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Research Impact and Visibility: Getting started: impact and visibility

This guide entails of research support services for NWU researchers

Getting started

"Impact" describes the reach and influence of a scholar's work. Assessment of impact attempts to reconstruct the value you have given back to the community by examining things such as ...

  • How many scholars have continued the conversation by citing your articles?
  • Who is citing your articles?
  • What kinds of outcomes has your research led to? Have people built better protocols, instrumentation, or practice based on work you have done?
  • Who is noticing you? Have you given presentations to the government? To your local community?
  • What kind of impact have you had on your advisees? What impact has your advisor had on you?

Impact is a complicated landscape, but it begins with you: your research, your relationships, and your outcomes. In this LibGuide, we will provide you with tools that can help you create your own personal branding and evaluate the performance of you, your department, or your research group.


By increasing your online profile and engagement, you may be able to influence your success rate in the competitive research and academic environment.   How to demonstrate research impact and engagement varies widely by discipline context and specific purpose (i.e. grant application or promotion application).  This guide provides suggestions on how to make your research available to the widest possible audience and improve the discoverability of your material.   

By adopting one or more of these suggestions you will:

Build your online presence: Make it easy for researchers, students, journalists and funding bodies to find you and your publications.

Increase your research impact: Increase the chances others will read and cite your publications.

Track and measure the impact of your research: Make it easy to keep track of your citation metrics and research impact.

Get the credit for your research: Ensure you get credit for all your research and publications.

Search engines with author profiles

Create search engine profiles to make it easier for yourself and others to keep track of your publications and citation metrics:

  • Google Scholar Citations

Author identifiers

Register for researcher IDs to ensure you get credit for your research, even if other researchers have similar names or if your name or affiliation changes:

  • Scopus Author Identifier (Elsevier)

  • ResearcherID on Publons (Clarivate) - From April 2019 all public ResearcherIDs are on Publons.  

  • Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID)

Social networks for researchers

Join social networks to share and monitor analytics for your research publications, and connect with other researchers in your field:

  • ResearchGate


  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN)

Security and confidentiality

Consider what information you should disclose

Make sure you only publish information on your research profiles that you are happy and legally allowed to disclose to others.

See the North-West University Social Media Guidelines for more information.

Check the user agreement

It is important to check the user agreement for each tool you use to find out:

  • Who will have access to your data,

  • How long it will be retained, and

  • How easy it is to delete an account.


Check copyright conditions and publishing agreements

If you have published a paper, you should check the journal publisher's policy conditions before uploading it. You can use the database SHERPA/RoMEO to find publisher's policies.

Many publishers allow researchers free use of the ‘author’s original manuscript’ or ‘author’s accepted manuscript’, but it is important to check any publishing agreement you sign.

Make sure you have the right to share materials

You must only share material in which you own copyright, or have the appropriate rights to do so.