January 26, 2022

Research Article: “Whose Research is it Anyway? Academic Social Networks Versus Institutional Repositories”

The following article was published today by the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communications.



Nicole C. Eva
University of Lethbridge

Tara A. Wiebe
University of Lethbridge


Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 7(1)
DOI: 10.7710/2162-3309.2243


Looking for ways to increase deposits into their institutional repository (IR), researchers at one institution started to mine academic social networks (ASNs) (namely, ResearchGate and Academia.edu) to discover which researchers might already be predisposed to providing open access to their work.

Researchers compared the numbers of institutionally affiliated faculty members appearing in the ASNs to those appearing in their institutional repositories. They also looked at how these numbers compared to overall faculty numbers.

Faculty were much more likely to have deposited their work in an ASN than in the IR. However, the number of researchers who deposited in both the IR and at least one ASN exceeded that of those who deposited their research solely in an ASN. Unexpected findings occurred as well, such as numerous false or unverified accounts claiming affiliation with the institution. ResearchGate was found to be the favored ASN at this particular institution.

The results of this study confirm earlier studies’ findings indicating that those researchers who are willing to make their research open access are more disposed to do so over multiple channels, showing that those who already self-archive elsewhere are prime targets for inclusion in the IR.

Rather than seeing ASNs as a threat to IRs, they may be seen as a potential site of identifying likely contributors to the IR.

Direct to Full Text Article
21 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.