November Impact Challenge Day 1: Make a profile on

Welcome to the November Impact Challenge!

Over the next 30 days, we’re going to work together to supercharge your research impact. You’ll:

  • upgrade your professional visibility by conquering social media,

  • boost your readership and citations by getting your work online,

  • stay atop your field’s latest developments with automated alerting,

  • lock in the key connections with colleagues that’ll boost your career, and

  • dazzle evaluators with comprehensive tracking and reporting on your own impacts.

Each day’s challenge will look like this: we’ll describe that day’s important principle–why it’s important, how you can get started, and some resources to help you excel–and then share a homework assignment, where you’ll apply the concepts we cover in that day’s post.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in, starting with scholarly social media.

Make a profile on

You know all those things you wish your CV was smart enough to do–embed your papers, automatically give you readership statistics, and so on? and ResearchGate (which we’ll cover in tomorrow’s challenge) are two academic social networks that allow you to do these things and a lot more.

Perhaps more importantly, they’re places where your colleagues are spending a lot of their time. Actively participating on one or both networks will give you ample opportunity to have greater reach with other researchers. And getting your publications and presentations onto these sites will make it easier for others to encounter your work, not only for the social network they help you build, but also to improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of your research, making you much more “googleable”.

Generally speaking, both platforms allow you to do the following:

  • Create a profile that summarizes your research

  • Upload your publications, so others can find them

  • Find and follow other researchers, so you can receive automatic updates on their new publications

  • Find and read others’ publications

  • See platform-specific metrics that indicate the readership and reach you have on those sites

Today, we’ll cover getting started with Let’s dig into the basics of setting up a profile and uploading your work.

Basic profile setup

Logon to If you’re a firm believer in keeping your professional online presence separate from your personal one, you’ll likely want to sign up using your university email address. Otherwise, you can sign up using your Facebook or Google profile.

From here, you’ll be directed through the basic signup process.

Post a publication

How do you choose what to share? If you’re an established researcher, this will be easy: just choose your most “famous” (read: highly cited) paper. If you’re a junior researcher or a student, choosing might be tougher. A peer-reviewed paper is always a good bet, as-is a preprint or a presentation that’s closely related to your most current topic of research.

Got a paper in mind? Now comes the not-as-fun-but-incredibly-necessary part: making sure you’ve got the rights to post it. Most academics don’t realize that they generally sign away their copyright when publishing an article with a traditional publisher. And that means you may not have the rights to post the publisher’s version of your article on (If you negotiated to keep your copyright or published with an authors’ rights-respecting journal like PLOS Biology, give yourself a pat on the back and skip the following paragraph.)

If you don’t have copyright for your paper, all hope is not lost! You likely have the right to post your version of the article (often the unedited, unformatted version). Head over to Sherpa/Romeo and look up the journal you published in. You’ll see any and all restrictions that the publisher has placed on how you can share your article.

If you can post your article, let’s upload it to Click the green “Upload a paper” button and, on your computer, find the publication you want to upload. Click “Open” and watch as begins to upload your paper.

Once it’s uploaded, the title of your publication will be automatically extracted. Make any corrections necessary to the title, then click in the “Find a Research Interest” box below the title. Add some keywords that will help others find your publication. Click save.

Add your affiliation and interests to your profile

Adding an affiliation is important because it will add you to a subdomain of built for your university, and that will allow you to more easily find your colleagues. The site will try to guess your affiliation based on your email address or IP address; make any corrections needed and add your department information and title. Click “Save & Continue,” then add your research interests on the following page. These are also important; they’ll help others find you and your work.

Connect with colleagues

In this final step, you’ll be prompted to either connect your Facebook account or an email account to, which will search your contacts and suggest connections. Select and confirm anyone you want to follow on the site. I recommend starting out small, to keep from being overwhelmed by updates.

Congrats, you’ve now got an profile!

You can continue to spruce it up by adding more publications, as well as adding a photo of yourself and other research interests and publications, and connecting your Academia profile to other services like Twitter and LinkedIn, if you’re already on ‘em. (If not, don’t worry–we’ll cover that soon.)


Now that you have a profile, set aside half an hour to explore three important uses of exploring “research interests” in order to discover other researchers and publications; getting more of your most important publications online; and using the Analytics feature to discover who’s following you, how often others are reading and downloading your work, and in which countries your work is most popular.

Research interests: To get started exploring, click on the research interests in your profile:

Screencap of Jonathan Eisen's profile, highlighting his research interests

For the search results that appear, take some time to explore the profiles of others who share your interest(s) and follow anyone that looks interesting. Click on the Documents tab of the search results and explore relevant papers and presentations (below is an example of what the “Human Microbiome” research interest page looks like); I’m willing to bet you’ll find many papers and connections that you weren’t aware of before.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 8.42.52 PM.png

You can also search for other research interests using the search bar at the top of the screen.

Upload more papers & presentations: click the “Upload papers” tab at the top  right corner of your screen and upload at least two more papers or presentations that you think are worthy of attention. Remember to abide by any copyright restrictions that might exist, and also be sure to add as much descriptive information as possible, adding the complete title, co-authors, and research interests for your paper, all of which will make it easier for others to find.

Analytics: click the “Analytics” tab at the top of your screen and poke around a bit. Because you just created your profile, it’s possible you won’t yet have any metrics. But in as little as a few days, you’ll begin to see download and pageview statistics for your profile and your publications (as seen below), and other interesting information like maps, all of which can help you better understand the use your work is getting from other researchers!

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 1.34.58 PM

So–you’ve claimed your professional presence on one of academia’s biggest social networks and learned how to use it to find other researchers and publications. More importantly, you’ve optimized your profile so others can find you and your research much more easily.

Congrats! Day 1 Challenge: achievement unlocked!

Let’s see your results

Post a link to your profile in the comments, and let us know if you have any questions or tips on how to use

See you tomorrow for our Day 2 challenge: mastering ResearchGate!

23 thoughts on “November Impact Challenge Day 1: Make a profile on

  1. I created an profile quite some time ago ( I don’t remember how I got my papers in (I certainly didn’t enter them all by hand!), and I find that there are publisher pdfs that, for copyright reasons, should not be there (I didn’t add them, even though they say “Uploaded by Bruce Kendall”).

    Other issues I’m seeing with using this as a place to make my research discoverable:
    – There is so little information displayed that only papers with pdfs uploaded will be intelligible
    – Some of my co-authors have links to papers displayed on institutional servers (e.g.,, but I don’t see how to enable that
    – More generally, the “edit” functionality for individual products doesn’t seem to work.

    My “Analytics” page doesn’t look like what you have on this post. In particular, I have to click the “Keywords” tab to get the circle diagrams (which are “Top keywords” and “Top search engines”, in contrast to your example); furthermore, they only display results for my most-accessed paper.

    As far as a social place, is unable to access the contacts list from my institutional email, and they offer no option for a csv import of my contacts.

    So, in general, I have found this site not to be particularly helpful!

    • Bruce, your analytics tab doesn’t match the one I had screencapped above because my image was outdated! Thanks for pointing out the error, have edited the post to reflect the correct, current view of the analytics tab.

      Also, it’s very useful to hear your experience working with Academia. It’s definitely not perfect–no platform is. I bet that getting a sense of the flaws will be useful to newcomers.

    • Alex, how do you use academia as a “communal place for discussion?” I know that I could write a “Post” that presumably would show up in the news feed of anyone following me; but my news feed is so swamped with uploaded papers (anything with any of the tags in my “research interests” shows up) that any discussion would be lost!

  2. ƒacu.- says:

    I also have had an profile for some time now [1], and tried to keep it more or less up to date. Although there have not been much activity from that side, I did start some collaboration with one researcher from a different discipline (and country) that I would never have met otherwise. That’s motivating.

    However, I’m quite annoyed by the need of keeping up to date several web profiles (, LinkedIn, ResearchGate, my own webpage, ImpactStory, Slideshare, Stackoverflow, Google Scholar) with almost the same information multiplicated (Affiliation, research interests, pre-prints…).

    It is very time consuming to keep all that up to date consistently, and it is quite annoying performing the same task multiple times.


  3. ƒacu.- says:

    Thanks for your response. It’s good to know that what I feel has a proper name :).
    I don’t know JSON, but I prefer to invest time learning JSON than doing the same over and over.

  4. Iara VPS says:

    Hope I’m not to late to start the challenge 🙂 I created an profile a while ago:

    Since my original intention during my master’s was to study academics in the social networks (which later got reduced to just altmetrics), I’ve pretty much created profiles on every academic site I could find. This is probably my least favorite of them (it’s not very social, is it?), but the Analytics are neat. It’s nice to see where the people who see my profile come from, and what they’re downloading – I only wish there was a nice, easy way to combine their statistics to the ones I get from ImpactStory.

    One thing that is very curious to me: my most viewed document on is a paper from the time I was an undergrad (early 2000s), written with my supervisor and my research team companions, on a subject I’ve never touched again after graduation… I wish I knew what makes people so attracted to it!

    • Thanks for sharing your profile, Iara!

      We’d love to import stats–we’ve in fact talked to them about it in the past, but they don’t yet have an API that can make that happen. We’ll update you if that changes! 🙂

  5. @tina_wey says:

    Much of my impression of is in line with previous user experiences. It has basic features, but I find it relatively tedious to enter and organize papers and information here compared to how it is streamlined on other online research communities available (in particular ResearchGate seems to have improved this a lot). So I’ve let my profile slide and settled for adding a link to my website, which I try to keep more updated and provides links to various other profile pages I have. As someone else noted, it’s too much work to keep up with so many sites and profiles individually.

    Another huge drawback of that someone else noted was that, some time ago, it was basically spamming my inbox with email “notifications” that I couldn’t turn off. Thankfully that stopped, but it turned me off of this service for a while. In the meantime, I set up other profiles, and revisiting just now, there wasn’t anything that isn’t covered elsewhere at this point.

  6. David Ketcheson says:

    As others have said, is mainly known as a source of annoying spam. But beyond that, I’m shocked and disappointed that impactstory is advocating for people to post papers on’s site.

    In’s terms of service, it says

    “By making available any Member Content on or through the Site or Services, you hereby grant to a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, view, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site or Services.”

    I’m all for open access, but allowing to “sublicense”, “modify”, “license, sell, transfer” or “exploit” my work is too much.


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