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November 12, 2012 / Damien Irving

ResearcherID and your email signature

I’ve been to a number of careers evenings in recent times, which I think is always a worthwhile thing to do. The consistent message from the senior scientists that spoke at these events was that you’ve always got to be planning ahead. For instance, if you’re an Honours or Masters student, then you need to be thinking about PhD options. PhD students need to be thinking about postdoc opportunities at least a year or two in advance, while postdocs need to be on the front foot about securing a permanent position. Hell, even those who have a permanent position always need to be establishing new research collaborations.

In other words, in order to make it in the world of academia, you must be ready to sell yourself to potential supervisors/employers at every opportunity. Besides presenting and networking at conferences, probably the next most common mode by which you contact new people is via email. Whether you are contacting the author of a paper to ask details about the methodology, the convenor of a conference to enquire about the early bird registration rate, or the editor of a journal in responding to reviewer comments, you are ‘meeting’ new people via email all the time. This means that a good email signature is crucial.

In a perfect world, you would provide a link in your email signature to your own personal website. This professionally designed website would contain a succinct overview of your research interests, your resume, and links to all your research papers. While some people do have such a website, most of us don’t have the time to properly maintain a website, the money to pay for one that actually looks good, or a long enough career to generate the volume of content required to fill a website. Most university (or employer) student/staff pages aren’t all that sexy or functional, so that’s probably not a great option either. Enter ResearcherID.

ResearcherID is basically a personal website that contains a detailed breakdown of your study/employment history, research interests and publication record. It integrates with Web of Science (the widely used academic citation index) to provide direct links to the Web of Science pages corresponding to each of your peer reviewed publications. In addition, on your ResearcherID page people can view various citation metrics relating to your research, such as the average number of citations per paper. As an example, you can check out my page here.

So if you haven’t already, go ahead and create a ResearcherID page and pop the URL in your email signature. That way, you’ll never miss a networking opportunity via email ever again!


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