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Michigan State University

Science Communication Guide

Resources to support the MSU science community in effectively sharing research with the academic, scientific, and public audiences.

Managing Your Online Presence

Academic social networks can help you define your online public image and serve as a central access point for your papers, conference presentations, posters, and other research outputs. Creating a cohesive presence across platforms will allow the public and fellow scholars understand your scholarly identity and increase access to your research outputs.

When creating an online research presence think about the following questions:

  • What do I find when I Google myself?
  • What would I like to find? How would I like to present myself?
  • What academic social networks do my colleagues use (ResearchGate,, LinkedIn, etc.)?
  • What platforms will make my work accessible to my intended audience?

An Introduction to Academic Social Media

MSU Research Profiles

MSU Scholars is a searchable database of MSU faculty research profiles. Each profile provides a research summary, timeline of activities, and network analysis of MSU collaborations for the chosen scholar. Faculty can update and maintain their profiles through Faculty Insight.

Online Research Profiles

The type of online profile you choose to create should be dependent on your field and what other researchers you would like to connect with are currently using. However, it is important to keep your online profiles up to date and consistent, so only sign up for what you think you can manage.

Below is a list of some of the most popular academic social networking sites and their defining features to help you make more informed decisions.

Online Research Profile Options
Platform Description Features Social Network

ResearchGate logo




Free social media platform intended to connect researchers. Facilitates file and data sharing. Over 15 million users.
  • Publicly accessible research profile
  • Built-in analytics tools

Free social media platform intended for paper sharing among academics. Over 96 million users.
  • Publicly accessible research profile
  • Built-in analytics tools


Google Scholar

Google Scholar profiles allow you to claim your citations within their search engine. Creating a profile allows Google Scholar users to easily discover your other publications and view your academic affiliation and contact information.
  • Set up alerts to be notified when Google Scholar identifies publications with your name.
  • Claiming your profile will allow you to track your H-Index in Google Scholar.

ORCiD logo


ORCiD provides unique identifiers to researchers to assign to their work and distinguishes them from other researchers. Similar to Google Scholar, your ORCiD page will allow you to claim your publications and include a comprehensive list. ORCiD integration is supported through a number of different platforms (ResearchGate, LinkedIn) and workflows (manuscript submissions and grant applications).
  • Publicly accessible research profile (if you choose to make your profile public)
  • Persistent identifier that distinguishes your work from researchers with similar names or in the case of a name change
  • Integrations widely supported by publishers and other social networking sites

Clarivate Analytics logo

Web of Science ResearcherID & Publons

Web of Science allows you to claim your publications and create a ResearcherID. Users have the option to both import their publications from ORCiD or sync their ORCiD and Web of Science profiles. Additional features are available through Web of Sciences' impact tracking products Publons. Profiles are public and accessible through both Web of Science and Publons.
  • Tracks citations of your publications
  • Allows you to track your Web of Science H-index
  • Tracks peer review and rates users by their review to publication ratio.

LinkedIn logo


Professional social networking site that allows users to build profiles visible to other users. Profiles are more customizable than other academic social networking sites but are not publicly accessible. The user base of LinkedIn is much broader than just the academic and research communities.  


Mendeley is more widely known as a citation management tool but it now also allows users to build research profiles viewable to other Mendeley users. Over 6 million users.
  • Public and private group features
  • Citation manager

Impact Story logo


Open-source service that allows users to build a publicly accessible research profile that tracks online engagement with publications and research outputs. Tracks similar engagement to Altmetrics but at the researcher level.  A Twitter account and ORCiD id are required to create a page.
  • Publicly accessible research profile