On Oct. 13 I received an interesting announcement from Richard Price, a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, where he recently finished his Ph.D on the philosophy of perception. He has recently launched a website, www.academia.edu, which does two things:
- It displays academics around the world in a “tree” format, according to which institution/department they are affiliated with, and,
- It enables researchers to keep track of the latest developments in their field – the latest people, papers, and talks.
Richard Price hopes that the site will eventually list every academic in the world — Faculty members, Post-Docs, and Graduate Students. People can add their departments, and themselves, to the tree by clicking on the arrows.
Thus far over 5,000 academics have joined academia.edu in the last eight weeks. Some professors on the site include Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Paul Krugman, and Noam Chomsky.
This looks like the latest and perhaps more original attempt to create sites for networking academics. I have previously written about three to which I belong, two of which are strictly intended for academics. I confess that since I created my profile in those sites many months ago, I have not logged in once since then. It may be that if listservs begin to crumble, for some unforeseen reasons, as conferences begin to decline in number (there are very many for certain, and they are increasingly expensive), or if personal and individual means of making contact prove too time consuming, then it’s possible that such network sites might become more prominent features on the academic landscape. For now, I view them mostly as interesting experiments.