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Scholar Identity and Research Impact

This guide describes the digital scholarship landscape, how to build and manage your research identity, and the different methods and tools for tracking the impact of scholarship.

About this Guide

This guide will assist you in managing your online scholar identity and track your scholarship output (data, publications etc.). Use the left menu panel to navigate to the related topics of the guide.


The digital scholarship landscape is made up of connections or relationships between entity (ex. scholar, organization or funder) or works (ex. articles, data, video, recording). Each relationship can be traced through the landscape using persistent identifiers as each entity or thing can have an identifier attached to it that uniquely describes it to the system. Using your unique online identifier you can unify the various things or entities under your identity to describe your relationships (such as funders, organizations, other contributors) and trace your output throughout the ecosystem.

simplified schema of relationships between scholar, organization, funder, outputs, and documentation.

Image: This simplified schema of the digital scholarship landscape, modified from Research Graph Schema, shows the interconnections between entities and objects in the ecosystem. Each entity or object can have more than one persistent identifier (noted by an R) that describes it, and identifiers can be either open or proprietary.



Good research metrics data relies on clean, disambiguated relationships between the works, and the people and organizations that are related to those works. Often, data is fetched from systems that provide these data with an expectation that either organizations and/or their researchers are ensuring the accuracy of the data. Even with algorithms utilized by platforms such as Elsevier, many errors and miss-assignments can occur without human intervention or other systems to inform/apply accuracy. Researchers are encouraged to learn and invest some time and employ assistance in their profile and institutions are encouraged to adopt inter-operable research information management systems that assist in profile management and inform accuracy for their researchers across the ecosystem.


  1. Create a unique online ID using ORCID to make you unique from all other authors with same last name and initials.
  2. Determine what academic and professional audiences is the best fit for your scholarship and reach intentions. Create a profile on these platforms to promote your qualifications and output. If there is functionality to link to other profiles, such as ORCID, this is strongly recommended.
  3. Analytic tools can be used to see who is reading, citing, mentioning, and otherwise using your work. Traditional research metrics (i.e. bibliometrics) are metrics at the author, source and item level available for mostly commercially published work. Alternative metrics, known as 'altmetrics', demonstrate various forms and categories of digital engagement, such as views, downloads, bookmarks etc.



There is an upfront time/effort commitment but you will realize these benefits:

  • A strong profile, that stands independent of any institution or platform (like ORCID) and is inter-operable with other platforms, can go with you where ever and how ever you go in your career
  • It is the new CV that can assist you with career promotion or job seeking
  • It can resolve misspellings and/or misattributions of your work in analytic tools and provide attribution to hidden scholarly work (such as peer review)
  • It helps identify you to potential collaborators or mentors working in the same area of scholarship/institutions
  • It gives you a sense of how your work reaches scholars and global community
  • It will save you time in updating your profile going forward