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Shameless Self-Promotion Workshop Guide

This guide accompanies the workshop, "Shameless Self-Promotion." The workshop (and this guide!) provide information about how you can maximize your online presence to boost your academic portfolio and network with peers to advance your career.

Academic Social Networks

There are currently three big social network and recruiting websites built specifically for scholars and scientists: Academia, Research Gate, and Humanities Commons. This page offers a quick summary of each network.

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Is one of these options better than the other? Should you use all of them? That's up to you. But perhaps the most important question to ask is where are your peers?


Academia.edu

Summary

A for-profit social network for academics. Founded in 2008, Academia now claims over 150 million users and has focuses its efforts on getting more readers for scientific and scholarly papers by building a private library of PDFs provided by its users. Like ReseachGate, Academia contains many files that are being likely being shared illegally. 

Cool

  • Acts a lot like LinkedIn with features to track who's looking at your work and profile. 
  • Uses algorithms to suggest papers to read based off of your publications and interests.
  • Has a feature that lets you search for funding opportunities and grants.

Not Cool

  • You cannot use it without an account.
  • Track who's looking at your work and profile. 
  • You must provide a lot of personal data to use the website and some of this is shared with other businesses for advertising and other uses.
  • The most useful features (personal website, CV, better search, courses, etc.) all require a premium account and it will remind you of this constantly.
  • Does not allow you to provide a link or DOI of a publication instead of a file.

Research Gate

Summary

A for-profit social network built to connect STEM researchers and scientists. ResearchGate was launched the same year as Academia and while it has grown significantly Academia is much larger as measured by the number of papers (22 million vs 100 million) and number of registered users (150 million vs 15 million).* Like Academia, RG has built a library of scientific papers, many of which may be shared illegally. 

Cool

  • You do not need an account to access the majority of the site! 
  • Uses algorithms to suggest papers to read based off of your publications and interests.
  • Has a feature that lets you search for funding opportunities and grants and all members of Iowa State have immediate access to this feature called "Funding+Plus." 
  • The Science Topics and Questions features let users ask, answer, and search for questions answered by peers (ex: Data Analysis - Science topic). 
  • You can add a paper by providing a link or DOI instead of uploading a file (i.e. you don't have to give them your stuff).

Not Cool

  • You must provide a lot of personal data to use the website and some of this is shared with other businesses for advertising and other uses.
  • Built for STEM and only popular in some fields.
  • The feature to add a DOI or link instead of a file is hidden by a dark pattern that discourages using this option. 

*The data for Research Gate is based on 2017 numbers as no new numbers have been published on their website.  

Humanities Commons

Summary

Launched by the MLA, Humanities Commons is an open access, open source, and nonprofit social network for scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Humanities Commons network is open to anyone, regardless of field, language, institutional affiliation, or form of employment. Full-featured accounts are and will remain free for individual users; the network is sustained by the financial contributions of participating organizations. 

  • Account creation is free.

Cool

  • Deposit presentations and teaching materials in the CORE repository. 
  • Create a personal profile to network with peers (Example profile: Alexa Alice Joubin)
  • Join or create groups to discuss your field of research with peers. (Group: Artificial Intelligence)
  • Follow researchers and research topics, and set up notifications when new items are deposited in the CORE repository from those indiviauls/topics.
  • Create free Wordpress websites to share your projects (example: Promotion for the Routledge Handbook of Translation & Activism)

Not Cool

  • Although Humanities Commons is open to any users who want to share and collaborate with others on their platform, they understandably skew toward subjects in the Humanities, particularly History and Languages. 
  • Because users can create custom Groups based on their area of expertise, some subjects are represented in multiple groups (i.e. Medieval Studies, 9th century, Early Medieval Studies, Byzantine Archaeology, etc). This can make it harder for researchers to find the right group to join.  
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Megan O'Donnell
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Contact:
150 Parks Library
515-294-1670