ResearchGate: spam scam, or…?

I’ve been getting fairly regular automated emails lately from ResearchGate, which has pull-quotes from Forbes and NPR saying it’s changing the way we do research blah blah blah. However, all empirical reports I have heard indicate that once you join, it repeatedly spams all of your co-authors with requests to join, which makes it feel a bit more like Heaven’s Gate.

On a less grim note, the site’s promise to make your research “more visible” sounds a bit like SEO spam. Given the existence of Google Scholar, which is run by the SE that one would like to O, it seems slightly implausible.

Any readers want to weigh in on whether ResearchGate has been useful to them? Or is this mostly for people who don’t know how to make their own homepage with their papers on it (which is probably most faculty).

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7 thoughts on “ResearchGate: spam scam, or…?

    • Yeah, I have a really hard time imagining any benefit over Google Scholar, unless it allows you to upload/maintain your own post-prints. That could be of value to people in non-technical fields.

      The glowing pull-quotes are super-confusing.

  1. I’ve had good experiences on Research Gate with researchers posting preprints/writeups that have no other natural place to go. (In my field, there is no equivalent of arxiv.) I’ve actually contacted these colleagues and had useful exchanges about the content of those postings.

  2. Pingback: PaperCept, EDAS, and so on: why can’t we have nice things? | An Ergodic Walk

  3. Once you learn how to properly manage their spam settings to protect yourself (and coauthors), RG *can* be useful, but I say that with a note of caution for those too lazy or too busy to click a couple buttons that cut down on the spam.

    As for the collaboration, it is what you make of it. RG definitely helps link smaller fields’ researchers with those interested/still working on papers, but only if you try. Obviously, as a link to your community (whether scientists, engineers, or academia) it amplifies the connectivity previously acquired from other sources such as journals or gScholar simply because it’s so easy to share in near real-time.

    As for the impact points and scores, who cares? My personal suggestion: ignore the layout, the GUI, the company, and just use the medium for what it does best – find fellows, make connections, and help others. Most importantly, learn. If it doesn’t help you do those things, delete your account.

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