Academic Social Networking

Yet another social networking site popped up on my radar yesterday, so I decided to take a look at it. It’s called Academici, in theory it’s a social networking site for Academic-related work. However, what it actually is is something much poorer, and more useless.

In a nutshell: You can only provide a scant amount of business contact information and virtually no, actual, critical academic information. And to do anything remotely useful, that’s when it’s time to shell out the cash. I was grossly dissapointed with this site. However, what I would like to discuss is my vision of a good academic social networking site. Here are some of the most critical features:

  • Papers – You can provide a form to post papers. It would be nice to be able to: Upload the paper, provide the abstract, authors, where it was accepted to (optional), title, papers that it cites, etc. Much of this could probably be done automatically from a latex file.
  • Citations – Having a network based upon citations would be very powerful – you could see not only what papers cite other papers but who cites other people. You could begin to see these other networks form and possibly the people who are at the head of their field.
  • Collaboration – Being able to collaborate with other academics on papers and projects would be critical. Listing your skills, research groups that you’ve been with, and work that you’re looking to do would be an excellent start towards this.
  • Groups – Being able to set up research groups/corporations would be really interesting. You could see everyone who is in the (in my case) Data Mining Research Group, or everyone who was in that group. That alone would be very powerful as you could see where people might get some of their influence from.

These are just a few suggestions that I’ve been able to think of off the top of my head and I can tell that I’m only just scratching the surface. This really needs to be explored further. Maybe in the form of a fun side project?

Posted: March 9th, 2005

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