What is ResearchGate?

ResearchGate is an academic social network that has around 14 million members (about 60% of academics). It has over 100 million scientific publications in its repository.

ResearchGate

Mission

ResearchGate was founded in 2008 by three scientists (Horst Fickenscher, Ijad Madisch, and Sören Hofmayer) in Germany. Its mission is to connect the world of science. According to its founders, ResearchGate is a platform for sharing both successful and failed research experiments (projects). ResearchGate is also a platform for collaboration on research ideas and projects.


Business Model

ResearchGate managed to receive millions of dollars from venture capitals. The total raised by January 2018 is $100 million. Major funders include Bill Gates, Welcome Trust, Goldman Sachs, Founders Fund, and Four Rivers Group.


ResearchGate is a commercial organization. The company monetizes its sizable user traffic for monetization with the use of targeted advertising. However, so far, the company has failed to make a profit. It lost €5.4m in 2014 and €6.2m in 2015.


Controversies

What ResearchGate does is not free from controversies. It has faced criticisms and legal allegations due to copyright infringement, concerns about its policies and practices of sharing copyrighted articles. Traditional publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley, American Chemical Society, Wolters Kluwer and Brill demanded ResearchGate takedown copyrighted materials. As a result, ResearchGate removed as many as 7 million articles from its database in 2017. Another allegation brought against ResearchGate is the scraping of its archrival, Academia, for more users. ResearchGate, nonetheless, denied these accusations. Academia faced similar criticism.