The phenomenon of academic social networks has been articulated for several years within the current scientific panorama. Academic networks have personalized the characteristics of generic social platforms to adapt them to the academic context, prioritizing scientific production as an essential part of the actors’ curriculum and allowing general access. Academic social networks have served two main purposes. First, they have a social purpose, and allow academics to connect virtually and interact with each other. Second, they serve as repositories of work, so that authors increase the visibility of their work and readers acquire a way of access that is especially interesting when access to works is paid. The outstanding issue is that some networks like Academia.edu incorporate payment options for their users. The purpose of this post is to analyze the characteristics of Academia Premium and its advantages.
Apart from the functions of connectivity and repository of work, academic social networks have an extra utility, it is that they work as labor networks, a Linkedin for teachers that allows universities to access thousands of CVs to be able to hire. This is especially useful in dynamic university systems such as the on of the United States, where the academic job market is characterized by a strong mobility of teachers and a constant progression, and then the success of a university relies heavily on Human Resources departments that know how to identify and attract the best teachers to their institutions. It is curious that the Premium subscription managed by Academia.edu is very similar, in options, to the paid versions of Linkedin.
After just over a month of trial of the paid version of Academia.edu (May 15th will not be renewed), I have come up to the conclusion that it is an interesting product, with correct characteristics, not especially expensive with four services of quality that can be useful for the researcher.
- Citation control. Perhaps the most interesting thing that the system has is the exhaustive control of citations made on the documents indexed on the platform. For this, it is based on the concordance of your name and last names as well as the titles of the works that you have previously incorporated into the platform as author, allowing the identification of an infinite number of documents. In principle I had read that an author declared that it identifies more works than Google Scholar. My experience is that all the citing jobs that it has identified have also been identified in Google Scholar and that this one recognized even more citations
- Statistics of visits. The Premium version of Academia shows us, for the entire period of time we have been registered, the statistics of visits in detail. What was visited? When? And in relation to the characteristics of the visitor we can know aspects such as from which countries, cities, universities or academic position they are visiting, as well as the origin of the visits (Google, Facebook, etc.). This allows us to study in detail the impact we have in general or each of our works. In addition, we can download in excel a dataset with all the visits since we first registered in Academia. In my case there is a great correlation between the countries I visit (physically) and the dates and profiles that visit me.
- The readers are a sub-section of visits that deserve an extraordinary space, the application does so. What allows identifying individually with name and last names to the people who visit your profile, as long as they do it while being registered in Academia. In my case 22% of the people who visit my profile are my contacts and 60% belong to my thematic areas. The usual thing is that friends are the ones who visit you frequently, that is what friendship has, but interestingly, you also find how other colleagues visit you with some frequency.
The big problem with visitor statistics and the identification of readers is that in users like me who have several academic profiles (ResearchGate, Google Scholar Profile, Institutional Profile) and personal web, Academia.edu is no more than a sample of the total of visits, so it is incomplete in relation to the whole.
- Personal Web Space. Academia offers a personal web page, independent of the institution (https://rafaelrepiso.academia.edu/), divided into four sections: Home, Research, Curriculum and Contact. In the first section there is a brief summary of the users as well as one of the topics of specialization of the user and his professional affiliation. Then comes a section showing all the scientific production uploaded to the platform. In the CV section you download the curriculum in PDF that the author has previously uploaded and the contact section is a service that allows you to send messages using the Academia platform as an intermediary.
Although personally I will not continue with the service, especially because a lot of information requires of time and dedication for its consultation and analysis and also, in great part, this information is redundant with the statistics of visits generates my personal page. I would recommend this service to those who do not have a personal web page yet, since the cost is similar to the one of a hosting and an annual domain, and the service offers great control over visitors in a very simple way.