|Headquarters||San Francisco, California|
|Type of site||Platform for sharing research papers|
Academia.edu is a social networking website for academics. The platform can be used to share papers, monitor their impact, and follow the research in a particular field. It was launched in September 2008, with 31 million registered users as of January 2016 and over 8 million uploaded texts. Academia.edu was founded by Richard Price, who raised $600,000 from Spark Ventures, Brent Hoberman, and others.
Academia.edu proclaims to support the open science or open access movements, and in particular instant distribution of research and a peer-review system that occurs alongside distribution, instead of occurring before it. Accordingly, the company stated its opposition to the proposed (since withdrawn) 2011 Research Works Act, which would have prevented open-access mandates.
However, Academia.edu is not an open access repository and is not recommended as a way to pursue green Open Access by Peter Suber and experts, who instead invite researchers to use field-specific repositories or general-purpose repositories like Zenodo.
TechCrunch remarked that Academia.edu gives academics a "powerful, efficient way to distribute their research" and that it "will let researchers keep tabs on how many people are reading their articles with specialized analytics tools", and "also does very well in Google search results". Academia.edu seems to reflect a combination of social networking norms and academic norms. In the summer of 2015, the blogging platform was removed.
Months after its acquisition of Academia.edu rival Mendeley, Elsevier sent thousands of takedown notices to Academia.edu, a practice that has since ceased following widespread complaint by academics, according to Academia.edu founder and chief executive Richard Price.
Academia.edu is not a university or institution for higher learning and so under current standards it would not qualify for the ".edu" top-level domain. However, the domain name "Academia.edu" was registered in 1999, prior to the regulations requiring .edu domain names to be held solely by accredited post-secondary institutions. All .edu domain names registered prior to 2001 were grandfathered in, even if not an accredited post-secondary institution.
A critic, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, the Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association, said she finds the use of the ".edu" domain name by Academia.edu to be "extremely problematic", since the domain name might mislead users into thinking the site is part of an accredited educational institution rather than a for-profit company.
In November 2011, Academia.edu raised $4.5 million from Spark Capital and True Ventures. Prior to that, it had raised $2.2 million from Spark Ventures and a range of angel investors including Mark Shuttleworth, Thomas Lehrman, and Rupert Pennant-Rea. In September 2013, the company raised $11.1 million from Khosla Ventures, True Ventures, Spark Ventures, Spark Capital and Rupert Pennant-Ream, bringing its total equity funding to $17.7 million.
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