Brianna Buljung

This chapter will help you:

  • Explore the role that of a well curated online scholarly presence
  • Establish and populate your ORCiD profile
  • Evaluate your existing online presence and determine which profiles to maintain


Every researcher, even those still in school, have a scholarly identity that extends beyond the specific project they are working on at that moment. This identity is a compilation of their educational, accomplishments, employment history, grants funded, awards and scholarly output. This identity exists whether or not you deliberately curate it using researcher platforms and social media profiles. Each time you publish, are awarded a grant, write a blog post, are featured on a website, or are mentioned in a news story, you are building your scholarly identity.

It is important for researchers to actively manage their scholarly online presence to ensure that it accurately portrays their career and accomplishments. Actively maintaining profiles on platforms like ORCiD and LinkedIn will help you to promote your work and control the message that your identity tells about your career. This chapter will help you to explore your scholarly identity, manage it and promote your work. It will describe the reasons to manage your identity online as well as platforms and tools that you can use to promote your work.

Before you continue reading this chapter, take a few minutes to evaluate your current online scholarly identity. Early career researchers who are still in school may not have much of a presence yet, but more established researchers will have more to evaluate. Start by searching for yourself in your favorite internet browser, and consider the following items:

  • Did you find yourself?
  • Did you also find several other researchers with the similar names?
  • What links and items are tied to you in the search results?
  • Was it easy to find yourself? Or did you have to click through several pages of results?

Why You Should Manage Your Scholarly Identity

Your scholarly identity has three components: your identity as a professional, your impact on your discipline and the reputation of your work. Your identity as a professional tells the story of your career. It helps you to establish your place in your field and describe your expertise and experience. Your impact includes details about how influential you are and how often your work is used and cited by others. The reputation of your work is established by how widely known you are and how others view your work. A well crafted scholarly identity online will help you to tell your story about your professional work, demonstrate your impact and help others to find and use your work.

The details of your identity are created in a number of different ways. Some aspects you create, such as social media profiles and publications. Others are created by others such as citations of your work. Below, Michael Habib’s Scholarly Identity Matrix details where different elements fall within your identity. Ideally, you want your online scholarly presence to only include items that are about you, both those created by you and by others. You want to minimize the number of items that fall into the final square of the matrix, those that are neither about you nor created by you. Items in this square may end up in your online identity by mistake because other researchers may have the same or a similar name. They may also have similar expertise. Your scholarly identity will help the digitally connected world to keep track of your scholarly contributions while minimizing association with items that fall into that fourth quadrant.

matrix with about me, not about me along the top and by me, not by me along the left side
Michael Habib’s Scholarly Identity Matrix (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

An accurate and well managed online scholarly presence can be helpful in establishing your career and promoting your work. Primarily, it helps significantly reduce the number of items from the fourth quadrant unintentionally being associated with your work. In many parts of the world there are common names that can be erroneously associated with the wrong researcher. It may be necessary to disambiguate your name to ensure that only your work is associated with you. A managed identity can also help you to connect your work across multiple platforms and profiles, showcase your work and network with peers. Additionally, some publishers and funders require researchers to tie their work to a persistent identifier, such as an ORCiD ID.

What is ORCiD? ORCiD allows researchers to register a free, unique, persistent identifier. Claiming and using an ORCiD ID is an easy way to establish and manage your scholarly online presence. Each ID number is associated with a digital resume or curriculum vitae that contains information about your education, employment, grants and scholarly output. ORCiD is an Independent not-for-profit organization that is funded by the contributions of member organizations. It was launched in 2012 and is used by researchers in more than 240 countries. Approximately 1 million researchers in the US have profiles, followed by Brazil, China, Great Britain, India, Spain and Germany.

Maintaining an ORCiD profile allows you to identify and claim your scholarship and publications. It can also help you to unify the different aspects of your scholarship by serving as the central element of your online scholarly identity. An important feature of ORCiD is its ability to resolve name ambiguity by providing a central registry of unique identifiers for individual researchers. It then uses an open and transparent linking mechanism between ORCiD, other researcher identifier schemes, and the scholarly infrastructure to ensure that work is associated with the correct researchers.

Why should you get your own ORCiD ID? It can improve discoverability of your work and connect your work across platforms. It helps others to find your work, and once they have found you, they can then easily find other publications that you have written. More than 100 journals require submitting authors to have an ORCiD. It also allows for a wide range of works that can be included on your profile, extending beyond traditional outputs like articles and conference proceedings. Unlike university websites, your ORCiD can follow you throughout your career, persisting beyond a single organization or affiliation. It is open source, responsive to users and intricately integrated across the scholarly ecosystem, inter-operating with more than 3,900 systems. The research ecosystem is driven and made more efficient by the real-time data that is made available by the member organizations participating in this system.

Establishing and Managing Scholarly Online Presence

The first step in establishing an online presence should be creating and populating an ORCiD profile. This profile can function as the center of your identity by using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and trusted organizations to automatically pull information into your profile that can be used to auto-populate other sites, including RIMS. Trusted organizations are typically research institutions, publishers, or funding agencies that have integrated ORCiD with their systems, such as a central identity management or profiles system, HR system, research information and reporting systems, publishing platforms and repositories and grant management systems. It is a good idea to connect your ORCiD with as many of your affiliated organizations as possible because organizations can only add information to your profile if you give them permission. Register for your unique ID on the ORCiD website.

Once you have created a profile, you will need to populate content and connect to APIs and trusted organizations. You control the amount of information that you include in your profile by self-populating or explicitly providing permission for other organizations to add content. You also control the privacy settings. Individual items can be set to display on the public profile, only for trusted parties or be kept private. This level of control enables you to craft the message that you want your profile to provide about your scholarly identity. As discussed above, because name disambiguation can be an issue in several parts of the world, you can use the “Names” section to ensure your name is properly displayed. You can include all the names you have published under as well as different languages and scripts. Scholars who have both Chinese and English names, for example, can include both on their profile, enabling the researcher to be found in both languages. Use the biography section to tell the story of your scholarly identity including places of employment and your current research interests. This is the first part of the profile that viewers see, so your statement should be well crafted, grammatically correct and concise.

Sample ORCiD profile with arrows pointing to different elements
Example of a complete ORCiD profile

As an early career researcher, you may not have much content on your profile now. However, you will be able to return to the profile as you advance in your career adding publications, memberships, honors and grants. Look at profiles for other researchers in your discipline, especially authors you follow, your advisor or mentor and others in your department. You will see disciplinary norms and can gather ideas for potential sources of funding or publication outlets.

Once you have established your profile, use it everywhere. Any time that you submit a publication to a journal or conference, include it in your author information. You can also link to your profile on your university website and in your email signature. Some researchers include their ID number on their business cards. As the central element of your scholarly identity, it is important for your ORCiD ID to be as visible as possible. Linking to it on a variety of sites will ensure that anyone who looks for information on you will find only your work and not that of someone with a similar name. It will also ensure they find the scholarly identity that you have crafted and maintained with the story that you want to tell about your career.

Now that you understand the importance of maintaining an ORCiD profile, you should consider which other profiles you would also like to maintain. Start by making a list of all the public profiles that you currently have associated with your name. These might include university web pages, employment profiles like LinkedIn, research profiles linked to publishers and databases like Web of Science’s Publons, and social media sites.  Some universities maintain research information management systems (RIMS) that help you to collect and promote your research. If your university has a RIMS, be sure to add it to your list.

Once you have compiled your list, evaluate it to determine which profiles and sites you would like to continue using as a public presence. Most likely, there will be items on the list that you are required to maintain, such as the RIMS or your university web page. Others will be outdated or less impactful, these are the ones to consider deleting. As you evaluate the social media sites, determine how much, if at all, you want them linked to your scholarly identity. Some researchers choose to keep social media, such as Facebook, Weibo, Twitter and TicTok entirely separate from their scholarly identity by using a different name or maintaining a very select friends list. Others use social media to publish extensively about their discipline, research or other professional topics of interest.

Once you begin publishing your work, you can also set up a profile on Google Scholar. You can link the profile to your home institution and add your published work to your profile automatically or manually. The manual feature is helpful for adding conference papers, books, book chapters and reports that are not necessarily found in Google Scholar results. The profile provides some basic metrics including h-index, number of citations and citations by year. You can also link to your co-authors . At this time, Google Scholar does not integrate with ORCiD, so you would have to maintain this profile independently.

The most important aspect of curating a scholarly presence online is maintaining a balance between sharing and a comfortable level of privacy. Are you comfortable having your professional life linked to your personal life on a platform like Twitter? Or, would you prefer to keep your private life separate? Do you post things on your private social media that might be perceived as controversial by your institution when you are seeking employment or promotion? Answering all of these questions will help you to determine the extent of the link between your scholarly and private identities. It is a good practice to regularly evaluate your online presence and ensure that privacy settings and the types of profiles that you maintain are within your comfort levels.

In addition to personality and privacy, there are other aspects to consider when maintaining multiple online scholarly profiles. First, determine the amount of time you have to establish and maintain the profiles. To have a well curated scholarly identity, you will need to regularly update each profile to ensure the information is accurate. The more profiles you maintain, the more places you will need to update content. No matter which additional platforms and accounts you chose to create: having an ORCiD ID will help data flow into your profile. Second, consider norms in your discipline and institution. Where will others go to seek information about you? Some disciplines and industries rely heavily on content from LinkedIn profiles, while others might place more emphasis on a RIMS or platform like Publons. Third, consider what you want to use each platform for. Some are best for seeking employment (like LinkedIn), others are for promoting your work (like Publons and ORCiD) and still others are best for networking within your discipline. Connecting your presence to your professional goals will help you to situate yourself in the correct online spaces. Finally, remember, you do not need to create any profiles that you do not want to; you control the information you put out about yourself. If you are unlikely to maintain the profile, or are uncomfortable with the privacy settings, do not create the profile.

Tips for Establishing and Managing Your Scholarly Identity

To effectively manage your scholarly identity and promote your work online, remember:

  • Start with the message you would like to share about your career, then select the platforms and profiles that will help you to craft that message and meet your goals.
  • Use your ORCiD profile as the central hub of your scholarly presence. Use their integrations to pull publications and other information into your profile, then use your unique ID to populate other profiles, like a university RIMS.
  • Be realistic! You control the information that you put out about yourself, only sign up for platforms that make sense for your specific situation. Utilize platforms that are linked or automatically update if you only have minimal time to commit. Carefully consider privacy settings to ensure you are comfortable with the amount of information shared.
  • Schedule regular identity checks with yourself. Some researchers treat this as a semi-annual appointment on their calendar to review profiles and update content. Use this time to ensure that your curriculum vitae is also up to date. A quarterly, biannual or yearly appointment should be sufficient for most researchers.


Now that you have a more in depth understanding of the importance of managing your scholarly identity, consider the following in relation to your specific circumstances:

  1. Reflect on ORCiD and the role of an ORCiD ID:
    1. Claim your ID
    2. Begin populating the profile sections with your professional accomplishments
    3. Fill in other sections as much as you are comfortable, including biography statement, websites, keywords and linking other ids
  2. Reflect on what you’d like your presence online to be:
    1. Are there other profiles you intend to set up or maintain?
    2. How much do you want to engage with social media?
  3. How do you plan to maintain your presence online?
    1. Will you be very active or update a couple times a year?
    2. Which profiles will you prioritize?
  4. What concerns do you have about establishing and maintaining a scholarly presence online? How can you mitigate these concerns when establishing profiles?


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Navigating the Research Lifecycle for the Modern Researcher Copyright © 2024 (2nd Edition) by Brianna Buljung is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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