Celebrating 10 years of ResearchGate
Take a look back at what’s happened since we launched a decade ago
Browse the timeline below to read about milestones along the way, and hear how other scientists have used the network to make progress.
ResearchGate is launched
ResearchGate was born on May 23, 2008. Just a few months before this date, medical doctors Ijad Madisch and S?ren Hofmayer had the idea for the network. Ijad called up his computer engineer friend, Horst Fickenscher, and the founding team was complete. Since then, Ijad has served as ResearchGate’s Chief Executive Officer, S?ren as Chief Operating Officer, and Horst as Chief Technology Officer.
Friends and?colleagues were the first to join the fledgling network. One of the very first members was Ijad’s professor at Massachusetts General Hospital Rajiv Gupta. Unable to transition his job in Hannover to part-time so he could work on ResearchGate, Ijad left for Boston and Rajiv’s lab. Rajiv let Ijad work few hours per day on the condition that he finished a few papers they were working on together. Ijad never did finish the papers, but Rajiv supported him anyway and even invested in the network.
Connecting scientists across borders
The network slowly gained traction in the larger scientific community. Scientists from around the world signed up and created public profiles, just like the founders had intended. Now, if someone needed help with their research, chances were good that they’d find it on the network.
This is also the year microbiologist Emmanuel Nnadi from Plateau State University in Jos, Nigeria became a member.
"At that time, I was a self-sponsored graduate student wanting to?make global impact, but I didn’t have funding to execute my research. However, I knew there must be a mentor far away who could help my career progress. But how to connect with them was a major problem.
I resorted to searching the internet for social networks for researchers, and that was how I discovered ResearchGate. I registered and started looking at peoples’ profiles who were interested in Candida. Dr. Orazio Romeo’s profile came out, I sent him an email about what I was doing. I couldn’t use Polymerase Chain Reaction, a technology to amplify DNA, at my institution, and Romeo asked me to send my isolates. That was the birth of a collaboration that has lasted for seven years, yet we have never met face to face. Today I have my PhD in Medical Microbiology, and Dr. Orazio played a major role in making this a reality. Recently, we sequenced and annotated the first fungal whole genome sequence reported from Nigeria.” -?Emmanuel Nnadi
When Matt Cohler from Benchmark and Ijad first met, Matt asked Ijad what his?goal with ResearchGate was. Ijad answered that he wanted to win a Nobel Prize. Impressed with this vision, Matt invested. While the network hasn’t won a Nobel Prize, 68 of its members have.
One of them is Roger Guillemin, who won the Nobel Prize in 1977 for his discoveries concerning peptide hormone production in the brain. Guillemin signed up to ResearchGate in 2010.
Office opens in Berlin
In one of their first conversations, Matt and Ijad also discussed where ResearchGate should be headquartered. They considered Silicon Valley, but eventually settled on Berlin, Germany. There were only a handful of startups in the German capital back then, but the city attracted young people from many different backgrounds. That was what ResearchGate as a global network needed. Today, ResearchGate’s offices are in the heart of Berlin, close to the city’s university hospital, its natural history museum, and many renowned research institutes.
1 million members
By 2011, one million ResearchGate members discussed their research questions and shared advice in the then newly launched forums. Today, members post 500 questions and give 2000 answers daily.
Amin Shavandi, a biomaterials scientist at the University of Otago in New Zealand is one of them. In just one year, he answered over 650 questions.
"I think science is a large team-based game with the aim of improving human welfare. Answering and discussing scientific questions, and peer review help toward achieving this goal. By sharing their knowledge in this way, scientists help to interpret results and maintain and improve research quality. In addition to the benefits for the group, answering questions in my field has been a great way for me to gain knowledge, get to know well-known scientists in my field, collaborate and build my network."??- Amin Shavandi
2 million members
Founders Fund invests
Founders Fund, early investors in trailblazing companies like Facebook and SpaceX, led ResearchGate’s second big funding round. This investment further fueled ResearchGate’s growth, with two million scientists worldwide signed up to the network. They all got our newly developed RG Score, a metric reflecting peers’ recognition of their research.
One connection for a cure
One of the researchers who joined ResearchGate that year is Thomas Binder, director of the HLA laboratory at Hamburg Eppendorf University Hospital. He answered Sikder Nahidul Islam Rabbi’s questions on ResearchGate about a young woman who was dying of leukemia in a hospital in Bangladesh. Would the cancer affect the patient’s blood? Could he run genetic tests on it to find a match? They discussed methodology, and exchange anonymized patient and donor data. In the end, the team found an estranged sister who was a perfect match, and doctors carried out the transplant. Rabbi and Binder continued their collaboration and published several papers together.
3 million members
Bill Gates invests, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the office
Our Series C investment round was led by private investor Bill Gates and Tenaya Capital. That same year, chancellor Angela Merkel, a trained physicist herself, took a tour of the office and got to know the team. She said of the ResearchGate visit: "This is a glimpse into the future, a future that's already becoming reality."
Jobs for scientists on ResearchGate
Also in 2013, we launched our Recruiting Solutions. Now scientists use the network not just to connect with each other, but also to find their next job. Employers in both the private and public sectors list their openings for scientists on ResearchGate and target their ads to scientists by geography, field, and specialized skills.
5 million members
From the start, ResearchGate has supported Open Science, a movement to make all scientific research accessible for everyone. By 2014, five million scientists were sharing their work on the network. Scientists could now upload any part of their research and make it permanently citable with a document object identifier, or DOI. More and more raw data, code, and negative results were shared on the network. This research is not traditionally made public, but it’s very valuable for replicating and advancing research. Read about Anees Chagpar’s experience publishing negative results in this essay.
In 2014, Kenneth Ka-Ho Lee at the Chinese University of Hong Kong noticed something that wasn’t right. He and his team were trying to replicate a study reported in Nature earlier that year that claimed to reprogram adult cells into pluripotent stem cells by bathing them in acid. Ka-Ho Lee and his team failed to successfully conduct the experiment as documented in the study’s protocols and reported their results on ResearchGate. Elsewhere, other scientists confirmed the study was a bust. The university in Japan started investigating and the paper was retracted. The scandal over the so-called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells went down in history as a prominent case of fraud in science.
8 million members
A new way to track interest in research, and a new look
The network got a design makeover in 2015. A new logo was introduced, and the lime green and grey corporate colors were replaced by turquoise. We also introduced Reads, a new way for members to gauge interest in their research by tracking who is reading their work and what they are reading.
Investment by Wellcome Trust and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners
The investment arm of the biomedical research charity Wellcome Trust and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, along with other and existing investors, participated in ResearchGate’s Series D investment round.
11 million members
In May 2016, we launched Projects, a feature for collaboration on ongoing research. This feature helps scientists report on their research as they conduct it and get feedback to make progress faster.
In one of the first projects, NASA scientists documented the year they spent in complete isolation on a volcano in Hawaii to simulate life on Mars. ResearchGate was one of the few websites the scientists could access on their limited internet connection. Catch up on their mission and learn about their results in their project. And read about what it was like to conduct research on Mars in this post by one of the scientists.
13 million members
Projects gain traction
By 2017, one million scientists were working on half a million projects. One of them was Charles Moore, who discovered the South Pacific Garbage Patch on a six-month voyage. While it mostly consisted of highly concentrated plastic particles, rather than solid coverage, the patch reminded Moore of the North Pacific Patch when he first documented it in the 1990s. Moore chose to share his findings in a ResearchGate project to get them out faster than he could with a publication.
A new way to recommend research and labs go international
ResearchGate introduced recommendations as a way for members to recommend and share research with their network. In just one year, members recommend research 3.5 million times. And 35 percent of all labs on ResearchGate have at least one lab member from a country outside of where the lab is based.
15 million members
ResearchGate launches iOS app
In our tenth year, we’re excited to launch our app that makes it easy for scientists to access research where ever they are, which we worked on with input from many scientists.
Our app is now ready for download from the Apple Store. 顺心彩票 and save it for later reading, keep up with your stats, and connect and message with scientists – all on the go.
We’d like to say thank you to all our members who have supported us in our mission to connect the world of science and make research open along the way. We’re looking forward to many more years together with you.