alternate social networking sites are cropping up in order to the needs of groups in ways that Facebook can't. One such group is scientists and scholars, who want to have a platform for communication and collaboration, but one that focuses on research interest and reading lists, not just friends and family.Despite the continued growth and popularity of Facebook, a number of
And more and more - 2000 a day - are joining ResearchGATE, a startup that hopes to connect scientists, researchers, and scholars worldwide.
ResearchGATE was founded in 2008 by Dr. Ijad Madisch, an award-winning scientist who earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Medical School of Hannover, Germany and currently performing research at Harvard Medical School, Sören Hofmayer, who earned his M.D., from the Medical School of Hannover, and Horst Fickenscher, a computer scientist who earned his graduate degree at the University of Passau, Germany. The background of the founders helped them recognize the specialized needs of scientists and scholars, and according to Madisch the site has been built to address those needs.
Meeting the Communication and Collaboration Needs of the Scientific Community
Initially, says Madisch, ResearchGATE offered merely profiles. But as more scientists joined - the site now has 500,000 registered users from 200 countries - features were added so that scholars could present their research and participate in Q&A groups. On ResearchGATE you can list what projects you're working on and what literature you're reading, making it easier for scholars to see what others in the field are thinking and, in the words of Madisch, making "discovering papers social."
Unlike a site like Facebook, scholars have followers, rather than just "friends," which makes sense as, say, a grad student might want to follow a prestigious scholar in her or his field, but might not be able to claim the person as a direct contact. In addition to fostering communication and collaboration among researchers working on similar projects, ResearchGATE also fosters cross-discipline collaboration, as a scholars in a variety of fields can share research results and methodologies. And it's not just "hard science," either. According to Madisch, philosophers make up one of the largest disciplines represented on the site.
ResearchGATE announces today that it has secured a Series A round of financing led by Benchmark Capital with participation from Accel Partners' Silicon Valley office and prominent investors from the UK and Germany. With the funding, ResearchGATE plans to expand its team and add new features to meet the needs of users, including calendaring and virtual conferencing.