Investigating Science Researchers’ Presence on Academic Profile Websites: A Case Study of a Canadian Research University


  • Li Zhang University of Saskatchewan
  • Chen Li Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan



academic profile website; ORCID; ResearchGate: Google Scholar Citations;; Canada; Academic Social Network


Researchers are increasingly using academic profile websites to organize and showcase their research outputs. Using the faculty at the science departments of the University of Saskatchewan, Canada as the study object, this research explores how science researchers used four academic profile websites: ResearchGate, Google Scholar Citations,, and ORCID. It was found that 78% of the researchers had established at least one academic profile, with ResearchGate being the most popular platform, Google Scholar Citations the second, followed at some distance by ORCID and A high percentage of ORCID users did not list any of their publications, meaning their presence on ORCID was merely symbolic. We also found that the social interaction functions provided by ResearchGate were not well adopted. Findings from this study call for the improvement of the workflow of adding publications to ORCID profile.

References 2019. About. [accessed 2019 Dec 12]. Available from

Allen E. 2017. Researcher #profilefatigue – what it is and why it’s exhausting! In ScienceOpen Blog. [accessed 2020 Apr 16]. Available from

Becher T. 1989. Academic Tribes and Territories: Intellectual Enquiry and the Cultures of Disciplines. Stony Stratford: The Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.

Bond S. 2017. Dear Scholars, Delete Your Account At Academia.Edu. Forbes. [accessed 2020 Apr 16]. Available from

Else H. 2018. Major publishers sue ResearchGate over copyright infringement. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-06945-6.

Government of Canada. 2016. Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications. [accessed 2020 Jul 3]. Available from

Gruzd A. & Goertzen M. 2013. Wired academia: Why social science scholars are using social media. In: Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. p. 3332–3341.

Haak L.L., Fenner M., Paglione L., Pentz E. & Ratner H. 2012. ORCID: A system to uniquely identify researchers. Learned Publishing. 25(4):259–264. DOI: 10.1087/20120404.

Harington R. 2017. ResearchGate: Publishers Take Formal Steps to Force Copyright Compliance. [accessed 2020 Apr 15]. Available from

Kjellberg S. & Haider J. 2018. Researchers’ online visibility: tensions of visibility, trust and reputation. Online Information Review. DOI: 10.1108/OIR-07-2017-0211.

Martín-Martín A., Orduna-Malea E. & Delgado López-Cózar E. 2018. Author-level metrics in the new academic profile platforms: The online behaviour of the Bibliometrics community. Journal of Informetrics. 12(2):494–509. DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2018.04.001.

Mas-Bleda A., Thelwall M., Kousha K. & Aguillo I.F. 2014. Do highly cited researchers successfully use the social web? Scientometrics. 101(1):337–356. DOI: 10.1007/s11192-014-1345-0.

Meier A. & Tunger D. 2018. Survey on opinions and usage patterns for the ResearchGate platform. PLoS One. 13(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204945.

Meishar-Tal H. & Pieterse E. 2017. Why Do Academics Use Academic Social Networking Sites? International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. 18(1). DOI: 10.19173/irrodl.v18i1.2643.

Míguez-González M.I., Puentes-Rivera I. & Dafonte-Gómez A. 2017. Academic social networks and communication researchers from universities in the north of Portugal: An analysis of and ResearchGate. In: Freire F.C, Araújo XR, Fernández VAM, García XL, editors. Media and Metamedia Management. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. p. 405-411. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-46068-0_53.

Mikki S., Zygmuntowska M., Gjesdal Y.L. & Ruwehy H.A.A. 2015. Digital presence of norwegian scholars on academic network sites-where and who are they? PLoS One. 10(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142709.

Nicholas D. & Rowlands I. 2011. Social media use in the research workflow. Information Services & Use. 31(1/2):61–83. DOI: 10.1087/20110306.

Van Noorden R. 2014. Online Collaboration: Scientists and the social network. Nature. 512(7513):126. DOI: 10.1038/512126a.

ORCID-CA. 2019. About ORCID-CA. [accessed 2019 Dec 13]. Available from

ORCID. 2018. How is ORCID different from other researcher identifiers? [accessed 2020 Apr 16]. Available from

ORCID. 2019a. ORCID Statistics. [accessed 2019 Dec 12]. Available from

ORCID. 2019b. ORCID Member Organizations. [accessed 2019 Dec 12]. Available from

Orduna-Malea E., Martín-Martín A., Thelwall M. & Delgado López-Cózar E. 2017. Do ResearchGate Scores create ghost academic reputations? Scientometrics. 112(1):443–460. DOI: 10.1007/s11192-017-2396-9.

Ortega J.L. 2015a. Google Scholar Citations 2015 report. Scientific Web Observer. [accessed 2020 Apr 22]. Available from

Ortega J.L. 2015b. Disciplinary differences in the use of academic social networking sites. Online Information Review. 39(4):520–536. DOI: 10.1108/OIR-03-2015-0093.

Ortega J.L. 2015c. Relationship between altmetric and bibliometric indicators across academic social sites: The case of CSIC’s members. Journal of Informetrics. 9(1):39–49. DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2014.11.004.

ResearchGate. 2019. About. [accessed 2019 Dec 12]. Available from

Shrivastava R. & Mahajan P. 2017. An altmetric analysis of ResearchGate profiles of physics researchers: A study of University of Delhi (India). Performance Measurement and Metrics. 18(1):52–66. DOI: 10.1108/PMM-07-2016-0033.

Springer Nature Group. 2019. Springer Nature and ResearchGate extend content sharing pilot following positive feedback. [accessed 2020 Apr 16]. Available from

Tenopir C., Allard S., Levine K., Volentine R., Christian L., Boehm R., Nichols F., Christensen R., Nicholas D., Watkinson A. et al. 2013. Trust and Authority in Scholarly Communications in the Light of the Digital Transition. Prepared for Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. [accessed 2018 Dec 25]. Available from

Tran C.Y. & Lyon J.A. 2017. Faculty use of author identifiers and researcher networking tools. College and Research Libraries. 78(2):171–182. DOI: 10.5860/crl.78.2.171.

U15. 2019. Group of Canadian Research Universities. [accessed 2019 Dec 13]. Available from

Wu S., Stvilia B. & Lee D.J. 2017. Readers, Personal Record Managers, and Community Members: An Exploratory Study of Researchers’ Participation in Online Research Information Management Systems. Journal of Library Metadata. 17(2):57–90. DOI: 10.1080/19386389.2017.1348783.

Yan W., Zhang Y. & Bromfield W. 2018. Analyzing the follower–followee ratio to determine user characteristics and institutional participation differences among research universities on ResearchGate. Scientometrics. 115(1):299–316. DOI: 10.1007/s11192-018-2637-6.




How to Cite

Zhang, L., & Li, C. (2020). Investigating Science Researchers’ Presence on Academic Profile Websites: A Case Study of a Canadian Research University. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, (95).