According to Wikipedia, “Academia.edu is a social networking website for
academics. It was launched in September 2008 and the site now has over
11 million registered users as of 2014. The platform can be used to share papers,
monitor their impact, and follow the research in a particular field.
Other shroud-related papers, prepared for any number of reasons get published on all manner of websites.
- ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development hosts papers such as The Conservation of the Shroud of Turin: Optical Studies by Paolo Di Lazzaro, Daniele Murra, Antonino Santoni and Enrico Nichelatti.
- Dozens upon dozens of papers (in English) are published at such sites as sindone.info and shroud.it.
- John and Rebecca Jackson’s Shroud Center of Colorado has a few papers.
- David Rolfe’s Shroud Enigma site has some as well.
- So, too, does Pam Moon’s Shroud of Turin Exhibition site.
- This blog has a number.
And these are just the papers in English.
One site, in particular, Academia.edu is becoming a goto site for publishing shroud-related papers. It is increasingly popular with authors of papers because they can self-publish (upload) and make their papers instantly available. Authors can track readership. They can revise papers, even make instant corrections, all without having to wait for update schedules.
Academia.edu has “Follow” facilities that allow anyone to follow the works of specific authors as well as papers on particular topics. For instance, because I follow the shroud, when Louis C. de Figueiredo published a paper, Professor Giulio Fanti discusses the controversies in the realm of Shroud studies, I knew about it within minutes. It was perhaps connectivity overkill, but my iPhone beeped to let me know about it. Helpfully, Louis also posted a notice on this blog.
Authors who publish on Academia.edu may, if they wish to do so, provide an email address or choose to rely on Academia.edu’s private messaging facilities – or neither.
Academia.edu is free. It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s powerful. But do read the article by Menachem Wecker in Vitae: Should You Share Your Research on Academia.edu?
[High readership numbers] are enough to convince many scholars looking to develop an audience. Heidi Campbell, associate professor of communication at Texas A&M University, is among them. Don’t jump on to Academia.edu expecting to find vibrant discussions or active networkers, she says. Think of it instead as a “great way to share my work and let others know about my scholarship.”
“While it has not been that useful for me as a social-networking tool or for building collaborations,” she says, “it offers some great features that have spread the word about my work to a broader audience beyond my subfield. I think it has helped raise my public profile as a scholar online.”
Academia.edu’s related topic indexing helps, too. Sooner or later, if you are reading about Byzantine coins, for instance, you will encounter a list of topics that suggests you might also be interested in the Shroud of Turin – sort of like the way Amazon recommends books based on what you are reading.
It should increase readership.
Every page in the Academia site has a search box. Moreover, Google and other search engines view this site as a major site (Alexa ranks it as 1 of the top 1000 websites in the world).
The header for each report contains buttons for viewing the author profile, displaying the abstract of the paper, tweeting a message about the paper, bookmarking the paper and downloading the paper to your computer. There is also a counter to show how many times the paper has been viewed, as can be seen in this example for a paper by Emanuela Marinelli from the 2012 Valencia Conference.
I say put your paper on Acadmia.edu and then put it someplace else like shroud.com The only exception may be if you are planning to publish your paper formally in a journal. In that case, check first.
Did we mention that on Academia you can follow an author?
SkyDrive from Microsoft and Google Drive are making it even easier to publish papers. Just save papers as PDF files and decide if they will be public, private or available to a select group. Everyone can have their own storage. Just sign up and each of these Internet giants will give you a recurring fifteen gigabytes of storage for free. That is enough for 1,000 typical shroud papers in PDF format. Want more space, it’s $1.99 per month for a hundred gigabytes, enough for 6,000 typical papers. And what about bandwidth. It is free. Really! Bandwidth is bundled into the price.
Social media. Academic papers are moving there. Set up your own blog and store as many papers as you want. File space is cheap and bandwidth is free and unlimited.
The go-to choice for finding information these days is Google. Everybody Googles. And Google doesn’t care if a paper is on shroud.com, shroudstory.com, academia.edu or somewhere in the clouds. There was a time when it took Google days to index a paper and they would only examine the first few pages. Now they will index a book length paper. And they get around to doing so in minutes