Thing 12: Researcher Profiles

Researcher profiles allow researchers to showcase their work and connect with potential collaborators or employers. Building a strong online presence through researcher profiles can help establish a researcher’s scholarly identity and reputation in their field. This makes it more likely for others to discover the full scope of a researcher’s work through a simple online search. 

An added advantage of keeping their online profiles up-to-date is that researchers can keep track of views, downloads, citations etc. of their work. This is especially helpful when it comes to promotion rounds, filling in grant applications, and for the research evaluation exercises that universities regularly undertake. 

Getting Started   

Research and teaching institutions will likely have online profiles for their staff. These might be bespoke and differ across the institution or they could be centrally administered and tied to the institution’s research information management system (so, entail some level of auto-population of information, such as publication history, employment details etc.).  

ORCID iDs are another common researcher profile. The PID aspect of ORCID iDs is covered in Thing 2. Here we will introduce the ORCID record, which is the profile that comes with the iD. On top of the name disambiguation function, the ORCID record is a great profile to recommend to researchers as it goes with them no matter where they work (unlike their institutional profile) and it can be populated using the Search and Link wizard. Filling in an ORCID record therefore doesn’t have to be a manual process. 

Publication, funding, service, and membership information can be pulled directly into an ORCID record from databases that have built integrations with ORCID. See “Add works by direct import from other systems” on the ORCID website.

For a brief introduction to ORCID records and how to populate them watch the video A Quick Tour of the ORCID Record

A Quick Tour of the ORCID Record by

Consider: What are the benefits of having a well populated ORCID record vs an incomplete or hidden ORCID record?


Create an ORCID iD, if you haven’t already got one, and start populating it with your bio, education, employment, works etc. Have a look at the three visibility settings you can choose for each entry in your record.   


Using the search engine of your choice, look up an academic at your institution and see which profiles come up at the top of the search results. Are these institutional profiles? How well are they maintained? 

Learn More

Once researchers begin publishing they will be automatically given profiles in Scopus and Web of Science (WoS), if their articles are indexed in these databases. If researchers have authored or co-authored work that is indexed in Scopus or WoS, they should check their work has been rightly attributed to them and all their work comes under the one profile in each database.

WoS and Scopus provide publication and researcher metrics for each profile in the database. Therefore researchers need to check, merge and maintain these profiles.

Google Scholar profiles also highlight the research outputs of a researcher, but from a much wider pool of outputs than Scopus and WoS. Researchers may want to create a Google Scholar profile, especially if they are in a non-STEM discipline.

Researchers need to claim their outputs once they have created their profiles. That way, when people search Google Scholar for a name or article, they can find the individual researcher and all their research outputs. Similar to Scopus and WoS, Google Scholar generates publication metrics.


Name ambiguity can be a problem with these IDs, watch this video (Yale video on name disambiguation).

Enhancing Research Impact: Name Disambiguation by Yale University Library

What impact would this have at the individual level and at the university level (hint Impact and Rankings modules)?

How could you encourage academics to invest time in maintaining these?


Explore the University of Otago’s Profiles Checklist. Choose a researcher profile site that you have access to and look up a researcher from your institution, do they have multiple IDs? Can you see how to merge them? 

Challenge Me

Alongside traditional academic profiles like ORCID record, Google Scholar profile, WoS ResearcherID and Scopus Author profile, academics might also consider academic networking websites like ResearchGate and in the same category. 

Discussing research on academic social networking sites, and on social media more broadly, has value. Engaging with others online about recent research can spark interesting conversations, future collaborations, and allow a broader audience to have access to research.

The primary aim of academic networking sites, like ResearchGate and, is to connect researchers with common interests. Although they present themselves as repositories, there are several key distinctions that librarians and faculty should be aware of. 

  • They are commercial companies, even though has a “.edu” URL, it is not run by a higher education institution. 
  • They are not committed to openness and re-use of data; information, once deposited, cannot be harvested (by crawlers, spiders, data mining tools, etc), which makes these sites inherently less useful than a reputable repository, which allows databases like Google Scholar to crawl and index deposits.
  • Reputable repositories are usually managed by reputable institutions, such as Universities, government agencies, or nonprofit associations. This helps ensure long term preservation of deposited materials. Both and ResearchGate disavow any responsibility to warn users if they decide to shut the site down, or are bought out.

Consider: Some publishers actively don’t allow depositing research into these sites, as they are not considered reputable repositories (tip: use Sherpa Romeo to check publisher copyright restrictions).

However, some academics work around this. Check out this publication from Dr Ghaleb Husseini, from the American University of Sharjah, who deposits a cover sheet that links out to his institutional repository. 

Exercise: Read this open access article, “Whose Research is it Anyway? Academic Social Networks Versus Institutional Repositories” by Nicole C. Eva & Tara A. Wiebe and answer some of the following questions:

  1. How do academic social networks compare to institutional repositories in terms of faculty participation and open access deposits?
  2. What are the potential benefits of using academic social networks as a tool for identifying researchers who may be willing to contribute to an institutional repositories?
  3. What role can libraries play in educating faculty about the multiple profile systems that exist on academic social networks?