Academia.edu is facing mounting pressure from academics and open access advocates. It has been challenged because of its dubious business model: many believe that its model is mainly driven by profit-making motive. Problem comes with how Academia.edu is trying to generate revenue. Furthermore, Academia.edu’s business practices lack transparency. Therefore, ‘it is time to deleteAcademia.edu account,’ says Sarah Bond.
Last year, Academia.edu came under fire from scholars when it announced new model of revenue generation. Its new business model that includes premium services such as ‘promotion of articles’ and special data analytics. Some researchers accuse Academia.edu for selling researchers’ personal data. Particularly, Academia.edu’s plan to monetize by ‘recommending articles’ took scholars by a total surprise. They call the new plan ‘pay-to-play’ business model. Recommending articles, for reasons other than relevance, is unethical, according to Dr. Scott F. Johnson. This approach, if aggressively used, can inflate the impact of the paper. Dr. Johnson says, ‘paying for promotion of your work is irresponsible and intellectually dishonest’. However, Academica.edu strongly denies all accusations brought to it. It maintains that it took no action to charge authors for article promotion and never sold authors’ personal data for financial gain.
Researchers also criticized Academia.edu’s deceptive use of high-level .edu domain that is exclusively used by the US institutions of higher education. Academia.edu is neither an institution of higher education nor has any affiliation with them.
Some researchers have announced their intention to boycott Academia.edu and initiated the hash tag #DeleteAcademiaEdu. Others are encouraging fellow researchers to use fully open access repositories and a genuine social media networks that put the interest of academicians first.
Most of the proposed plans by Academia.edu to monetize on its users, its claims it has millions of users, have faced heavy criticism. Academia’s next plan is not clear yet. Ignoring mounting pressure from scholars and moving forward with its plans may cost Academia, at least in the long run.
UA-Magazine | Academia’s New Business Plans