Sharing your research using academic social networks

There is a plethora of academic social networks which make sharing research with others very easy. The benefits include increased discoverability of the research and public engagement with it. Some care is however needed when using these platforms

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The best known and most frequently used sharing platforms are ResearchGate, and SSRN but new sites spring up all the time, as is the case with a

How these sites are referred to by publishers

Checking your publisher’s contract, you may find a variety of terms used for these platforms, including:

  • Academic social networks
  • Scholarly collaboration networks
  • Networking sites
  • Scientific social networks

How it works

The academic networking sites make it very easy to share the research with others but don’t always make their policies and terms and conditions easy to find. There is a difference between uploading research to an institutional repository, at City this is City Research Online (CRO) and to an academic networking site.

Uploading publications to institutional repositories is safe as in most cases (including uploading publications to CRO) the repository team will check each publication and will ensure that

  • The uploaded version of the publication can be openly shared
  • The publication is easily discoverable by others using variety of ways (mainly using search engines)
  • Sharing the publication doesn’t breach the publisher’s copyright.

The academic social networking sites do not have the safety net of dedicated team to check the shared publication is not breaching your contract with the publisher.

How to share your research on academic social networking sites

Check your publisher’s contract agreement carefully – your contract may specifically prohibit sharing your research on academic social networking sites or, more likely, impose conditions upon it.

Things to look out for:

  • The version of the publication which can be shared (most likely you will be permitted to share your accepted manuscript or a pre-print versions)
  • When you are permitted to share your publication (you may be allowed to only share your publication some time after it has been published, this is known as an embargo period).

The sharing policies of individual publications can also be checked using SHERPA/ RoMEO service and our library guide contains a useful summary of the main points to look out for.

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