Document Type



Scholarly identity refers to endeavors by scholars to promote their reputation, work, and networks using online platforms such as ResearchGate,, and Twitter. This exploratory research investigates benefits and drawbacks of Scholarly Identity efforts and avenues for potential library support. Data from 30 semi-structured phone interviews with faculty, doctoral students, and academic librarians were qualitatively analyzed using the constant comparisons method (Charmaz, 2014) and Goffman’s (1959, 1967) theoretical concept of impression management. Results reveal that use of online platforms enables academics to connect with others and disseminate their research. Scholarly Identity platforms have benefits, opportunities, and offer possibilities for developing academic library support. They are also fraught with drawbacks/concerns, especially related to confusion, for-profit models, and reputational risk. This exploratory study involves analysis of a small number of interviews (30) with self-selected social scientists from one discipline (communication) and librarians. It lacks gender, race/ethnicity, and geographical diversity and focuses exclusively on individuals who use social networking sites for their Scholarly Identity practices. Results highlight benefits and risks of Scholarly Identity work and the potential for adopting practices that consider ethical dilemmas inherent in maintaining an online social media presence. They suggest continuing to develop library support that provides strategic guidance and information on legal responsibilities regarding copyright. This research aims to understand the benefits and drawbacks of Scholarly Identity platforms and explore what support academic libraries might offer. It is among the first to investigate these topics comparing perspectives of faculty, doctoral students, and librarians.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


APA Citation

Radford, M.L., Kitzie, V., Mikitish, S., Floegel, D., Radford, G., & Connaway, L.S. (in press). “People Are Reading Your Work,": Scholarly Identity and Social Networking Sites. Journal of Documentation.