“What’s the difference between ResearchGate, Academia.edu, and an institutional repository?”
ResearchGate and Academia.edu are social networking platforms whose primary aim is to connect researchers with common interests. Users create profiles on these services, and are then encouraged to list their publications and other scholarly activities, upload copies of manuscripts they’ve authored, and build connections with scholars they work or co-author with. Essentially these services provide a Facebook or LinkedIn experience for the research community.
Both services are commercial enterprises. Although Academia.edu has a “.edu” URL, it isn’t run by a higher education institution. The domain name was registered before the rules that would now prohibit this use went into effect, and the address was grandfathered in and later sold.
|Open access repositories||Academia.edu||ResearchGate|
|Supports export or harvesting||Yes||No||No|
|Business model||Nonprofit (usually)||Commercial. Sells job posting services. Hopes to sell data.||Commercial. Sells ads, job posting services|
|Sends you lots of emails (by default)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Wants your address book||No||Yes||Yes|