Written by Julie Hentz
What social marketer doesn’t want more effective research sources? And the key word here is “social”, as in social networking.  The online space called “ResearchGate” is an international social networking site for researchers. Think Facebook for those seeking access to and the sharing of research within their areas of discipline.

The landscape of ResearchGate participants is diverse. If related public health research is what you’re looking for, find 427,550 medical participants sharing their 7,973,228 articles, or maybe 356,083 members in the biological field sharing 9,183,389 articles. That’s not all though, there are many other scientific and social disciplines represented including anthropology, social science, religious studies, psychology, chemistry, and design science.

How does ResearchGate work? Create a profile, as you would for Linkedin or Facebook, you’ll be given the opportunity to claim previous research work that the system recognizes and matches as yours (or not), then enter an online world where you can link existing research with your project objectives.  You can review research, discuss potential outcomes or challenges with authors, even find appropriate collaborators. A wealth of studies lives within ResearchGate, which are potentially useful in various ways.

The premise to research problem-solving in this forum is the use of crowdsourcing, i.e. outsourcing online “information-seek” to large groups of people working in similar or related areas.

ResearchGate is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2013, being birthed in Boston, and is presently based in Berlin (with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts). It boasts 2.2 million researchers with access to 50 million publications.

So when your social marketing project calls for secondary research, think ResearchGate as a destination to help formulate your direction through shared related research results and topical discussions with your fellow “friend” researchers.

ResearchGate may well prove a useful tool for your research needs. http://www.researchgate.net/