Academic Social Media: ResearchGate Financials

In one of my writing workshops this semester, my students asked me to provide an overview of the academic social media landscape. One of the surprising things for students to consider in such discussions is the fact that social media outlets (including very “solid” looking enterprises such as LinkedIn and ResearchGate) are actually subject to the whims of the marketplace, and their future is by no means as secure as the tools may appear.

Thus this morning, scanning my work Twitter (which I find functions quite well for staying aware of global scholarly publishing trends), I was not surprised to find a discussion by the American scholarly publishing community regarding ResearchGate and its current financial status. A brief analysis of this is provided by german startups at:

https://www.deutsche-startups.de/2018/06/12/researchgate-verlust-steigt-um-733-auf-107-millionen/

To make a long story short, ResearchGate is losing money and its path towards “profitability” is unclear.

What does this mean for students? I feel it’s important to continue stressing that such tools – while very useful – may disappear or have certain functionalities “gated” in the future. That it’s still important to keep one’s own personal archive.

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