ResearchGate: Disseminating, Communicating and Measuring Scholarship?

Abstract:  ResearchGate is a social network site for academics to create their own profiles, list their 

publications and interact with each other. Like Academia.edu, it provides a new way for 
scholars to disseminate their publications and hence potentially changes the dynamics of 
informal scholarly communication. This article assesses whether ResearchGate usage and 
publication data broadly reflect existing academic hierarchies and whether individual 
countries are set to benefit or lose out from the site. The results show that rankings based 
on ResearchGate statistics correlate moderately well with other rankings of academic 
institutions, suggesting that ResearchGate use broadly reflects traditional academic 
capital. Moreover, while Brazil, India and some other countries seem to be 
disproportionately taking advantage of ResearchGate, academics in China, South Korea 
and Russia may be missing opportunities to use ResearchGate to maximise the academic 
impact of their publications.