Using a social networking site versus using an institutional repository

research portal blog

Many researchers share their work online through social networking sites such as or ResearchGate. These sites are extremely useful and allow researchers to create their own profiles, promote their work and connect with other researchers.

However, you may wish to consider depositing your work in an institutional repository instead of, or as well as, a social networking site and here are some reasons why:

  • If you add a research paper to the Queen’s Institutional Repository (Research Portal), the Open Access (OA) Team will verify the bibliographic details and add any necessary embargos or copyright information, legally required by the publisher, to your papers. If you add a paper to a social networking site you alone are responsible for investigating and adhering to the terms of your copyright transfer agreement. Publishers have, in the past, issued take down notices to users of social networking sites asking them to remove documents that infringed copyright. Notably, Elsevier took legal action against in 2013 and ResearchGate in 2017 over the issue of sharing full-text publications.
  • From 01 April 2018 if you want your article or published conference paper to be considered for REF2021, you need to ensure that an accepted manuscript is posted in a subject or institutional repository within 3 months of acceptance (previously within 3 months of publication). Sites like and ResearchGate are not considered to be institutional or subject repositories.
  • Queen’s is committed to making research open access where possible. There is an OA Team and an OA Policy in place, to enable researchers to do this. Pure, the database behind the Queen’s institutional repository, facilitates transparency, interoperability, the re-use of data and long-term preservation; whereas there are no such guarantees with social networking sites.
  • and ResearchGate are both commercial sites and neither is affiliated to an academic organisation. They both have more similarities to Facebook or Twitter than they do to institutional repositories. Queen’s Research Portal is a non-profit repository.
  • Social networking sites can use aggressive marketing strategies, often sending mass emails or unsolicited invitations to your co-authors. The Queen’s Open Access Team will only contact you regarding research that you have uploaded to the repository, for the purposes of support and enhancing your record.

To find out more about the pros and cons of using both social networking sites and open access repositories see

If you need more information on open access at Queen’s, please see our webpages, email us at or follow us on Twitter.



This entry was posted in News & Updates and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *