The Facebook for Science: How University Academics are Utilizing Social Media

ResearchGate

Let me introduce you to ResearchGate.net, the social networking site for students to find and publish papers, ask and answer questions, and reach out for collaborators. Members can join as an academic researcher (faculty members, university students, or researchers at research institutes), a corporate researcher (product and technology developers), or other (mainly retired researchers or university alumni). I’ll focus on the benefits of joining as an academic researcher, since this one pertains to us.

You can join using your Facebook or LinkedIn account, or by signing up with your email. From there, you can choose your Institution (I was disappointed to see that MacEwan University is still under the name Grant MacEwan University, but…I’ll write a complaint another day), and of course, your area of study. I chose Social Science: Communication and Media: Media Studies, Digital Journalism, New Media Technology, Media Sociology and Blogging. These specific topics bring up any new and relevant peer-reviewed papers. From there, you can follow academics (faculty members and students) from MacEwan University and read their published works, or skip this step altogether and get to business; that is, finding resources for your research papers. This is exactly what I did, since the site seems a little behind when it comes to our University. I didn’t recognize a single professor within the suggestions, plus…the outdated name (really? Didn’t we become a University in 2009?). Disappointing as the name and zero recognizable profs is, this website has a massive database of publications. These publications are either readily available, or available by request. I tested this out by requesting a paper, and it was emailed to me by the next day. I’m extremely impressed by the speed of this site compared to MacEwan’s Library. So, despite its flaws, I think this website will serve as a great complement to MacEwan’s own Library resource while gathering information and sources for an upcoming research paper, or even for your next blog post.

I hope this website comes in handy during finals season!

Sources/further reading:

ResearchGate

Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network

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