Open main menu is a commercial social networking website for academics.[4][5] 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,[6] with 39 million unique visitors per month as of January 2019 and over 21 million uploaded texts.[7] was founded by Richard Price, who raised $600,000 from Spark Ventures, HOWZAT Partners, Brent Hoberman, and others.[8]

Academia, Inc. logo.svg
Screenshot of (26 Dec 2017).PNG
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Platform for sharing research papers
Available inEnglish
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Richard Price
Alexa rankNegative increase 216 (International), 46 (Indonesia) (July 2019)[2]
Users71 million[3]
LaunchedSeptember 2008
Current statusActive



The website allows its users to create a profile, upload their work(s), select areas of interests and then the user can browse the networks of people with similar interests among the almost, as of December 2017, 58 million users from around the world.[9]'s competitors include ResearchGate, Google Scholar and Mendeley.[10] Compared to ResearchGate, in 2016 reportedly had more registered users (about 34 million versus 11 million[11]) and higher web traffic, but ResearchGate was substantially larger in terms of active usage by researchers.[10][12] The fact that ResearchGate restricts its user accounts to people at recognized institutions and published researchers may explain the disparity in active usage, as a high percentage of the accounts on are lapsed or inactive.[10][12]

Open scienceEdit claims it supports 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distribution, instead of prior to it.[13] Accordingly, the company stated its opposition to the proposed (since withdrawn) 2011 U.S. Research Works Act, which would have prevented open-access mandates in the U.S.[14]

However, 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.[5][15]

Domain nameEdit 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 "" 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.[16][17]

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 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.[17]

On its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company uses the legal name Academia Inc.[18]

Financial historyEdit

In November 2011, raised $4.5 million from Spark Capital and True Ventures.[8] 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.[8] In September 2013, the company raised $11.1 million from Khosla Ventures, True Ventures, Spark Ventures, Spark Capital and Rupert Pennant-Ream,[19] bringing its total equity funding to $17.7 million.[18][20]


Many academics are reported to be happy about the increased publicity their research may garner due to the website, but some are reportedly concerned about the effect on research and science in general, especially since refuses to make its business model public.[4] TechCrunch remarked that gives academics a "powerful, efficient way to distribute their research"[21][22] 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".[21] seems to reflect a combination of social networking norms and academic norms.[23]

Months after its acquisition of rival Mendeley, Elsevier sent thousands of takedown notices to, a practice that has since ceased, following widespread complaint by academics, according to founder and chief executive Richard Price.[24][25]


In early 2016, some users reported having received e-mails from where they were asked if they would be interested in paying a fee to have their papers recommended by the website's editors.[26] This led some users to start a campaign encouraging users to cancel their accounts.[27]

Other criticisms include the fact that uses a vendor lock-in model: "It's up to to decide what you can and can't do with the information you've given them, and they're not likely to make it easy for alternative methods to access".[27] This is in reference to the fact that, although papers can be read by non-users, a free account is needed in order to download papers: "you need to be logged in to do most of the useful things on the site (even as a casual reader)".[27]

A registered user, in order to use advanced search on the site and several other functions, needs to subscribe to premium ($100- per year, or $10- per month) as explained on the site when using basic title search.

In December 2016, announced new premium features that includes data analytics on work and the professional rank of the viewers,[28] which have also received criticism.[9][29][30]


  1. ^ "Our Mission". Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  2. ^ " Traffic Statistics". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Hiring". Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  4. ^ a b Some academics remain skeptical of
  5. ^ a b Fortney, Katie; Gonder, Justin (2015-12-01). "A social networking site is not an open access repository". OSC. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  6. ^ Cutler, Kim-Mai. "Academia.Edu Overhauls Profiles As The Onus Falls On Researchers To Manage Their Personal Brands". Techcrunch. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
  7. ^ "About". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  8. ^ a b c " | CrunchBase Profile". Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  9. ^ a b Bond, Sarah. "Dear Scholars, Delete Your Account At Academia.Edu". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  10. ^ a b c Matthews, David (7 April 2016). "Do academic social networks share academics' interests?". Times Higher Education. Archived from the original on 2016-04-17. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  11. ^ Satariano, Adam (15 November 2016). "Bill Gates-Backed Research Network Targets Advertising Revenue". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  12. ^ a b Van Noorden, Richard (13 August 2014). "Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network". Nature. 512 (7513): 126–129. doi:10.1038/512126a. PMID 25119221. Archived from the original on 2014-10-26. Retrieved 2014-11-06.Quote 1: ResearchGate is certainly well-known [...] More than 88% of scientists and engineers said that they were aware of it. Quote 2: "They do send you a lot of spam," [Billie Swalla] says Quote 3: [...] regularly sending out automated e-mails that profess to come from colleagues active on the site Quote 4: "I think it is a disgraceful kind of marketing and I am choosing not to use their service because of that", [Lars Arvestad] says Quote 5: "I've met basically no academics in my field with a favourable view of ResearchGate", says Daniel MacArthur Quote 6: Some of the apparent profiles on the site are not owned by real people, but are created automatically – and incompletely – by scraping details of people's affiliations, publication records and PDFs Quote 7: That annoys researchers who do not want to be on the site, and who feel that the pages misrepresent them – especially when they discover that ResearchGate will not take down the pages when asked. Quote 8: [Madisch] will not say how many of [the papers available on ResearchGate] have been automatically scraped from freely accessible places elsewhere.
  13. ^ Richard Price (2012-02-05). "The Future of Peer Review". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  14. ^ Richard Price (2012-02-15). "The Dangerous "Research Works Act"". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  15. ^ Peter Suber (2016). "Open Access book §10 self help".
  16. ^ "edu Policy Information". 2001-10-29. Archived from the original on 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  17. ^ a b McKenna, Laura (17 December 2015). "The Convoluted Profits of Academic Publishing". The Atlantic.
  18. ^ a b "A social networking site is not an open access repository". University of California Office of Scholarly Communication. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  19. ^ "About". Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  20. ^ "". Crunchbase. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  21. ^ a b " Raises $4.5 Million To Help Researchers Share Their Scholarly Papers". TechCrunch. 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  22. ^ " – $4.5M in Funding, 3M Unique Monthly Visitors – Can They Change Science Publication?". Singularity Hub. 2011-12-11. Archived from the original on 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  23. ^ Thelwall, M.; Kousha, K. (2014). " Social network or Academic Network?". Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 65 (4): 721. CiteSeerX doi:10.1002/asi.23038. Preprint
  24. ^ Parr, Chris (June 12, 2014). "Sharing is a way of life for millions on". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  25. ^ Howard, Jennifer (December 6, 2013). "Posting Your Latest Article? You Might Have to Take It Down". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  26. ^ "Scholars Criticize Proposal to Charge Authors for Recommendations". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  27. ^ a b c "Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication". Impact of Social Sciences. 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  28. ^ Team, The Academia edu (2016-12-20). "How do people find your papers? Introduces a New Premium Feature". Medium. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  29. ^ "Academia, Not Edu". Planned Obsolescence. 2015-10-26. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  30. ^ "The end of how business takes over, again". diggit magazine. 2017-04-26. Retrieved 2017-05-02.

External linksEdit