Research Article

Whose Research is it Anyway? Academic Social Networks Versus Institutional Repositories

  • Nicole C. Eva (University of Lethbridge)
  • Tara A. Wiebe orcid logo (University of Lethbridge)


INTRODUCTION 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 to discover which researchers might already be predisposed to providing open access to their work. METHODS 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. RESULTS 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. DISCUSSION 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. CONCLUSION Rather than seeing ASNs as a threat to IRs, they may be seen as a potential site of identifying likely contributors to the IR.

Keywords: academic social networks, institutional repositories, academic libraries, ResearchGate,

How to Cite:

Eva, N. C. & Wiebe, T. A., (2019) “Whose Research is it Anyway? Academic Social Networks Versus Institutional Repositories”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 7(1). doi:

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Published on
25 Apr 2019
Peer Reviewed