Investigating Practices for Building an Ethical and Sustainable Scholarly Identity with Online Platforms and Social Networking Sites

By Marie L. Radford, Vanessa Kitzie, Stephanie Mikitish, Diana Floegel, Gary P. Radford, Lynn Silipigni Connaway

Informed by 30 semi‐structured interviews with faculty, Ph.D. students, and academic librarians, this exploratory research examines how individuals create, cultivate, and manage their scholarly identity (SI) using online platforms. SI is defined as efforts by academics in promoting their personal “brand,” regarding their intellectual work (Brigham, 2016). This article was included in the Proceedings of the 81st Annual Meeting of ASIS&T.

Results indicate that online platforms, including social networking sites (SNS), offer avenues for academics to connect with other scholars and disseminate their research. However, some sites were found to promote practices participants considered problematic, which forms the focus of this paper. Respondents noted that SI work performed on academic SNS (e.g., ResearchGate, can present moral and ethical quandaries. For‐profit business models pose a serious concern, and several interviewees advocated for open access materials and platforms (e.g., ORCID). Participants also reported a number of logistical problems with online SI work, including time constraints and context collapse (Marwick & Boyd, 2011).

Data were analyzed using a theoretical framework grounded in Goffman's (1959, 1967) concepts of impression management and face threats. Findings raise awareness of the need for academics and librarians to adopt strategies for creating/sustaining an ethical and sustainable online presence.

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Suggested Citation:

Radford, M. L., Kitzie, V., Mikitish, S., Floegel, D., Radford, G. P., and Connaway, L. S. (2018). Investigating practices for building an ethical and sustainable scholarly identity with emerging digital tools. Proceedings of the 81st Annual Meeting of ASIS&T, Vancouver, Canada, November 10-14, 2018. Available at