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Web address
Type of site Social network service for scientists
Owner ResearchGate
Created by Ijad Madisch, Sören Hofmayer, Horst Fickenscher
Launched May 2008

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators.[1]

Corporate history[edit]

ResearchGate was founded in 2008[2] by a virologist and computer scientist, Ijad Madisch.[3] It started in Boston, but moved to Berlin, Germany shortly afterwards.[4] In 2009, the company began a partnership with Seeding Labs, in order to supply third-world countries with surplus lab equipment from the United States.[5] Its first round of funding was announced in September 2010.[6]

According to The New York Times the website began with very few features, then developed over time based on input from scientists.[3] Adoption of the site grew rapidly.[3] From 2009 to 2011, the site grew from 25,000 users to more than 1 million.[7] The company grew from 12 employees in 2011 to 70 in 2012.[3]

A second round of funding led by Peter Thiel's Founders Fund was announced in February 2012.[8] On June 4, 2013, it closed Series C financing for $35M from investors including Bill Gates.[9][10]


The New York Times described the site as a mashup of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.[1] It has many of the features that are typical among social network sites, such as user profiles, messages that can be public or private, and methods for finding other users with similar interests. It differs from other social networks in that it is designed for researchers and scientists. Conversation strings focus on a research interest or paper and you can "follow" a research interest, in addition to following individual users.[11] It has a blogging feature for users to write short reviews on peer-reviewed articles.[11] ResearchGate indexes self-published information on user profiles to suggest members to connect with those that have similar interests.[3] When a user posts a question, it is fielded to scientists that have identified on their user profile that they have a relevant expertise.[2] It also has private chat rooms where scientists can share data, edit shared documents, or discuss confidential topics.[7]

As of 2013, it has 2.6 million users.[12] ResearchGate's largest user-base is in Europe and North America.[4] Most of ResearchGate's users are involved in medicine or biology,[7][11] though it also has participants from engineering, computer science and agricultural sciences among others.[11] Participants can get a higher "score" which ranks their "scientific reputation" by providing popular answers to questions and other metrics.[12]

Members are encouraged to share raw data and failed experiment results. ResearchGate does not require peer review or fees.[13] Since accessing documents usually requires an account, ReseachGate is not considered to be open access.[14]


As of 2009, according to BusinessWeek, ResearchGate was influential in promoting innovation in developing countries by connecting scientists from those nations with their peers in industrialized nations.[5] BusinessWeek said the website had become popular largely due to its "navigation" and "ease of use". It also noted that ResearchGate had been involved in "a string" of notable cross-country collaborations between scientists that led to substantive developments.[5] A paper published in the The International Information & Library Review conducted a survey with 160 respondents and found that out of those using social networking "for academic purposes", Facebook and ResearchGate were the most popular at the University of Delhi, but also "a majority of respondents said using SNSs [Social Networking Sites] may be a waste of time".[15]

In 2011, a University of Florida librarian conducted an evaluation of ResearchGate. The librarian answered 211 questions and obtained 293 followers. According to the Norton Journal of the Medical Library Association, ResearchGate users "provided invaluable feedback" for "evaluating three existing LibGuides" and the experiment found that librarians can develop real-world recognition among their peers for their contributions to the site.[12] In a paper published by the Association for Information Systems an experiment involving a dormant account found that over a 16 month period, using default settings, ResearchGate sent 297 invitations to 38 people. These emails are written as if they were personally sent by the user, but they are automatically sent to co-authors when a user posts an article in their profile unless they opt out. The user profile was automatically attributed to more than 430 publications. It followed or was followed by more than 450 users, though the profile was inactive.[16] Journalists and researchers have found that the "RG score," calculated by ResearchGate via a proprietary algorithm,[16] can reach high values under questionable circumstances.[16][17]

ResearchGate has been criticized for emailing unsolicited invitations to the coauthors of its users[18] as well as for encouraging authors to upload articles to the site, which may infringe the copyright of the publisher.[18]


  1. ^ a b Lin, Thomas (16 January 2012). "Cracking Open the Scientific Process". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Hardy, Quentin (August 3, 2012). "Failure Is the Next Opportunity". Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Lin, Thomas (January 16, 2012). "Cracking Open the Scientific Process". The New York Times. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Scott, Mark (April 17, 2014). [%22RI%3A9%22%2C%22RI%3A17%22 "Europeans Look Beyond Their Borders". Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Hamm, Steve (December 7, 2009). "ResearchGATE and its Savvy use of the Web". BusinessWeek. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  6. ^ "ResearchGate brings in strong funding round for 'scientific Facebook'". The Guardian. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  7. ^ a b c Crawford, Mark (2011). "Biologists Using Social-networking Sites to Boost Collaboration". BioScience 61 (9): 736–736. doi:10.1525/bio.2011.61.9.18. ISSN 0006-3568. 
  8. ^ "Founders Fund invests in the Facebook for scientists: Founder Ijad Madisch on confidence, Luke Nosek, and what the world needs more of". VentureVillage. 2012-02-22. 
  9. ^ "Bill Gates, Benchmark And More Pour $35M Into ResearchGate, The Social Network For Scientists". TechCrunch. 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2013-06-08. 
  10. ^ Yeung, Ken (June 4, 2013). "ResearchGate, the social network for scientists, has raised $35 million in Series C funding led". The Next Web. 
  11. ^ a b c d Diane Rasmussen Neal (6 August 2012). Social Media for Academics: A Practical Guide. Elsevier Science. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-78063-319-0. 
  12. ^ a b c "Provision of online reference through ResearchGate" By Rolando Garcia-Milian and Hannah F Norton Journal of the Medical Library Association
  13. ^ Dolan, Kerry A. "How Ijad Madisch Aims To Disrupt Science Research With A Social Network". Lists. Forbes. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Young, Philip (2013-12-22). "Beyond Elsevier". Open@VT [1]. Virginia Tech University Libraries. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  15. ^ Madhusudhan, Margam (2012). "Use of social networking sites by research scholars of the University of Delhi: A study". The International Information & Library Review 44 (2): 100–113. doi:10.1016/j.iilr.2012.04.006. ISSN 1057-2317. 
  16. ^ a b c Meg Murray (2014). "Analysis of a Scholarly Social Networking Site: The Case of the Dormant User". "Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Southern Association for Information Systems (SAIS)". 
  17. ^ "Ein Vergleich für Forscher unter sich: Der Researchgate Score" (in German). 2012-10-09. Retrieved 2012-12-03. 
  18. ^ a b "Beware of enemies masquerading as friends: ResearchGate and co.". Swinburne Library Blog. Swinburne University of Technology. Retrieved 10 April 2014. "ResearchGate automatically emails invitations to your coauthors on your behalf. These invitations are made to look as if they were sent by you but are emailed without your consent." 

External links[edit]