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A social networking site is not an open access repository

“What’s the difference between ResearchGate, Academia.edu, and the institutional repository?”

“I put my papers in ResearchGate, is that enough for the open access policy?

These and similar questions have been been common at open access events over the past couple of years. Authors want to better understand the differences between these platforms and when they should use one, the other, or some combination.

First, a brief primer on what each service has to offer: