Why I have started to like Academia.edu recently
for several years now, and to be honest until recently I only used it
from time to time, mostly as a place for green copies of my work. I did
not see it as being a crucial part of my research workflow. Now this is
slowly changing, and I am glad to say that it is a useful tool, which
helps me a lot, especially in finding new, open access articles that are
really interesting for me. But it seems to me that Academia.edu has the
potential to do even more.
The platform is improving and despite a few bizarre shortcomings
(i.e. the possibility of adding co-authors to papers was introduced
several years after the launch of Academia.edu, which is hard to explain
taking into account contemporary publishing habits), it gets more users
every year. And finally, yes finally, after several years, I can say
that a large number of researchers working in my field have personal
accounts on Academia.edu and, above all, the recommendation tool works
very well for me.
I had to spend some time on finding and following the appropriate
people and research interests groups, but now I am fully satisfied with
the e-mail notifications that I get frequently about new papers
submitted by researchers I follow, or what is even more important, about
popular papers in my feed. Thanks to them I have already found multiple
new and highly interesting papers.
What is more, a new feature of Academia.edu, “Sessions” seems to be
really promising, although not yet perfect at this moment. It allows you
to publish a document (of any kind) and to invite people to openly
discuss it. Sessions uses the Scribid viewer to display content in your
browser and a hypothes.is like annotation system, which allows every
participant to anchor his or her comments anywhere in the document, or
just publish a general notice. Sessions lasts for 21 days, which is a
little bit too short for me, although maybe this is due to some
technical obstacles. This might be useful for getting feedback on your
recent articles, research notes, working papers, etc. In fact
Academia.edu’s “Sessions” do not offer any outstanding functionalities,
but they might become important since the platform itself is much more
popular than any other tool designed to foster academic discussion.
To sum it up:
Why is it worth having an Academia.edu profile?
1) It gives your work pretty good visibility. I know PhD students
from Polish universities (which are not known abroad) whose papers
reached 800+ views each on Academia.edu. Anyway, I recommend that you do
not treat Academia.edu as a primary publication venue. This is a good
supplement to publication in a peer reviewed journal, but it will probably not replace it, in terms of both impact on the research community and career advancement.
2) Academia.edu offers comprehensive insights about your paper,
including the number of views, the countries the views come from,
keywords that attracted people to your paper, etc.
3) Now it has become a good recommendation tool, it can keep you up
to date with important publications (at least in my field). Although you
have to remember that Academia.edu offers no form of credibility
verification. Anyone can create an account and any kind of document can
be submitted there. This means that you may find plagiarized, poorly
attributed or simply rubbish papers there. Original research works are
mixed up with essays of different quality and opinions. On the other
hand, I do not use Academia.edu to search for information about genomics
or rocket science, and in the field of sociology, I usually judge the
quality of papers on my own.
4) You can use Academia.edu to make your research process more open, by inviting people to discuss your work, ideas, etc.
What are the disadvantages of this platform?
1) No download option for not logged in users. Although registration
is free and open to everyone, this is still some kind of barrier. People
are lazy and do not like to log in. When I have a choice I always
choose not to log in, and this is why I frequently search for papers on
2) Information about e-mail addresses is required when adding the
co-authors of your paper. In my opinion this should be forbidden. I do
not hand over the personal data of my colleagues.
3) The interface could be better. It is not intuitive, even though it is still much better than Facebook’s one.
What could be better?
I think the “Drafts” section is disappointing. What is the point of
publishing a draft of some research work as a document which cannot be
commented on? It is much better to add a draft as a “Session” to let
people improve the work. And even “Sessions” are not interactive enough,
since they offer no option to modify the discussed document without
deleting it and starting a new session. It seems to me that it would be
perfect to have a fully cooperative writing tool, which might be powered
for example by Authorea or Overleaf. In this case the “Drafts” section would be something really brilliant.
Regardless, I think it’s a good idea to create a personal
Academia.edu account and update it frequently. And for example to submit
links to your new projects in Authera as posts there. It will probably
give them some additional visibility.
Why I have started to like Academia.edu recently | Open Science