What is it?

Academia.edu is a social networking site for academics and researchers. Unlike ResearchGate you can register whether you are affiliated with an academic institute or not. Academia.edu are great proponents of Open Access and Open Science, seeing it as the way forward for academic publishing and access for more than just those who are able to get to an academic library. Once registered, you can set up a profile listing all your publications and – if allowed by your publishing agreement – share them as PDFs. You can list your research interests and follow researchers whose work is of interest to you. Similarly, you can be followed by others who are interested in your work. The follower/followed relationship is asynchronous, much in the same way Twitter's is. In addition Academia.edu offers extensive analytics on how often and in what way your papers are found and viewed.

What can it do for me?

Academia.edu allows you to connect to other researchers in your field, upload your publications so other people can find and obtain them, find and obtain other people's publications, and stay current on what other people in your field are working on. It allows you to network across the globe and stay informed of events and conferences. It is another way getting your name and work out there. It also gives you an additional source for impact data as Academia.edu tracks the number of views and downloads your profile and papers get.

Privacy issues?

The usual caveats apply when it comes to privacy issues on Academia.edu. Be aware of the information you are posting and make sure it's only information you're comfortable making available publicly. 

Pro’s & Cons

  • It's a free service
  • Easy way to connect to a large network of your peers
  • Easy access to publications that interest you
  • Freely available to all, not just those working in academia
  • Has a broad reach across disciplines
  • Actual member retention and activity isn't clear
  • Favours completed research as only completed articles can be uploaded
  • While you can ask questions on Academia.edu, it doesn't seem possible to create discussion groups.
  • Legality of sharing some of the copyrighted materials on the site is questionable

Who in Leiden?

Peter Akkermans (Archaeology)
Paul Hoftijzer (Book and Digital Media Studies)
Thijs Porck (English language and Culture)
Judith Pollmann (History)
Miko Flohr (History)