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Academic capitalism in academic social networks and an analysis

Journal: The Digital Scholar: Philosopher’s Lab (Vol.2, No. 4)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 61-81

Keywords : academic capitalism; neoliberal science; social networks; managerialism; digital platforms; organization of science;

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This article analyzes how academic social net-works are influencing the communication practices of Russian scientists. Such networks (ResearchGate,, Mendeley and others) are gaining in popularity among researchers. They meet the users' desire to increase their research impact and at the same time involve them in a specific system of building relationships, making users behave in accordance with network algorithms. This study rests on the assumption that online social networks are based on the ideas of a global market and academic capitalism. The authors propose an analysis of the notion of academic capitalism and its representation in academic social networks. The market-like conception of the academy corresponds to the ideology of neoliberalism, which enables us to treat academic social networks as an expression of the neoliberal understanding of science. The ideas of free competition under some sort of unified conditions, academic individualism, meritocracy, and openness are key features of neoliberal science. This article furthermore demonstrates how academic social networks are fully compliant with the above mentioned criteria of the neoliberal conception of the social structure of science, contrasting to traditional and historically conditioned academic social institutions. Through the methods of an online survey and mathematical processing of the data obtained, the empirical part of the study shows that a stable social group of scientists has emerged, with an extreme susceptibility to the ideology of academic neoliberalism, thereby contributing to the adaptation of market-like social relations within the academy. The authors conclude that academic social media are therefore effective instruments for the internalization of the ideologies of academic capitalism and open science.

Last modified: 2020-03-03 20:05:47