Academics' Use of Academic Social Networking Sites: The Case of Research Gate and Academia.Edu

Hagit Meishar-Tal
HIT- Holon Institute of Technology, Israel

Efrat Pieterse
West Galilee College, Israel


In the past few years, the Internet has seen the advent of academic social-networking sites (ASNS) such as and ResearchGate. These sites allow users to upload academic articles, abstracts, and links to published articles; track demand for their published articles; and engage in professional interaction, discussions, and exchanges of questions and answers with other users. The sites, used by millions (Mangan, 2012), constitute a major addition to scientific media.This study investigates the nature of the use and the perceived utility of the sites for academics whose professional careers are based on the performance and publication of studies. In a world that offers numerous and diverse online publishing opportunities (sites of formal journals, personal sites and blogs, and general social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn), the question is what comparative advantage academic networking sites offer and why faculty members use them. Do these sites fit the definition of “social network”? And which of their affordances serve their users?

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