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Managing your online academic identity

Maintaining an active and current online academic identity is an important component in your research portfolio. Whether via Twitter or through profiles on social networking sites, your online identity is your virtual calling card. When looking to develop and cultivate your online identity, there are a number of tools you can use. Social media accounts, blogs, and personal websites are some of the options available to you. Remember, your online identity is your way of distinguishing yourself from other academics.


One crucial aspect of distinguishing yourself from other researchers is by using a unique identifier, or an ORCID ID.

ORCID ID's are persistent identifiers that can be used to establish your unique identity. For example, if you share a name with other researchers, an ORCID ID can help distinguish your work from theirs. Or, if your changed your name mid-career, an ORCID ID can help make sure that citations to your work are being properly tracked.

Social Networking Sites

A number of social networking sites targeted to academics have become quite popular over the past few years. These sites, such as ResearchGate and claim to provide a number of services designed to increase the outreach of your scholarship and grow your professional network. While these websites do offer some attractive features, it is important to keep in mind that these are for-profit corporations, and offer no assurances about the stability or longevity of your data. In addition, these websites survive by monetizing your activity on their websites. It is also important to note that uploading your work to these websites are not alternatives to making your work available under the terms of the UC Open Access Policies.

Alternatives to these for-profit companies do exist, however. One such example is HumanitiesCommons, which is a social networking site deveoped by the Modern Language Association.

If you'd like more information on ORCID IDs, open access in general, or other matters related to scholarly publishing, please schedule a consultation: