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Article
Publication date: 2 June 2020

Marie L. Radford, Vanessa Kitzie, Stephanie Mikitish, Diana Floegel, Gary P. Radford and Lynn Silipigni Connaway

Scholarly identity refers to endeavors by scholars to promote their reputation, work and networks using online platforms such as ResearchGate, Academia.edu and Twitter…

Abstract

Purpose

Scholarly identity refers to endeavors by scholars to promote their reputation, work and networks using online platforms such as ResearchGate, Academia.edu and Twitter. This exploratory research investigates benefits and drawbacks of scholarly identity efforts and avenues for potential library support.

Design/methodology/approach

Data from 30 semi-structured phone interviews with faculty, doctoral students and academic librarians were qualitatively analyzed using the constant comparisons method (Charmaz, 2014) and Goffman’s (1959, 1967) theoretical concept of impression management.

Findings

Results reveal that use of online platforms enables academics to connect with others and disseminate their research. scholarly identity platforms have benefits, opportunities and offer possibilities for developing academic library support. They are also fraught with drawbacks/concerns, especially related to confusion, for-profit models and reputational risk.

Research limitations/implications

This exploratory study involves analysis of a small number of interviews (30) with self-selected social scientists from one discipline (communication) and librarians. It lacks gender, race/ethnicity and geographical diversity and focuses exclusively on individuals who use social networking sites for their scholarly identity practices.

Social implications

Results highlight benefits and risks of scholarly identity work and the potential for adopting practices that consider ethical dilemmas inherent in maintaining an online social media presence. They suggest continuing to develop library support that provides strategic guidance and information on legal responsibilities regarding copyright.

Originality/value

This research aims to understand the benefits and drawbacks of Scholarly Identity platforms and explore what support academic libraries might offer. It is among the first to investigate these topics comparing perspectives of faculty, doctoral students and librarians.

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

José Luis Ortega

– The purpose of this paper is to detect and describe disciplinary differences in the users and use of several social networking sites by scientists.

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1814

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to detect and describe disciplinary differences in the users and use of several social networking sites by scientists.

Design/methodology/approach

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) (Spanish National Research Council) researchers registered in the most currently relevant academic social network sites (Google Scholar Citations, Academia.edu, ResearchGate (RG) and Mendeley) were analysed. In total, 6,132 profiles were classified according the eight research areas of the CSIC.

Findings

Results show that Academia.edu is massively populated by humanists and social scientists, while RG is popular among biologists. Disciplinary differences are observed across every platform. Thus, scientists from the humanities and social sciences and natural resources show a significant activity contacting other members. On the contrary, biologists are more passive using social tools.

Originality/value

This is the first study that analyses the disciplinary performance of a same sample of researchers on a varied number of academic social sites, comparing their numbers across web sites.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 39 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

José Luis Ortega

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the distribution of profiles from academic social networking sites according to disciplines, academic statuses and gender, and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the distribution of profiles from academic social networking sites according to disciplines, academic statuses and gender, and detect possible biases with regard to the real staff distribution. In this way, it intends to know whether these academic places tend to become specialized sites or, on the contrary, there is a homogenization process.

Design/methodology/approach

To this purpose, the evolution of profiles of one organization (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) in three major academic social sites (Academia.edu, Google Scholar Citations and ResearchGate) through six quarterly samples since April 2014 to September 2015 are tracked.

Findings

Longitudinal results show important disciplinary biases but with strong increase of new profiles form different areas. They also suggest that these virtual spaces are gaining more stability and they tend toward a equilibrate environment.

Originality/value

This is the first longitudinal study of profiles from three major academic social networking sites and it allows to shed light on the future of these platforms’ populations.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 41 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2020

Nujoud Al-Muomen, Abdus Sattar Chaudhry and Oroba Al-Othinah

This study aims to investigate the perceptions of academics regarding the use and usefulness of academic social networks (ASNs) in the scholarly communication practices of…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the perceptions of academics regarding the use and usefulness of academic social networks (ASNs) in the scholarly communication practices of faculty members in Kuwaiti Universities.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was conducted through a survey. In total, 100 faculty members from the disciplines of business administration, humanities and social sciences from three universities in Kuwait filled in an online questionnaire. The statistical feature of the Web-based tool was used for data analysis.

Findings

The results show that most faculty members are aware of the importance of ASNs. They perceive that these networks are useful, as more publications have become available, it has become easier for scholars to connect with colleagues who share similar research interests.

Research limitations/implications

The study is descriptive and restricted to a specific country (Kuwait). It also only covered faculty members from three academic disciplines. Furthermore, the use of a questionnaire, while appropriate for descriptive research, restricted us from conducting probing designed to gain deeper insights regarding participants’ motivations and explanations for not realizing the potential of these networks.

Practical implications

Future research should expand the scope of this study to cover faculty members from other disciplines (e.g. science, engineering and medicine), while also including more universities from other countries in the Arabian Gulf region. Future research should also examine how academics’ information-finding practices are changing as a result of the availability of information sources through ASNs.

Originality/value

No similar study has been conducted previously in Kuwait. This study provided useful information regarding the use and perceptions of ASNs in the context of faculty members of Kuwaiti universities. This information is of interest to scholars, information providers and those who design such networks.

Details

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, vol. 69 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9342

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Article
Publication date: 7 February 2018

Nowsheeba Ashraf Asmi and Madhusudhan Margam

This paper aims to explore the usage of academic social networking sites (ASNSs) among the research scholars in Central Universities of Delhi, India.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the usage of academic social networking sites (ASNSs) among the research scholars in Central Universities of Delhi, India.

Design/methodology/approach

A structured questionnaire was designed and personally distributed among 200 research scholars in Central Universities in Delhi in May 2016. Of this, 180 filled-in questionnaires were personally collected by the investigator, eliciting a response rate of 90 per cent.

Findings

Findings of the study reveals that research scholars have knowledge of ASNSs. ResearchGate and Academia are the most used ASNSs among research scholars. ResearchGate is used the most for connecting to other research scholars, and Academia is used for sharing and following research. Additionally, ASNSs help research scholars in research and learning and to share research ideas and experience. Finally, research scholars find ASNSs time-consuming and have cited data security as main concern for using academic social networks.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of the study show that potential uses of ASNSs in Indian libraries are slow compared to the libraries of developed countries and some of the developing countries. It is suggested that universities under study may realize the benefits of ASNSs and incorporate these tools in their websites to enhance faster transfer and retrieval of information.

Practical implications

The results also stress upon the responsibility of research supervisors to accord knowledge of ASNSs among research scholars and encourage them to join and use ASNSs efficiently and effectively for building professional connections and collaborations in their research area.

Social implications

The study is significant because it represents one of the earliest works to shed the light on the current level of use of SNSs and ASNSs by research scholars in Central Universities in Delhi, which are in primitive nature. They provide space for self-expression, research updates, expert advice, connecting with fellow scholars, creating and joining events and discussions, presenting their views on a particular topic, finding collaboration on projects, finding jobs and much more.

Originality/value

ASNSs have further promoted the open source movement. The paper apprises the academic stakeholders about the unique features, adoption, acceptability and usage of ASNSs for research work, exchange of information and collaborations, so that more productive and quality research is produced. The findings will also guide research scholars to find popular ASNSs, so that they can build more academic connections.

Details

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, vol. 67 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Ann E Williams and Melissa A. Woodacre

The purpose of this paper is twofold: the first aim is theoretical – to review extant literature on academic social networks, while considering current limitations and…

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1489

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: the first aim is theoretical – to review extant literature on academic social networks, while considering current limitations and potential avenues for future research; the second objective is practical – to introduce an illustrative comparison guide that researchers can use to identify and distinguish between the functionalities of popular academic social networking sites (ASNSs), including Academia.edu, Mendeley.com, ResearchGate.net, Zotero.org, and Google Scholar.

Design/methodology/approach

The review of research is descriptive and conceptual.

Findings

The overarching outcomes of the review suggest that research on academic social networks falls into two primary arenas – promises (i.e. potential benefits to the academic community) and perils (i.e. reservations expressed by scholars). The authors recommend that a greater focus on the unique characteristics and utilities of specific sites and a more robust understanding of scholars’ use preferences and practices is warranted in future and ongoing research.

Originality/value

This is the first review of ASNSs to provide comparative descriptions for scholars to utilize when making decisions about adoption, use, and research.

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Book part
Publication date: 12 June 2015

Anamika Megwalu

Academic social networking (ASN) sites are becoming a popular communication medium among scholars. This case study was designed to explore communication behaviors of…

Abstract

Academic social networking (ASN) sites are becoming a popular communication medium among scholars. This case study was designed to explore communication behaviors of physicists, linguists, and sociologists on an ASN site called Academia.edu, their motivations for using it, and the perceived impact of their use of the site on their professional activities. Results from this study are valuable for designing computer-mediated and web-based communication media for scholars and also for adding richness to the literature related to scholarly communication. For the purpose of this study, data was collected using three different instruments: Server log, survey, and interview. Data used for analyses included a total of 20,309 server log data, 267 survey responses, and 28 interviews from scholars of Physics, Sociology, and Linguistics who use Academia.edu. Results from the study showed that the use of Academia.edu is dependent on the discipline scholars are affiliated with, their professional status, and the time of the year. Unlike physicists, linguists and sociologists are more inclined to using Academia.edu and other ASN sites. Although linguists and sociologists actively use Academia.edu, their motivations to use the site are different. These differences in user-motivations and user-activities across the disciplines are influenced by variations in the social and cultural practices of the disciplines. This study used Whitley’s (2000) theory of degrees of mutual dependence and task uncertainty to explain the differences in the adoption and use of Academia.edu across the three disciplines.

Details

Current Issues in Libraries, Information Science and Related Fields
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-637-9

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Raj Kumar Bhardwaj

The purpose of this paper is to compare four popular academic social networking sites (ASNSs), namely, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, Mendeley and Zotero.

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2243

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare four popular academic social networking sites (ASNSs), namely, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, Mendeley and Zotero.

Design/methodology/approach

Evaluation method has been used with the help of checklist covering various features of ASNSs. A structured checklist has been prepared to compare four popular ASNSs, comprising 198 dichotomous questions divided into 12 broad categories.

Findings

The study found that performance of ASNSs using the latest features and services is not up to the mark, and none of the site is rated as “Excellent”. The sites lack in incorporation of session filters; output features; privacy settings and text display; and search and browsing fields. Availability of bibilographic features and general features is poor in these sites. Further, altmetrics and analytics features are not incorporated properly. User interface of the sites need to improve to draw researchers to use them. The study report reveals that ResearchGate scored the highest, 61.1 per cent points, and was ranked “above average”, followed by Academia.edu with 48.0 per cent and Mendeley with 43.9 per cent are ranked “average”. However, the Zotero (38.9 per cent) was ranked “below average”.

Practical implications

Accreditation agencies can identify suitable sites in the evaluation of institutions’ research output. Further, students and faculty members can choose the site suiting their needs. Library and information science professionals can use the checklist to impart training to the academic community which can help fostering research and development activities.

Originality/value

The study identifies features that ought to be available in a model ASNS. These features are categorized into 12 broad categories. The findings can also be used by developers of the sites to enhance functionalities. Institutions can choose suitable sites while collaborating with other institutions.

Details

Information and Learning Science, vol. 118 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5348

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Article
Publication date: 23 November 2012

Daqing He, Dan Wu, Zhen Yue, Anna Fu and Kim Thien Vo

This paper aims to identify the opinions of undergraduate students on the importance of internet‐based information sources when they undertake academic tasks.

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3422

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify the opinions of undergraduate students on the importance of internet‐based information sources when they undertake academic tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a set of identified typical academic tasks for undergraduate students, three research questions were designed around the students' usage and views of information resources for completing these tasks. Web‐accessible questionnaires were used to collect data from participants in two universities in the USA and China, and the data were analyzed using quantitative methods, which included several statistic methods.

Findings

The results confirm that undergraduate students use different information resources for various academic tasks. In their tasks, online electronic resources including search engines are the most commonly used resources, particularly for complex academic tasks. Social networking sites are not used for the students' individual academic tasks, and traditional resources still play equal or more important roles in certain specific academic tasks. Students in collaborative tasks look for resources that make it easy to share documents. Participants from the two countries also exhibit interesting and important differences in their usage of information resources.

Originality/value

This study examines undergraduate students' usages and views of different information resources in their various academic tasks, and pays special attention to the impacts of being from their different countries. The study also considers both students' individual academic tasks and collaborative tasks. This study is an invaluable addition to the information seeking behaviour literature.

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Article
Publication date: 11 September 2017

Nicole Muscanell and Sonja Utz

The purpose of this paper is to examine the usage and utility of ResearchGate (RG), which is a social networking site where scientists disseminate their work and build…

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1480

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the usage and utility of ResearchGate (RG), which is a social networking site where scientists disseminate their work and build their reputations. In a sample consisting largely of American and European academics, the authors analyzed the ways they use the site, what they thought about the site’s utility, and the effects of usage on career outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors employed an online survey approach to target scientists who have an active RG account. Scientists who were not users were also recruited in order to get a better idea of the reasons for their nonuse.

Findings

Most academics who have an RG account did not use it very heavily. Users did not perceive many benefits from using the site, and RG use was not related to career satisfaction or informational benefits, but was related to productivity and stress.

Research limitations/implications

Systematic research is needed to explore positive and negative consequences of using professional social media in academia, especially productivity and stress. Findings also suggest that RG needs to increase user engagement.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to closely examine how and why people in academia use professional social media sites and whether usage leads to perceived benefits and effects on more general career outcomes.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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