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Is ResearchGate Science's Facebook?
By: Jessica Cherok
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Social media is changing the way that scientists science. A specialized social media site, ResearchGate, designed to help academics.

ResearchGate was founded in 2011 and allows its users to discuss their research, share papers, and profiles. It’s a cross between LinkedIn and Facebook, creating a space for peer review and discussion in a forum specifically designed for research.

The site is hugely successful. Nearly 4.5 million users have signed up so far, and according to founder Ijad Madisch nearly 10,000 more sign up daily. Madisch he hopes ResearchGate “will become a key venue for scientists wanting to engage in collaborative discussion, peer review papers, share negative results that might never otherwise be published, and upload raw data sets.”

The site has even attracted the attention of Bill Gates, who invested $35 million in ResearchGate last summer.

While ResearchGate isn’t the first social media site dedicated to science, it is certainly the most successful. Though, how it has succeeded where previous attempts have failed is somewhat unknown. Most likely, academics have simply become more comfortable with sharing data as a result of social media being such an ingrained part of our lives. ResearchGate also seems to be a good way for people to boost their social media presence.

Whether ResearchGate proves to be the academic social media equivalent of Facebook remains to be seen, but it’s clearly well on its way.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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