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

Personal Policies

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.

Unique Identifier

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 registration4.7 million registered IDs (Source: ORCID Statistics, April 2018)
  • Works in conjunction with ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier; ISO 27729)


  • 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
  • Closed access (subscription required)
  • 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”)

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
    • In the interests of better controlling article sharing (and tracking the data of those who do), in 2019 SpringerNature and ResearchGate began a partnership through which Nature articles appear on RG, though you can only read them if you have an institutional subscription to the journal.

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