Your online profile: the options explained

There are a lot of options out there for you to curate your online profile as a researcher. Judith Hegenbarth, Head of the Research Skills Team in Library Services, sets out the options.

As a researcher who wants to contribute to the sum of human knowledge and ultimately make the world a better place, it helps if people can find you and your work online. Curating your online profiles allows you to control your own narrative, but there are a few options to consider.

Ben Howard's profile on the University Research Portal, showing his photo, ORCID, Research interests, and Education/Academic qualifications.
An example of a profile on the University’s Research Portal

University web pages

A profile on the University web pages will demonstrate your affiliation to UoB. You can request a profile by completing the ‘research student profile’ template and sending it to your college Marketing and Communications team, although the process will depend on their current workloads.  Once you’ve left the university, this profile will disappear.

Birmingham Research Portal

UoB has a ‘current research information system’ called PURE which holds information about researchers and their funding, projects and outputs (publications and datasets). PhD students automatically have a PURE account and you can make your profile visible on the research portal.  This looks different to your University web page and will link people directly to your outputs which also become findable on search engines such as Google. Once you’ve left the university, this profile will disappear.


Your ‘Open Researcher and Contributor ID’ is the most connected and portable, and probably the most important profile to curate. You can create and connect it via PURE, or through the ORCID website. ORCIDs are used by publishers, funders, and other stakeholders in the research ecosystem, so your ORCID saves you rekeying all your important information. When you leave UoB, your ORCID will remain live and will increase in value over your research career.

Author profiles on Scopus and Web of Science

Once you have outputs published in journals which are indexed in Scopus or Web of Science, an ‘author profile’ will be created without your intervention. It is good practice to check these databases and ensure that the correct papers are attached to your profile, that your institutional affiliation is correct, and that you don’t get confused with other researchers with similar names.

Google Scholar

Google indexes a huge amount of data about academic publications including preprints, books and foreign language materials. You can set up a Google Scholar profile with your academic email account – when you leave UoB, you will need to update the email address with which the account is linked.

Academic social networks

Platforms such as ResearchGate and allow academics to build a profile with the intention of finding and communicating with colleagues in similar disciplines. To avoid breaking copyright, it is wise to link to papers via PURE. Although basic use of these platforms is free, you may be encouraged to purchase ‘enhanced’ profiles and access. These profiles are portable and will not change if you move institutions, although it is good practice to signal a change of institutional affiliation.

We hope these summaries help you to decide which services to engage with most readily, and give you an idea of the longevity of each. It is good practice to set a calendar reminder to check and update your profiles every six months or so. Finessing your profiles should give you a sense of achievement and be an external reminder of what you are doing and how far you’ve already come.

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