Managing Your Scholarly Identity
Discover how you can increase your professional visibility and track your research impact.
Do you contribute to and interact with the online world? If so, you have a digital footprint. This could be through comments on blogs, online profiles, or any other content you make available on the web. Any activity online leaves a digital footprint.
Do your colleagues, friends, and/or students use social media or any online platform for sharing news, articles, ratings, etc.? If so, you probably have a digital shadow. If others are posting or uploading content about you, including automatically generated content, then you have a digital shadow.
Take control of your digital footprint and shadow by shaping or expanding your online presence. Below are just a few tools that scholars and academics use to curate and manage their online scholarly identity.
Establish and maintain your online identity. Doing this will increase your visibility and grow your professional network. It also increases the visibility of your scholarly outputs and, in turn, the impact of your work.
Below are some places to get started if you don’t already have an established scholarly online presence. Disclosure: many of these are commercial sites, so be sure to review their terms of service, privacy and copyright policies.
- Google Scholar Author Profile | Example | Instructions
- LinkedIn Profile | Example |
- Twitter Account | Example | Twitter for Academics
- Slideshare – share PowerPoint slides from conference presentations
- WordPress Blog | Example | 3 Rules of Academic Blogging
- Academic Social Networks – These networks allow you to share, collaborate, connect, and get analytics and rankings about the impact and reach of your work and the work of others in your field. These 3 networks have received quite a bit of criticism due to copyright infringements and take down notices, charging for advanced features and to promote content, tracking your clicks, selling your data, and the fact that they are all for-profit, commercial companies. They are all free to join; just be advised that when you add content to them, they may be mined and used in ways you did not intend.
- Institutional & Disciplinary Repositories – these are alternatives to the commercial options above
Once established, be sure to keep your profile up to date.
- Be consistent. Use the same name, preferably your full name, for bios and profile pictures. Below are some tools you can use to disambiguate your name and pull together all of your works.
- Monitor your online presence regularly (Google yourself!). This will allow you to make informed decisions about your digital footprint and have some control over your online persona.
Research impact refers to how research influences and changes society. Measuring research impact involves analyzing citations to peer-reviewed literature. Altmetrics are now considered a supplement to these citation metrics. They draw on social media, news, blogs, research networks, and other non-peer reviewed sources to help tell the story of how research impacts the broader society.
Journal Impact Factors measure the importance of a particular journal in a field by taking into account the number of articles published per year and the number of citations to articles published in that journal. These measures are intended to help researchers get a sense of the top journals in their field.
- Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is a product of ISI Web of Knowledge that provides impact factors and rankings of many journals in the social and life sciences based on millions of citations. It offers numerous sorting options including impact factor, total cites, total articles, and immediacy index. In addition, JCR provides a five-year impact factor and visualized trend data.
- Eigenfactor Journal Rankings – an alternative measure of journal importance
- Scimago Journal & Country Rank – uses citation data from Scopus, a scholarly research database to rank journal impact. It also provides rankings by journal country of origin.