Researchers use a number of platforms for networking, some of which are specific to academia.
Tools like Academia.edu and ResearchGate are targeted to academics and professional researchers. These sites allow users to create profiles similar to resumes or CVs, upload publications, and find connections based on similar research interests. Important note: Authors have the opportunity to upload their papers to the site, but individuals are responsible for interpreting and abiding by specific publisher/author agreements in terms of copyright.
General networking platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are also frequently used by academics to connect with others in the field, engage in professional dialog surrounding new research or current events, and establish a professional presence.
Academia.edu is a social networking service geared toward academics in a variety of disciplines. The primary purpose of the site is to enable open networked sharing of research papers, in addition to monitoring research impact analytics and tracking the research of colleagues and connections.
Register for a free Academia.edu account with any email address or use integrated Google or Facebook sign-up options. The service is primarily used as an academic social networking and publication sharing site. Users can follow specific research topics, individuals, or institutions to keep up with new publications in their areas of interest. The site can also be used to find collaborators, download open access articles, and be a means of tracking analytics or research impact based on article downloads and profile views.
ResearchGate is a social networking platform targeted specifically for scientists and researchers. Through this platform, researchers can easily connect to share papers and other scientific output, hold discussions, and find potential collaborators.
Register for a free ResearchGate account with an institutional email address (required). New users are prompted to set up a profile including academic or professional affiliations, skills and research interests, and full text publications. Publications can include traditional journal articles, book chapters, or conference papers as well as other types of research output such as datasets, code, experimental findings, negative results, etc.
ResearchGate is primarily used for academic social networking and publication sharing; it has a more robust networking and communication features than similar platform Academia.edu. ResearchGate is most popular in the sciences, though researchers in a wide array of disciplines use the site. When registered, users are able to find and follow the research of specific individuals, institutions, or subject areas; this may be done actively, but the site also regularly suggests connections with similar interests.
LinkedIn is a professional and commercial networking website. The site’s user base is wide ranging but particularly strong in the business community and the private sector. LinkedIn profiles allow users to create an online resume or CV. Paid premium account options include additional analytics, search functions, and connection opportunities.
LinkedIn is used to build a virtual professional network as well as showcase accomplishments to potential employers and collaborators. Search teams often check LinkedIn profiles during the hiring process, and some employers even proactively invite LinkedIn users to interview for specific positions.