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Research support for Law PhD students

This guide will help law PhD and MPhil students to begin their legal research using the University Library's resources

Social Media impact and engagement

It is important to be able to translate the right research and knowledge, to the right people, at the right time, and in a format they can use, as to influence decision making.



The ease of publishing in the digital age means that it is easy to communicate your research to  both academic and non-academic communities/individuals.
Who is coming across your work and who do you want to see your work?


The University of Melbourne has a  “commitment to public contribution”. This engagement should extend to the conversations you have online and in-person, as a result of your dissemination.


Collaborating between teams and individuals engenders a co-operative approach to knowledge production. It helps to generate a wider scope of connections globally to generate conversations and feedback.


How to demonstrate research impact and engagement varies widely by discipline context and specific purpose (i.e. grant application or promotion application).


As an academic, you become your own (usually) self-managed brand. Twitter is the perfect way of raising your researcher profile, spreading your ideas, your research papers and forming collaborations. 
​Bound by 280 characters, Twitter forces you to explain your research succinctly and free of jargon. ​ Include videos and URL shorteners, hashtags.
​Twitter allows you to expand your academic reach. Start following people, look for people and organisations in your field, who are they following and consider following them.

The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public. It supports and fosters academic freedom to conduct research, teach, write and publish. ​


The aim of Pursuit is to showcase the University of Melbourne’s research activities and their impact upon the world, chiefly though stories, videos, podcasts and pictures.


Images are global, and cross cultural boundaries. Instagram requires minimal bandwidth to transmit photos and allows opportunities for quick, creative expression. Your research can therefore be easily digestible on a global scale.


Podcasts are an increasingly popular way of sharing and promoting research, allowing authors to extend their reach beyond the academic community. A short podcast summarizing your latest research paper can be an effective way to drive engagement and interest in your work.


Blogs are useful in establishing a research community or network, creating opportunities to interact with an audience on a topic and for expanding your audience by sharing knowledge in a more informal or reader-friendly style.
You will need to consider what platform to use, who your audience might be and how much time you are willing to invest in writing.

For information on Academic Blogging using platforms like Wordpress or Blogger follow this link: Blogging your research.

Examples of successful law blogs can be found here:

Developing a social media strategy

Sitting down and developing a social media strategy to boost your research impact is important. At a basic level you can see it as a statement of intent, developing measurable objectives using social media to target the outcomes you hope to achieve.

Here are 5 examples of practical strategies to promote your articles:

Social Collaboration Networks (SCNs)

SCNs have become widely used within the research community, with researchers using SCNs to interact, collaborate and share their results online across institutional and geographical boundaries. In 2018 there were 15 million users of ResearchGate and worldwide.
However before you create an profile or upload any publications you should consider the risks and issues involved, such as security, confidentiality and copyright.

Google Scholar Citations Profile

If you already have publications, you can create a Google Scholar Citations profile page that lists your publications and citation metrics. Benefits include an increase of your researcher visibility; your profile will appear in general Google results and an ability to keep track of citations to your publications.
7 ways to make your Google Scholar Profile better

LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is primarily a professional networking site, but is suitable for academic purposes and engaging with the legal profession as well. You can network with people in your LinkedIn network and also set up and join groups to share industry news and discuss ideas. It allows you to share 600 character updates and write long LinkedIn Pulse articles. 

An example of LinkedIn profile. Set up a profile.

What is Minerva Access?

Minerva Access is the University of Melbourne's Institutional Repository. It aims to collect, preserve, and showcase the intellectual output of staff and students of the University of Melbourne for a global audience. 

  • Minerva Access is indexed by Google Scholar, and other search engines, e.g.  National Library of Australia's Trove, and OAIster  
  • Minerva Access provides statistics on accessions by country/month
  • Minerva Access provides a permanent URL for works even if you leave the university – use for CVs, grants


Impact & Engagement

The strategic dissemination of research through social media and its impact and engagement is often hard to measure using traditional bibliographic tools.
It is important to be able to tell a story about the impact your article is having or what engagement your research is having in society. ​To measure this, we use alternative metrics. ​Impact and engagement is measured based on online activity, mined or gathered from online tools and social media.

Altmetric Explorer

We can use Altmetrics Explorer as a tool to gather article level metrics for journal articles and then generate a story about your research, tracking the conversations around your article online: including user demographics, geographic location and spread.  This is handy in supporting promotion and grant applications.​

Privacy & Security

Consider your own personal privacy and the privacy requirements of your institution. There are various settings you can tweak within each social media account to manage your privacy.

Availability & Sustainability

Ease of access to social media makes it user-friendly but it does make you available to others outside of normal working hours. How available should you be? Strike a balance with your posting. Be regular and consistent but avoid spamming people with content or responding at times you don’t feel comfortable with. Set boundaries about how much time you will spend each day.


Always favour content and images that you have produced yourself; always link out to content publish elsewhere (rather than republishing). Use images that are freely available for re-use (such as creative commons licenses), and when in doubt consult the University’s Copyright Office.


The University has a useful Social Media policy that provides guidelines and recommendations for how researchers can best use social media as part of their professional engagement with colleagues, students and the public.


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