Technology for researchers

Day 3: Issues and challenges for researchers

Welcome to the final day of this Espresso Course!

In the previous two days, we’ve looked at the value of building your researcher identity, ideas for selection of best-fit tools, and highlighted ORCiD, Mendeley and Kudos.

Today, let’s focus on some of the challenges and issues.

The Tower of Babel, by jaciXIII, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, downloaded 13/11/17

Challenges and disincentives

Academics described their concerns around emerging tools (Nicholas et al., 2015) as a rise of ‘a scholarly Tower of Babel’, a confusing multiplicity of ways of providing recognition for scholarly work. In the same paper, other groups reported:

  • a lack of time and incentive to engage fully with these emerging mechanisms
  • that newer platforms don’t carry the weight or legitimacy of well-established more traditional channels and options
  • weaknesses in the underpinning semantic systems or perceived insufficiently established trustworthiness of platforms.

In the news…

The broader scholarly communications environment within which researcher identity is one aspect, has thrown up a lot of reasons to be wary. The complexities faced by researchers and scholarly communities – and society at large – are illustrated in the following recent examples.

Some academics took down their profile due to the online platform’s proposal to charge authors for recommendations.

Research Gate has come under fire with Publishers demanding the removal of research articles from the site because they breach publishers’ copyright. A lawsuit has been filed alleging widespread copyright infringement (Van Noorden, 2017).

  • As Dr Danny Kingsley Deputy Director Cambridge University Library – Scholarly Communication and Research Services tweeted, there’s renewed scrutiny on user obligations in the updated ResearchGate Terms of Service.


  • This case highlights the very real challenges time-poor researchers face in navigating the parameters within which scholarly outputs can and can’t be shared. This applies not only in the context of digital researcher profile tools, but more broadly in our complex publishing environment.

Top tip: Contact your institutional repository for expert guidance on publishing your research outputs. ANU staff and students can contact Elke Dawson and the team from ANU Open Research at

Protect your hard-earned identity and reputation

Given these concerns and challenges, what are some protective measures you can take to guard your scholarly reputation if:

  • you are published in a predatory journal?
  • you are erroneously listed as an author?
  • your research is claimed by someone else?

The key message is to take immediate action says Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian at the Australian National University.

Check out what steps to take when your research identity and reputation come under fire.

Cyber savvy – top tips

Your online identity is incredibly valuable. What would the implications of harm to your reputation or potential lost research be if you were hacked and lost control of your online identity?

  • If using a number of online profile tools, consider either having one identity for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your academic profiles OR keep your professional/academic identity separate from general social media. There are pros and cons for both approaches.
  • Two-factor authentication on your Facebook account is a good idea if using your Facebook ID to create accounts with researcher profile tools. The same principle applies to any online storage account like DropBox or Google Drive where you store your research or manuscripts.
  • If you decide to no longer use (leave) a platform, delete your profile. Leaving unused profiles that may link into other active online accounts is a potential backdoor for hackers.
  • Find more suggestions from ANU IT Security, including keeping your software up to date on computers and personal devices.

Learning activity 4

Check out responses to #DeleteAcademiaEdu on Twitter.

Share your thoughts in the comments section on one or more of the following talking points. As always, building upon other’s ideas is encouraged.

  • What stands out for you about the conversations around #DeleteAcademiaEdu? Have you or any of your colleagues acted on #DeleteAcademiaEdu?
  • What issues have you or colleagues experienced in the use of researcher identity tools?
  • Has discussing the issues within this community of practice helped reduce some of the researcher identity “fear-factor” for you? What concerns remain?
  • Let’s do a bit of Blue Sky thinking…In a perfect world, what would the ultimate researcher identity tool look like?

Resources and further reading

LSE Impact Blog. “Algorithmic accountability in scholarship: what we can learn from #DeleteAcademiaEdu” 2016.

LSE Impact Blog. “Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication.” 2016.

Nicholas, David, et al. “New Ways of Building, Showcasing, and Measuring Scholarly Reputation.” Learned Publishing 28.3 (2015): 169-83.

Riley, James. “The evolution of our online identity” 2017. Accessed 9 November 2017

Times Higher Education. “The A to Z of Social Media for Academia: Your Definitive Guide to Using Social Media as an Academic.”  2017. Accessed 9 November 2017.

Van Noorden, Richard. Publishers threaten to remove millions of papers from ResearchGate: Take-down notices “imminent” as lawsuit is filed alleging widespread copyright infringement. 2017 Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2017.22793


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43 thoughts on “Day 3: Issues and challenges for researchers

  1. Good morning. Welcome to Day 3.

    Yesterday’s discussion was engaging – thank you to each of you for participating.

    Anne, Catherine, Alice and others had some satisfying quick wins as you connected your ORCiD to Mendely, LOOP or other tools.

    A couple of participants undertook a digital health check by looking at the results of Googling their name. It’s an effective initial measure to evaluate what other researchers find – or don’t find – when they search for you by name.

    We enjoyed the sense of momentum as the group collectively took steps to build and connect profiles.
    Looking forward to more today!

    Candida, Elke and Imogen

  2. The ANU has developed a module in Wattle – Research Integrity Training, about Google Drive and Google Email, it says “We do NOT recommend the use of Google Drive and Google Email
    for the storage and transmission of data. The Google copyright permissions do not allow you to permanently
    remove data and give Google the right to use anything you create. In general, you should carefully consider
    the Terms/Conditions of Service for whichever service you wish to use.”.

    1. Great example Zixiao. And the line: “..In general, you should carefully consider
      the Terms/Conditions of Service for whichever service you wish to use.” hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it.

  3. As I have previously mentioned has never been very good for my purposes. I usually overcome the copyright problem on ResearchGate by either only posting the first page of my article or posting the link provided by the journal which allows 50 free downloads. Researchers have often contacted me for a full copy of the article which I send them privately.

    1. Hello Kelly

      Those are great strategies and great to see that you are aware of the copyright implications. I’d also like you to consider submitting the Author’s Accepted Version (AAM) ie. the one before it gets branded, paginated etc by the publisher, to your insstitutional repository. This is ANU Open Research in our case, but all universities have one or can point you in he right direct. JUst check with the Library,

      The majority of publishers allow us to deposit and make available the AAM (sometimes with a minimal embargo) in our non-commercial, institutional repository with a link to the published version. You can then use the repository link in your online profile/s certain in the knowledge that the link will always work and you are not in breach of copyright.

    2. Hi Kelly,
      I was concerned to see that the copyright laws have all changed, as it’s not something of followed. Fortunately, I do the same as you anyway.

      1. Hello Angela

        This is another benefit of depositing your research in an instutitional repository, as it is our job to keep on top of any copyright changes so you don’t have to.

  4. What issues have you or colleagues experienced in the use of researcher identity tools?
    I think the main issue I have is the time to keep all the profiles up to date. As well as ResearchGate, Loop, and ORCID, I remembered I have ResearcherID and GoogleScholar. And theirs ARIES here at ANU as well! One can only really focusing on maintaining 1 or 2 of them, I think. I did see someone’s webpage today, where they stated that they had profiles on x, y, and z, but only maintained x. This is a good idea, and I think that’s what I might do on my CV in future!

    1. Hello Angela

      With the advent of ORCID, the idea is that ANU systems like ARIES (soon to be replaced by RIMS) will be able automatically link to other systems (with your premission) and capture your research outputs. This should significantly reduce the time you spend doing this work. Just remember to add your ORCID details to all publication and grant submissions and any publicity you generate around them such as Twitter, LinkedIn, The Conversation, blog posts ec.

  5. Having just replied to Kelly about depositong in an institituonal repository made me think about what everyone knows about them. I’ve been living and breathing them for too long to remember, but forget with everything else going on, this may not be the case for you.

    Imogen calls them’ peace of mind’ mechanisms and I refer to them as a library’s ‘digital bookshelves.’

    Have you used one to share / preserve / publiscise your research, especially the non-tradtional resource outputs (NTROs) such as conference posters, creative works, public lectures etc. ?

    1. Hi Elke and everyone,
      That’s a good question to ask, as I think many of us are not familiar with what we can deposit, or unaware that it’s more than journal article and conference papers. I am learning!
      Peace of mind in the sense that institutional repositories:
      * provide open access for all, including the broader public, to world class research (equality, societal wellbeing)
      * a stable robust archiving of research outputs – peace of mind re long term maintenance and migration to new formats/technologies ie I don’t have to think about it!
      * expert support for making sure embargoes or publishing agreements are adhered to.

      Others may have different ideas?

  6. Hi all,
    Primarily, in this posting I’m addressing the third discussion point listed above.

    Yes, working within our community of practice over the last few days has reduced my concerns about online researcher identity platforms. Rather than a ‘fear-factor’ though, I would describe my feelings/concerns as having been more akin to a lack of trust in the motives behind some of the online platforms – so, the ‘trust-factor, if you will, has been a key concern for me [although, I can see how any such lack of trust might be interpreted as a ‘fear’].

    Thinking about these things has also helped me unpack/identify more of the values underpinning my feelings about online researcher identify platforms and I really appreciated reading Paulo Mangiafico’s nuanced perspectives on the controversy in the LSE Impact Blog: Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication. I strongly support the case he makes for why we ought to consider utilising the online platforms at our university more fully; specifically, those established and maintained by our library/librarians, with the mission driven purpose of advancing learning, teaching, and research. This mission strongly aligns with my own commitment to the democratisation of knowledge and along with ORCiD I will be giving more attention to my presence on the ANU institutional repository [the link to the VIVO and Duke University was interesting too].

    So, at the end of this course, the reflective-space enabled by its online, self-paced format has helped me develop a more informed and considered approach to things such as where I place and build my online researcher identity – a good outcome and thanks everyone for your contributions!

    Until next year – cheers!

    1. Hi Catherine,
      Yes, trust-factor is as you say, a big part of the equation. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today. My thoughts after reading the LSE blog post were along the same lines – that repository infrastructures managed by institutional libraries are a gift to our society for so many reasons! I’m chuffed to hear that more attention to your ANU repository presence will be a focus for you following this course.
      Again, many thanks for your feedback, insights and participation!

    2. Hi Catherine

      Thanks for your great summary of how this course assisted your concerns about online researcher identity platforms and I am sure others reading but not posting feel the same.

      Great to hear your ANU repository presence will be a focus for you – that’s what we like to hear!

  7. Looks like my to-do list just got “Delete” moved to the top – I had almost forgotten about that constant string of auto-generated emails from Academia (mentioned in the Twitter comments). I just delete them as I come across them but it’s one task I could do without! I did notice that it was mainly humanities researchers who were deleting … or at least they were the ones who had an alternatve lined up ( I must admit I’m kind of looking forward to having one less identity to maintain if I do delete Academia.
    Copyright on ResearchGate would have to be my remaining concern. I dont know if I’m particularly fond of Kelly’s idea of uploading the front page of articles to ResGate but I do like the idea of using the Open Research setup at ANU for the “peace of mind”. Elke: I think at the end of last year I was contacted by the OpenResearch people for AAMs of a couple of my papers – is that a regular callout from your team?
    I had not heard of NTROs before! It would be good to capture them all somewhere and ResGate seems to be pushing for authors to put up such items more extensively. On the other hand if I pick ORCID as my top identity then ORCID seems to be a place that only captures peer-reviewed items. Thoughts on that anyone?
    In a perfect world … I maintain one or two identities max (say ORCID and ANU OpenResearch) and export from them to others. My track record looks fabulous, all my grant proposals win funding … but I digress. Looking forward to seeing people at the Coffee Lab tomorrow!

    1. Hello Alice

      I’m only new to this position since the start of the year, so am not aware of this ‘call-out’, although it may not be a bad idea, perhaps at the end of the year when researchers may have a bit more time. It might have somehing to do with our regular load from ARIES where we get all the data and assocated publications collected by Research Services throughout the year. Unfortunately we have to suppress all the publications because of the copyright issues previously alluded to, so getting an AAM to attach to a recdord in Open Research would be great.

    2. Hi Alice
      A bit of a late response my apologies, busy with work and not enough time! – but there is not a “call out” as Elke mentioned but when there are patron requests for journal articles that we cannot make the published version available then we try to obtain versions that are within the copyright arrangements in Sherpa/Romeo. So sometimes, there may be more requests for AAM than others. I think also at one stage the more recent publications via Scopus alerts the team was processing, there would have been a fair few request going out for AAMs.

  8. And in news just to hand – I have been acknowledged in a paper ( as providing “valuable comments on drafts”. Now how to capture this sort of involvement that (appropriately) isn’t up there at joint-author level? Another kind of NTRO? This is a common issue in science I think where colleagues provide statistical advice, data extraction etc etc without acheiving joint-author status.

    1. Congratulations, Alice *thumbs up* and a great question!

      Thinking off the top of my head, would altmetrics provide a mechanism for that? If you blog or tweet regularly, you could mention that acknowledgement with the details and doi of the article. Your readers would be directed to the permanent identifier/URL.
      Altmetrics would capture the tweets/blogs/other mentions of the article, including yours and (I think) retweets of your tweet or other blog mentions.
      Altmetrics tips and tricks here:

      Elke, am I on the right track?

      1. Hello Alice and Imogen

        I think Imogen’s idea is a good one, however I think you need to add your ORCID as well as the DOI, otherwise the tweets will just go to the impact of the article and not you.

        Having said that I have logged the question with Altmetric support to see if they havee any suggestions. Stay tuned.

        1. Hello Alice and Imogen

          Further to my comment yesterday, I have heard back from Altmetric Support overnight and unfortunately they don’t track aknowledgements:

          “We don’t currently track acknowledgements as an output type. As you stated, sharing the DOI would add to the Altmetric Details Page for the article and not to a page about the acknowledgement. I will feedback this request to our Product Development Manager as an idea for tracking in future.”

    2. Alice, why would you want to “capture” being acknowledged in a paper? What is a NTRO?

      Colleagues provide each other with advice all the time (that is what is being a colleague is). You can’t expect formal accounting for all of this.

      Or perhaps we need a Uber-like block-chain service for this: you request some help, agree a price, and the system debits your account and credits your colleague. The unit of exchange for this could be “micro-papers” (one thousandth of a paper authorship). 😉

      1. Hello Tom

        An NTRO is a ‘Non-traditional research output’ such as a creative work, working/technical paper, public lecture, commissione report, reearch datasets etc. all of which are now starting to be measured to gauge impact and engagement.

    3. Yes, Alice,
      This is part of everyday routine for statisticians. Really a grey area and in fact we can’t capture all of these. I guess, citing this “nature” example is much better than any attempted aggregation 🙂

  9. It was difficult to understand the responses to #DeleteAcademiaEdu without some context. One post mentioned “academia dot edu” so I went to that website and found I am registered. I vaguely remember seeing email posts saying that I had been cited in a paper and people were reading my papers at something which might have been this website.

    What stands out for me about the #DeleteAcademiaEdu discussion is that no one bothered to provide the context as to what it is about.

    I don’t recall any of my colleagues ever mentioning #DeleteAcademiaEdu. The only websites which do get mentioned are LinkedIn amongst my industry colleagues, and ResearchGate by a couple of academics.

    Most of my academic colleagues never mention researcher identity tools. Perhaps they are using them and consider this so routine it is not worth mentioning, or perhaps they don’t think them worth the effort.

    I wasn’t aware this was a “community of practice”, I thought it was a course. In any case, this has not reduced my researcher identity “fear-factor”, if anything it has been increased. I worry as to who is running all these services and to what end. Perhaps I should go and de-register myself from all of these, except ORCID, which ANU and CSIRO seem to approve of.

    In a perfect world researcher identity tools would be imperfect. It would not be a good world if each researcher was issued with one global unchangeable identity for life. Also, in an ideal; world there would not be this race to publish supposed “research” papers.

  10. Hi everyone,
    It’s good to have clarity on the benefits and drawbacks various tools offer and to reflect on the values underpinning our feelings about online researcher identify platforms. Some of us now have a plan of action to implement small (or larger) changes to our online profile over the quieter time of year.

    Looking ahead, innovations such as the Research Information Management System Program (RIMS) are taking a holistic approach that spans all research support activities from the conception of research ideas through to the promotion of research outcomes. Find out more at

    A final thank you to everyone for your input to making this such a great three days.

    We invite you to join us for a friendly discussion about topics related to the course over a coffee.
    10am, Thursday 16 Nov, Coffee Lab, ANU Pop-Up
    Please RSVP to

    Candida, Elke and Imogen

  11. Hi,
    I agree there is no one size for all. Eventually our effort in real “hard working” plus “soft selling” will pay off. Thanks!

  12. It was lovely to put real faces to names at the Coffee Lab this morning. I checked the list of all coffee courses and couldn’t see which one I had planned to do earlier, so the ideas we discussed together this morning will simply make a great starting point for 2018.
    Thanks for putting on this course, I really enjoyed it.

    1. Hi Alice, great to meet you too. Thanks for the feedback, looking forward to participating with you in further courses next year.

  13. Hi Everyone

    This short 3 day course has been most valuable to me. Whilst I have not actually encountered any of the issues above because I have not yet used these platforms, it has certainly flagged issues that I will need to be mindful of. I am indeed motivated to explore the various tools available, and I am more confident now after having participated in this helpful course.

    1. Hi Tracey,
      Great to hear it’s been helpful and highlighted thing to consider as you build your profile. Feel free to contact ANU Open Research ( with any questions that might pop up! Stay tuned to hear about upcoming courses for 2018. There will be a call for suggestions in due course.

  14. The twitter comments on AcademiaEu are enough to turn me off it – charging to access an email about your work and the fact that only members can access the site.

  15. Although my MPhil thesis is on ANU Open Research, I didn’t know you could add other research outputs to it. Maybe the course could talk more about this? A minor criticism of the course is that it seems to be geared to staff who already know a bit about online research profiles, rather than people like me who are finishing their PhDs & just entering into this strange world.

    1. Hi Lawrence,
      Thank you for both those suggestions – highly valuable feedback. We will take those on board in our planning for 2018. Certainly we wish to showcase ANU Open Research and equally be aware the various experiences and career stages of our community.

  16. Reading through the thread here and on Twitter, I remembered that actually the reason I signed up to a paid Academia account was that I had these weird emails saying that I had been cited which popped up in my inbox. So I paid the $$, and found that this was not the case – can’t even remember quite what it was, maybe something like the conference paper I cited had other people from same conference who had also mentioned the conference (but not my paper). Anyway. I paid, forgot about it, and now I’m thinking wow this is pretty mucky stuff. I still think that I need to be out there occupying that space in these platforms because i have some control over identity theft (eg what if i deleted my profile and then someone else added it after?) and because the first google page of hits will be all academic this way. Yes I feel uneasy, but I still think an online profile is vital. This is standard practice for recruitment in the public service, a comprehensive online audit of job applicants to screen them before CVs are even carefully read.

  17. Hi, Like Tom i wasn’t aware of #deleteAcademiaEdu. I do email my publications to ANU in a batch but its really good to know that they can now use ORCID (which is up to date) to link to the ANU page. Like some of the others mentioned, being time-poor is probably the biggest barrier to keeping things up to date but I definitely try with the ANU site. Thanks to Thea for pointing out that a web-based screening of candidates prior to reading CVs is common practice- i did not know that! I also did not know about ANU OPen Research for other research outputs in addition to theses.

  18. I do have colleagues who have abandoned in favour of open access equivalents. I do think about deleting my account, but many people around the world follow me who would not otherwise have found me, I suspect, and it seems a shame to abandon that network. I have also received many good publication recommendations on there, among the many irrelevant ones. It also helped me find many papers that cite my work, which is the main reason I joined as a paying member. I will think about quitting for a bit longer while I weigh up the pros and cons!

  19. You do have to be very careful and ensure that you read the copyright info for the paper you’re publishing in so that you don’t breach it. I have had an instance in the past on ResearchGate where one of my collaborators uploaded a publicly available full final text of the article. It was at a time where the magazine itself had made our article publicly available for 1 month before putting it back behind their paywall but as far as I could read from the copyright rules they sent us, it was still an infringement. It was then quite a hassle for me to get it changed as I hadn’t uploaded it from my account and despite being the first author, apparently couldn’t have a say in how my paper was made available. To be fair, I think some of these things have changed as with a more recent article ResearchGate did inform me when another coauthor linked our arXiv version for me to approve of the addition, so hopefully, these academic networking tools are updating their procedures and usability over time.

  20. I was interested in Day 3’s comment “Research Gate has come under fire with Publishers demanding the removal of research articles from the site because they breach publishers’ copyright.” I have often wondered about copyright when using this tool. I was asked to share an article that may otherwise only be accessed with a log in, subscription or affiliation. I contacted the journal to request permission in this case to check that I wasn’t breaching copyright by openly sharing the article. They were fine with this. I am not clear about the rules around this in general, so at the moment I share articles if they are openly or freely accessible via Google.

  21. I am concerned about the prevalence of commercial services in this space, many of which seem to have borderline practises at best. The fact that some academics were being asked to pay for a Academiaedu account to access messages that are quite tangentially related to them is very disconcerting. More generally, the differential access scholars from different institutions (let alone unaffiliated academics) have to up-to-date research really accentuates already existing inequalities within academia. I know some journals are now allowing researchers to publish with them open access for a fee. This does not seem like an overly satisfactory solution, however. Perhaps, just sticking with institutional repositories is the way to go.

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