academia.edu, business and open access

Many researchers are publishing pre-prints at academia.edu. This is the networking platform for researchers certainly most used by members of the philosophy-department at Fribourg.
But what is academia.edu exactly? What is it’s business model? And how does it compare to self-archiving repositories (such as philpapers or reroDoc)?

Here is an interesting critical blog-post on the subject by a researcher from LSE (but his personal opinion, not official LSE):

What does Academia_edu’s success mean for Open Access? The data-driven world of search engines and social networking

In short, the author explains that the business model is centered around exploiting the data collected from the usage of academia.edu. The data are sold to business R&D departments who would want to know, for example, which topic is trending among scientists in this domain or that. He urges that one should be attentive to a new way (a part from the now fairly known way practiced by the content “providers” Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer etc.) scientist’s mostly publicly funded work can be exploited by enterprises at not much additional cost for themselves. Whereas the editor’s business model is centered around providing paid access to content, academia.edu’s (and Elsevier owned Mendely’s) business provides paid access to usage-data.

About Gian-Andri

Subject librarian for philosophy at the University of Fribourg. PhD philosophy, Fribourg 2007; CAS scientific librarianship, University of Zurich 2013.
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