Rapid Response Network Guide

Table of Contents

Guide to the Rapid Response Network

  1. Step 1: Create Your Account
  2. Step 2: Update Your Profile
    1. Areas of Expertise (NEW!)
    2. Privacy Settings
    3. Manage Community Notifications
  3. Step 3: Explore Personalized Communities
  4. Step 4: Engage with Your Personalized Communities
    1. Earning Points and Badges
  5. Step 5: Share and Access Resources
  6. Step 6: Connect with Other Members (Directory)

Guide to Creating Affinity Groups

  1. Step 1: Gauging the Need for a New Affinity Group
  2. Step 2: Setting Up a New Affinity Group
  3. Step 3: Recruiting Members to Join Your New Affinity Group
  4. Step 4: Keeping Your Affinity Group Active and Engaged

Frequently Asked Questions & Contact Form

The Rapid Response Network provides a centralized online platform for network members to respond to and collaborate on Rapid Response requests and connect with one another. To participate in the Rapid Response Network, you are required to create an account with the platform (see step 1). 

The platform functions similarly to Facebook and LinkedIn. Participants have their own accounts/profiles, can post on various group pages, and can comment on others’ posts. You will be in issue-area communities based on what research areas you selected during the intake process, as well as one whole-network community for Rapid Responses. 

Step 1: Create Your Account (if you made it to this page, this step is complete!)

Go to the below link and follow the instructions to set up an account. Enter the email address to which you directly receive Rapid Response Request emails. If you do not know what email to input, please email Rachel.Storace@research2policy.org
You will receive an email from “mail@connectedcommunity.org” to set or reset your password. 


Mobile Application: 

In addition, you may choose to stay connected and respond on-the-go by using the corresponding free app. After you set your password, you can access the platform by downloading the Higher Logic Connected Community mobile app for free and logging in with your credentials for the domain: rapidresponse.research2policy.org.   


Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/hl-connected-community/id1565106042  

Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.higherlogic  


Learn more about the app here.  

Step 2: Update Your Profile 

Your profile lets you tell other Network members about yourself! Add a picture, a bio, and any other information you want to share.

To access your profile, simply
click your icon in the top right corner in between the search bar and “create”, then click “Profile”. Add or edit your profile by clicking the pencil icons or “Add” buttons.

Areas of Expertise:

We know your experience changes over time. To change the topics about which we contact you, please edit your reported expertise here: https://rapidresponse.research2policy.org/profile/profile-update To be contacted about requests in an area, simply select your level of experience: Familiar, Very Knowledgeable, or Expertise. To clear, click the blank option.

Additionally, sometimes we get requests that are more specific (e.g., MAT) than the high-level topic areas in the enrollment form (e.g., SUD treatment). Therefore, we occasionally search your Biography field, also available to add and update.

Scroll through the 100+ topics -- they are grouped by content as follows. 

  1. Technical skills - these are cross-disciplinary skills. For example, if an office is interested in developing a program about a certain topic, we may search for network members who have experience with "Program development" AND the topic area.
  2. Populations - if an office is interested in how a problem affects a specific population, we may search for network members who have experience with the population AND the problem area.
  3. Criminal Justice - ranging from community policing to police reform
  4. Economy, Finance, and Workforce Development - ranging from access to broadband to work incentive programs
  5. Education and Child Development - ranging from community schools to school readiness
  6. Entrepreneurship - one of our newer umbrellas! Topics are more specific to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs than those in the Economy umbrella.
  7. Environment and Earth Sciences - ranging from climate change to urban planning
  8. Equity - educational, health, immigrant, racial, and social
  9. Medical Treatment, Services, and Records - also includes mental health! Ranges from health care to telehealth
  10. Public Health and Disease Prevention - ranging from biomedical sciences to social determinants of health
  11. Social Services - ranging from adoption to termination of parental rights
  12. Substance Use and Misuse - ranging from drug policy to treatment/recovery
  13. Violence and Victimization - ranging from human trafficking to sexual assault

The topic fields are organized by "umbrella" topics that correspond to communities. If you indicate experience in a topic area you had not previously been included in, you will be added to that community.

When complete, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Submit".

Privacy Settings: 

Choose what to share with other members and whether you appear in the Directory by editing your privacy settings. By default, only members of the community can view your profile fields. Navigate here by: 

  1. Click on your profile 
  2. Click “My Account” 
  3. Click “Privacy Settings

You can restrict access to one of the following: 

  1. My Contacts: Only people who you have added as contacts will be able to see this information. 
  2. Members Only: Rapid Response Network members who are signed in to the platform will be able to see this information. 
  3. Public: Anyone will be able to see this information. NOTE: The Rapid Response Community is a private site; someone who is not logged in will not be able to access the community or your profile. 
  4. Only Me: Only you and the RPC team will be able to see this information. 


Manage Community Notifications: 

TOO LONG DIDN'T READ: Go here and mark "weekly" instead of "daily" checkboxes on the second half of the page. You may also add a secondary email address to receive emails from this platform by adding it as an "override email address".

You will get only one daily recap email to get you up to speed about what happened in your personalized community groups, if there are any updates at all. To edit your subscription preferences, go here (
https://rapidresponse.research2policy.org/profile/myaccount/my-settings?section=subscriptions) or follow the steps below: 

  1. Go to your profile 
  2. Click “My Account” 
  3. Click “Community Notifications”  
  4. Scroll to Topic Notifications to set your settings for the Rapid Response Request community.  
  5. Scroll to Notification Settings to set your subscriptions for the issue area communities'

We encourage you to retain the personalized digest for the Rapid Response Request community, then sort your issue area communities (e.g., Criminal Justice, Equity, Environment) into a daily or weekly consolidated digest (and select "No email" for the "Discussion Email" section).

Step 3: Explore Your Personalized Communities  

This is your homepage (
https://rapidresponse.research2policy.org/home/memberhome). It is where you will see all recent discussion posts from your assigned issue-area communities and network-wide Rapid Response Request community compiled into one stream as well as any upcoming events and specific content you follow. 

You can see the communities to which you have been added under “Communities” > “My Communities” (https://rapidresponse.research2policy.org/communities/mycommunities).  Community groups include all your personalized issue-area communities, a Rapid Response community group, and a General community group. 


  • Issue area communities (e.g., Criminal Justice; Equity): 
    • You are automatically added to community groups associated with the issue area(s) you marked as having experience when enrolling in the Network. These content area communities provide a place to connect with other members working in this area. 
  • Rapid Response Requests community  
    • Everyone in the Network is automatically added to this community. This is where the Research-to-Policy Collaboration team will post the requests we have open. We will email you when there is a request we think is a good fit with your experience, but you can also explore and respond on your own!  
  • General community: 
    • Everyone in the Network is automatically added to this community. This provides a place to get to know others in the Network who may have different expertise areas. This community is also a great place to ask for any assistance from peers on how to use the platform (e.g., how does one post in the library; where can one find older posts). 
    • Introduce yourself to fellow Network members on this thread: https://rapidresponse.research2policy.org/discussion/introduce-yourself-4 

Step 4: Engage with Your Personalized Communities 

Discussion posts are just that: posts to start a discussion! To start your own discussion simply hit the “create post” button and complete the form. You can also engage with existing discussion posts in a few ways, corresponding to the numbers in the below screenshot: 

  1. Follow (star): Click “follow” to be notified of new replies to a post. Follow discussions you have an interest in keeping up with. Any updates will be sent to you via email. 
  2. Recommend: Click “recommend” on posts and replies you think respond well to the topic or provide helpful information. 
  3. Reply publicly or privately: Click “reply” if you want to provide input on the discussion post.   
    1. Save As Draft: If you want to save your reply without posting and return to it  later, simply click “save as draft”. You can find your drafts on your Profile > “My Contributions” > “My List of Contributions”.  
    2. Private Reply: You can reply to the member who posted the discussion thread privately by clicking the downward arrow, then “reply privately”. We strongly encourage public replies, however! 
  4. Mark as inappropriate: If you feel that any post or reply goes against our community code of conduct (https://rapidresponse.research2policy.org/home/conduct) you can report it for review by the Research-to-Policy Collaboration team by clicking the downward arrow, then “mark as inappropriate”. 

Step 5: Share and Access Resources 

Get to know fellow Network members and dive deeper into your issue areas and how they interact with policy by exploring the following resources. 


Community Libraries: 

Libraries are compilations of resources relevant to that community. You can add files such as pdfs, word documents, spreadsheets, and images.  All attachments from discussion posts are automatically placed in the library, too! To post directly to a community’s library, navigate to the community of interest, select the “Library” tab, then click “Create Entry”. 

Community Blogs: 

You can also engage with issue area communities via blog posts. Members of the associated community can comment and engage with your blog post. To post to the blog, navigate to the community of interest, select the “Blogs” tab, then click “Create a new blog post”.  

Step 6: Connect with Other Members (Directory) 

Use the Directory (https://rapidresponse.research2policy.org/network/members) to identify and connect with other Network members.

Search by a variety of factors, including name or community membership. You can add members as “Contacts” (equivalent to “friends” on Facebook), and/or message them directly. To learn more about a user, click on the profile(s) that populate through the search. If you would like to not appear in the Directory, see the steps above in “Privacy Settings”.

Step 1: Gauging the need for a new affinity group  

First, you should view our existing list of communities here to see whether an affinity group for your topic of interest already exists. If you would like to join an existing affinity group, click the blue “Request to Join” button on the right-hand side and your request will be approved shortly.  

To gauge interest in starting a new affinity group, we recommend first perusing our Ideas for Affinity Groups discussion thread to see whether anyone else has suggested your idea. If they have, great! You can skip to the step two below to set up the group. If you have a new idea for an affinity group, try gauging interest by replying to the original discussion board post and seeing whether other researchers reply to or click the “Recommend” button on your post.   

Step 2: Setting up a new affinity group 

Once you have decided to set up a new affinity group, follow these instructions to get your community up and running: 

  • On this page, click “Create a New Community” 
    • Name: We recommend choosing an intuitive name that will make the community easy to find 
    • Type: “Member-Created Community” will be the default 
    • Description: Enter a brief 1-2 sentence description of your community. Don’t worry about making it perfect – you can edit this later! 
    • Keep the default settings for “Who can join”, “Who can view?”, and “Moderation Setting”. 
    • Member invitations: Keep this box unchecked  
    • Discussion: Check this box 
    • Question & Answers: Keep this box unchecked 
    • Library: Keep this box unchecked, unless you want all uploaded files to be added to a resources section
    • Click “Save”, and your new affinity group is ready to go!

      Step 3: Recruiting members to join your new affinity group  

      Now that your affinity group is all set up, it’s time to add members to it! If you would like to manually add members to the group, follow these instructions. Otherwise, we recommend doing the following to spread the word about your affinity group and encourage others to join: 

      • Share the link to your affinity group in the Ideas for Affinity Groups discussion board to ensure that those who expressed interest in the group will see that it has been created. 
      • Open a new discussion in the General community to spread the word to our entire membership base. To do this: 
        • Click “Add” next to “Open Discussions” 
        • Title it “New Affinity Group: TOPIC NAME” 
        • Feel free to use or adapt the following template for the description: “We have created a private community for scholars who would like to discuss XYZ. If you are interested in joining, click here (hyperlink to your community) and click the blue “Request to Join” button on the right-hand side of the page”.   

        Step 4: Keeping your affinity group active and engaged 

        Affinity groups are most productive (and fun!) when its members are active participants in it, but it can be difficult to keep members engaged with their busy schedules. Here are some quick, low-effort ways to keep the conversations flowing in your group: 

        • Start with an introduction post. This is an excellent way to break the ice and let members know that they are free to participate in the group. This could be as simple as asking members to introduce themselves and/or describe what they are hoping to get out of the group. 
        • Post occasional seed content for people to engage with. This could be a link to a hot new paper/news article related to your community’s topic that recently came out, or it could be one of the following example conversation starters: 
          • What are People Doing? What are you working on now? Do you have any upcoming events?  
          • What are People Thinking? What books have you read? What have you learned recently?  
          • What are People Feeling? What do you like/dislike about_________? What do you think about________?  
          • What are People Fearing? What are you struggling with? What is your biggest challenge? 
        • Feel free to organize optional virtual get-togethers to meet your fellow community members. These could be casual coffee hours to discuss possible collaborations, they could be co-writing sessions to write a policy memo relevant to your topic, or they could even be an informal conference/webinar for community members to get together and present on their work.  


            If you are interested in leading a community and/or have questions after reading this guide, you can connect with Jessica Pugel (jessica_pugel@research2policy.org) for more specifics about settings and moderation. 

            Frequently Asked Questions

            1.  Why did we move to a platform rather than the email method you had before?
              We received feedback from Network members that they would like to be more familiar with other policy-engaged scholars, and there is a general desire to know more about what the RPC does. We hope this platform will support those and other goals.

            2. Do I have to use the platform, or can I opt out?
              Rapid Response Network members are required to have an account to participate. You can participate largely via email, though! You can reply directly to discussions from emails you receive about it.

            3. I have feedback about the usability of this platform. Who do I contact?
              We LOVE feedback! You can use the contact form below, email Jessica Pugel at Jessica_Pugel@research2policy.org, or add a comment on our "Feedback" post in the General Community here.
            General Info

            Questions? Send them in here!