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Humanist Archives: April 8, 2020, 2:34 p.m. Humanist 33.741 - on using academia.edu

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 741.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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    [1]    From: Jim Rovira 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.737: on using academia.edu (36)

    [2]    From: maurizio lana 
           Subject: one experience with academia (67)

    [3]    From: maurizio lana 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.733: on using academia.edu & Humanities Commons (74)

        Date: 2020-04-07 23:57:30+00:00
        From: Jim Rovira 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.737: on using academia.edu

Tim --

Thanks for responding. Yes, I am using the paid version of the site, so I
get more information. I get a list of names and links to profiles. Some of
these are anonymous, but most of them are actual names with faces and
contact information through the site. I have five books out, and I don't
have that kind of information about any of my readers unless they happen to
self-identify as one of my readers -- say, I meet them at a conference, or
they write a review, or they email me or contact me some other way. I do
get number of pages read or downloads through academia.edu, but it doesn't
evaluate the care with which my files were read.

Honestly, you seem to be holding the site to a standard that doesn't exist
for any other publication format in the entire history of publications,
from the existence of scrolls to codexes to printed books to the internet.
No author has ever had anything other than sales numbers until very
recently, which means no author could ever know if a reader has ever
actually read his or her work, much less if they read it carefully or
intelligently. That kind of knowledge has been very rarely had by authors
throughout the entire history of the written word. I'm unsure why you think
this site can or even should provide that kind of information. Academia.edu
doesn't dehumanize a process that was previously humanized, because the
process was never humanized as you describe to begin with. For the most
part, no author has ever known who reads his or her work or how they read

I'm trying to work out in my mind the number of readers Shakespeare has had
compared to the number of readers he personally knew about, and the
difference is staggering to me. He probably has a sense of the number of
people who watched performances of his plays during his lifetime, but since
then? I can't even begin to process what he might have thought of readings
of his works had he known about them, and more than that -- why it should
matter to me, except as an insight into Shakespeare himself.

Jim R

        Date: 2020-04-07 15:11:54+00:00
        From: maurizio lana 
        Subject: one experience with academia


i had a similar experience: for 2 or 3 days i searched with Google
Scholar for articles about e-learning which i found all over, obviously:
academia, researchgate, but also publishers websites.
and "now" i get email messages announcing publications about e-learning.
i didn't get anything like that before those 2/3 days.
i think that in order to understand more one should do some very focused
searches differentiated between academia and researchgate, and then wait
for what announcements one receives and analyze them first of all by

Il 06/04/20 10:09, Humanist ha scritto:
> --[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>          Date: 2020-04-05 14:57:14+00:00
>          From: Oyvind Eide 
>          Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.730: on using academia.edu & Humanities
> ...
> I had, however, one experience I would suggest anyone with knowledge and
> interest could duplicate or confirm in other ways. I have an Academia.edu
> account (directly, not via google or anything) which I use sometimes to
> articles. However, I have no automatic login; I usually access the page
> being logged in. I accept cookies (otherwise many things do not work at all)
> acceptance settings are set to accept cookies from the website being visited
> only. So this is what happened:
> 1. I searched for and found a paper.
> 2. The link led me to Academia.edu. I did not log in, I just looked at the
> reference (and could not download it, which I did not need anyway).
> 3. Within minutes I had an email from Academia.edu suggesting 10-15 other
> on the same topic.
> So it seems to me that they link cookie information to information about
> in users also when the user is not logged in and then do their marketing based
> on that.
> Outrageous? Not sure. But I am really happy that alternatives such as
> Commons do exist. Choice is important. And I hope they can operate also with
> colleagues working in countries currently under boycott by the country in
> the servers are located (which in the case of Humanities Commons is USA,

Maurizio Lana
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
Università  del Piemonte Orientale
piazza Roma 36 - 13100 Vercelli
tel. +39 347 7370925

        Date: 2020-04-07 13:07:47+00:00
        From: maurizio lana 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.733: on using academia.edu & Humanities Commons

hi everyone

the discussion is very interesting and for me it shows in perspective
four main themes which appeared here and there but are really central:

 1. the distance between tenured people and independent researchers
     1. the availability (or not) of access to one or more institutional
        repositories (mainly related to have or not a tenure)
 2. the (until now?) small authoritativeness of humanities commons (HC)
    - compare it for example with that of ArXiv
 3. the academic pressure "to be known": which is insane and can easily
    be dismissed as such by those who have a position, but which is
    substantially the only, main, bright road which every newcomer has
    face to herself to try to enter academia or at least to be heard (to
    be read) by those in academia.

1. the distance exists not only in terms of incoming money, but also in
terms of 'benefits' which are fundamental for the research: first of all
free access to a good amount of monographs or journals. you are out and
you find that academia.edu (AE) and researchgate (RG) offer you a lot of
accesses to publications otherwise impossible to gather, unless you pay
exorbitant prices (did anyone notice prices like 80, or 90 $ or € for 1
article?). so you subscribe to a free plan to AE and RG.
1.1. you write a paper - and if you are in academia you have at least 1
place where to put it, the institutional repository of your institution;
if you are outside, you haven't; but even if you are inside, the
institutional repository can be 'elusive': mainly focused to the
internal needs of the institution and not to the need of the author to
be seen and known - for example it only seldom appears in general
searches (it's the case here in Italy for the IRIS repository). instead
you put it in AE and/or RG and you enter a realm of contacts with people
having similar interests and are regularly notified of publications by
those people and about those types of studies. not bad, especially since
no one else does it so thoroughly and for free (having to receive
recurrent invitations to go premium is minor annoyance, in this respect).
2. if you are in "physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative
biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and
systems science, and economics" your independent, world-known and
authoritative repository is arXiv. a well thought paper put (published)
there can become discussed and known all over. take 20 humanists all
over and ask them what is HC; and take 20 physicians, mathematicians,
computer scientists, and ask them what is arXiv - and you have a measure
of the road HC has to do before becoming something that can replace or
surpass AE and RG. nevertheless HC could and should probably be
conceived has _having to become_ the "humanists' arXiv". until HC
remains a small hidden gem it cannot exert a strong positive influence
in the global humanities community (be it, the community, digital or
not: publishing and sharing in digital doesn't mean being/having to be a
digital humanist).
3. in many research areas, research and people doing it are measured
simply on indexes. being known is a way to try to better your numbers.
anything against people trying to better their numbers? me not. anyone
succeeding in changing this situation, despite all their proclamation
about the limits, unfairness, biases, ecc. of the way the numbers work
when judging the quality of research? i don't see any change.

so, beside criticizing AE and RG with very good reasons (which i share,
and in fact i teach them in my courses!) i think that we need to
understand to which real needs AE and RG give an answer - until these
needs don't go away, or until we don't devise better ways to answer
those needs, AE and RG will be there.

Maurizio Lana
Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici
Università  del Piemonte Orientale
piazza Roma 36 - 13100 Vercelli
tel. +39 347 7370925

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