Is Academia.edu Worth $99 A Year?

Online reputation tracking for alt-acs, and the monetization of the higher ed status economy.

April 18, 2018

At 12:45pm today I received the following e-mail from academia.edu:

Dear Joshua,

A paper published in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly mentions the name "Joshua Kim".

View your Mentions

Do you get these e-mails?  What do you do?

Naturally, I clicked.

Here is the page that the link took me:

Then I clicked the “Upgrade to view your Mentions” button.  That took me to this page:

What do you think? Is academia.edu worth the $99 a year?

My strong suspicion is that, at least for me, the answer will be no.  But maybe I’m wrong, and I’m willing to be convinced.

Why don’t I think that academica.edu is with my $99?  I don’t have 99 reasons, but I’ll give you 3:

Reason #1 - Not Designed for Alt-Acs:

If I were on the tenure track then I could see good reasons to track the impact of my scholarly work. 

But I’m not on the tenure track.  Does it really do me any good to know that something that I wrote (maybe) is referenced in the Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly?  Are there any career benefits for alt-acs?

Reason #2 - Is This Really Me?

I have no idea if the teaser e-mail from academia.edu that got me to click on the links, and write this blog, is referencing a journal that has anything actually to do with me.  There are lots of people named Josh Kim in academia.

Reason #3 -  Social Media and Peer Review:

The third reason why I’m not sure if academia.edu is worth my money is that I’m not sure what the platform tracks.   As an alt-ac, any value that I have in the marketplace of ideas is mediated solely by social media. 

Blogs, tweets, and online articles, and digital communities is where I live.  Traditional peer reviewed academic journals play very little role in my public scholarship.  My sense is that this is true for most alt-acs.

Can you dispute these reasons not to pay for academia.edu?  Can you add your own?

Can anyone shed any light on how academia.edu has evolved since 2014, when I first did a Q&A with founder Richard Price?  https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/4-questions-founder-academiaedu

Do you get these e-mails?

Are you an academia.edu subscriber?

What does academia.edu say about the monetization of the higher education reputation economy?


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