes of data (to name a few) are all important for the 21st-century researcher.

For a more detailed summary of the conference this year, please see this page on our site.

Also, see this short Digital Science post by Phill Jones.

We would again like to thank our generous sponsors this year: CrossRef, Frontiers, F1000 Research, PLOS, JY Media & The Scientific Editing Company, and also Nexus Digital Media for filming the event and uploading high-quality content so swiftly.

Finally, we will be holding our 6th ReConEvent Conference in Edinburgh next year, at the end of June.

The ReConEvent Team