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Why do I need to deposit in Bradford Scholars? Why not just in ResearchGate or Academia.edu?

Social networking sites are excellent tools for researchers to connect with others, sharing ideas and research results. However, they are not compliant with the principles of Open Access or the Research England and UKRI policies the same way institutional repositories are.

Open Access principles and compliance with funding bodies' policies

Long-term access online should be guaranteed

Social networking sites like ResearchGate and Academia.edu are commercial services with terms and conditions that may change at any point. The sites themselves may also vanish without notice, thus disrupting persistent access to research papers. Guaranteed long-term access is more likely when research papers are deposited in an institutional repository. Many publishers also explicitly forbid authors from depositing papers on commercial servers but permit self-archiving in a non-profit institutional or subject repository. In addition, simply the definition of what constitutes an 'institutional repository' or 'subject repository' excludes sites like ResearchGate. Take-down notices have been sent to academics with content on ResearchGate and/or Academia.edu. This, again, jeopardises continued access.

Free and unlimited downloading of Open Access papers

A large majority of social networking sites do not permit the downloading of research papers until a user registers and logs in. Although access is still free, this is against the Open Access principles. Sites also make it difficult, if not impossible, for researchers to acquire their own data and re-use it elsewhere. Terms and conditions also prohibit libraries from harvesting this data on their academics' behalf. These sites also limit the number of downloads an individual can make from the site, and the use of data mining tools may be explicitly prohibited, thus further hampering research.

Compliance with Research England and UKRI Open Access audit requirements

Social networking sites do not comply with the funding bodies' requirements for Open Access and funder metadata in a format that allows consistent aggregation and searching. Institutional repositories are in the position to do this. For instance, Bradford Scholars, is equipped to comply with the audit requirements of Research England by incorporating the right metadata about research and the resulting outputs. It is also worth noting, that Arxiv.org, although a subject repository, is not at present able to include the Open Access metadata demanded by funding bodies in the UK.

 OpenAccess repositoriesAcademia.eduResearchGate
Supports export or harvesting Yes No No
Long-term preservation Yes  No No
Business model Non-profit (usually) Commercial site, selling job posting services with the hope of selling data Commercial site, selling job posting services with the hope of selling data
Sends you lots of emails by default No Yes Yes
Wants your address book No Yes Yes
Fulfils the UoB OA policy Yes No No
Helps to comply with UKRI and Research England policies Yes No No