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Using Maps to Share Your Research Story
Using Maps to Share Your Research Story

Communicating your research to collaborators or stakeholders can be tough. Learn how to use Maps as an effective storytelling method.

Digl Dixon avatar
Written by Digl Dixon
Updated over a week ago

Telling a clear and engaging research story helps readers quickly understand the context of a new piece of research, and thus its impact. Before even starting a new research project, you seek to understand how your proposed work will fit into the broader research landscape. Quickly communicating the context of your work and your research story is one of the key uses of Litmaps Maps.

Traditionally, you may send a rough list of papers to a potential collaborator in order to give them the background of a proposed topic. This takes time for both yourself and your collaborators to sift through the papers one by one, to find the common threads that connect them to each other and your research. Maps simplify this process by letting you create a visualisation of these connected papers in no time, and to seamlessly share them with collaborators. Your peers can even alter the Map, adding in their own papers and sharing it back to you — letting you both grow your research story together.

Using Map to visualise your research story

Here, we outline the steps on how to use the Litmaps Map tool to visualise papers. By adjusting and interacting with the visualisation, you can quickly identify how your research fits into the literature landscape. The resulting visualisation lets you quickly communicate to other potential collaborators the broader idea behind a given research project.

Setting up your Map

Here are the steps to create a Map:

  1. Click “New Map”

  2. Click “Add Articles” at the top

    1. Add your articles from Litmaps collections, reference managers, searches, etc. See our guide here for detailed instructions on how to add articles.

  3. Save your Map

    1. Press “Save” at the top

    2. Give your Map a name

    3. Click “Done”

  4. Explore visualisation

    1. Adjust axes and article sizes as needed. For example, you can make papers increase along the x-axis according to Map Relevance. See our guide here for more details.

    2. Manually position articles.

In this video example below, we demonstrate how to create a Map from an existing Litmaps collection, following the above steps.

Sharing your Map

The key benefit of the Map feature is that you can share it with others, so you can easily communicate your research ideas to your collaborators. You can share your Map directly through Litmaps or as an image. When shared with others, each viewer retains a local copy that can then be edited and re-published as desired.

Here’s how to share your Map:

  1. Click “Share” at the top right

  2. Share either by:

    1. Share with Link

    2. Share with Email Addresses

Keep in mind, you can make changes to your local map but they won’t automatically be registered on the shared map. Instead, go to the same dialogue for sharing and press “Publish Changes” when you’re ready to share an updated map.

Those you share the Map with can alter it by making a local copy, updating it, and sharing it back to you.

Creating an image of your map

If you’d like to save your Map as an image, you can do that too. To save and share a PNG of your map:

  1. Click “Export Figure” at the top right

  2. Adjust image settings like resolution, scale, axes, etc.

  3. Click “Export”

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