Academia.edu, the platform for boffins to share research papers, has done its homework and spruced up its pages to make more of scholarly achievement.
Academics use the site to share their work, monitor analytics around the impact of their research, and track the research of others. Over a million academics have signed up to the site, adding 1,622,659 papers and 575,674 research interests. It currently attracts over 3.9 million unique visitors a month. That’s a lot of highly qualified material in one place.
The redesign focuses on new profile pages – a bit like Facebook for clever people and the guideline according to the company is to highlight academic work and achievement.
Each profile on the site now has an area to show off papers, books and other research contributions. Although it might be important to have a kooky profile image on say, Facebook, academics are usually judged by their work, so all the better for bringing this to the fore.
Another area that has been refreshed is the ability for academics to make custom sections on their profiles. Sections like ‘working papers’ or ‘conference publications’ might be more suitable for some while books, teaching documents and talks might work for others. Any new section can be added that might help to shed light on a back catalog.
There is also a new biography section at the top of profiles where academics can list research interests and other relevant details. After all, no two boffins are the same, so all the better for a little freedom of expression.
Links to other social and business networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can also be added to create a more rounded picture of each person profiled.
As a network, Academia.edu is growing and to suit the flexibility required by its users the changes come as the academic field becomes more social and the sharing of knowledge is more important. Getting existing work in front of possible funding boards can only be a good thing.
In general the site is also a bit faster when it comes to browsing profiles. The company says that it is also open to feedback, so users get a say in what may be to come.
In general, academia is seeing a boost in social networking and ways to share academic research. Over the Summer, London-based startup Mendeley, which provides a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers and collaborating online saw more than 100m API calls per month. Around the same time, ResearchGate, the professional network for researchers, launched RG Score, a kind of Klout for boffins. So, the tiny cluttered offices of an academic institution might be where the physical reading takes place, but Internet is seeing some neat sites that find ways to bring that valuable work out into the light.
The general update to Academia.edu is light and airy, with clear ways of getting to required information. The more personal and social aspect is also a nice way of getting to know people who could end up being colleagues.
Image Credit: English 106