Build your researcher profile
Written by Imogen Ingram and Candida Spence, The Australian National University
Welcome to the last ANU Online Course for 2017!
In this three day Espresso Course we’ll assist you to establish or refresh your online researcher profile, and suggest a number of tools you might like to consider.
We’ll also explore some of the issues and challenges around researcher profiles and platforms in the digital environment.
What is meant by researcher identity?
Let’s hear about researcher identity from Roxanne Missingham:
Why have an online researcher identity?
Enhancement of scholarly reputation through a digital presence is increasingly recognised as a legitimate aspect of scholarly activity, output and measurement of those outputs. Being able to maximise the effectiveness of available reputational mechanisms and platforms has become a core researcher capability in the digital environment (Nicholas, et al. 2015).
These mechanisms and platforms (which we’ll call tools from now on), contribute to your online researcher identity. These tools help you to establish, build and enrich your researcher profile over time.
Here’s some examples:
- Author identifiers such as ORCID, Scopus Author ID, and ResearcherID help to uniquely identify you and can be integrated with your institutional systems and grant funders systems.
- Academic social networks such as Academia edu, ResearchGate and Mendeley have built-in social, collaboration and repository functionality.
- Institutional, professional or researcher platforms which increase the visibility of you and your work. Think: Institutional repositories, such as ANU Open Research, LinkedIn to actively build and engage with your professional network, and Google Scholar to showcase your publications and co-authorship network.
Learning Activity 1: Joining the community
As your first activity, head to the comments section and introduce yourself (you can access this by scrolling down to the bottom of the page). We’d love to know:
- Your name
- Your university or sector
- Your role, and
- Do you have an ORCID ID? (it’s okay to say No)
- Do you regularly use academic social networking platforms? If so, which one/s? (it’s okay to say No)
What are the motivators?
Investigations into the role that ‘emerging reputational mechanisms and platforms are playing in building, maintaining and showcasing scholarly reputation in the digital age’ (Nicholas, et al. 2015) revealed interesting trends amongst various scholarly communities.
Motivators for the use of popular platforms such as Academia.edu, ResearchGate and Mendeley are varied (Nicholas et al. 2015) and include:
- Article and paper suggestions
- Sharing and reading full-text papers*
- Project collaborations
- Tracking of research outputs & metrics
- Going beyond the publications and citations paradigm
- Research promotion
- Job suggestions
*(As part of setting up an online profile, be aware that sharing published versions of your work, even if the platform allows it, breaches the law. We’ll touch on this in Day 3.)
Let’s hear from Dr Anthony Dona, about the importance of building your researcher identity and maintaining your collaborative networks:
Best-fit for you?
It’s a good idea to consider your motivations and to investigate how the digital tools you choose will fit into your workflows.
What kind of support do you want at different phases of the research cycle?
Academic social networks – the Swiss Army Knives of scholarly communication provides insightful and detailed analysis of usage and functionality across a number of platforms throughout the following phases:
- Outreach (impact/engagement)
The holistic approach
We’d like to emphasise the importance of the holistic persona in this discussion around online researcher identity. This issue is creatively tackled by QUT’s Pimp my Profile initiative (Thompson and French, 2016).
With this approach in mind, other factors in your decision might include the points listed below:
- Does the community you are signing up to align with your values – personal & professional?
- If you’re already highly visible within your scholarly community, is this a digital tool that genuinely enhances your scholarship and reputation?
- How much “maintenance” is required – can some aspects be automated and what user support is available?
- Who “does it well’ – who can I emulate to get max value from a particular digital tool?
- Your disciplinary field – where are collaborators or peers in your discipline more likely to be found?
- Data reuse conditions and business models that underpin various platforms as discussed by Lambert Heller in this LSE Impact Blog post.
- Your legitimate concerns around online identity – Dr Mark Carrigan addresses researcher concerns
Learning Activity 2
Share your thoughts on one or more of these questions in the comments section:
- Do the motivators and concerns raised in this post ring true for you?
- Do you have a clear distinction between your professional/academic identity and your personal online presence? Or, do you have a crossover between the professional and personal?
- Why are you using – or not using – certain researcher identifiers and profiles?
- In your disciplinary area, what are the most popular tools?
We encourage you to look over the comments posted by others and respond to at least one other person who raised a perspective that you either haven’t considered, or builds on your own ideas further.
ResearchEx. “Online identity”. YouTube, presented by Mark Carrigan, 1 Nov. 2011. https://youtu.be/Q-OoKA2RGRM
Innovations, 101. “Academic Social Networks – the Swiss Army Knives of Scholarly Communication.” Innovations in Scholarly Communication: changing research workflows 2016.
Nicholas, David, et al. “New Ways of Building, Showcasing, and Measuring Scholarly Reputation.” Learned Publishing 28.3 (2015): 169-83.
Thompson, Ellen, and French, Sally. “Pimp My Profile and the Researcher Profile Health Check: Practical, Individualised Researcher Support Initiatives Co-Created by Library and Faculty.” ALIA National Conference 2016. 2016. Print.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.