I have an honest question, actually a couple. First, what happens to the materials when my membership lapses? Personally, I’m shifting careers and thus scholarship and professional affiliation. My work in MLA-type research is still relevant but my MLA membership, not as much. Do I need to keep the membership to keep my research available? Which brings up the question of membership at all. Freemium sites lik Academia.edu are attractive to many scholars because they are free now. And by scholars, I mean adjuncts, graduate students, and other poorly compensated members of the academy. Free is perhaps where everyone is at because that’s what most people can afford. I know the cost is nominal as well as presented on a sliding scale, and I also know that providing these services aren’t free, but free now (not to mention SEO optimized) is not a minor selling point for the service academia.edu provides. I could also add that the transdisciplinary nature of academia.edu is a feature that represents an opportunity for scholars to brush up against other perspectives, almost the way wandering the stacks in the library once did (and for many of us admittedly still do). And finally, for many of us who have been doing research and writing and publishing “for free” as adjuncts and contingent faculty while institutions profits in terms of prestige, at least academia.edu is honest in its capitalist goals.
I say this not to tear down the project but because I would like it to succeed, but to succeed, it import to consider other reasons why academia.edu will continue to be a more attractive choice.