Academic capitalism in academic social networks and an analysis of their influ-ence on scientists

Vik­tor A. Kupriyanov
Saint Peters­burg branch of S.I. Vav­ilov Insti­tute for the His­to­ry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy of the Russ­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences

Tatiana Y. Khva­to­va
Peter the Great Saint Peters­burg Poly­tech­nic Uni­ver­si­ty

Svet­lana A. Dushi­na
Saint Peters­burg branch of S.I. Vav­ilov Insti­tute for the His­to­ry of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy of the Russ­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences

Aca­d­e­m­ic cap­i­tal­ism in aca­d­e­m­ic social net­works and an analy­sis of their influ­ence on sci­en­tists

Abstract. This arti­cle ana­lyzes how aca­d­e­m­ic social net-works are influ­enc­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion prac­tices of Russ­ian sci­en­tists. Such net­works (Research­Gate,, Mende­ley and oth­ers) are gain­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty among researchers. They meet the users’ desire to increase their research impact and at the same time involve them in a spe­cif­ic sys­tem of build­ing rela­tion­ships, mak­ing users behave in accor­dance with net­work algo­rithms. This study rests on the assump­tion that online social net­works are based on the ideas of a glob­al mar­ket and aca­d­e­m­ic cap­i­tal­ism. The authors pro­pose an analy­sis of the notion of aca­d­e­m­ic cap­i­tal­ism and its rep­re­sen­ta­tion in aca­d­e­m­ic social net­works. The mar­ket-like con­cep­tion of the acad­e­my cor­re­sponds to the ide­ol­o­gy of neolib­er­al­ism, which enables us to treat aca­d­e­m­ic social net­works as an expres­sion of the neolib­er­al under­stand­ing of sci­ence. The ideas of free com­pe­ti­tion under some sort of uni­fied con­di­tions, aca­d­e­m­ic indi­vid­u­al­ism, mer­i­toc­ra­cy, and open­ness are key fea­tures of neolib­er­al sci­ence. This arti­cle fur­ther­more demon­strates how aca­d­e­m­ic social net­works are ful­ly com­pli­ant with the above men­tioned cri­te­ria of the neolib­er­al con­cep­tion of the social struc­ture of sci­ence, con­trast­ing to tra­di­tion­al and his­tor­i­cal­ly con­di­tioned aca­d­e­m­ic social insti­tu­tions. Through the meth­ods of an online sur­vey and math­e­mat­i­cal pro­cess­ing of the data obtained, the empir­i­cal part of the study shows that a sta­ble social group of sci­en­tists has emerged, with an extreme sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to the ide­ol­o­gy of aca­d­e­m­ic neolib­er­al­ism, there­by con­tribut­ing to the adap­ta­tion of mar­ket-like social rela­tions with­in the acad­e­my. The authors con­clude that aca­d­e­m­ic social media are there­fore effec­tive instru­ments for the inter­nal­iza­tion of the ide­olo­gies of aca­d­e­m­ic cap­i­tal­ism and open sci­ence.

Key­words:aca­d­e­m­ic cap­i­tal­ism, neolib­er­al sci­ence, social net­works, man­age­ri­al­ism, dig­i­tal plat­forms, orga­ni­za­tion of sci­ence

DOI: 10.5840/dspl20192452


This research is sup­port­ed by Russ­ian Foun­da­tion for Basic Research, grant №17–03-00171–ОГН “The sci­en­tists in the social media: whether the social media enhance the pro­fes­sion­al career?”


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