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Humanist Archives: April 5, 2020, 8:59 a.m. Humanist 33.730 - on using academia.edu & Humanities Commons

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 730.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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    [1]    From: Tim Smithers 
           Subject: academia.edu (60)

    [2]    From: Jim Rovira 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.726: on using academia.edu (10)

    [3]    From: Kathleen Fitzpatrick 
           Subject: An alternative to academia.edu (32)

        Date: 2020-04-05 07:53:30+00:00
        From: Tim Smithers 
        Subject: academia.edu

Dear John and Ken,

John: you seem to suggest you need a Google or Facebook login
to get into Academia.  I don't think you do.  I don't have
either of these, but I do log into Academia.  Perhaps I got
the wrong impression here?

Is it manipulative?  Yes, but no more so than anything else
that seeks to make money out of you, I would say.  Like Ken, I
(only) use Academia as a place to hang PDFs of things I've
published and written so others can get them without paying,
if they so wish.  But, yes, to do this you need at least a
free Academia login.  So perhaps you wouldn't describe this as
access without paying.

Ken: You write of

    "...  Nearly 6,000 people follow me on Academia with over
     1,000,000 views and downloads of my different papers over
     the years."

I'd certainly call these numbers impressive.  They certainly
are compared to my tiny winy numbers.  But you then say:

     "That's a reasonable audience."

Is that a reasonable way of understanding these numbers?  They
don't say much about the people you seem to be talking about

I would say these numbers tell us very little about the
audience you have.  I don't think numbers can do this.  For
me, an audience is made up of people who do things like pay
attention, show interest, listen or read carefully, ask good
questions, make useful comments, offer suggestions, press
counter arguments, tell you about what they think, show you
other things you may be interested in, point out your
mistakes, praise your clarity and illumination, ask to talk to
you about their work, engage in fruitful correspondence, and
such like.  I'm guessing, but I imagine not many of your 6,000
Academia followers do these things.  But, again, perhaps I am
wrong about this?  If they do, I can quite see why you have no
time for keeping a website.

Academia, and other websites that offer similar functions and
[paid for] services, seem to me too keen to turn people into
numbers, and then push the idea that it's these numbers that
are important.  This is one of the manipulations they
practice, I would say.

When the practice of making academic and scholarly
publications available on the internet becomes a numbers
claim, Humanness is drained from it, I think.  Do we still
have a real audience then?

Best regards,


        Date: 2020-04-04 16:15:14+00:00
        From: Jim Rovira 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.726: on using academia.edu

Yes, actually, I'm coming to view academia.edu as a significant source for
researching open-access publishing. Quite a few books, articles, and
chapters are posted there. It's also a great way to get directly in touch
with working scholars on a variety of topics, and to allow them to get in
touch with you. It can be annoying in some ways too, but overall to me it's
more of a benefit than a liability. I've downloaded dozens of articles and

Jim R

        Date: 2020-04-04 12:22:00+00:00
        From: Kathleen Fitzpatrick 
        Subject: An alternative to academia.edu

Dear colleagues,

First, let me thank John Levin for pointing to Humanities Commons (hcommons.org) 
as a scholar-led, non-profit alternative to academia.edu. I'm mostly posting to 
repeat that information because John's post was included at the bottom of a long 
cluster of posts, and I don't want it to be missed.

Humanities Commons currently serves more than 20,000 scholars and practitioners
across the humanities and around the world. The platform is built on open-source
software (and is an active contributor to the open-source community), and it
brings together a Commons In A Box (CBOX) based social network and publishing
platform with a Fedora/SOLR based repository. Deposits receive DOIs and can be
actively shared with groups within the network; as a result, the 10,000 objects
in the repository have collectively received more than a million downloads.

Accounts are free, and will remain free, to anyone regardless of position,
institutional affiliation, or organizational membership. The repository contains
deposits in more than 25 languages, and our traffic comes from more than 150

Come join us, if you haven't yet, and feel free to contact me if you have

All best,

Kathleen Fitzpatrick // Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English
Michigan State University // kfitz47@gmail.com // @kfitz

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