The other day I was trying to download a pdf which was stored at Academia.edu, the academic research-sharing platform.
I didn’t mind signing up as required to access the pdf, as it was a good excuse to check out the site, which I have been meaning to do for a while.
There is an enormous range of research areas to follow, each populated by researchers of all levels and nationalities. I joined a few, including the ‘academic libraries’ group, which has 987 followers, many of whom have uploaded their papers, presentations, teaching documents, reviews etc.
When searching for people attached to my own university, it was great to recognise familiar faces and names, to find out more about their research interests, and to see the papers they have made available.
Although I am an academic librarian and not a researcher, I don’t feel ‘out of place’ in Academia.edu. The role of the academic librarian is extending to include, to a much greater extent than before, the provision of research support. This requires knowledge and experience of the way that researchers connect and communicate with each other online. Delving into Academic.edu not only helps me understand this better, but provides me with a space where I can potentially engage with others who have interests that overlap with mine – as a participant and not just as an onlooker.
However, Academic.edu didn’t seem overly ‘social’ to me, so I am interested in comparing it with some of the other research sharing platforms which may be more so, such as Research Gate, Mendeley and Zotero groups.