Discussing your research on academic social networking sites, and social media more broadly, may be something you are interested in doing. Engaging with others online about your research can spark interesting conversations, future collaborations, and allow a broader audience to have access to your work. More on the benefits of this- and how to capture any potential academic impact- is on the Altmetrics LibGuide.
Two common academic network and file sharing sites are ResearchGate and Academia.edu. It is important to remember that an academic social networking site is not a repository and uploading published work to these sites does not fulfill your institutional or funder obligations.
|Open Access Repository||Academia.edu||Research Gate|
|Supports export or harvesting||Yes||No||No|
|Business Model||Nonprofit (usually)||Commercial- sells job posting services, hopes to sell data||Commercial- sells job posting services, sells ads|
|Sends you lots of emails (by default)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Wants access to your address and contact books||No||Yes||Yes|
|Depositing your work fulfills your University of Melbourne Open Access policy requirements||Yes||No||No|
|Depositing your work fulfills your ARC and NHMRC policy requirements||Yes||No||No|
Tabled adapted from University of California (OSC) under CC BY.
For more information on this see A social networking site is not an open access repository.
Increasingly, publishers are becoming more restrictive in where and what researchers can share via academic social networking sites. For example, large publishers such as Elsevier, Taylor & Francis and Wiley restrict sharing on commercial sites who have not signed up to the STM Sharing Principles. Currently, ResearchGate and Academia.edu have not signed up to these principles and so you can only upload your preprints (submitted versions). Springer Nature permit their SharedIt link to be distributed on these sites. You can check the publisher website or your copyright agreement for more information on your sharing rights.
Another resource is How Can I Share It which allows you to search by publisher and read their policy on sharing published work on different types of websites.
We encourage researchers to upload their Author Accepted Manuscript in Elements so that it will be openly accessible via our institutional repository, Minerva Access. Content in Minerva Access is indexed by Google, Google Scholar and made available on your Find an Expert profile. This leads to significant traffic, with items in Minerva Access receiving over 1.5 million downloads in 2019. Most importantly, our staff check all publisher permissions to ensure your work is shared as permitted by your publisher agreement.
For more information on Research Gate, Academia.edu, other author profiles and how to set these up, visit the Researcher Profiles, Identifiers and Social Networks LibGuide.
Utilising embargo periods is a good way to use academic social networking sites without potentially breaching the copyright agreement you signed with your publisher. A useful tool in finding a journal's embargo period is Sherpa Romeo. Sherpa Romeo is an online resource that aggregates and presents publisher and journal open access policies from around the world and allows you to search via a journal's title, ISSN, or a publisher name. The Sherpa Romeo User Guide has a number of videos that show you how to use the website and familiarise yourself with the terminology used.
Information on the publisher policy for the submitted, accepted, and published versions of an output are listed. The icons indicate if there is an OA policy and an embargo period, if a Creative Commons license applies, if the output can be indexed in a repository, and more.
In the example shown below the publisher only allows a version to be uploaded to a social networking site 12 months after publication. To upload it sooner would be a breach of copyright.