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Academia.edu and ResearchGate are commercial social networks aimed at academics. Both of these sites allow you to create a public profile, ask questions, and network with other researchers. These sites can be very useful for networking, making connections, and sharing information with other researchers.
Academia.edu and ResearchGate are also used to share copies of articles and other publications for free. Before you share an article on either of these sites, it's important to be aware of your publisher's copyright policy and whether it permits sharing through social networking sites. If you want to make your publications available for free online, a better option might be to share your work through Trinity's open access repository, TARA. You can read more about article sharing and copyright in our guide to TARA here.
There has also been significant criticism of academic social networks, like Academia.edu and ResearchGate, which you may want to take into consideration before setting up your profile. You can read more about some of these in the resources below.
While your accounts on social media sites like Twitter or LinkedIn won't serve the same functions as your research profiles, they can still be very useful for showcasing your research and connecting with potential collaborators in your field.
If you're not using social media to promote your research yet, here are a few tips to get started:
Make your account easy to find. Choose a handle that's easy for people to find when they look you up (your full name is usually best).
Maintain your work-life balance. If you already have an account that you use for fun, you might want to set up a new account for your academic work. This will allow you to switch off from work and still enjoy your personal account when you need a break.
Build your network. Follow a wide range of people — your colleagues, other researchers whose work you admire, people working in industry or government roles that are relevant to your field, professional organisations, etc.
Share your research! When you publish an article, present a conference paper or poster, or create any new research output, make sure to share it on all of your social media platforms and to include a link to it if it's available online.
Promote the work of your colleagues. Remember to like or comment on updates from your network to help their work reach a wider audience.
An additional type of profile for sharing your work online is your own personal website. The main benefit of having your own website is that you have complete control of your profile. You can use your website to showcase the usual contents of a profile (your publications, your employment history, awards you have received, etc.) but you can also customise your profile to showcase anything you feel is missing from your other profiles. You can even start a blog to share your research with a wider audience!