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Information and tools for those looking to contribute to the scholarship of their field.

Things you should think about when considering what to do online.

Privacy/personal data

What are your limits? What are you okay with being out there? The companies that run these organizations are tracking you, and you should decide how much you're willing to give them.


Personal vs. work

Who are you willing to have see your profile? Different social networks serve different purposes, so decide beforehand what you want to make available to your coworkers, collaborators and students and what you want to keep separate.



Know what you have the right to do with your own work if you’re thinking of posting the full-text of anything to one of the networks. Check back in with your copyright agreements if it’s been a while since you signed them, or visit SHERPA/RoMEO (linked below) to see your publisher's copyright policy.

A handy way to ensure your publications are all attributed to you is to register for a unique identifier which can then be linked to other professional accounts and used on future work and research to ensure a common connection between the author and the work.

ORCID is a standalone open registry, and you'll also find that you're assigned identifiers if your works are indexed in Scopus (Scopus Author ID) and Web of Science (ResearcherID).


ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID)

  • Persistent 16-character unique identifier for researchers and reviewers to connect to works, grants, patents, etc.
  • Nonprofit organization
  • Founded 2010
  • Free registration
  • Works in conjunction with ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier; ISO 27729)

Academic social networks can provide some opportunities for meeting others in your field and promoting your work, but please note that they will track your personal data and email you incessantly in exchange.



  • Research-based for-profit social network
  • Founded 2008, headquartered in Berlin
  • Free membership (funded by several rounds of investors)
  • Also does: Job listings, profile export into CV
  • Institutional email address required
  • Account required for most uses but free, limited search of materials held within RG is also available

  • Research-based for-profit social network
  • Founded 2008, headquartered in San Francisco
    • Note: .edu domain bought before .edu was restricted to nonprofit educational institutions
  • Free basic membership (”upgrade to premium to remove ads”)
    • Premium membership available for a monthly or yearly fee

Issues with Academic Social Networks
  • Free memberships, lots of funding – where’s the profit?
    • RG: Targeted ads and jobs
    • Academia: premium accounts, jobs
  • Spammy invitations, nonstop emailing
  • Meaningless metrics
  • RG: Fake profiles scraped from citations and personal websites
  • Closed access to user data
  • Fake open access: purports to be open but is closed only to members, some paying
  • Publisher anger and occasional rounds of take-down notices

Works Cited

Kraker, P., Jordan, K., and E. Lex. (2015, December 9). The ResearchGate Score: a good example of a bad metric. The Impact Blog (London School of Economics and Political Science). Retrieved November 28, 2016, from
Lunden, I. (2017, February 28). ResearchGate raises $52.6M for its social research network for scientists. TechCrunch. Retrieved April 12, 2018 from

How is your work being discussed online?

Citation indexes like Scopus and Web of Science track citations between articles, but do not always capture online discussion usage like social media and sharing. These tools, both projects of the nonprofit OurResearch, can help.


  • Free to use DOI search based on Crossref data
  • No account required


  • Researcher profiles that highlight the sharing of open source and open access materials
  • Initially released in 2012 by the organization that is now known as OurResearch
  • Log in with ORCID or Twitter account
  • Allows for user download of all personal data