Working as a researcher can be a challenging career choice, particularly when you’re just starting out. Securing research funding and tenure-track positions is often cut-throat and, without the backing of a set of published articles, it's particularly difficult for early-career researchers to prove themselves and climb the professional ladder. The path to a successful career is not easy and the pressure is immense, but there are ways to lighten the load and achieve your goals faster.
Conferences play an essential role in the research ecosystem and are great places to get your work in front of a wide group of your peers. Make the most of your time by attending networking events and approaching any researchers whose work you admire or is relevant to your research. It helps to prepare in advance - many conferences host abstracts and posters online prior to the event, so make sure you take a look and compile a list of all the people you’d like to meet to ensure you use your time wisely at the conference. Another way to maximize your conference experience is by visiting the publisher booths. Commissioning editors will often be in attendance looking for up-and-coming research, and nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to get your foot in the door when pitching your work.
Getting published in a high-impact factor journal is undoubtedly an important step in any researcher’s career, however there are many other ways you can start making a name for yourself as you work towards this milestone. By sharing your pre-published research, including conference posters and presentations and preprints, you give publishers and potential commercial partners insights into your work and the opportunity to discover you early in the research process. You can use Morressier to showcase your conference proceedings and get in front of a host of publishers, commercial companies, institutions and researchers who are using the platform. There are also a number of servers that you can easily upload your preprints to and, by getting an ORCID iD, you can ensure all your pre-published research is tied together and connected to your profile.
While we’re on the topic of other research outputs, it also pays to put some effort into making sure all your research work is well-organized, annotated, and filed. This goes for datasets, failed results, and conference proceedings as you never know when you might need to look back on these findings in the future. There are plenty of tools that can help you keep track of your research, such as Labfolder, and your institution may have its own internal Wiki. It’s worth getting into the habit of being meticulously organized from the beginning as a strong attention to detail can help you avoid making errors or oversights in your research work. Ensuring your published research and supporting data is as accurate as possible is essential for you to build credibility and reputation in your field.
With the advent of social media, it has never been easier to boost your profile in the scholarly ecosystem. Twitter is a particularly well-frequented space for academics to share their thoughts and discover relevant researchers from outside of their lab or institution. Following and interacting with researchers whose work you admire can be a great stepping stone to finding a mentor and gaining feedback on your own research. Additionally, setting up your own blog offers a portal into your work and allows you to build your own personal brand. Regularly sharing blogposts also gives you the chance to hone your writing skills and boost your creativity, benefits which will feedback into your research work.
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