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Adelaide9216

Academia.edu & ResearchGate

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I've seen ResearchGate pop up in searches before. It kind of seems to be a social media platform for academia. I personally don't know anyone who necessarily uses it. I think it's kind of like any other social media. LinkedIn can be useful if you use it, but totally useless if you don't. I've never heard of academia.edu. 

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Many academics post their full-text articles on both of those sites, articles that otherwise might not be available to an audience outside of a university setting. For example, when I was applying for PhD programs and did not have access to journal databases (I was not currently a student), I found many of my potential PI's articles through ResearchGate and Academia and other sources on Google Scholar and researcher websites. So, it's a nice way to put your work out there for practitioners and other audiences, although I don't know the rules about when you are allowed to post your full-text articles without infringing on copyrights. 

I have a ResearchGate account. It is useful for following scholars whose work you are interested in, as you can scroll through your feed (similar to Facebook and LinkedIn) and see their updates for new articles they've published or projects they're working on, although they don't always upload full-text documents. I like this because sometimes I see articles that otherwise wouldn't be on my radar. I wouldn't say it makes a huge difference in my productivity or anything like that, but it's a nice thing to scroll through when I have (or pretend to have) some downtime and want to see what other scholars are up to without searching them individually through databases and Google Scholar. It's also a nice way to follow your cohort or faculty who may not be in your area of research interest, but you want to keep in touch and see what they're working on. Many of my faculty and peers use it, and I would probably describe it as a LinkedIn-type site for academics.

Another benefit is when I'm Googling research methods questions, I often come across answers from ResearchGate. You can post questions there and the community provides their insights and resources. This is similar to Stackexchange. 

I don't have an Academia account and haven't really looked at it beyond the occasional article pdf I'm searching. 

 

Edited by Meraki

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I find that ResearchGate is prevalent for certain disciplines only; for example, Psychology (my field) uses it quite a bit. Engineering? Perhaps not used quite as frequently. As Meraki reiterated above, it's like LinkedIn but for academics, where you can request the full-text of journal articles that you may not otherwise have access to.

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I saw no purpose for joining ResearchGate, as you can access all of their full-text articles without logging in. All their accounts seemed good for was spamming me with a whole lot of emails.

Academia.org is less-used in my fields (psychology and public health), so less useful.

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