Is Academia a Reliable Source?
Academics see the world through a different lens. They study many of the issues that shape our society, and although they are not free from bias, their research is based on measurable facts.
Last year, Academia dot edu came under fire for asking scholars to pay to boost their papers on the site. This move caused much anger and confusion among scholars.
It is a social network
Academic social networking sites are online tools for sharing academic-related content. These sites offer a user-friendly way to connect with colleagues and promote research. Some even link to scholarly article databases. They can also be used for peer review and collaborative work.
While academics are not against learning credible information from social media, they prefer to find it in a space that is carefully controlled and verified by experts. Luckily, there are many academic platforms to choose from that allow researchers to upload their articles for public access.
Academia edu is one of the fastest-growing sites for sharing academic papers. It has millions of papers and over 194 million registered users. It offers free access to most papers, but it requires a subscription for full-text access. In addition to this, there are a number of other academic websites that allow users to upload their research for free. Some even let users pay to boost their publications so they can be seen by more people.
It is a search engine
Like Spotify for music, SoundCloud for podcasters and Etsy for artists, academia dot edu provides a platform for academics to get their work noticed. The site was a valuable resource for researchers, but it recently came under fire after asking scholars to pay a fee in exchange for getting their papers recommended by the search engine. Unlike other free academic databases such as ResearchGate or ORCID, academia dot edu is not open source. It is a for-profit venture capital-backed company.
It is a repository
Academia is a repository that hosts academic papers and allows scholars to share their work. It is free to use for scholars, but it encourages them to subscribe to its membership program in order to access more features. This has led to some controversy, with many users complaining that they are being unknowingly charged.
While the institution-based repositories and subject-specific preprint servers such as Humanities Commons and DARIAH are a reliable source of articles, they do not allow authors to self-archive the final published version of their paper without explicit legal permission, which would be required for it to become Open Access. This often leads to DMCA takedown requests from publishers.
In contrast, academia edu is a for-profit company that aims to make money by recommending research articles to its users. Last year the site received criticism when it started contacting scholars to ask them to pay for “recommendation boosts.” This was met with a lot of backlash, and the company has since stopped asking for money from scholars.
It is a platform
Academia is an open platform where anyone can publish. This makes it difficult to filter through the irrelevant work, but if you’re a premium member, you can use search filters to narrow your results. The site also has a range of features that allow you to create your own profile and share your work with the public.
While it’s important for scholars to promote their research on these sites, it’s worth remembering that they are commercial social networks backed by venture capital. They may even encourage you to upload research that you don’t have the legal right to publish. They also encourage you to pay money to signal boost your work, which can damage your reputation. Moreover, they draw heavily on the concepts of points, levels, rewards and scores that are associated with gaming. This is an unfortunate move, as it turns scholarly labour into a game that is influenced by neoliberal ideas about markets and competition.