Field of Science

Academics on the Web

The Prodigal Academic, in discussing "Things I Wish I Know Before Starting on the [Tenure Track]", writes
Actually spend time on my group website. This is a great recruiting tool! Students look at the departmental website before they arrive on campus to plan out their potential advisors.
As someone closer to the applying-to-school phase than TPA, I admit that there are schools I probably did not consider as carefully as I should have because their websites were skimpy and I had difficulty finding much information.

In fact, even though our department has a relatively good website, I very nearly didn't come to Harvard because I couldn't find the information I needed. I came from an adult psycholinguistics background and so I hadn't ever read any of her (developmental) papers. We went to different conferences. Harvard's departmental website is set up around five research areas: Cognition, Brain & Behavior; Developmental; Clinical; Social; Organizational Behavior. Since I was cognitive, I checked the cognitive section for psycholinguists and didn't see her. I only found out about her because I ended up working at Harvard for a year as a research assistant in a different lab.

Again, I actually like our department's website. This is just a story about how the organization of websites can ultimately have an important effect.

Websites are also important for disseminating research. When I come across an interesting paper by a researcher I don't know, I almost always check their website. If they have papers there for download, I read any that look interesting. I've discovered some very important work this way. But if they don't have papers available (or, as sometimes happens, don't even have a website), that's often the end of the journey.

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