Facebook for scientists

Last Updated 08 September 2010, 12:07 IST

ResearchGATE at www.researchgate.net, provides an online platform for researchers, students of pure science and scientists to browse and upload papers, create profiles, and form groups and networks. Its social networking platform helps researchers stay in touch with thousands of fellow researchers. It provides several tools to promote these activities. Individuals may join groups or create their own and invite colleagues too. The groups can be of three types:

*Publically accessible
*Visible only to Research-GATE members
*Totally secure

Within these groups, members can use online tools to share data or co-edit documents.  Researchers and scientists can use a slew of applications provided by ResearchGATE, to connect, collaborate and build a network with their counterparts from around the world. Institutions, associations and organisations can form sub-communities. These are smaller, password-protected versions of the ResearchGATE platform which is open only to members of the respective institution. Topics that are discussed in these forums include:

*Agricultural Science
*Biological Sciences
*Chemical Science
*Computer Sciences
*Earth Science
*Entertainment & Arts
*Health Sciences
*Political Science
*Religious Studies
*Social Sciences

At ResearchGATE resear-chers can also publish papers and seek feedback and comments from their peers. ResearchGATE provides extensive search capacities including a semantic search engine that help users locate papers, both within the internal resources and all major external databases, including PubMed and CiteSeer. Researchers can look up abstracts of articles from millions of publications.

A broad international and inter-disciplinary network of experts and visionaries are connected through this site to provide reliable, high quality research work.

Sujith Eranezhath, an Indian scientist, is an active member and has uploaded several papers on Pharmacogenomics, Ayurveda, Epigenomics and Microbiology.

ResearchGate has a strength of 2,50,000 members. It contains more than 1,000 sub-groups for specific disciplines and 60,000 research documents. Dr Gupta, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and MIT, uses ResearchGATE to post PDFs of his lectures for public viewing. “There are Facebook-type social networking sites but there is nothing for those who provide a platform  for research. ResearchGate fills this vacuum,” says Gupta.
ResearchGate was inspired by Facebook, says its founder and CEO Ijad Madisch, a doctor specialising in virology. “We hope that by consistently releasing articles through ResearchGATE, it will change and expedite the way results are interpreted and used.

Without anonymous review processes, open-access journals or wiki-like concepts will assure the quality of science,” says Ijad. He urges scientists to upload their research even if it has failed as it could contain valuable information. His future plans for ResearchGATE include setting up an online scientific conference and a peer-reviewed online journal.

(Published 08 September 2010, 12:01 IST)

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