Academia.edu Grows to 175 Million Users While Gathering 32% of the World’s Research Papers

Academia.edu, the academic world’s platform for sharing research papers, has grown to 175 million users and is nearing half of the world’s academic research content. With around 100 million papers written since the 1600s, Academia aims to make every research paper ever written freely available on the internet. This growth has attracted $23 million in Series D funding led by Tencent, bringing the total investment raised to $63 million. True Ventures and Greyrock Investments also participated in the funding round. With this new funding, the company aims to expand into allowing academics to be peer-reviewed and published in journals hosted on the Academia platform.

Tencent-backed academic network to launch ‘open access’ journals | Financial Times

“A San Francisco-based company that allows academics to share articles for free plans to launch ten “open access” journals to swiftly review and publish their work, in a fresh disruption to the sector. Chinese tech giant Tencent is among those backing Academia, which has raised $22mn in fresh Series D financing. Chief executive Richard Price said the fundraising would help support a series of online journals free to read and paid for by the authors or backers which it plans to make available in the coming months. California-based group True Ventures also participated in the funding round….

Price said Academia’s technology allowed it to identify and seek rapid feedback on submissions from qualified peer reviewers….

By requiring both the authors and readers who want to gain access to their work to register online, Academia and its rivals have been able to collect information to measure interest in their publications, connect them with each other and recommend other articles. The company charges $100 a year for premium access to users seeking data insights, advanced searches and translations of papers from other languages, and $500 to authors who pay to publish in Letters.”

Competitive exposure and existential recognition: Visibility and legitimacy on academic social networking sites | Research Evaluation | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  Over the past decade, academic social networking sites, such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu, have become a common tool in academia for accessing publications and displaying metrics for research evaluation and self-monitoring. In this conceptual article, we discuss how these academic social networking sites, as devices of evaluation that build on both traditional values, objects, and metrics in academic publishing and on social media logics and algorithmic metrics, come to fulfil a need in the current academic (publishing) ecosystem. We approach this issue by identifying key affordances that arise in the interaction between platform and user. We then position these affordances in relation to potential needs of academics in today’s publishing landscape by drawing on Hafermalz’s metaphor of the ‘fear of exile’, which provides an alternative way of understanding the importance of visibility in the networked world, as a combination of competitive exposure and existential recognition. We end by considering the grounds on which the platforms may be attributed some level of legitimacy. This is done in order to understand the inherent contradiction between the broad use of the platforms and the fact that their integrity has been questioned repeatedly. We seek an answer to a legitimacy for the platforms in the fact that a pragmatic, mutual benefit exists between them and the research community; a benefit that is enhanced by the audit society influencing current academia.

 

Dear Scholars, Delete Your Account At Academia.Edu

“As privatized platforms like Academia.edu look to monetize scholarly writing even further, researchers, scientists and academics across the globe must now consider alternatives to proprietary companies that aim to profit from our writing and offer little transparency as to how our work will be used in the future.

In other words: It is time to delete your Academia.edu account….”

The financial market of ideas: A theory of academic social media – Alessandro Delfanti, 2020

Abstract:  Millions of scholars use academic social media to share their work and construct themselves as legitimate and productive workers. An analysis of Academia.edu updates ideas about science as a ‘marketplace of ideas’. Scholarly communication via social media is best conceptualized as a ‘financial market of ideas’ through which academic value is assigned to publications and researchers. Academic social media allow for the inclusion of scholarly objects such as preprint articles, which exceed traditional accounting systems in scholarly communication. Their functioning is based on a valorization of derived qualities, as their algorithms analyze social interactions on the platform rather than the content of scholarship. They are also oriented toward the future in their use of data analytics to predict research outcomes.

 

Role of social networking services for scientists in promoting scientific output on example of Polish representatives of social communication and media sciences | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

This paper aims to answer the question of how the Polish representatives of social communication and media sciences communicate the most recent scientific findings in the media space, i.e. what types of publications are shared, what activities do they exemplify (sharing information about their own publications, leading discussions, formulating opinions), what is the form of the scientific communication created by them (publication of reference lists’ descriptions, full papers, preprints and post prints) and what is the audience reception (number of downloads, displays, comments).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors present the results of analysis conducted on the presence of the most recent (2017–2019) publications by the Polish representatives of the widely understood social communication and media sciences in three selected social networking services for scientists: ResearchGate, Google Scholar and Academia.edu. The analyses covered 100 selected representatives of the scientific environment (selected in interval sampling), assigned, according to the OECD classification “Field of Science”, in the “Ludzie nauki” (Men of Science) database to the “media and communication” discipline.

Findings

The conducted analyses prove a low usage level of the potential of three analysed services for scientists by the Polish representatives of social communication and media sciences. Although 60% of them feature profiles in at least one of the services, the rest are not present there at all. From the total of 113 identified scientists’ profiles, as little as 65 feature publications from 2017 to 2019. Small number of alternative metrics established in them, implies, in turn, that if these metrics were to play an important role in evaluation of the value and influence of scientific publications, then this evaluation for the researched Polish representatives of social communication and media sciences would be unfavourable.

Originality/value

The small presence of the Polish representatives of the communication and media sciences in three analysed services shows that these services may be – for the time being – only support the processes of managing own scientific output. Maybe this quite a pessimistic image of scientists’ activities in the analysed services is conditioned by a simple lack of the need to be present in electronic channels of scientific communication or the lack of trust to the analysed services, which, in turn, should be linked to their shortcomings and flaws. However, unequivocal confirmation of these hypotheses might be brought by explorations covering a larger group of scientists, and complemented with survey studies. Thus, this research may constitute merely a starting point for further explorations, including elaboration of good practices with respect to usage of social media by scientists.

Use of author identifier services (ORCID, ResearcherID) and academic social networks (Academia.edu, ResearchGate) by the researchers of the University of Caen Normandy (France): A case study

Abstract:  The purpose of this paper was to assess the presence of researchers on two author identifier services (ORCID and ResearcherID) and to compare the results with two academic social networks (Academia.edu and ResearchGate) using the categories of discipline, career advancement, and gender in a medium sized multidisciplinary university in France (University of Caen Normandy). Metrics such as number of publications per researcher, h-indexes, and average number of citations were also assessed. Of the 1,047 researchers studied, 673 (64.3%) had at least one profile on the four sites, and the number of researchers having multiple profiles decreased as more sites were studied. Researchers with only one profile numbered 385 (36.8%), while 204 (19.5%) had two, 68 (6.5%) had three, and only 16 (1.5%) had four. ResearchGate had by far the highest number of researchers present, with 569 (54.3%), whereas presence on the other sites was about 15%. We found that, apart from Academia.edu, researchers in Sciences, Technology, and Medicine (STM) were over-represented. Overall, experienced male researchers were over-represented on the sites studied. Our results show that, because of the numerous profiles lacking publication references (particularly on ORCID) and a low presence of researchers on the four sites studied (except for ResearchGate), assessing the number of publications, h-indexes, or average number of citations per article of individuals or institutions remains challenging. Finally, our data showed that French researchers have not adopted the use of the two author identifier sites (i.e. ORCID and ResearcherID). As long as French researchers remain reticent, these sites will not be able to provide the services for which they were created: addressing the problem of author misidentification, consequently providing exhaustive access to scientific production and bibliometric indicators of individual researchers and their institutions.

 

Use of author identifier services (ORCID, ResearcherID) and academic social networks (Academia.edu, ResearchGate) by the researchers of the University of Caen Normandy (France): A case study

Abstract:  The purpose of this paper was to assess the presence of researchers on two author identifier services (ORCID and ResearcherID) and to compare the results with two academic social networks (Academia.edu and ResearchGate) using the categories of discipline, career advancement, and gender in a medium sized multidisciplinary university in France (University of Caen Normandy). Metrics such as number of publications per researcher, h-indexes, and average number of citations were also assessed. Of the 1,047 researchers studied, 673 (64.3%) had at least one profile on the four sites, and the number of researchers having multiple profiles decreased as more sites were studied. Researchers with only one profile numbered 385 (36.8%), while 204 (19.5%) had two, 68 (6.5%) had three, and only 16 (1.5%) had four. ResearchGate had by far the highest number of researchers present, with 569 (54.3%), whereas presence on the other sites was about 15%. We found that, apart from Academia.edu, researchers in Sciences, Technology, and Medicine (STM) were over-represented. Overall, experienced male researchers were over-represented on the sites studied. Our results show that, because of the numerous profiles lacking publication references (particularly on ORCID) and a low presence of researchers on the four sites studied (except for ResearchGate), assessing the number of publications, h-indexes, or average number of citations per article of individuals or institutions remains challenging. Finally, our data showed that French researchers have not adopted the use of the two author identifier sites (i.e. ORCID and ResearcherID). As long as French researchers remain reticent, these sites will not be able to provide the services for which they were created: addressing the problem of author misidentification, consequently providing exhaustive access to scientific production and bibliometric indicators of individual researchers and their institutions.

 

The Role and Utilization of International Academic Social Networks in Digital Publishing

Abstract : This paper focuses on the issue of academic social networks as means of changing the open access reality. Nowadays a free, direct and permanent access to digital scientific content is necessary for every student and researcher. The need for human communication has made social networks popular to the public, resulting in their rapid development, for example, ResearchGate and Academia.edu. The study is motivated by one main research question: What is their role and utilization in digital publishing? Through observational research and secondary quantitative and qualitative data analysis, the key objectives of the study are to highlight the role of international academic social networks in digital publishing and present the benefits and limitations of existing networks. In conclusion, the active use of academic social networks enables researchers to expand their knowledge but on the other hand limitations on digital publishing arise regarding to copyrights and licensing barriers.

 

The Role and Utilization of International Academic Social Networks in Digital Publishing

Abstract : This paper focuses on the issue of academic social networks as means of changing the open access reality. Nowadays a free, direct and permanent access to digital scientific content is necessary for every student and researcher. The need for human communication has made social networks popular to the public, resulting in their rapid development, for example, ResearchGate and Academia.edu. The study is motivated by one main research question: What is their role and utilization in digital publishing? Through observational research and secondary quantitative and qualitative data analysis, the key objectives of the study are to highlight the role of international academic social networks in digital publishing and present the benefits and limitations of existing networks. In conclusion, the active use of academic social networks enables researchers to expand their knowledge but on the other hand limitations on digital publishing arise regarding to copyrights and licensing barriers.

 

Staying with the Trouble: Designing a values-enacted academy | Impact of Social Sciences

“The prospecting practices of Academia.edu, ResearchGate, and Academic Analytics reinforce precisely such an impoverished conception of scholarship. The data they collect and ‘insights’ they provide foster an “analytics mindset” and obsession with self-branding. Academic Analytics, for its part, mines a “mother lode” of scholarly data independent of input from the scholars themselves, and presents this data to institutions of higher education in ways that represent, repackage, and reduce the quality of scholarly merit primarily to the quantity of scholarship produced. This data- and metrics-driven framework enables inter-institutional competition that has helped to create a toxic culture of self-interest and prestige. …”

Staying with the Trouble: Designing a values-enacted academy | Impact of Social Sciences

“The prospecting practices of Academia.edu, ResearchGate, and Academic Analytics reinforce precisely such an impoverished conception of scholarship. The data they collect and ‘insights’ they provide foster an “analytics mindset” and obsession with self-branding. Academic Analytics, for its part, mines a “mother lode” of scholarly data independent of input from the scholars themselves, and presents this data to institutions of higher education in ways that represent, repackage, and reduce the quality of scholarly merit primarily to the quantity of scholarship produced. This data- and metrics-driven framework enables inter-institutional competition that has helped to create a toxic culture of self-interest and prestige. …”

Whose Research is it Anyway? Academic Social Networks Versus Institutional Repositories

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION Looking for ways to increase deposits into their institutional repository (IR), researchers at one institution started to mine academic social networks (ASNs) (namely, ResearchGate and Academia.edu) to discover which researchers might already be predisposed to providing open access to their work. METHODS Researchers compared the numbers of institutionally affiliated faculty members appearing in the ASNs to those appearing in their institutional repositories. They also looked at how these numbers compared to overall faculty numbers. RESULTS Faculty were much more likely to have deposited their work in an ASN than in the IR. However, the number of researchers who deposited in both the IR and at least one ASN exceeded that of those who deposited their research solely in an ASN. Unexpected findings occurred as well, such as numerous false or unverified accounts claiming affiliation with the institution. ResearchGate was found to be the favored ASN at this particular institution. DISCUSSION The results of this study confirm earlier studies’ findings indicating that those researchers who are willing to make their research open access are more disposed to do so over multiple channels, showing that those who already self-archive elsewhere are prime targets for inclusion in the IR. CONCLUSION Rather than seeing ASNs as a threat to IRs, they may be seen as a potential site of identifying likely contributors to the IR.

Whose Research is it Anyway? Academic Social Networks Versus Institutional Repositories

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION Looking for ways to increase deposits into their institutional repository (IR), researchers at one institution started to mine academic social networks (ASNs) (namely, ResearchGate and Academia.edu) to discover which researchers might already be predisposed to providing open access to their work. METHODS Researchers compared the numbers of institutionally affiliated faculty members appearing in the ASNs to those appearing in their institutional repositories. They also looked at how these numbers compared to overall faculty numbers. RESULTS Faculty were much more likely to have deposited their work in an ASN than in the IR. However, the number of researchers who deposited in both the IR and at least one ASN exceeded that of those who deposited their research solely in an ASN. Unexpected findings occurred as well, such as numerous false or unverified accounts claiming affiliation with the institution. ResearchGate was found to be the favored ASN at this particular institution. DISCUSSION The results of this study confirm earlier studies’ findings indicating that those researchers who are willing to make their research open access are more disposed to do so over multiple channels, showing that those who already self-archive elsewhere are prime targets for inclusion in the IR. CONCLUSION Rather than seeing ASNs as a threat to IRs, they may be seen as a potential site of identifying likely contributors to the IR.

Open access availability of Catalonia research output: Case analysis of the CERCA institution, 2011-2015

Abstract:  The open access availability of publications by Catalonia’s CERCA research centres was analysed to determine the extent to which authors use open access journals, repositories, social networks and other websites to disseminate their research results. A sample of 3,730 journal articles published by authors from CERCA research centres between 2011 and 2015 and available on Web of Science (out of a total output of 44,423) was analysed to identify how many were available in open access, full-text format. The results revealed that 75,8% of the total (2,828 articles) had at least one version available in open access, but just 52% (1,940 articles) had at least one version available in either journals (whether pure or hybrid open access journals or those with embargo periods) or repositories, a finding that highlights the powerful role played by academic social networks in the sharp increase in open access availability. Of the 2,828 articles for which at least one open access version was found, a total of 9,868 copies were located. With respect to versions, the publisher’s final version, i.e. the type formatted for publication by journal publishers, was found in 75,3% of cases. The number of articles published in open access journals (567) was very close to the number of articles published in hybrid journals or journals with embargo periods (624). Only 40,4% of the articles in the sample were located in repositories, being the subject repositories the heaviest used. Fifty percent of the articles (1,881 publications) were posted on academic social networks, the most popular of which were ResearchGate and Academia. According to thematic areas, all six areas (science, life sciences, medical and health sciences, engineering and architecture and humanities) exceeded 70% of articles in open access.