by Cathy Seiler, PhD
Manager of the Biobank Core Facility at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Barrow Neurological Institute and ISBER News Blog Editor.
This is the third is a series of articles to help you get involved in social media, and in particular engage with and promote ISBER. The first two focused on Twitter and Facebook and this article is all about ResearchGate (RG). This is a bit different from the first two because as an organization, ISBER cannot create a ResearchGate account, but you can! And YOU can become involved in the biobanking community on ResearchGate to help promote ISBER and good biospecimen science.
What is ResearchGate?
ResearchGate (https://www.researchgate.net/home) was founded in 2008. It is a social network for scientists and researchers that has been described as a mashup of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Their mission is “to connect researchers and make it easy for them to share and access scientific output, knowledge, and expertise”. With over 10 million members (mostly involved in biology and medicine) and over 100 million publications posted, it may be the largest social network for research professionals in the world.
How do you sign up?
Signing up is easy! On the main page https://www.researchgate.net/, you can click the “Join for Free” button, which will bring you to a page to select what type of researcher you are (Figure 1). Complete the registration questions, create a username and password, and you’ll be all set to start using your ResearchGate account!
What can you do on ResearchGate?
On ResearchGate, individual researchers can share papers, ask and answer questions about various scientific topics, post jobs and find collaborators.
- Create your profile: The first thing you should do when you join RG is create your profile so you can share your contributions to research and people can see what you do! The profile can include your publications (papers or meeting abstracts), skills and expertise, research experience, teaching experience, education, awards, contact info and scientific disciplines. This is what the world will see about you, so provide as much (or as little) information as you think would be valuable to potential collaborators.
- Explore your Stats: From the info that you provide in your profile, ResearchGate will create stats such as the number of profile views, reads of your articles, and citations. They also develop an “RG Score” based on publications and your involvement in the ResearchGate community.
- Projects: Want to talk about what you’re currently working on? Want to find collaborators for an ongoing project? You can do this by adding a project on ResearchGate (Figure 2). Then researchers can follow your research or reach out to you directly to initiate possible collaborations.
- Q&A: As the title indicates, this section is all about asking and answering questions (Figure 3). These questions can be quite broad, such as “Are there standard ethical guidelines that regulate the use of electronic informed consent form in medical research?” or very specific like “Where can I get metastatic cell line MHCC97?”
- Jobs: In this section you can look for jobs or post a job. The site pre-populates this page with jobs that may be of interest to you based on your profile or you can search for jobs using their search feature.
How can you support ISBER through ResearchGate?
- In order to create and support a robust biobanking community on ResearchGate, biobankers like YOU have to join That’s the first and easiest step!
- Once you create your profile, under the “Info” tab, you can add ISBER to the list of Scientific Societies you belong to (Figure 4).
- Add “biorepository” and “biobanking” to your skills and expertise, so that non-biobankers know that they can come to you with their questions.
- In your profile, be sure to add all of your biobanking publications! Then when researchers look at your profile, they will see all of the interesting biobanking work you’ve been involved in. to other biobankers.
- Connect to other biobankers. For example, if I wanted to connect with the ISBER President, Brent Schacter, I would find his RG page and then click on the “Follow” button (Figure 5. Then whenever he adds a publication, asks a question, or contributes to RG in some way, I’ll be notified.
- Post biobanking jobs. One more great resource to find some great biobanking talent!
- Contribute to the biobanking community on RG by asking and answering biobanking-related questions. How do you do this? You can search by topic (see Figure 3) including “Biobanking,” “Biorepository, “or “Gene Bank,” to see what questions have already been asked (see Table 1 for a list of biobanking related topics and discussions). You can answer any of those questions, ask your own questions or “follow” the topic so you’ll be notified of new questions that you may be able to answer. When you answer questions, provide links to the ISBER Best Practices or a Biopreservation and Biobanking article, when possible.
You can make a difference in the biobanking and ISBER community by contributing to social media sites, including ResearchGate.
- Through our contributions, we can help to create a robust online biobanking community.
- From our knowledge of ISBER’s Best Practices, we can provide quality information to biobankers and non-biobankers alike. This will help improve biobanking around the world!
- Through our participating on ResearchGate and our affiliation with ISBER, we can help to raise awareness of ISBER both within and outside the biobanking community.
Enjoy your experience on ResearchGate and hopefully it leads to many fruitful discussions and collaborations and helps biobankers worldwide!