Implementing an Academic Research Social Network: An exploratory study at Applied Science University

Samer Barakat


Online social networks presented a new and versatile medium of communication and collaboration over the Internet. The use of specific social networks that targets a certain audience is becoming more accepted today since interactivity and collaboration between members is secured and limited to specific groups. Academic research is one of the fields that can benefit from online social networks. Applied Science University is the first educational institution in the Middle East to adopted this new technology by creating an Academic Research Social Network for its professors to collaborate on different academic and research fields. But how effective was this new collaboration channel for ASU professors? Did they use the network for sharing research related information and was the exchange as effective as envisioned? An exploratory study of implementing an Academic Research Social Network at applied Science University is presented and discussed. The findings based on analysis of statistical information provided by the web server and the online social network application showed that only a 20% of university professors at ASU joined the network and created their online profiles. The level of awareness of the true value of the online academic research social network was very low. Academic Rank, Specialization, Computer and Internet Literacy in addition to English language skills played a role in adopting this new channel. In conclusion the research presents steps that can be taken to improve the use of this unique social media channel and guidelines for motivating professors are suggested based on the research findings.


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