Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On Researchgate

As people around me are designing their posters and "science cards" (aka "business cards") for the SfN meeting, I see several of them using QR codes that link to their Research Gate profiles.

Now, I do find ResearchGate useful. It gives you space to host your papers, so that people could download them for free, bypassing the paywall. It also comes up pretty high in Google results, so if you want to look professional in Google search, you'd better start an account there. As well as at Linkedin, Google Citations, and Mendeley.

But at the same time, it is just such a half-baked, half-functional site! If a person, a casual visitor, is not registered there (and also logged in by default!) it doesn't even allow them to see your profile! Instead it produces a pop-up, and then flanks the profile with some ridiculous invitations to register that together take up almost half of the screen. Compare it to Linkedin that at least shows your CV all right, even if the visitor is not logged in to the system.

And also ResearchGate just isn't flexible enough to store your CV. It can represent your publications rather decently, and you can put your awards there, and maybe your positions and education history are also OK, but they totally don't have a proper section for teaching experience. They have some weird "Skills" section, that is common in Resumes, but aren't traditionally included into CVs. But they don't have a good way to reflect your teaching. It's just not an optimal way to store a CV online, and certainly not the best way to represent it.

Or maybe I am just too harsh on them?.. I don't know.

Surely it's still better than nothing. But every time I visit ResearchGate, can't help but feel the pain from seeing all these opportunities wasted.

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