Thursday, April 09, 2015

Academic social media : Which is better, Linkedln,, Papers or ResearchGate?

What exactly are academic social media? Academic social media are social media networks aimed primarily at academics and researchers. In addition to the usual functions of social media – connecting and communicating with peers and sharing and discovering information – they also offer the ability to document and share your publications. As such they function as informal repositories for their members.

  • – Academia is the internationally recognized establishment of professional scholars and students, usually centered around colleges and universities, who are engaged in higher education and research.

  • LinkedIn – looks similar to other social networking sites, but is more carrier-oriented, you can put any publications there, and link them to either your homepage or arXiv or whatever, or don't link them at all, that's up to you.
  • Google Scholar CitationsGoogle Scholar Citations provide a simple way for authors to keep track of citations to their articles. You can check who is citing your publications, graph citations over time, and compute several citation metrics. You can also make your profile public, so that it may appear in Google Scholar results when people search for your name.
  • Mendeley is a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers,[1] discovering research data and collaborating online. It combines Mendeley Desktop, a PDF and reference management application (available for Windows, OS X and Linux) with Mendeley Web, an online social network for researchers
  • ResearchGate – I have no true experience with RG since it's not so popular amongst my colleagues. But it seems to me that you can both put the whole article there, or just put the reference there with the option that people can ask you to send them the paper. This is very nice since you need not to break any journal's policies to make it work.
It depends what you are looking for. 

If you are looking for a place to get distribution and recognition for your research, is the place for you. If you are looking for a place to organize papers that you have stored on your hard drive, Mendeley is the place for you.

ResearchGate and
The two best known academic social media are ResearchGate and These two are also The Connected Leiden Researcher's focus for August. While both networks offer roughly the same features, the difference between them is one of emphasis. ResearchGate is more closely focused on collaboration and interaction, while often functions more as an academic version of LinkedIn, with an online CV a.k.a. a bibliography in the case of academics and as a place to share your publications. You can find a closer examination of both of these networks in the In Depth section.

In many ways and ResearchGate also function as a digital CV, listing research experience and different forms of publications, whether it pertains to academic papers or other forms of publications, such as conference papers or blogs. But if that's true, why would an academic bother setting up a LinkedIn profile?

Other networks
Of course there are more networks than just ResearchGate and Most of these however are more narrowly focused, for example MyScienceWork seems to be more oriented towards the Sciences, Labroots for the Life Sciences, orBiomedExperts for the biomedical sciences. Connected Researchers offers an overview of different social networks for academics. 

What is their benefit?

Academic social media allow you to connect to other researchers in your field, share your publications and datasets, get feedback on your non-peer-reviewed work, and to stay current with news and events in your field of interest. It gives you another place to establish your name and research and perhaps even collaborate with others.

Academic social media and impact?

Academic social media tie into altmetrics mostly indirectly, through making your work more widely discoverable and, if you've uploaded a copy, more easily available. They also provide an additional source for impact data by tracking the number of views and downloads your uploaded papers get. ResearchGate has developed its own additional metric called the RG Score, which isn't just based on your contributions (papers, Q&A's, data sets, negative results), but also on your interaction with others on the site; this means that who looks at your research is as important as how many people look at your research. The RG Score and the other data aren't automatically incorporated in the altmetric aggregators such as and Plum Analytics.

Difference in audience

The answer would largely lie in the fact that academic social media networks have a different audience than LinkedIn. ResearchGate or are interesting to build a (collaborative) network of academic peers, while LinkedIn allows networking on a broader scale, also reaching out to the private sector and civil services. And of course it doesn't have to be either/or. In fact, these can most definitely be used as complementary profiles.

Profile, network, promote
If it were truly a contest between ResearchGate and versus LinkedIn, then it would end in a draw. All of them have their own focus and audience and if you want to reach a broad spectrum of people and have all your pertinent information easily available to peers, funders, and the public then having multiple profiles to network on would seem the surest course. And remember to let people know you are there, so they can find you!

Compare interest over timeFinally, looking at mentions of the word  across the web



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