ResearchGate and Academia.edu as networked socio-technical systems for scholarly communication: a literature review
ResearchGate and Academia.edu have been increasingly acknowledged as the most popular academic social network sites (ASNS) for scholarly communication. Along with their benefits for supporting communication and knowledge sharing within academic communities, concerns over quality and credibility remain a pertinent issue. In terms of research investigation, ASNS have attracted strong attention for new scholarly practice and their potential for building, maintaining and enhancing reputation. However, a thorough understanding is still lacking of how these sites operate as networked socio-technical systems reshaping scholarly practices and academic identity. This article analyses 39 empirical studies published in peer-reviewed journals with a specific focus on ResearchGate and Academia.edu. The aim is to describe the status of the research and to identify gaps and priorities in the areas of scholarly networked learning and shared knowledge. Results show that the number of studies focusing on ResearchGate was more than double those dedicated to Academia.edu. While both sites have attracted attention in the library and information sciences as deployments for reputation building and alternative ranking systems, such as ResearchGate metrics, there is a dearth of research investigating practices and new modes of communication in the light of a networked participatory approach to scholarship. Most of the studies analysed focused on the general uptake or impact assessment of alternative metrics, while very few investigated individual and collective scholarly practices. This study points to the need for specific research on open and distributed learning achieved in ASNS according to a networked learning perspective.
Published: 20 February 2018
Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2018, 26: 2008 - https://dx.doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v26.2008
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