There’s a number in the making about you. It’s not your weight, cholesterol, or credit rating. It has nothing to do with your health or finances, and it’s unlikely barely even noticeable yet, but for scholars it is available right now and for those who can’t find it or know where to look, it’s being manufactured through an Internet website algorithm with your name tied to it and it could significantly impact your career. What is this number some contemporary scholars have been chasing and thousands more are surely soon to follow? Your scholarly community reputation score.
From Publication to Community Reputation
No longer are scholars just bound to their ability to get published in journals that are ranked based on an array of criteria (e.g., A and B journals, or present at tier one conferences. These criteria were selected and defined by a small number of experts. Of course, academicians should continue to publish and present their work in these venues, but the advent of the Internet has given rise to, the voice of the users, and such voice has led to a new form of reputation systems that is based on users’ approval and feedback.
This new form of reputation systems that is based on usage by peer consumers (think movie reviews, Rotten Tomatoes, Yelp for Restaurants, Google for services), contrary to the expert-based (think professional reviewers) evaluation systems (e.g. Zagat for restaurant), has become more popular and relevant to consumers making their choices. This open access has now made its way to the Internet scholarly community and your reputation may depend on it!
Extending reputation systems for consumer goods to the academy, the advent of the Internet has resulted in the proliferation of open access journals that publicly display the number of downloads per article, academy evaluative websites or online communities (e.g., Google Scholar that publishes the number of citations, SSRN, ResearchGate, and Academia), for example, where scholars must now earn their reputation based on new algorithms whether they choose to partake or not. Various academic evaluative websites or communities compile data and assign a public community engagement score and prominently feature this demarcation with each scholar’s name.
Setting up Your Google Scholar Citation Page
What must one do to positively impact his or her score? List your publications and engage. Start answering and asking scholarly questions. Interact and obtain followers. Only those visibly active in the community can get their just desserts, as the famous adage goes. You snooze, you lose. But to even remotely impact your score, like the lottery you must enter to play. To keep track of citations associated with your published articles and conference proceedings, set up your Google Scholar page now.
While logged into your Gmail account search Google Scholar for your name or any variation of it.
Then you can allow Google Scholar to publish your scholarly record page with the click of a public approval button.
This can be your one stop shop to examine how many others have cited your works found through Google Scholar.
But it will be available for everyone to publicly peruse.
ResearchGate’s Reputation Score is Waiting for You
What Amazon.com has done to bookstores and Google to search engines, has led ResearchGate to the current behemoth of scholarly reputation sites. If you have not set your page up, click here. If you have, consider the types of questions that you feel you are most qualified to answer and reach out to your scholarly counterparts the worldover. The more you do, the higher your scholarly community reputation score can grow. Conversely, the more you inquire and ask about their work, the more your score also can grow.
You Can Run, But Will You Hide?
Indeed, it can be time consuming and much work to chase such a community engagement score let alone the ramifications of these scores in future decisions such as tenure, department standing, or the ability to earn the right to collaborate with those in the highest echelon score. Popular scholarly websites now, may wane and give rise to others one can only imagine. Scholars can still choose to hide, remaining dormant below the Internet algorithm radar or jump in, run and stand out from the crowd. It’s your choice. How will you manage your scholarly reputation score?
Fiona Sussan, Center for Global Business Research, senior university research chair and Ryan Rominger, Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research, associate university research chair, contributed to this blog.