What is it?

ResearchGate is a social network for academics. Similar to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, ResearchGate mixes the three together to create a network to connect researchers and their research, however, only researchers connected to an academic institution are able to register. After registration you'll be able to create a profile which displays your education, your expertise, your publications, your interests, and your contact details among other things. You can also share your library with other people on the network, so they can see the articles, conference papers, book chapters etc. you are reading and who else is interested in these articles. You can connect to other researchers and follow their work. The service also offers discussion groups, which can be either public or private, and a job board.

What can it do for me?

ResearchGate allows you to connect to other researchers in your field, upload your publications so other people can find and obtain them, find and obtain other people's publications, get feedback on your non-peer-reviewed work and share datasets. It allows you to network across the globe and stay informed of events and conferences. It is another way getting your name and work out there. It also gives you an additional source for impact data as ResearchGate tracks the number of views and downloads your uploaded papers get.

Privacy issues?

The usual caveats apply when it comes to privacy issues on ResearchGate. In addition, it's very important to closely monitor your email settings as there have been numerous reports about ResearchGate sending out invite emails seemingly sent by users to their co-authors, without these users explicit consent. These sorts of spam-like emails are hardly ever welcomed by the recipients and since your name is inadvertently attached, you might be the one held responsible. You can follow these instructions to turn this off.

Pro’s & Cons


  • It's a free service
  • Easy way to connect to a large network of your peers
  • Easy access to publications that interest you
  • The ability to get feedback and ask questions of your peers


  • While boasting a large membership, the actual member activity on the site isn't clear.
  • Membership is a requirement to see anything other than people's profile pages, which you can only find via Google and not via the ResearchGate homepage itself.
  • Requires affiliation with an academic institution to be able to register.
  • The largest number of members seem to be active in Medicine and the Sciences.
  • As mentioned above, ResearchGate has some questionable email strategies.
  • Legality of sharing some of the copyrighted materials on the site is questionable

Who in Leiden?

Prof.dr. J.W.M. Frenken (Leiden Institute of Physics)
Dr. Alexandre Afonso (Institute of Public Administration)
Dr. Evin Aktar (Institute of Psychology)
Dr. Min He (LACDR)
Prof. Dr. Claartje Levelt (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics)