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Research Impact: Compare social media platforms

Get strategies to increase the reach of your work and measure your research impact
Platform Description Disciplinary Representation What can you do? What is it good for? Disadvantages and risks Analytics For-profit
Twitter Micro-blogging platform Broad

Share brief messages

Share content like videos and photos

Share links to content like blog posts and articles

Send private messages

Following news and taking part in discussions

Online networking around conferences

Connecting with both academic and broader audiences

Drawing attention to your research outputs

Very open with risk of inappropriate responses or followers

Yes Yes
Facebook Social network Broad

Share messages, photos, videos, and links

Send private messages

Create pages for events like public talks or exhibitions

Informal maintenance of existing professional relationships

Connecting with non-academic audiences

Advertising events

Can be difficult to separate the personal and the private

No (only for particular page types) Yes
LinkedIn Professional network Broad

Create a professional profile including details of professional experience and summary of your research goals

Add links, photos, slideshows and videos

Post articles written for LinkedIn to your profile 

Promotion of expertise outside of academia

Professional networking

Drawing connections between your work and business and industry

High number of notifications means email settings need to be carefully managed

Yes (limited free) Yes
ResearchGate Academic network Aimed at sciences, currently 60 percent sciences, 40 percent other

Create profile

Share papers

Follow researchers

View and discuss other researchers’ papers and data

Contact other researchers

View job board

Pose and answer questions

Generate DOIs

Sharing and viewing papers

Professional networking

Increasing citations

Closed system from which it can be difficult to extract information you have entered

Need to carefully manage email notification settings

Potential for infringement of publishers’ copyright

Yes Yes
Academia.edu Academic network Broad

Create profile

Share papers

Follow researchers

View other researchers’ papers

Ask for feedback on a paper

Sharing and viewing papers

Professional networking

Increasing citations

Closed system from which it can be difficult to extract information you have entered

Paid promotional options may influence what you are seeing

Features increasingly requiring paid access

Yes Yes
Mendeley Social network and reference management software Broad

Create profile

Share papers

Follow other users

Create and join groups

View and discuss other researchers’ papers

Give and receive paper recommendations

View statistics based on Scopus Author Profile

Sync Mendeley Desktop to profile library

Sharing and viewing papers

Participating in discussions

Professional networking

Increasing citations

Limitations apply to free accounts, including limitations to the amount of online storage available Scopus author ID analytics Yes
Zotero Reference management software and social network Broad

Create private groups

Create public groups with either open or closed membership

Create group libraries

Sharing and viewing papers

Participating in discussions

Professional networking

Increasing citations

  No No (open source)
ORCID Academic identifier and network Broad

Create a persistent unique author identifier

Create profile linked to other author identifiers

Author disambiguation

Integration with other systems

Integration with publishing and reporting processes

Showcasing education, grants and research outputs including NTROs

  No No
Google Scholar Academic profile Broad

Create profile

List and link to publications

Automatically updates new publications

Raising research profile

Claiming publications (author disambiguation)

Tracking metrics and citations

Low-quality citation data No Yes