If you are applying for a National Interest Waiver (NIW), you will need to compile a fairly long list of supporting documents to submit to the USCIS. This can be a stressful process, as it is not just a question of which documents you should submit, but also which platforms will allow you to do so. In this post, we will review an online site, Academia.edu, and how it can be a helpful resource for NIW applicants.
The site is meant for academics and higher education professionals to share their publications, which can then be cited and mentioned by other authors and/or academics anywhere in the world. It is worth reviewing this platform as it could be vastly advantageous for NIW applicants.
First off, the site operates in a similar fashion to other social media platforms. The user interested will need to create their own profile, upload a photo of themselves, state their affiliation (university), and also add an optional biography of themselves. Really, when creating a new profile, users can make it as personalized as they would like, or keep it more broad on purpose.
The next step, and main intent of creating a profile, is to be recognized when sharing a paper. In order to do so, new users will need to scroll to the “Author” tab, and then select “Add New”. When selecting a new paper, users will pull the information directly from their folders and then upload it to the site.
In addition to the Upload feature, there is also a “Publish with Academia” function where users can submit their paper, or short form article to a group of peer reviewers who will decide if they want to publish the piece. The difference between the two is that the self-publishing feature is unedited, while an article submitted to peer-reviewers obviously receives more scrutiny in terms of research.
Benefits of the Site
One of the main benefits of using Academia.edu is the interaction and mentions you can receive from colleagues around the world. If you publish a paper, it will be shared onto Academia’s feed, which will in turn be received by users who have customized their profiles to be interested in certain subject matters. Thus, you could log onto your profile a few days after publishing to see that someone has left a comment on your paper, or that they have mentioned your work in their own publication.
Under your own profile, there is a record of every Mention you have received. So if you have had an Academia profile for the past 6 months, you could accumulate 20-30 mentions easily if your paper/article is relevant and is of interest in your field of study. Mentions essentially equate to citations. The key for the purpose of the NIW is to use Academia to see where your paper has been mentioned. If a professor from a notable university is using your article in their own research/publications, then this will be important information to share on your NIW application.
Other features of the site include the ability to search for specific research by individual, research interest, or through university affiliation. Further, applicants can specify if they are looking for a journal article, conference paper, book, or something else.
Additionally, the ability to message colleagues or other interesting academics on the site is possible if you upgrade your profile. Essentially, you could use Academia as a resource to also collaborate with others in your field toward new articles or submissions that could be beneficial for your NIW application.