Information for Researchers
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- Scholarly Networking Tools
Social media and mobile devices have changed the ways people connect and communicate every day. At the same time, academic research has become more collaborative and scholars are required to demonstrate broader impact. Therefore, some researchers have started to use popular social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for research purposes. They try to expand the reach of their scholarship through connections made among local research communities, across research domains, and to the public.
Scholarly networking tools have emerged that may provide opportunities for researchers to showcase their scholarship, build wider collaborations, participate in discussions, and solve research problems. Academia.edu, Mendeley, and ResearchGate are the three major platforms that have attracted researchers' attention.
It is important for researchers to know that, although commercial platforms provide useful networking opportunities, they are not open access repositories. Uploading articles to social networking sites does not meet the requirements of open access policies from universities or funding agencies. Please look at this article for a detailed analysis of the differences between the two systems and look here for more information on complying with Rutgers' Open Access Policy.
Major Scholarly Networking Tools and Their Features
- developing profile pages with lists of publications, background statements, and descriptions of research interests;
- following other researchers and receiving updates on new publications; and
- visualizing and measuring profile views and article citation/downloads.
There is no charge to individual researchers to sign up on these two platforms and use their services.
Similar to EndNote, RefWorks, and Zotero, Mendeley is a reference manager that can help researchers discover, collect, and organize research material. In addition, Mendeley has social network functions, allowing researchers to list their own publications, connect with colleagues through public and private groups around the world, and share bibliographies, notes, and annotations. Readership statistics of each article in Mendeley are visible and used by other metrics tools, for example, SCOPUS and Altmetric. A free Mendeley account that provides the user with 2 GB of online storage space can be upgraded to a fee-based professional plan.
Additional Issues to Consider When Using Scholarly Networking Tools
- Business models
When the scholarly networking tool runs on a for-profit basis, researchers will be asked to share their address lists. They will also receive frequent emails providing updates, advertising, and more. Academia.edu and ResearchGate do not permit exporting of your deposited data since they may represent a future profit. The operators of a commercial tool may decide to sell the information you have provided or go out of business.
- Long term preservation and access
Long term preservation and access is a high priority for open access repositories since their goal is to support knowledge development through the archiving, preservation, and discovery of digital scholarship. For example, SOAR (Scholarly Open Access at Rutgers) is based on a sophisticated information architecture using standardized metadata descriptors, and each article deposited in SOAR will receive its own DOI (Digital Object Identifier). You can use this custom persistent link to send readers to your open access article.
- Your copyright agreement with your publisher
Researchers need to check the copyright agreements that they signed with their publishers and make sure they can legally post their articles on commercial sites, like Academia.edu, Mendeley, and ResearchGate. Open access journals, again depending upon your agreement. are more likely to allow reposting than commercial journals.
NOTE: The Rutgers University Libraries do not endorse uploading your articles to commercial platforms.
Last updated: April 26, 2017