Tuesday, 1 September 2015


As it’s recently had a redesign I thought we would look at 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.  

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