Sharing your research using academic social networks

There is a plethora of academic social networks which make sharing research with others very easy. The benefits include increased discoverability of the research and public engagement with it. Some care is however needed when using these platforms

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The best known and most frequently used sharing platforms are ResearchGate, and SSRN but new sites spring up all the time, as is the case with a

How these sites are referred to by publishers

Checking your publisher’s contract, you may find a variety of terms used for these platforms, including:

  • Academic social networks
  • Scholarly collaboration networks
  • Networking sites
  • Scientific social networks

How it works

The academic networking sites make it very easy to share the research with others but don’t always make their policies and terms and conditions easy to find. There is a difference between uploading research to an institutional repository, at City this is City Research Online (CRO) and to an academic networking site.

Uploading publications to institutional repositories is safe as in most cases (including uploading publications to CRO) the repository team will check each publication and will ensure that

  • The uploaded version of the publication can be openly shared
  • The publication is easily discoverable by others using variety of ways (mainly using search engines)
  • Sharing the publication doesn’t breach the publisher’s copyright.

The academic social networking sites do not have the safety net of dedicated team to check the shared publication is not breaching your contract with the publisher.

How to share your research on academic social networking sites

Check your publisher’s contract agreement carefully – your contract may specifically prohibit sharing your research on academic social networking sites or, more likely, impose conditions upon it.

Things to look out for:

  • The version of the publication which can be shared (most likely you will be permitted to share your accepted manuscript or a pre-print versions)
  • When you are permitted to share your publication (you may be allowed to only share your publication some time after it has been published, this is known as an embargo period).

The sharing policies of individual publications can also be checked using SHERPA/ RoMEO service and our library guide contains a useful summary of the main points to look out for.


A taste of Japan at City University London Library

Myself and our Systems Librarian and Digital Repository Manager at City University London Library were very pleased to welcome some colleagues from Kyoto University Library, Japan recently. We had some mini Danish pastries and orange juice to celebrate. Our colleagues were visiting the UK for a week and had been to University of Oxford, University of Warwick and and were going on to visit a University in Göttingen, Germany for a week too.

Our colleagues were mainly interested in InCites a research evaluation database tool, City Research Online (our repository) and green/ gold route open access, mobile technology and the Library Anywhere app. They had seen our website and our LibGuides, it is interesting to know that our guides are read internationally.

From our discussions, I understood that we do have communality and share issues with Libraries abroad. Kyoto University also has an institutional repository and seems to take a lead from issues around open access being discussed in the UK for example open access policies and article processing charges (APCs). We discussed the problems of measuring the impact of Humanities research, often in the form of books or book chapters, this is the same in both countries. I thought maybe we would have different approaches as other countries don’t have the Research Excellence Framework but it all seemed very similar.

In terms of search discovery tools, Kyoto University don’t currently have a resource discovery tool such as Summon or Primo. Mobile technology is a very important area as many students use mobile devices. Kyoto University are looking at developing apps for their Library website/ catalogue whereas here we are looking more at a mobile responsive design of these website applications. The issue lies with making everything compatible with all the different devices: iPhone, Blackberry, android etc. I think this is a key challenge for all of us, especially with all the new ebook content etc.

Open access publishing

Open access (OA) refers to access to publications made available without constraints such as payment or passwords.

Open access publication can mean different charging models sometimes called author pays. The costs are more often covered by the research funding body (such as Wellcome Trust) or the author’s institution.

•Some journals are totally open access
•Some journals are ‘hybrid’ open access (some free articles and some by subscription only)

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) provides a useful list of Open access journals.

OpenDOAR provides a list of open access repositories.

There are 2 open access routes: Green and gold.


Deposit a copy of the item in an open access archive such as a University repository such as City Research Online. Some authors place their work in a subject repository such as REPEC.


Articles can be published in:

An open access journal or a journal that offers an open access option. A fee is usually payable (often paid for by the author’s institution or funding body)