5 Methods to Develop Your Online Presence (for Researchers)
of the activity around the world now takes place online. Researchers
store data online, communicate via e-mail, and of course, read scholarly
articles published online. But there is more online than just one’s
data. As with any other job, it’s very important for researchers to
control their own online presence. When someone enters your name into
Google, what will they find? What do you want them to find?
Here are some suggestions for improving your online visibility so that others find the information you want them to see.
is a rapidly growing professional networking site. Many of you may
already have LinkedIn profiles, but it may be time to improve them to
maximize your impact. Your LinkedIn profile may very well be the top
item on a Google search using your name, so be sure that the information
there is accurate and engaging. Here are a few specific ideas:
- Add a professional-looking photograph of yourself.
Profiles without pictures are far less likely to be read. Use a photo
that clearly shows your face and fills the entire space available for
the profile picture.
- Customize your profile's URL to include your name. This extra step will help increase traffic when people search for you online (for example, my public profile URL is http://www.linkedin.com/in/benmudrak).
You should see your public profile URL underneath your picture on your
profile page. Click 'edit' to choose your own (e.g.,
- Be sure to share your publication list, important conference presentations, editorial positions, etc. If
it is important to you, you can find an appropriate section on your
profile. LinkedIn offers a number of options for section headings, so
choose the ones that fit you best. You can also customize which parts of your profile can be seen by the public (your entire profile will be visible to any of your connections).
2. TwitterTwitter is increasingly popular among scientists
as a place to share opinions and recent publications, with instant
feedback possible from colleagues around the world (including people you
may never have the chance to talk to in person!). Consider signing up
for a Twitter account and connecting to the sea of colleagues, journals,
publishers, universities, and other groups already on Twitter. Some
- Choose a short user name! You
only have 140 characters in each tweet, and if someone wants to mention
you, your name counts against that limit. Make it easy by going as
short as possible while still being recognizable.
- Look for hashtags used in your field. You will encounter these terms, which begin with the hash or pound symbol (#). Click on a hashtag (such as #peerreview)
to find out what people are saying about that topic. Many conferences
also suggest a hashtag so you can see tweets about the event, even if
you're not there!
- Use URL shorteners like bit.ly to help save space when you are sending links. If you include short links, you are more likely to be retweeted or mentioned by others.
3. Profiles focused on your research productsMost
scientists want to focus on their research when creating an online
profile. Specifically, the publication record is still the major
highlight of one’s professional CV. Here are a couple of sites that
specifically focus on your research. Creating and maintaining profiles
on these sites will help others become aware of your productivity and
help you see the impact your work has on the research community and
- ORCID: A non-profit organization, ORCID provides a unique identifier for each researcher.
This identifier helps make sure that you get credit for all your work,
even if the name you publish under changes for some reason. When signing
up for your ORCID number, you can fill in your profile to ensure that
all your work is represented. One more reason you should get into this: the number of ORCIDs grew 10-fold in 2013.
- ImpactStory: Another non-profit, ImpactStory
lets you create an online CV of all your research products, not just
published articles (data sets, websites, software, etc.). In addition to
demonstrating the full picture of your productivity in one place,
ImpactStory also provides information about how frequently your work is
cited, mentioned, and discussed around the web. You can even embed your
ImpactStory on your online CV or lab website using HTML from an "embed"
link on your profile page.
- figshare: figshare
is a repository where researchers can deposit any research output for
public access. Each object (e.g., a raw data set, movie, poster, or
preprint) receives a DOI, so it's citable in peer-reviewed literature.
Putting some of your work on figshare is an excellent way to present
your true expertise to the research community (and provide access to
data that others can build on).
- Kudos: Kudos is
not a research profile per se, but signing up for an account lets you
provide more context for your publications and increase readership. You
can read more about Kudos in our recent feature.
4. Social networking sites for researchersIn
addition to broad networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, there are
sites geared specifically toward investigators. These sites are not as
commonly visited as the big names in social media, but they still
represent an opportunity to discover new research (and sometimes
full-text articles), find collaborators, and maintain another online
profile that will show up when someone searches for you.
Here are two well known academic networking sites, but there are others, including field-specific networks like Malaria World.
5. Lab or group websitesLastly,
it is very helpful to maintain a current and detailed lab website (if
applicable). Researchers do not always have control over their own
website, but be sure to tell your university to update your publications
list and section about research interests when necessary. You can also
consider a lab blog, where you would control 100% of the content.
Services like WordPress are free and not very difficult to use.
Questions? Contact us on Twitter or by e-mail. If you have additional tips you think we should include or cover at a later date, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 Methods to Develop Your Online Presence (for Researchers) | AJE | American Journal Experts