Titus Stahl

On leaving Academia.edu - crowdfunding a better alternative?

Guy Geltner opened a discussion on Academia.edu, called On leaving Academia.edu. As this discussion is behind a registration screen and thus not publicly accessible, I reproduce the comment I left in this discussion below:

I would like to add two more points to the discussion:

  • First, Academia.edu requires you at the moment to register, i.e. to give up your data and agree to TOS to download papers. This is technically completely unnecessary and just serves the commercial interests of the company to acquire as much data as possible
  • Second, the software (both server and client-side) is non-free. Users cannot inspect what the software does with their data, whether it is secure, and they are kept from improving it and setting up their own services.

Both practices are completely opposed to the scientific ethos. I am still using Academia.edu at the moment, because there is no practical alternative available, but as soon as someone sets up a crowdfunding campaign for a decentralized, AGPL-licensed alternative, I hereby promise to donate at least 500 Euro to it.

See also: The Trouble with Academia.edu, More critical remarks on Academia.edu, Richard Stallman: Who does that server really serve?