For years, we’ve heard from scientists that they don’t have their own web page or a way to be known on their own terms. Some institutions provide researchers with a web page or with space for a short description on a department or lab page. This is a start. But in addition to rarely capturing all the information that’s relevant to a scientist’s persona, institutional pages are often challenging to customize or update with any real frequency. More often than not, they are out of date.
The truth is, whether you’ve got a fancy web page or not, people will still look you up on Google. Everyone from colleagues to recruiters to the scientist you just met at a conference will rely on the results of web searches to form their impression of you. And as you may have already found out the hard way, your name can show up in some pretty surprising places on the web (some of which may make you cringe!).
We decided to do something about this by creating public profiles on Epernicus. A public profile is a limited version of your Epernicus profile that can be viewed by the outside world if you choose. Public profiles have their own web address (URL) which means that every member now has a professional website under his or her control. For example, mine is http://www.epernicus.com/vhm. You can preview your public profile and turn it on next time you log into Epernicus. A number of you have already done this and are now posting your web address to personal web sites, blogs, Facebook, and more. In the near future, we’ll make sure that profiles are indexed so people will find your activated public profile when they enter your name in Google or Yahoo!.
A special shout out goes to our Community Builders who gave us valuable feedback on the public profile before it was launched. If you’ve got ideas on how to make Epernicus more useful for you or your community, we want to hear from you!