Alistair Barr, USA TODAY
USA TODAY - Khosla Ventures, the venture capital firm run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vinod Khosla, has backed an effort to make academic research available for free on the web.
Khosla Ventures led a $11.1 million investment in Academia.edu, a website that allows millions of academics to share research, monitor the impact of their work and track others in their field.
Khosla Ventures' Ben Ling, a former executive from Google and Facebook, will join Academia's board of directors and Vinod Khosla will join as an advisor, the company said.
Academia's approach contrasts with the usual way academic research is distributed. Traditionally research papers were published on a 12-month delay and kept behind pay walls on the web.
Academia, founded and run by Richard Price, is hoping to speed up scientific development by making research available for free and letting academics read, share and criticize each other's work more easily - a process known as peer review.
"Academia is building a new infrastructure around scientific research that promises to re-shape the way science is done, making it transparent, open, and collaborative, so that we can accelerate the pace of scientific innovation," said Vinod Khosla.
More than four million academics have signed up to Academia.edu so far, adding over 1.6 million papers, and the site gets more than eight million unique visitors a month. About 150,000 articles are uploaded to Academia each month.