Why would a researcher (faculty, graduate student-- anyone who has published papers) want to use one or more of these profile services?  Any or all of these reasons:


Among the scholarly profile services/scholarly networking services are:

Google Scholar Profile

You probably already use Google Scholar (scholar.google.com). You'll notice that sometimes, when you look up an author's name, you'll find a special entry at the top, like this:

You'll also see the same author's name underlined (hyperlinked) in entries in Google Scholar, like so:

Clicking on that link displays the author's contact information and a list of their publications as displayed in Google Scholar. This is their Google Scholar Profile.

Having a Google Scholar profile allows others interested in your work to easily identify your other publications; it also allows them to easily find your contact information, or even be notified when you publish something new. It also allows you to view and track the number of times your work is cited, and who has cited your work, and where. Last but not least, it allows you to differentiate yourself from other authors with similar names.

Instructions for creating your Google Scholar Profile

Scholarly Social Networks/Publication Clearinghouses

For those who wish to either post their publications/conference papers/slides/etc. or engage in online conversation with other scholars, there is an additional set of communities. Both ResearchGate.net and Academia.edu allow you to post your materials and designate either open or gated access to each. They also allow you to follow other researchers, and in some cases engage in scholarly forums with them.


ResearchGate is the more formal of the two; its signup process, for instance, asks users to identify what kind of researcher they are.


Students and the general public, as well as researchers, can obtain accounts on Academia.edu; a (free) account is required to download material that authors have hosted on Academia.edu. 

ResearcherID & ORCid: International Standard Scholar Identifiers

Google Scholar Profiles have several purposes, but ResearcherID and ORCid have only one: to group your publications together by uniquely identifying you. These deal almost exclusively with the bibliographic metadata-- the citation- for your publications, not the full text.

ResearcherID is associated with the Web of ScienceScience Citation IndexSocial Science Citation Index, and Arts and Humanities Citation Index databases. If you've ever tried to do a cited reference search, you can understand why grouping together different formations of the citation for your work would be invaluable. ResearcherID accounts assign you a particular unique number which identifies you in those databases as the author of specific papers or citations. ResearcherID allows you to:

This tool is most suitable for those who publish in name science journals.

ORCid is a similar unique ID scheme for authors, but it is not coming out of a particular publisher, instead being a registry run by a non-profit organization for that purpose. Just as an ISBN identifies a particular book and a DOI identifies a particular article, an ORCid is supposed to identify a specific author. Publishers are increasingly incorporating author's ORCid numbers into the author information in journal articles, so you may be asked to supply an ORCid when your work is published.  ORCid allows you to:

ORCid and ResearcherID can be cross-connected so that new publications and references in one will update the other.

Notes and Cautions

Bear in mind that all these services are created by for-profit organizations. That doesn't give them the rights to your copyrighted work, but it does allow them to use citations and metrics for their business model.

Before making full text available online, check your publication agreements to see that you have followed their guidelines. (Librarians can help with this!)

While materials that are online are easy to copy, they are also often easy to detect-- do a Google/Google Scholar search on relatively unique phrases from your work.

Interested in the larger Open Access Movement? There are a number of resources that can give more information: