Australian Researchers’ Mobility Portal

Sunday 5th July 2009

A year after its launch, ResearchGATE, a professional and social networking website for the world’s researchers, has signed up more than 80,000 members and become the preferred communication platform of three scientific organisations.

The third of those organisations, the German Society of Virology, was announced last month, joining the University of Georgia’s Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute and the Max Planck Society.

ResearchGATE chief executive Dr Ijad Madisch says the organisation’s members are distributed among 200 nations and among the full range of academic disciplines, though most are from the US and Germany and concentrated in biology and medicine.

As might be expected of a website-based networking site, ResearchGATE’s user group is skewed towards post-doctoral researchers and those in the 25-40 year age group, though more senior researchers are well represented, he says.

But Madisch says ResearchGATE is still a professional, rather than social, network with features including an abstract search engine, group discussion boards, and file sharing tools to assist professional activity. The groups, which include discussion forums and file sharing, have proved most popular, followed by the site’s literature search function.

Madisch came up with the idea for ResearchGATE when he was a visiting fellow at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in 2007. After returning to Germany to complete his doctoral research, he founded ResearchGATE.net to promote communication and collaboration among the world’s research scientists.

He returned to Boston recently to establish it as the American headquarters.
ResearchGATE now plans to develop a stable income stream by setting up a jobs board.