Adoption and usage of Academic Social Networks: a Japan case study

  • Shannon MasonEmail author


Engaging in the international academic environment is now facilitated by a range of Academic Social Networks (ASNs) that are being used by an increasing number of early career and established researchers, in order to build their international profile and to connect with researchers across the globe. A range of studies have noted the benefits of ASNs for individual researchers and institutions, particularly those in emerging academic systems looking to build their international reputation. Missing from the research body are studies of ASN use in Japan, which although has an established higher education system, is experiencing considerable decline in international standing, in part due to a lack of engagement with international researchers. Thus, ASNs provide a potential tool to build international visibility and connections. This case study investigates the adoption and usage of and ResearchGate, the two most popular ASNs in the world today, by 1771 researchers from eight universities in Japan. The findings show that adoption and activity is very low, with ResearchGate adoption at thirty per cent of the sample, indicating moderate knowledge and adoption of the platform. Altmetric analysis shows that use of ResearchGate is largely passive, and the interactive features that might facilitate engagement with international researchers are not being exploited. Language and cultural barriers provide one potential explanation for trends in usage, and there is also a need for further training in the various features available to researchers in Japan.


Academic Social Networks Altmetrics Researchers Internationalisation Collaboration Japan 



This study was supported by a Japanese Government KAKEN Grant #19K14262.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationNagasaki UniversityNagasaki CityJapan

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