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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Create and Manage an Online Scholarly Presence: Identity Options

This is the LibGuide companion to the Savvy Researcher workshop: Create and Manage an Online Scholarly Presence.

Styles of Academic Personas

The Formal Self
Also referred to as the "static self," the formal self portrays the professional through the use of CVs and or staff profiles and often highlights the person's strengths and achievements. It is a controlled and fixed presentation that is often framed through the institution.

The Networked Self
The public networked self is still located within the academic or institutional frame but also focuses on sharing ideas and networking. This self is interactive, embracing two-way communication, and exists on multiple identity platforms.

The Comprehensive Self
The comprehensive self breaks past the academic frame and also includes the person's social life. This self is also interactive and requires multiple identity platforms.

The Teaching Self
The teaching self is very oriented within the institution of the person and is professional. This self has a targeted audience of students and those who focus on digital media and often aims to create more informal relationships.

The Uncontainable Self
This type of self  is uncontrolled and unmonitored and is created when academics do not contribute to their online persona. 

Barbour, Kim & Marshall, David. (3 September, 2012). The Academic Online: Constructing Persona through the World Wide Web. First Monday, 17 (9). Retrieved from

Identity Platform Options

There are several different platforms to help establish your professional identity online. This table provides a brief purpose to each, the cost, and other information you may want to know before starting.

Content Platforms Cost Purpose Caveats Personas Free allows you to create a public profile and personal webpage while also keeping all of your personal online identity links in one place. Completely free and is simple to use but is only a landing page that directs to other social networking profiles Networked
Comprehensive Free The purpose of is to allow academics to share their research, monitor the impact of their research, and track the research of other academics they follow. Has one of the largest membership bases Networked
Blogger Free Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows you to share your thoughts with the world and can also double as a personal webpage. A Google service that integrates Analytics access, custom domain name available for a fee Formal
Google Scholar Free The Google Scholar profile is public and allows you to track the number of citations to your articles and calculate your citation metrics. Anyone can see the number of times your work has been cited as well as the scores assigned to it Formal
LinkedIn Free LinkedIn is a social networking tool for professionals that is especially useful for promoting your image and finding out about potential employers/employees. Premium accounts available for a fee, the cheapest starting at $19.95/month Networked
ORCID Free (for individual researchers) ORCID is an cross-disciplinary service that creates and maintains a registry of unique researcher identifiers and then links research output to these identifiers. Different membership/subscription fees for organizations Formal
ResearchGate Free ResearchGate is a social networking tool for scientists and researchers that provides the opportunity to connect and collaborate, make your research visible, and obtain stats and metrics. Very interactive, oriented towards collaboration and discovery Networked
Twitter Free Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to follow other users. Micro-blogging means only 140 characters per "tweet" Networked
Comprehensive Free is a free to download blogging service and content-management system that allows the user to create a personal blog or webpage. Requires a web host that meets the requirements Formal
Teaching Free is a free blog web hosting service that allows your to track your popularity and that can be connected to other social networking websites. Will transfer blog from previous platform over for you, steeper learning curve than other blogging sites and upgrades available for a fee


Below are some examples of academics on the following platforms:

Subject Guide