As it’s recently had a redesign I thought we would look at Academia.edu this week. Founded in 2008 it provides an online platform for sharing academic research. Academia hosts around 6,484,290 papers and attracts 36 million unique visitors a month.
It’s free to sign up and creating a profile is straightforward. Once you have a profile, you can share as much or as little personal information as you like. Papers can be found in two ways. First, you can follow research interests. Academia then generates a personal news feed that highlights papers tagged with your research interests. Second, you can follow individual academics: every time they upload a paper it appears in your feed.
In my experience, it’s good for three things:
- Finding and sharing research. Academia has become a depository of research publications, rather like our own LRA. Many researchers use it to host their own publications archive. It’s become a good way to find ‘grey literature’ like conference or working papers.
- Networking. I have made contact with several people who I wouldn’t have met through the normal UK conference circuit.
- Improving your digital research profile. Academia gives you more control than a department web page will. Once your profile goes live it comes out well in google searches.
A new feature allows researchers to invite comments from other users on draft papers. Don’t worry; people are constructive in their comments! This could be a good way to get feedback on draft thesis chapters from someone other than your supervisor.