Timothy W. Elfenbein deposited Debating Academia.edu’s Place in the Scholarly Communication Ecology in the group Library & Information Science on Humanities Commons 2 years, 10 months ago
As start-up companies reimagine components of the scholarly communication system, are observers too quick to assimilate the new into the known? This presentation discusses the case of the social-network and document-sharing platform Academia.edu and the debates it has stirred. Academia.edu has been subsumed into discussions about scholarly communication through two analogical extensions. First, many librarians see the platform as a digital-document repository for grey literature, akin to subject and institutional repositories that are core infrastructure for green open-access. This perspective leads to evaluations of whether Academia.edu fulfills the functions of a repository. Second, radical open-access advocates see Academia.edu as a data-mining information intermediary, akin to social-media or search-engine companies. This approach folds Academia.edu into critiques of neoliberalism and the commoditization of science. Even as these analogical extensions provide the critical purchase of established analytical frameworks, they hinder the recognition of the new forms and affordances that the Academia.edu platform introduces into scholarly communication.