A number of academic research aggregation sites have taken advantage of Facebook and other social media platforms to boost the visibility of their articles and the value of their content, according to a report by research firm ATSO.
The research firm also said it’s concerned about the impact of such platforms on the academic research community.
“Facebook has been very effective in helping publishers rank their articles, and the social media network has been an effective platform for publishers to reach consumers who have less information about their research than they do,” said Anshuman Dasgupta, research manager at ATSI.
“While many of these platforms rely on a small number of publishers, it is very important that publishers understand the role that these platforms play in the research enterprise.”
Dasguptas study, which is part of a research project he’s conducting on academic research online, found that about two-thirds of all online academic research articles are published on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.
Some of the top five publishers in the United States are Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter.
Dasguapta said he found that publishers use a variety of social media to rank their content.
“It’s not that we’re doing anything wrong or not doing anything right,” Dasguption said.
“We’re just following what the industry is doing.”
“What we’re seeing is that we are seeing more and more companies using social media as a way to increase their visibility,” Dasgpta said.
Many of the social networks that are featured in Dasguipta’s study also have an app that allows users to rank articles they post.
“Some of these apps are really important tools for a lot of people, and we don’t think they’re necessarily the way to go,” he said.
ATSS is concerned about these sites being used to boost a platform’s reputation, even if it’s not actually a legitimate source of information.
“A lot of the sites that are listed on those social media profiles are simply providing a way for the user to see that they’re a member of a specific platform, and to get some sort of confirmation that they are,” Dasgarpta said.
While Dasguppa said that many of the platforms featured in the study are not affiliated with universities or universities’ research departments, many of them have a reputation for promoting their own content.
Facebook, for instance, is a mainstay of social networking sites for students at universities.
Twitter, which has a reputation as a news platform, has attracted a lot more attention than many other social networking platforms.
But Dasguapas report found that many publishers use the platforms to rank and promote their own articles.
The report also found that these sites have been used to rank highly-rated articles and to promote their products, sometimes in ways that may not be ethical.
“The publishers are using these platforms to promote products, or they’re using these sites to promote a brand that they themselves don’t control, but are trying to use as a marketing tool,” Das Gupta noted.
“They’re promoting something that’s not an academic research paper that’s just their own brand.
We’re not really sure how much these sites are doing in terms of their own reputation and their own control over their content.”
Dasgapta’s report is based on research conducted last year by ATSL.
The firm also studied the top-ranked publishers on LinkedIn, which tracks the popularity of a brand and how much money the company is making.
LinkedIn is a major social networking site, but Dasguat said the research showed that these companies had the power to influence the rankings of the articles on LinkedIn.
“What I think we’ve found is that they have an enormous amount of influence over the content that is being published on LinkedIn,” he explained.
“If you have a large number of articles on a platform, it’s going to be difficult for the platform to make an accurate ranking of the content.
It will not be a true ranking of what the content is really about.”
ATSU’s Dasgua said that the sites should not be considered legitimate sources of research content because they’re often produced by companies that do not have a proper academic research department.
“In terms of the academic content itself, it should be a professional, legitimate source,” Dasgrat said.
It’s important that researchers and publishers know that these kinds of sites are not necessarily legitimate sources.
“For a lot and a lot different reasons, the publishers are not doing it in the way that the publishers that are involved with academic research are doing it,” Dasgnat said, adding that publishers should not expect to get the same kind of results as the academics.