Hierarchical structure of academia in academic social networking sites: the case study of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Kinga Ciereszko


This article analyses a hierarchical structure of academia within two academic social media networking sites, i.e. Academia.edu and ResearchGate. In this study, I investigate profiles (in these two services) of all academic staff members of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (N = 2661). I use the concept of prestige to analyse whether the hierarchical structure of academia is being reproduced in analysed services. Since prestige is an unobservable construct, I use two indicators to measure it: the number of followers and the number of views. My findings show that the hierarchical structure differs between Academia.edu and ResearchGate. While the structure of ResearchGate is explicitly hierarchical in reference to degrees of the researchers (a higher degree is related to a higher value of the prestige indicators), the structure of Academia.edu resembles a reversed pyramid (a higher degree is related to a lower value of the prestige indicators). The article concludes with a discussion concerning possible causes of differences between services in terms of reproducing the hierarchical structure. Moreover, I provide potential implications of the results as well as the justification of the necessity of using the concept of prestige to determine hierarchical structure of academia.


academic social networking sites; Academia.edu; ResearchGate; hierarchy in academia

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