Whether we like it or not, online profiles and maintaining an online presence as a scholar is very important. Imagine a search committee or a potential future collaborator looking through a CV or an introductory email. One of the first actions that person is likely to take is a Google search of your name. The first page of the results is going to make an impression. Below I've highlighted some of the tools that you can use to curate your online researcher presence.
Twitter has become an important platform for scholars everywhere to use in a professional capacity. Note that Twitter profiles are often the first or second hit on a Google search for a scholar and are frequently clicked on. Twitter is utilized to communicate with others, promote what you are doing and share what you are reading. Each of these components can be conceptualized in the academic as well as the personal sphere. In addition, Altmetrics uses Twitter and other social media sharing sites to score the impact of journal articles. Here are a few articles highlighting the importance of Twitter in the sciences.
ResearchGate is a profile-based social media site targeting STEM scholars. Like other social media sites, ResearchGate is a for-profit company. It has grown since it's founding in 2008 and now boasts over 15 million users according to the website. Many researchers participate in ResearchGate, and Googling academic-related questions will often yield results including discussion from the ResearchGate forums on a precise question. While many scholars participate in ResearchGate, it is not without controversy. One of the prime accusations against ResearchGate is copyright infringement due to the uploading of articles indiscriminately by users coupled with a failure to better enforce article removal on the part of ResearchGate. While having a ResearchGate account may benefit your academic profile, always make sure to examine copyright regulations of publishing agreements prior to uploading research papers and be aware that ResearchGate is in the business of profiting.
In the United States, it has become commonplace for principal investigators to maintain a lab website. Some individual researchers, especially those approaching the academic job market, also will maintain personal websites. In both cases, these websites act as a place to find curated information about the researcher, research interests and lab members. These websites do not need to be labor-intensive to create but should be regularly maintained to reflect the current institution you are a part of. You do not need to have extensive web editing skills or experience to manage a personal website. There are a few out of the box website creation tools that are free and some even offer free hosting such as Weebly or WordPress.
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ORCID Identifiers have become a standard method for author disambiguation and collecting works together that you have authored or co-authored. An ORCID is a string of numbers that acts as a personal identifier and is used in publications, grant applications, on CVs, speaker profiles and more. Additionally, the ORCID profile acts as a standard listing for your educational background, areas of research interest and has a location to list other scholar IDs such as the Web of Science ResearcherID. To get an ORCID iD simply sign up at the ORCID website. Be sure to sign up with your UT email address and keep your profile up to date when changing institution.
Obtaining a Google Scholar profile will assist your online visibility and allow you to curate your information that appears in Google Scholar searches. Simply go to Google Scholar and click on the "my profile" link in the upper left-hand corner. Providing a UT email will allow the system to verify your affiliation. Easy to set up, this system will allow the option of automatically adding your authored items or prompting you via email for review.
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