Being Googleable as an academic: it can be about sharing instead of branding

by Henning Hansen and Marie Léger-St-Jean

Over the years, there have been loads of articles on how to “manage your digital identity” or to “brand yourself” to maximize your hireability. It makes it sound like very distasteful work, vain self-promotion geared at making capitalism happy. If you’re a student who’s looking into alt-ac career or an independent researcher, these might not seem pertinent.

But that’s not just what being Googleable is useful for!

It can help people find you and sustain the scholarly friendships ignited by conferences, readings, past collaborations. These human relations are also the stuff research is made of!

There are important cultural differences between the Old Continent and North America regarding the creation of a personal website. (Please, scholars from other areas in the world, do chime in!)

Whereas it’s standard practice in North America to buy up your name’s domain name and set-up a web presence that way, it can be seen as terribly vain in Continental Europe and Scandinavia. We’ll therefore be talking about web presence sans personal website.

Here are the elements you’d most likely want people to find somewhere online linked to your name:

  • a list of your publications, including also a list of your presentations, blog posts, posters (i.e. the metadata) —whatever you’re producing to share your research;
  • if possible, the actual papers —here’s where we get into open access;
  • something like a profile: your picture with a description of what you’re interested in, the networks and research groups you’re a part of;
  • your contact info —now that they know all the lovely things you do and would like to get in touch!

If you’re looking for a job, you might want to include your work experience, perhaps some teaching materials.

You might also want to have your gray matter (works-in-progress, ideas) online rather than just sitting on your desktop.

We’ve prepared three blog posts to cover how to share your research online while keeping it open access and how to make it easier for people to find you. Below, you’ll find a table summarizing the important —and less important— platforms on which to have a presence.

In the coming weeks, the links to our posts will become live.

  • If you’ve already published articles,
    • go over to What to do with the articles you’ve already published;
  • If you don’t have any articles yet (or share your research in other venues),
    • jump straight ahead to How can people online keep in touch with the person behind the work;
  • And if you’re thinking about publishing articles,
    • make sure to stop by What to keep in mind when you publish your first or next articles.

Academic web presence cheat sheet

(Up-to-date in September 2019)

Essential Useful Has issues
Personal url if your academic culture is down with it
Institutional website if your institution provides you with one
Project website if you’re working on a big funded project
Mainstream social networks
Facebook to keep in touch and to quickly get replies (some Facebook groups act like listservs)
Twitter the easiest way to link your name and your picture to your preferred website
Linkedin if you’re looking for a job outside the ivory tower as an online profile if you have little to no publications
Academic social networks if you’re within Social sciences & Humanities (Nature, 2014) evil 👹
Research Gate if you’re within ‘hard’ sciences (Nature, 2014) evil 👹
Humanities Commons nobody’s on it
HASTAC nobody’s on it
Lists of publications
ORCID get yourself an ORCID (no pictures though)
Google Scholar see your citations all together on your Google Scholar Citations author profile (no blurb though).
Zotero super easy if you already use this open-source software to manage your references
Media-specific repositories for non-textual research output and teaching material
SlideShare to make your presentations available online
Prezi to make your presentations available online
GitHub if you use data or if you code
YouTube if you produce videos
Vimeo if you produce videos