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How important is web-presence to researchers? How does its importance vary by fields? (My interest is STEM, theory in particular)

I noticed that there is a pretty large variation in amount of web-presence even within a single field (I will use theoretical computer science/related math as an example). There seems to be 3 different levels of web-presence:

  • [High] Very active member of various internet tools (MathOverflow, cstheory, blogs, G+, etc) usually accompanied by a clear homepage with all the [Medium] info.

  • [Medium] A clear up-to date website that provides a clean bibliography/CV (usually with links to self-hosted pdfs), a repository of course-notes and teaching information, and list of students.

  • [Low] No personal website (or extremely outdated website).

Increasing your web-presence usually requires effort. Should you invest this effort? Or are you just wasting research time?

If you enjoy being active on the internet (so it is not a cost for you, but maybe a time-sync) is there any danger to having a high web presence?

1 Answer 1

It's a good question Artem. Establishing a good system such that your research can be known to other researchers in your field (or even in other fields) seems to me the way to go. The main problem I see is for those of us that do not work in fields where the hiring people are themselves interested in having a web presence. Most cancer researchers do not seem to care much about having one. Few have a website for their group and many of those that do don't seem to care much about it. Twitter and blogs are almost unheard of for experimentalists. They don't use them much and don't expect you to have one. I wish I could say that the new generation is a lot more adept but that doesn't seem to be my experience with the biology grad students and postdocs I know.