January Research Skills Event Review: Day 1

January Research Skills – Day 1

This review is written by CDT Isabella Degen, @isabelladegen

The first day of the January Research Skills event was about academic web presence. On the agenda were:

  • a presentation on academic blogging and social media by Gavin
  • a group discussion about our experiences
  • a hackathon to extend an authoring platform that makes it easy to publish academic content on the web organised by Benjamin and Tashi

Academic web presence

In his talk, Gavin shared his experience of blogging and tweeting about his research. His web presence is driven by his passion for writing.

I particularly like Gavin’s practice of writing a thread on Twitter for each of his academic papers. I think summarising a complex paper into a few approachable tweets helps to focus on the most important points of the work and provides clarity.


For the hackathon we looked at an authoring platform that can be used to easily publish our work on the Center of Doctoral Training’s website. The aim of the websites is to be a place where people internal and external to the CDT can explore what we all are working on.

The homepage-dev codebase served as starting point. It uses Jekyll as a static site generator. A blog post is written as a markdown file. It can include other online content like PDFs, videos, Jupyter notebooks, Reveal.js presentations, etc. through a Front Matter) template. Uploading the markdown file to an online code repository triggers the publishing workflow.

It only took us a few minutes to get a github.io page started using this setup. We didn’t extend the workflow beyond being able to write our own blogs using what’s already been setup.

At the end we discussed using such a workflow to not repeat the same content for different purposes over and over again. The idea is to apply the software development principle of “DRY” to written content, graphs and presentations. Creating a workflow that keeps all communications about the same research up to date. You can read more about it on: You only Write Thrice.


The event got me thinking about having a web presence dedicated to my research. I’m inspired by sharing clear and concise pieces of my research and how in return this could bring a lot of clarity to my work.

If you are somebody who reads or writes about research on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn or in your own blog I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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