Although I’ve been playing around with a number of social networking sites, trying to identify their potential, I’ve not look for any specific academic networking sites, and wondered if there were any.

What is academic networking?Academic networking has a long tradition, both within and across institutions.

“Academic Networking is the development and maintenance of a network of contacts of people who have access to different sources of potentially useful information.

These information sources may be related to new research ideas, publishing and funding opportunities, teaching strategies, or new developments / trends in your profession or job.” (, 1995). Some more detailed information is given in “Networking and Other Academic Hobbies“.

Online Social Networking?
So, do the new platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Ecademy, Plaxo and Facebook have anything to offer, and are there any platforms specifically for academics?! I don’t have time to even suggest an answer right now about what’s on offer, but have ID’d a couple of academic sites for further investigation: academici, hypertope, and pronetos.

There’s definitely scope for a research project there, especially with the growing emphasis on knowledge-transfer between universities and businesses. The ivory tower has been going out of fashion for a long-time now (not something I’ve ever been keen on, and saw the validity of my opinion after giving a paper at the “Public History Now” forum at Ruskin College), and the new social networking sites deserve some consideration. See a brief review by Open Anthropology.

Already Using Them?
CARET at the University of Cambridge is carrying out research to complete in 2010. The project aims to bring some of the affordances of consumer social networks to teaching and learning, and will deliver applications within CamTools, their Sakai-based VLE. Take their survey.

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