Every academic should have a website, and here is why

Personal websites facilitate outreach and impression management, without the limitations of institutional websites

As recently as less than a decade ago, one in three academics in the UK were hermits — there was no meaningful information about them on the internet.

If this figure has improved over the years, that would largely be through institutional websites. Indeed, by now, almost all universities have dedicated pages on their academic staff.

Nevertheless, individual control over these pages are often limited, at least in terms of:

  • what can academics put on these pages,
  • how these pages are organised, and
  • who can update them.

Therefore, I believe every academic should have a personal website. Addressing the limitations above, personal websites offer three main benefits.

Academic outreach

Personal websites increase the accessibility of our work for the scientific community. Make sure your website includes all your publications1 and your working papers that are ready to be seen.

Public outreach

Personal websites are arguably even more important for non-academic audiences to access your work. They typically lack the resources and/or know-how to read our work on publishers' websites, especially if these are behind the paywall.

Unlike the staff pages on institutional websites, personal websites offer space also for non-academic writing, such as blogposts.

Impression management

First impressions matter, especially in academia. What would you like others to see when they google your name? A personal website would give you a high degree of control over their impression.

If you do not manage your online presence, others — your current and previous institutions, conferences that you have ever attended, etc. — will.

  1. Subject to the terms of author agreements with publishers, which, in most cases, allow for pre-prints to be posted online. ↩︎

Jane J. Doe
Jane J. Doe
Associate Professor of Politics

My academic interests include party politics, public policy, and international polities.