Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Social network service for scientists
Available inEnglish
HeadquartersBerlin, Germany
Area servedWorldwide
OwnerResearchGate GmbH
Created by
UsersIncrease 25 million (September 2023)[1]
LaunchedMay 2008 (15 years ago) (2008-05)
Current statusactive

ResearchGate is a European commercial

social networking site for scientists and researchers[2] to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators.[3] According to a 2014 study by Nature and a 2016 article in Times Higher Education, it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users,[4][5] although other services have more registered users, and a 2015–2016 survey suggests that almost as many academics have Google Scholar profiles.[6]

While reading articles does not require registration, people who wish to become site members need to have an email address at a recognized institution or to be manually confirmed as a published researcher in order to sign up for an account.[7] Members of the site each have a user profile and can upload research output including papers, data, chapters, negative results, patents, research proposals, methods, presentations, and software source code. Users may also follow the activities of other users and engage in discussions with them. Users are also able to block interactions with other users.

The site has been criticized for sending

publisher's version.[9]


The New York Times described the site as a mashup of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.[3] Site members may follow a research interest, in addition to following other individual members.[10] It has a blogging feature for users to write short reviews on peer-reviewed articles.[10] ResearchGate indexes self-published information on user profiles to suggest members to connect with others who have similar interests.[3] When a member posts a question, it is fielded to others that have identified on their user profile that they have a relevant expertise.[11] It also has private chat rooms where users can share data, edit shared documents, or discuss confidential topics.[12] The site also features a research-focused job board.[13]

As of 2020, it has more than 17 million users,[1] with its largest user-bases coming from Europe and North America.[14] Most of ResearchGate's users are involved in medicine or biology,[10][12] though it also has participants from engineering, computer science, agricultural sciences, and psychology, among others.[10]

ResearchGate published an

author-level metric in the form of an "RG Score" since 2012.[15] RG score is not a citation impact measure. RG Scores have been reported to be correlated with existing author-level metrics, but have also been criticized as having questionable reliability and an unknown calculation methodology.[16][17][18][19] In March 2022 ResearchGate announced they would remove the RG Score after July 2022.[15] ResearchGate does not charge fees for putting content on the site and does not require peer review.[20]


ResearchGate was founded in 2008

Berlin, Germany, shortly afterwards.[14]

The company's first round of funding, in 2010, was led by the venture capital firm Benchmark.[21] Benchmark partner Matt Cohler became a member of the board and participated in the decision to move to Berlin.[22]

The website began with few features, and developed based on input from scientists.[3] From 2009 to 2011, the number of users of the site grew from 25,000 to more than 1 million.[12]

A second round of funding led by Peter Thiel's Founders Fund was announced in February 2012.[22] On June 4, 2013, it closed

Series C financing arrangements for $35M from investors including Bill Gates.[23][24]

The company grew from 12 employees in 2011 to 120 in 2014.[3][14] As of 2016, it had about 300 employees, including a sales staff of 100.[25]

ResearchGate's competitors include, Google Scholar and Mendeley.[4] In 2016 reportedly had more registered users (about 34 million versus 11 million[25]) and higher web traffic, but ResearchGate was substantially larger in terms of active usage by researchers.[4][5] The fact that ResearchGate restricts its user accounts to people at recognized institutions and published researchers may explain the disparity in active usage, as a high percentage of the accounts on are lapsed or inactive.[4][5] In a 2015-2016 survey of academic profile tools, about as many respondents have ResearchGate profiles and Google Scholar profiles, but almost twice as many respondents use Google Scholar for search than use ResearchGate for accessing publications.[6]

Madisch has said the company's business strategy is focused on highly targeted advertising based on analysis of the activities of users, saying "Imagine you could click on a microscope mentioned in a paper and buy it", and estimating the spending on science at $1 trillion per year under the control of a "relatively small number of people".[4]

In November 2015 they acquired additional funding of $52.6 million from a range of investors including

Benchmark Capital, Wellcome Trust and Bill Gates, but did not announce this until February 2017.[26][27] Losses increased from €5.4m in 2014 to €6.2m in 2015, but ResearchGate's CEO expressed optimism that they would break even eventually.[28]

ResearchGate, Elsevier and American Chemical Society settled their lawsuit on 15 September.[29]


A 2009 article in

ease of use. It also said that ResearchGate had been involved in several notable cross-country collaborations between scientists that led to substantive developments.[30]

Academic reception of ResearchGate remains generally positive, as recent reviews of extant literature show an accepting audience with broad coverage of concepts.

University of Delhi, but also "a majority of respondents said using SNSs [Social Networking Sites] may be a waste of time".[32]

Although ResearchGate is used internationally, its uptake—as of 2014—is uneven, with Brazil having particularly many users and China having few when compared to the number of publishing researchers.[16]

In a 2014 study by Nature, 88 percent of the responding scientists and engineers said that they were aware of ResearchGate[5]: Q1  and would use it when "contacted", but less than 10% said they would use it to actively discuss research with 40% instead preferring to use Twitter when discussing research.[5] ResearchGate was visited regularly by half of those surveyed by Nature, coming second to Google Scholar. 29 percent of regular visitors had signed up for a profile on ResearchGate in the past year,[5] and 35% of the survey participants were invited by email.[5]

A 2016 article in Times Higher Education reported that in a global survey of 20,670 people who use academic social networking sites, ResearchGate was the dominant network and was twice as popular as others: 61 percent of respondents who had published at least one paper had a ResearchGate profile.[4] Another study reported that "relatively few academics appear to post questions and answers", but instead use it only as an "online CV".[19]

In the context of the

toll access resources.[33]
Data analysis tools like , which are considered more stable.


ResearchGate has been criticized for emailing unsolicited invitations to the coauthors of its users.

opted out,[5]: Q3 [36] which caused some researchers to boycott the service[5]: Q4  and contributes to the negative view of ResearchGate in the scientific community.[5]: Q5, Q7  As of November 2016,[37] the site appears to have discontinued this practice.[8] The TechCrunch moderator Mike Butcher accused ResearchGate of having scraped competitors' websites for email addresses to spam, which the ResearchGate CEO denied.[28]

A study published by the

RG score, calculated by ResearchGate via a proprietary algorithm,[36] can reach high values under questionable circumstances.[36][38]

Several studies have looked at the RG score, for which details about how it is calculated are not published. These studies concluded that the RG score was "intransparent and irreproducible",

journal impact factor into the user score, and suggested that it should "not be considered in the evaluation of academics".[18] The results were confirmed in a second "response" study, which also found the score to depend mostly on journal impact factors.[19] The RG score was found to be negatively correlated with network centrality,[39] i.e., that users that are the most active (and thus central to the network) on ResearchGate usually do not have high RG scores. It was also found to be strongly positively correlated with Quacquarelli Symonds university rankings at the institutional level, but only weakly with Elsevier SciVal rankings of individual authors.[17] While it was found to be correlated with different university rankings, the correlation in between these rankings themselves was higher.[16] Nature also reported that "Some of the apparent profiles on the site are not owned by real people, but are created automatically – and incompletely – by scraping details of people's affiliations, publication records and PDFs, if available, from around the web. That annoys researchers who do not want to be on the site, and who feel that the pages misrepresent them – especially when they discover that ResearchGate will not take down the pages when asked."[5]: Q6, Q7  ResearchGate uses a crawler to find PDF versions of articles on the homepages of authors and publishers.[5]: Q6  These are then presented as if they had been uploaded to the web site by the author:[5]: Q7, Q8  the PDF will be displayed embedded in a frame, and only the button label "External Download" indicates that the file was in fact not uploaded to ResearchGate.[citation needed

ResearchGate has been criticized for failing to provide safeguards against "the dark side of academic writing", including such phenomena as fake publishers, "ghost journals", publishers with

"predatory" publication fees, and fake impact ratings.[40] It has also been criticized for copyright infringement of published works.[41][9][42]

In September 2017, lawyers representing the

takedown notices have been issued.[53]

ResearchGate has managed to achieve an agreement on article uploading with three other major publishers, Springer Nature, Cambridge University Press and Thieme. Under the agreement, the publishers will be notified when their articles are uploaded but will not be able to premoderate uploads.[54]


  1. ^ a b "ResearchGate turns 12". ResearchGate. Archived from the original on 2020-08-01. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  2. ^ Office of Scholarly Communication (December 2016). "A social networking site is not an open access repository". University of California. Archived from the original on 2016-07-11. Retrieved 2016-12-03.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Lin, Thomas (17 January 2012). "Cracking open the scientific process". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2013-12-06. Retrieved 2014-06-26.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Matthews, David (7 April 2018). "Do academic social networks share academics' interests?". Times Higher Education. Archived from the original on 2016-04-17. Retrieved 2016-04-22.
  5. ^
    PMID 25119221.
    Quote 1: ResearchGate is certainly well-known [...] More than 88% of scientists and engineers said that they were aware of it.
    Quote 2: "They do send you a lot of spam," Billie Swalla
    Quote 3: [...] regularly sending out automated e-mails that profess to come from colleagues active on the site
    Quote 4: "I think it is a disgraceful kind of marketing and I am choosing not to use their service because of that", [Lars Arvestad] says
    Quote 5: "I've met basically no academics in my field with a favourable view of ResearchGate", says Daniel MacArthur
    Quote 6: Some of the apparent profiles on the site are not owned by real people, but are created automatically – and incompletely – by scraping details of people's affiliations, publication records and PDFs
    Quote 7: That annoys researchers who do not want to be on the site, and who feel that the pages misrepresent them – especially when they discover that ResearchGate will not take down the pages when asked.
    Quote 8: [Madisch] will not say how many of [the papers available on ResearchGate] have been automatically scraped from freely accessible places elsewhere.
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    Universiteit Utrecht, accessed 2016-12-02. Archived 2016-12-09 at the Wayback Machine
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    S2CID 27138477
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  12. ^
    ISSN 0006-3568
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External links