E-visibility of environmental science researchers at the University of South Africa

Leslie Adriaanse, Chris Rensleigh


Research e-visibility embodies online presence on the World Wide Web, discoverability via research e-profiles and accessibility of research output available online. The purpose of this study is to report on the e-visibility status phase of a longitudinal e-visibility study (Dec 2014 – April 2017) investigating the e-visibility themes of online presence, researcher discoverability and accessibility of research output of the environmental science researchers at the University of South Africa. Bibliometric and altmetric data were collected via online searches and an online survey was completed by the School of Environmental Sciences during December 2014. The results for online research presence indicate a preference for using free search engines versus fee-based traditional resources. Regarding researcher discoverability via e-profiles, the results indicated a preference for using free websites, with the highest distribution on LinkedIn. A higher distribution of research output on free online resources was reported, with a low percentage of researchers participated in self-archiving on social networking tools, in online archives and in repositories, which resulted in a small percentage of accessible research output online. This research suggests that the development of an e-visibility strategy would support and enable academic e-visibility, therefore increasing online research visibility, discoverability and accessibility of the School of Environmental Sciences researchers at University of South Africa.


E-visibility; research e-profiles; online presence; online discoverability; online accessibility

Full Text:



Aguillo, I.F. 2012. Is Google Scholar useful for bibliometrics? A webometric analysis. Scientometrics, 91: 343–351.

Ale-Ebrahim, N. and Salehi, H. 2013. Maximize visibility: a way to increase citation frequency. University of Malyasia High Impact Research, 1–3. [Online]. http://works.bepress.com/aleebrahim/77/ (10 August 2015).

Ale-Ebrahim, N., Salehi, H., Embi, M.A., Gholizadeh, H., Motahar, S.M. and Ordi, A. 2013. Effective strategies for increasing citation frequency. International Educational Studies, 6(11): 93–99. [Online]. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Papers.cfm?abstract_id=2344585 (10 August 2015).

Alsagoff, Z.A. 2012. Using social media for research. [Online]. http://www.slideshare.net/zaid/using-social-media-for-research-14033970?from_search=1 (10 December 2013).

Arda, Z. 2012. Academicians on online social networks: visibility of academic research and amplification of audience. Estudios sobre el mensaje periodístico, 18: 67–75. [Online]. http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=4213526 (10 August 2015).

Bankier, J.G. and Perciali, I. 2008. The institutional repository rediscovered: what can a university do for open access publishing? Serials Review, 34(1): 21–26. [Online]. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0098791307001517 (27 November 2013).

Bar-Ilan, J. 2014. Astrophysics publications on arXiv, Scopus and Mendeley: a case study. Scientometrics, 100: 217–225. [Online]. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11192-013-1215-1 (07 August 2016).

Bar-Ilan, J., Haustein, S., Peters, J., Shema, H. and Terliesner, J. 2012. Beyond citations: scholar’s visibility on the social web. Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators. 5-8 September. Montreal, Canada. [Online]. http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.5611 (12 December 2013).

Campos, F. and Valencia, A. 2015. Managing academic profiles on scientific social networks. New Contributions in Information Systems and Technologies, 353: 265–273. [Online]. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-16486-1_27 (10 August 2015).

Cann, A., Dimitriou, K. and Hooley, T. 2011. Social media: a guide for researchers. London: Research information network. [Online]. http://derby.openrepository.com/derby/handle/10545/196715 (14 August 2016).

Chang, N. 2012. Creating a strong online presence as an academic. [Online], Available: http://www.theihs.org/academic/2012/06/07/creating-a-strong-online-presence-as-an-academic-part-2-control-your-brand/ (10 August 2015).

Chung, C. and Park, H. 2012. Web visibility of scholars in media and communication journals. Scientometrics, 93(1): 207–215. [Online]. http://www.akademiai.com/doi/abs/10.1007/s11192-012-0707-8 (14 February 2015).

Cullen, R. and Chawner, B. 2011. Institutional repositories, open access, and scholarly communication: a study of conflicting paradigms. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 37(6): 460-470.

Czerniewicz, L. and Wiens, K. 2013. The online visibility of South African knowledge: searching for poverty alleviation: Building the information society. The African Journal of Information and Communication, August: 30–41. [Online]. http://reference.sabinet.co.za/sa_epublication_article/afjic_n13_a4 (10 August 2015).

De Ridder, J., Bromberg, Y., Michaut, M., Satagopam, V.P., Corpas, M., Macintyre, G. and Alexandrov, T. 2013. The Young PI Buzz: learning from the organisers of the junior principal investigator meeting at ISMB-ECCB 2013. PLoS Computational Biology, 9(11): e1003350.

Foley, M. and Kochalko, D. 2012. Open researcher and contributor identification (ORCID). Proceedings of the Charleston Library Conference. 2-5 November 2011. West Lafayette: Purdue University, 320–323. [Online]. http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/charleston/2010/OutofBox/1/ (28 July 2016).

Harzing, A. and van der Wal, R. 2007. Google Scholar: the democratization of citation analysis? Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics, 8: 61-73.

Hemminger, B.M., Lu, D., Vaughn, K.T.L. and Adams, S. 2007. Information seeking behavior of academic scientists. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(14): 2205-2225.

Goodier, S. and Czerniewicz, L. 2012. Academics’ online presence: a four-step guide to taking control of your visibility. [Online]. http://openuct.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/Online Visibility Guidelines.pdf (10 August 2015).

Grey, J.E., Hamilton, M.C., Hauser, A., Janz, M.M., Peters, J.P. and Taggart, F. 2012. Scholarish: Google Scholar and its value to the sciences. Science and Technology Librarianship, summer 2012: 1-10.

Jamali, H.R., Russell, B. and Nicholas, D. 2014. Do online communities support research collaboration? Aslib Journal of Information Management, 66(6): 603-622. [Online]. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/AJIM-08-2013-0072 (19 August 2016).

Jantz, R.C. and Wilson, M.C. 2008. Institutional repositories: faculty deposits, marketing, and the reform of scholarly communication. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(3): 186-195.

Jeng, W., He, D. and Jiang, J. 2015. User participation in an academic social networking service: a survey of open group users on Mendeley. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(5): 890–904. DOI:10.1002/asi.23225.

Lawrence, S. 2001. Free online availability substantially increases a paper’s impact. Nature, 411(6837): 521–521. [Online]. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v411/n6837/full/411521a0.html (10 August 2015).

Lercher, A. 2008. A Survey of attitudes about digital repositories among faculty at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34(5): 408–415. [Online]. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009913330800102X (27 November 2013).

Lin, C.C. and Tsai, C.C. 2011. Applying social bookmarking to collective information searching (CIS): an analysis of behavioral pattern and peer interaction for co-exploring quality online resources. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(3): 1249–1257.

Mangan, K. 2012. Social networks for academics proliferate, despite some doubts. Chronicle of Higher Education, 29 April. [Online]. http://chronicle.com/article/Social-Networks-for-Academics/131726/ (27 November 2013).

Menendez, M., Angeli, A. and Menestrina, Z. 2012. Exploring the virtual space of academia. In From research to practice in the design of cooperative systems: results and open challenges. J. Dugdale, C. Masclet, M.A. Grasso, J.F. Boujut, and P. Hassanaly. Eds. Springer: London. 49–63. [Online]. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4471-4093-1_4 (25 May 2016).

Mikki, S., Zygmuntowska, M., Gjesdal, Ø.L. and Al Ruwehy, H.A. 2015. Digital presence of Norwegian scholars on academic network sites: where and who are they? PLOS ONE, 10(11): e0142709.

Niesche, C. 2013. Who are you online? Creating a web presence for academics: how to make the most of your online profiles. [Online]. http://intheblack.com/articles/2013/06/26/who-are-you-online-creating-a-web-presence-for-academics (10 August 2015).

Niu, X., Hemminger, B.M., Lown, C., Adams, C., Level, A., McLure, M., Powers, A., Tennant, M.R. et al. 2010. National study of information seeking behavior of academic researchers in the United States. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 61(5): 869-890.

Norman, E. 2012. Maximizing journal article citation online: readers, robots, and research visibility. Politics & Policy, 40(1): 1–12. [Online]. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1747-1346.2011.00342.x/full (18 June 2015).

Ovadia, S. 2013. When social media meets scholarly publishing. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 32(3): 194–198.

Ovadia, S. 2014. ResearchGate and Academia.edu: academic social networks. Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 33(3): 165–169.

Piwowar, H. and Priem, J. 2013. The power of altmetrics on a CV. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 39(4): 10–13.

Redden, C.S. 2010. Social bookmarking in academic libraries: trends and applications. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 36(3): 219–227.

Repanovici, A. 2011. Measuring the visibility of the university’s scientific production through scientometric methods. Performance Measurement and Metrics, 12(2): 106–117.

Ward, J., Bejarano, W. and Dudás, A. 2015. Scholarly social media profiles and libraries: a review. LIBER Quarterly, 22(4): 174–204. [Online]. http://liber.library.uu.nl/index.php/lq/article/view/9958/10504 (12 May 2015).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7553/83-2-1636


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2304-8263 (online); ISSN 0256-8861 (print)
Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2012.



This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.