Orginal Author: Daryl E. Chubin
Nearly 30 years ago, Eugene Garfield, the altmetrician of science who invented citation analysis (or , the foreunner of journal impact factors and h-factors) asked, “? Of certain innocuous varieties that are merely extensions of unconventional individuals, I surely hope so. Members of the scientific community can exhibit tolerance toward such colleagues.”
Fast-forward to the age of social media. What is considered self-promotional today, as opposed to acceptable practices that advance one’s career? When does “tolerance” become the indulgence of narcissism? Has self-promotion become the norm?
A of ecologists (dubbed a “conversation starter”) asked respondents to rate “self-promotional activities” as “fine,” “I have some reservations,” or “I disapprove.” While disagreement was common, the following approached consensus as not :
• Publishing in Nature, Science, or PNAS rather than a discipline-specific journal
• Blogging, but not about your own work
• Tweeting, but not about your own work
• Doing interviews for popular media
• Allowing your employer to send out press releases about your work
• Commenting on blogs, where the comments do not primarily comprise references to your own work
Among the more controversial practices were these:
• Inviting big names in your field to your talk or poster at a conference
• As a reviewer, suggesting that authors cite your papers
• As an author, citing your own paper when other citations might be equally or more appropriate
• Tweeting about your own work to people who don’t follow you on Twitter
• Nominating yourself for awards
• Asking others to nominate you for awards
To one whose career unfolded mainly in the 20th century, it seems clear that social networking has altered the norms of propriety. A cohort of mine recently hoped, “humility shaped me.” Yet what we find “morally questionable” is now considered “savvy” and the .
One social media guru notes that “Self-promotion has a bad reputation because it is so often associated with marketing, advertising, and social timelines that do nothing but pitch, pitch, pitch regardless of how it makes their audience feel. . . if your content is outstandingly useful and always adds value.
Finally, we hear a lot these days about “value-added content.” This is what justifies much of scientists’ behavior—how the work pushes back the frontiers of knowledge. In the days of , the words “priority” and “originality” would be invoked. Today, the value is something to attract funding and become monetized. Still, can scientists be graceful in self-promoting? If not, psychologists have found,