Kevin Warwick on Academics and Digital Identity

As a man with a high media profile and strong online presence Professor Kevin Warwick, Chair of Cybernetics at Reading University, has strong views about the need for academics to maintain a digital identity.

“I’m not sure how great the awareness among old-school academics is about the importance of having a Web presence for themselves or their university,” he says.

“Seeing how influential these can be for students and potential students – now the days of the traditional prospectus are numbered – senior academics need to be aware of the significance of the information that’s available. Students do search on particular members of staff to try to find out about who’s teaching on what, and this can influence their choices.”

For academics, a well managed digital identity is not just an essential tool for enhancing the reputation of their institution, adds Professor Warwick, but also for enhancing their individual standing.

“If you compare two academics, one with a strong Web presence and one with their DI locked down, my impression of the latter would be that what they’ve actually done is not of any interest – because if it were, there would be more comment from other people, and they would put their work and their arguments out there for people to see. It can give you a perspective on the value of someone’s contribution.”