Recently I have performed a little research on how academic-networks were use by the faculty members of the different Portuguese universities in the area of Sociology, reason why of this post. My diagnosis was very negative as not even a 30% of the universe was present on internet.
Obviously, Portugal is a little country, with a traditional static academic direction, and few universities offering PhD in Sociology, but it could be taken as an introduction to South-European Universities Internet Networking. This would be a future research, already on the road, but it’s not the topic we will talk today.
We can stop the progressive incorporation of internet on education, including Higher Education; either the strong implications of reforms on Education Systems as the Bologna Process which projects that students themselves find and use their own resources in order to complete their training. We are talking about a more collaborative education, where students and academics get involved together, confronted to the previous system more coordinate where professors taught, and students just memorize what it was said.
New generations of academics are already trained on internet based networking. They have already incorporated the basics, and even more advanced skills, on these communication platforms, becoming an everyday’s must to. Collaboration, sharing their work, get in touch with people with common interest, build strong relations, etc. are a few of the reasons why they use these websites. Let’s present the top social networks for academics:
Academia.edu is free and very easy to get enrolled ad you can use your preferred socialnetworks to do so. It allows to upload multiple documents of different kind and multiple format, getting available for other used to download, view and even post some comments. This platform offers the possibility to refer to other profiles, academic or general as Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and WordPress. But one of the top functions that we like is the profile alerts: every time that someone visit your profile you will be informed about the SEO words used, country, and documents viewed or dowloaded. This tools is a great functionality as we can always reinforce and play with web based searching engines to get more visibility and therefore a better impact on our community.
Check here a little video tutorial:
Researchgate.net would allow us to expand our network with no limits. You can invite all your colleagues, endorse their abilities and skills, make questions and get practice answers from other academics (field and not fiel related), You can upload your research and in case of collaboration on a paper uploaded, their intelligent engine would ask you if you were the one participating. As well, if any paper is uploaded quoting your work, you will be informed about, being able to check how it was used.
You can download your profile as CV or download other people contact information. This website as Academia.edu has a ranking of leader people, in this case is called RG Score and is based on publications, questions-answers, and participation on their forums (which are very productive). This platform, in base of your information, will show possible job positions, scholarships, and relevant information to build an even stronger career.
Check this video for more info:
Rafael Hernandez Barros talking on his blog about these and other networks, highlighted a few of their options that might sintetize what we like most and not that much from these networks
- I’d highlight its:
- Interactivity: Collaboration and discovery through its discussions/questions and publication repository,
- Intelligence: The statistics and the scoring about your work are a great invitation / encouragement to participate and interact, though its administrators are very aware of all that is posted in the network, manipulating content, as if we were small children.
- And source credibility: only researchers are accepted, and they use it a lot because of the scoring mentioned above.
- But ResearchGate still has to improve its repository: I find it difficult to upload all my publications, not just papers, and it sometimes doesn’t find the links to get data when uploading them.
- Its strength point is the repository of publications: Allows you to post the link on your paper, so other researchers can download your papers directly from the original source (SSRN, RepEc, arXiv.org, CiteCeerX orSSOAR), which increase your score on these repositories, if that is important for anyone.
But I find it less democratic so at the end less interactive: It’s very restrictive when disclosing your ideas to exchange views with other researchers. For example Academia.edu has deleted almost all of my new discussions, and they even closed my first profile there and I had to open another, which gives me the creepy feeling of censorship and guarded by a big brother with the excuse of spam.
We had not a bad experience as described by this professor, but Academia.edu would have to work a little more on the functions they offer in order to re-get their leadership on the market. The German Researchgate.net is our preferred network, even that is not that popular in Social Science.
These networks help researchers to build a sel-brand, to set their lines and create functional networks. Publishing is important nowadays, and these tools would help us to make a little spot on academic arenas. Not easy, no free of effort, but always good.
As you might read on the screenshots I’m kind of new on this academic world, so… why don’t we know better? Feel you free to add me, and follow my work. New articles and postings soon available.