Once in graduate school and during the tenure process, academics are concerned with one thing: branding. Creating one's own website (site comparison forthcoming), formatting and meticulously combing one's CV, and constructing an online presence are all important parts of one's academic brand and profile. In order to facilitate one's online identity as a scholar, I'm going to take this post to explain two important ways to ensure that your academic publications and profile are the top results for your name.
Google Citation is an off-shoot of Google Scholar that creates profiles for academics by linking their publications within the scholar database. When someone searches Google Scholar to look for a publication or a topic area and finds an article of interest, they can select the author and be linked to their profile. Within this profile is the author's other articles in the Scholar database, the number of articles that have cited each article over the years, and links to those articles. Becoming familiar with Google Citations helps a scholar in two ways: creating a branding opportunity and tracking one's citations and web of scholarly interaction.
Google Scholar often auto-creates profiles for the more prolific authors by finding similarly cited names and linking the articles together. For new scholars and academics however, we can do part of the work for Google by creating our own profiles and linking our own publications there. The benefits to this (instead of letting Google create own for you) is that your profile will be available for searches and attached to your articles sooner and will be completed with more information. Scholars can upload their own profile photograph, create a verified email address for contact, key areas of research interests, links to other sites (like a research blog or professional website), and manually add articles that Google Citation might not have added (due to differences in citation style or name changes).
Keeping track of one's citations is a great way to create connections with other scholars with shared citations and cited each other's articles. With the multitude of journals and publications across field lines, scholars are often not aware of the people citing their articles or similar or tangential work in the same line of inquiry. This is great way to contact other scholars for panels at conferences, to find colleagues at institutions that might be hiring, or to find co-authors.
These benefits can be doubled if one has multiple citation sites. Other databases similar to Google Scholar have their own author profiles. Consider making one at each of the more popular search engines to make sure that your work is being connected to your brand. Other notable citation sites are ResearcherID at Web of Science and Scopus.
Keeping track of all of these sites is one more task on the ever-growing list of to-dos for academics, but this is an important one. Being able to link all of one's publications increases the likelihood of being found by other scholars and overall creates a stronger brand for the graduate student and faculty academic.