Building a Minimal Online Presence

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.

Titus Brown and Ethan White led a half-hour discussion today of the minimal online presence people in academia ought to have. Notes from the call are below; to make a point-form story even pointier, please make yourself findable and shareable.

Things Titus & Ethan think are important for your (minimally sufficient) online presence

  • Motivation: tried to track down info on Software Carpentry associated folk for computational science hires. Had a tough time!
  • My opinion: within space of one reasonably-phrased google search, someone should be able to casually find
    • Email address, CV in PDF form, research interests, and publication list/citations.
    • Personal research writings (grad/post-doc applications, etc.)
    • Searcher can then pass on to make a case for hiring/interviewing etc.
  • This can be done with github and google scholar fairly easily.
    • Don't need to keep everything up to date all the time
    • But should update at every important milestone (e.g., changing position, publishing really important paper)
  • A PDF form of CV is important for forwarding around... doesn't need to be completely up to date, google scholar can keep that, but important milestones.
  • Presentation about automatically maintaining presence:
  • More generally, for social media: this presentation
  • CV should contain
    • training/position history
    • summary of research interests
    • funding and paper information
    • important things to read
    • online links; workshops and training; invitations; professional activities; references
  • E.g.:
  • for goodness sake, if you are a software carpentry instructor SAY SO somewhere!
  • really easy website builder or use GitHub sites/pages
  • is also a really easy way to build a nice looking personal website


  • Should people include links/mentions for code? If so, what/how? CTB: can't hurt! TH: I give a link to my github account
  • convention for order of topics in CV might depend on field? CTB: no fixed conventions AFAIK, EPW: put the stuff that matters most first (& what matters most varies based on what you want to do professionally) SH: reverse chron!
  • What if a lot of the code you develop is only viewable within your institution? Most of the code on my github is pretty old
  • Should we have an area where folks can post links to their "presence"? As an example.
    • We're very happy to include links to personal sites/home pages in the team list
    • Please send to Greg, or send pull requests against the 'site' repo
  • For a personal website how long/detailed should your research interests be?
  • For non OA articles, do you link to the journal website (doi), to a pre/post-print, or to the published article (illegally, technically)? (Or in which order of preference)
    • CTB: google scholar solves this problem pretty well :). Make sure to the best of your ability that your important papers are available somewhere/somehow. That having been said most professors will have access to most major journals, even if closed access.
    • EPW: I use my institutional repository and put post-prints there and link to them (these then get indexed w/the paper in Google Scholar)
    • SH: I post illegal links too and wait for publisher to complain
  • Personal/lab web sites worth looking at:

Dialogue & Discussion

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