Review of ResearchGate

March 24, 2014

Screen shot of a user profile on ResearchGate. The user profile highlighted is Ijad Madisch, one of ResearchGate's founders.Recently a few trainees have inquired about ResearchGate, so we decided to take a further look at this site. It was founded in 2008 by two physicians who discovered that collaborating with a friend or colleague (especially one across the world) was no easy task. They created this website with the intent of helping make scientific progress happen faster.

ResearchGate has been described as a mash up of familiar social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn because it contains profile pages, groups, job listings, the ability to leave comments as well as “like” and “follow” buttons. However, this social networking site is designed exclusively for scientists and researchers. According to ResearchGate’s site, there are four million users and their primary aim is to:

• Share publications
• Seek new collaborations
• Ask questions and hopefully receive answers from like-minded researchers
• Connect with colleagues

ResearchGate is free to join and members can upload copies of their papers. All papers will be searchable, which also allows users to track and follow the research publications of others in their field. Researchers are encouraged to not only upload successful results but those from failed projects or experiments, which are stored in a separate but still searchable area. The official mission of this site states: We believe science should be open and transparent. This is why we’ve made it our mission to connect researchers and make it easy for them to share, discover, use, and distribute findings. We help researchers voice feedback and build reputation through open discussion and evaluations of each other’s research.

Some critics of ResearchGate argue that even though the site states that there are four million users, it seems there are a lot of inactive profiles. Another criticism has focused on the fact that there hasn’t been much buy in from senior researchers meaning a high percentage of users are students or junior researchers. If you decide to create a ResearchGate profile, make sure you tailor the notification and privacy settings associated with your account since some members have complained about unwanted email spamming.

At this point, ResearchGate shouldn’t be the only site you use for networking, but it can be another helpful tool to connect with like-minded scientists/researchers and additionally it can be another way to help promote your work. As with any site, the more effort you put in, the more you will likely get out of this resource.

We would love to hear your thoughts about ResearchGate! If you have used it, what do you see as the pros and cons? Do you have any recommendations for future users?

**Compilation of Readers’ Reviews**

* In addition to networking, it is extremely useful as a research tool. A couple of points:
-When users sign up the website automatically adds the publications that have your name and appear in your profile, it also continues searching and when one
publishes an article it is also added automatically.
– It also suggests to connect with people that you cite and people who cite you so it is a tremendous tool to keep up with people in your field.
– People can ask questions about experiments and also get immediate feedback if they have questions about a publication instead of having to wonder.
– It allows you to follow senior investigators the same way one can follow a celebrity on Twitter, but there are no tweets and unless you ask a question all the conversations are personal,
there are no “wall postings.”

* It seems to be getting some traction with senior investigators. In the future, it may become more relevant to academia than perhaps LinkedIn.  Within ResearchGate, it is easier to connect with senior investigators because requests are not sent to connect, rather one just “follows” researchers.


Positivity in a Job Search

February 18, 2014

Image of a chalk board with different colored post-it notes spelling out "Positivity"Looking for a job can be an incredibly frustrating task. Today, individuals often find themselves anxiously searching for positions that will be a good fit within a very competitive market.  Inevitably, rejection is an unavoidable aspect of a job search. Negativity can also be compounded by self-doubt. Maybe you worry that you don’t have enough to offer a new employer or maybe you worry that you will be unsuccessful in finding work that is meaningful to you personally.

Negativity can be internalized and then it can seep out during the worst times, like during a big interview. Employers are keen at sniffing out desperation, bad attitudes, and poor self-esteem.  Interview questions are intentionally designed to gauge many of these dimensions.  So, how can you turn around a job search that has gone awry?

If you have been feeling negative about your job search (or anything really), explore one of the better-known books in positive psychology research. One book in particular that is available for check-out from the OITE Library in Building 2 is Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, by Martin E. P. Seligman, 2006. This book includes self-tests and exercises to assist you with assessing (and hopefully increasing) your happiness at work and in life.

This book goes into detail about how you can begin to train yourself to think more positively. If you are feeling stressed by the thought of adding another book to your reading list, here are some key points for you to utilize in the meantime:

1. Your language matters. Negative self-talk has a direct impact on subsequent thoughts and behaviors. When you find yourself saying things like, “I would love that job, but I am not qualified,” try to force yourself to reframe it in a more positive light, such as: “I would love that job, and I will find a way to gain the necessary skills.” Simple semantics like replacing the “but” with “and” helps put the locus of control back to you.

2.  Re-live past wins. One negative thought can lead you down a spiral of negativity. The same is true for positivity.  Make a list of all your accomplishments, both big and small, so when you start feeling negatively, you can have a visual reminder of all the things you have done well.

3. Reward yourself.  Take your job search seriously and set daily or weekly goals to track your progress.  When you’ve reached a goal, reward yourself. Celebrating small successes along the way can help positively reinforce that behavior and hopefully keep you motivated.

4.  Take responsibility. Others cannot control your happiness. While things can be really tough, only you can make the choice to focus on the positive by using the tips above.