Social Networks for Academics Proliferate, Despite Some Scholars’ Doubts

“It’s basically Facebook for nerds,” says one participant, who likes the access to research papers. But some scholars, feeling communication overload, can’t be bothered.


There is big difference between focused & un-focused communication.  This type of site often produces stimulating debate, as well as wider access to research & the people behind it. What is worse than communication overload however, are those scholars who do not communicate at all ….


The metrics & scores these sites give can be interpreted in many ways, & if a ‘participants’ score is based solely on interaction, then it does indeed come over as being a bit … FB.  Likewise, ‘up-votes/likes’, endorsing people you do not know for skills you have no experience of, ‘following’ etc. can also add to the artificial image of such media. Participation does however show someone’s willingness to engage with their wider peer-community, beyond the walls of their own facility or even their professional culture & traditions.  In this modern era, there are many ways we communicate & these platforms present a cost-effective way of doing so.  So for those who ‘can’t be bothered’, I would ask how else do they demonstrate professional interaction with their global peer-group?  Simply writing journal articles & attending the odd conference is unlikely to generate focused dialogue, so these platforms present a relatively simple way of engaging with others.  The value of such engagement is for the individual to determine, but it is surely better than no engagement at all  😉

See on & Scientific) Poster Presentation


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