We Should Reward Academic Faculty Social Media Participation

More and more academics are using social media in their personal lives and to further their careers. We should encourage this.

Many academics participate on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for personal use. In addition, many are using it to promote their academic publications and participation in clinical online repositories as a way to broaden the dissemination and expand the impact of opinions, care guidelines, and education.

On the other side of the coin, some can use it inappropriately or use sites that would not meet standards of academic publishing or raise eyebrows of peers sitting on promotion and tenure committees.

Here are 10 reasons we should reward faculty for their participation on social media:

1. It helps to disseminate scientific and clinical research, particularly to lay audiences.

2. It helps to build institutional brand equity.

3. With the growth of open source journals and point of care websites and platforms, more and more faculty

are participating as authors and editors.

4. It is probable that articles posted online get more exposure than those printed in journals targeted to a smaller user subscriber base.

5. It gives younger faculty more opportunities to publish.

6. It provides social media experiential learning.

7. Sometimes, you can make some money doing it.

8. Using dashboards and tracking apps can provide feedback to authors about their reach and click-throughs.

9. Posting on a site with a comments section provides immediate feedback and a different perspective on the work.

10. It serves as an additional networking tool for potential collaborators or colleagues.

One concern might be that publishing on social media sites and online point of care sites does not meet the current standards of peer reviewed publications. However, several online sites have multiple layers of peer review and editorial oversight. Many recent examples also tell us that the peer review process does not necessarily guarantee scientific integrity.

Promotion and tenure committees should include contributions to social media sites as a component of an applicant's research, publication, teaching, and clinical portfolio. Not doing so ignores an ever growing distribution channel for knowledge and minimizes a faculty member's contribution to informing and educating colleagues and patients.