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Abstract

This article analyses a hierarchical structure of academia within two academic social media networking sites, i.e. Academia.edu and ResearchGate. In this study, I investigate profiles (in these two services) of all academic staff members of Adam Mickiewicz University in PoznaƄ (N = 2661). I use the concept of prestige to analyse whether the hierarchical structure of academia is being reproduced in analysed services. Since prestige is an unobservable construct, I use two indicators to measure it: the number of followers and the number of views. My findings show that the hierarchical structure differs between Academia.edu and Research- Gate. While the structure of ResearchGate is explicitly hierarchical in reference to degrees of the researchers (a higher degree is related to a higher value of the prestige indicators), the structure of Academia.edu resembles a reversed pyramid (a higher degree is related to a lower value of the prestige indicators). The article concludes with a discussion concerning possible causes of differences between services in terms of reproducing the hierarchical structure. Moreover, I provide potential implications of the results as well as the justification of the necessity of using the concept of prestige to determine hierarchical structure of academia.
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