Academia, Inc.
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Platform for sharing research papers
Available inEnglish
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Richard Price
Users263 millions[2]
LaunchedSeptember 2008
Current statusActive is a for-profit open repository of academic articles free to read by visitors. Uploading and downloading is restricted to registered users. Additional features are accessible only as a paid subscription. Since 2016 various social networking utilities have been added.[3]

The site was registered in the .edu top-level domain in 1999 when that domain was not limited to educational institutions. It is operated as a for-profit company under the name Academia Inc. Since the launch of the site in 2008, the number of users has grown rapidly, reaching about 10 million daily visits in early 2022. At that time the numbers of registered users was 180 million and 40 million papers were available on the site.[4]

History was founded by Richard Price.[5]

On its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company uses the legal name Academia Inc.[6][7]

Months after its acquisition of competitor Mendeley, Elsevier sent thousands of takedown notices to, a practice that has ceased since then, following widespread complaint by academics, according to founder and chief executive Richard Price.[8][9]

In 2022 the company announced plans to launch ten “open access” journals "to swiftly review and publish their work, in a fresh disruption to the sector".[10]


Critics mention several alternatives for free access publications for people who want to make their work freely available. Many universities and educational consortia have their own institutional repositories, including the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Zenodo (funded by The OpenAIRE Consortium) and Humanities Commons both work to keep humanities scholarship online without monetizing it.[citation needed]'s competitors include ResearchGate, Google Scholar and Mendeley.[11] In 2016 reportedly had more registered users than ResearchGate (about 34 million versus 11 million[12]) and higher web traffic, but ResearchGate had substantially more active usage by researchers. In 2020, the traffic ranks had reversed, with ResearchGate ranked in the top 150–200 websites globally according to Alexa Internet, whereas was positioned in the 200–300 range.[citation needed]

Unpaywall, which collects data about open access versions of academic publications and provides easy access to them, is considered a competitor to for the users who prefer more legally sound green open access hosts.[13]

Criticism is not a university or institution for higher learning and so under current standards it would not qualify for the ".edu" top-level domain. However, since the domain name "" was registered in 1999, before the regulations required .edu domain names to be held solely by accredited post-secondary institutions in the US, it is allowed to remain active and operational. All .edu domain names registered before 2001 were grandfathered in, even if not an accredited USA post-secondary institution.[14][15]

According to the University of Oklahoma libraries, when interacting with, users should keep in mind that "you are not the customer," but rather "you are the product that these services seek to monetize and/or 'offer up' to advertisers," that "you might be breaking the law," even if you are uploading your own work," and finally that "there are privacy implications," because a commercial site does not follow professional standards and "may share information about you".[16]

A critic, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, the director of scholarly communication at the Modern Language Association, said she found the use of the ".edu" domain name by to be "extremely problematic", since it might mislead users into thinking the site is part of an accredited educational institution rather than a for-profit company.[15] claims it supports the open science or open access movements and, in particular, instant distribution of research, and a peer-review system that occurs alongside distribution, instead of before it.[17] Accordingly, the company stated its opposition to the proposed (since withdrawn) 2011 U.S. Research Works Act, which would have prevented open-access mandates in the U.S.[18]

However, in the view of critic Peter Suber, is not an open access repository and is not recommended as a way to pursue green open access. Peter Suber instead invites researchers to use field-specific repositories or general-purpose repositories like Zenodo.[19]

In early 2016, some users reported having received e-mails from where they were asked if they would be interested in paying a fee to have their papers recommended by the website's editors.[20] This led some users to start a campaign encouraging users to cancel their accounts.[21]

Other criticisms include the fact that uses a vendor lock-in model: "It's up to to decide what you can and can't do with the information you've given them, and they're not likely to make it easy for alternative methods to access".[21] This is in reference to the fact that, although papers can be read by non-users, a free account is needed in order to download papers: "you need to be logged in to do most of the useful things on the site (even as a casual reader)".[21]

In December 2016, announced new premium features that includes data analytics on work and the professional rank of the viewers,[22] which have also received criticism.[23][24]


  1. ^ "Our Mission". Archived from the original on December 10, 2018. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  2. ^ " | About". Retrieved February 3, 2024.
  3. ^ Duffy, Brooke Erin; Pooley, Jefferson D. (January 2017). ""Facebook for Academics": The Convergence of Self-Branding and Social Media Logic on". Social Media + Society. 3 (1): 205630511769652. doi:10.1177/2056305117696523.
  4. ^ "About". Archived from the original on November 27, 2020. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  5. ^ Price, Richard. "Richard Price". Entrepreneur. Archived from the original on February 3, 2022. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  6. ^ "A social networking site is not an open access repository". University of California Office of Scholarly Communication. December 2015. Archived from the original on July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  7. ^ "Most followed account on". Archived from the original on July 18, 2021. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  8. ^ Parr, Chris (June 12, 2014). "Sharing is a way of life for millions on". Times Higher Education. Archived from the original on February 8, 2023. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  9. ^ Howard, Jennifer (December 6, 2013). "Posting Your Latest Article? You Might Have to Take It Down". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  10. ^ Jack, Andrew (February 21, 2022). "Tencent-backed academic network to launch 'open access' journals". Financial Times. Archived from the original on February 23, 2022. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  11. ^ Matthews, David (April 7, 2016). "Do academic social networks share academics' interests?". Times Higher Education. Archived from the original on April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  12. ^ Satariano, Adam (November 15, 2016). "Bill Gates-Backed Research Network Targets Advertising Revenue". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  13. ^ Dhakal, Kerry (April 15, 2019). "Unpaywall". Journal of the Medical Library Association. 107 (2): 286–288. doi:10.5195/jmla.2019.650. PMC 6466485.
  14. ^ "edu Policy Information". October 29, 2001. Archived from the original on April 21, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  15. ^ a b McKenna, Laura (December 17, 2015). "The Convoluted Profits of Academic Publishing". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on December 19, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  16. ^ Understanding Academia.Edu and Researchgate Archived April 19, 2022, at the Wayback Machine University of Oklahoma University Libraries
  17. ^ Richard Price (February 5, 2012). "The Future of Peer Review". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on April 30, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  18. ^ Richard Price (February 15, 2012). "The Dangerous "Research Works Act"". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on March 12, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  19. ^ Peter Suber (2016). "Open Access book §10 self help". Archived from the original on July 1, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016.
  20. ^ "Scholars Criticize Proposal to Charge Authors for Recommendations". The Chronicle of Higher Education. January 29, 2016. Archived from the original on August 5, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c "Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication". Impact of Social Sciences. February 1, 2016. Archived from the original on May 7, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  22. ^ Team, The Academia edu (December 20, 2016). "How do people find your papers? Introduces a New Premium Feature". Medium. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  23. ^ "Academia, Not Edu". Planned Obsolescence. October 26, 2015. Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  24. ^ "The end of how business takes over, again". diggit magazine. April 26, 2017. Archived from the original on May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 2, 2017.