User Spotlight: Richard Kahn “Academia.edu has increased citations of my work by over 30%”

by Helen Sparrow

imageRichard Kahn, a Core Faculty member of the Education Department at Antioch University LA, was one of Academia.edu’s early adopters, he registered in 2008 just a month after our launch. 

Having authored some influential work on new media and its role in community building, he was keen to sign up and see how Academia.edu would affect scholarly exchanges. In addition to academic networking, Richard was excited that through Academia.eduresearch could be disseminated widely and quickly and freely”, the benefits of which would impact all scholars and the future of research.

A year after creating his Academia.edu account, he decided to make it his main homepage, closing down his own ‘flashy’ website. He especially likes how Academia.edu creates a level playing field, everyone receives an equal presence with no hierarchy between world-renowned professors and emerging young researchers.

By focusing efforts on building his research presence online, Richard’s reputation has grown and his work has received a lot more attention than he believes would have happened otherwise and because of his early adoption, he is in a sense “outcompeting his competitors”.

Richard is confident that Academia.edu has been a powerful social network tool for connecting his publications with an increasingly global readership, helping both to extend his impact metrics and build a community around his research. 

The site has helped to establish my work and reach an international audience. I am contacted all the time by scholars and students all around the world for having my work archived there”.

My reputation has grown because my work is easily available and is reaching audiences that other academics aren’t reaching”.

As proof for some of his claims, Richard noted that he has been contacted through Academia.edu and presented with numerous invaluable opportunities:

  • A sustainability coordinator at the University of Oslo invited Richard to Norway, where he gave two auditorium addresses, including one for the City of Oslo’s Sustainability Week.
  • An invitation to sit on the board of the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas, where he provides direction for the development of a cutting edge sustainability education program (with the potential perk of visiting the Bahamas for A board meeting every year)!
  • A translation of one of Richard’s books by a globally influential climatologist, Dr. Bo Li of Fudan University, who after finding it on academia.edu had it published in Chinese, dramatically increasing the readership of Richard’s work.

Richard believes that these opportunities have largely arisen not just because of the quality of his research, but because of his efforts to share all of his work on Academia.edu and drive large audiences to his page. 

Readers contact me routinely explaining that when they found my profile page they were very impressed by the quantity and quality of the work there, as well as the amount of audience I appeared to have as documented by my keyword list, visible stats and the number of followers I maintain. More than just another academic homepage, the whole gamut works together to help create an impression that I am a legitimate and influential player in my field(s).”

But, more than just using the site to publicize his research, Richard’s favorite feature of Academia.edu is that it provides him with a place to openly share all of his publications as a kind of knowledge commons. Regardless of whether university administrations are ready to accept the emerging alternative metrics yet (including Academia.edu stats), having more eyes on his papers is leading to more citations of his work. In fact, Richard believes the reason he ranks up to 3 times higher in traditional citation metrics (H-index) than his peers in the field of Education, is because of his prolific and tactical use of Academia.edu to communicate his research.

People find my papers and books there daily; and, in so doing, some percentage of them use this work and cite it. These citations have boosted my academic metrics significantly and I expect over the next couple of years that they will continue to do so. There is no accurate way to measure the exact effect it has had but I would say conservatively that it has boosted my citations by 30%. Whatever the actual percentage, for sure the significance it has had upon my career is real and I’m grateful to have had it available to me as a scholar. I look forward to continuing to support Academia.edu and to its future innovations as part of the emerging paradigm shift in academic research that is clearly occurring.”

Academia.edu is committed to helping academics share their research with a global community; we’re really pleased that this is paying off so well for Richard by providing him with fantastic opportunities in his career. We also appreciate his efforts in recommending the site to so many of his colleagues. So, to all the Academia.edu ambassadors out there - Thanks!

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by Helen Sparrow, Community Manager

Comments Jun 14, 2012
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