How ResearchGate members help fellow scientists find the COVID-19 research they need

By Adam Bonwitt

Our team at ResearchGate is motivated by a genuine desire to help researchers be more productive, and we have never felt this more keenly than during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We leveraged this motivation and our understanding of the problem space to build a new community solution to support researchers working on the COVID-19 crisis.?

One of the main ways we help scientists is by connecting them with the research they need when they need it. The new community space is a concerted effort to do just that for the most urgent area of research in the world today.?

But connecting COVID-19 researchers with the research they need is easier said than done.


The first thing we did was to automatically tag all publications that mention COVID-19 or related terms. This was a crude method, returning a huge volume of content. The ResearchGate platform facilitates the discovery of relevant content through a number of methods powered by a rich social graph, but this wasn’t being applied to this new collection. The sheer volume of this raw content meant much of it would have been irrelevant for a given COVID-19 researcher. Displaying it all on the community page could have made it more difficult for scientists to find the research they needed to advance their work!?

We needed a more nuanced solution.


So we turned to members of the ResearchGate community for help with curation. We reached out to researchers who have the appropriate background and experience and asked them to help make recommendations about what content should be displayed in the community space. With their special knowledge in fields related to the crisis, these moderators are in a great position to help make these kinds of recommendations. Their motives for volunteering are altruistic: they have a deep understanding of the challenges the science community faces, and they simply want to help.

Taking on a role that can support researchers also helps fight feelings of helplessness in the face of this crisis. As David van de Vijver from Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, Netherlands puts it, “When the outbreak really took off in early March, my department decided that people not directly working on covid should work from 顺心彩票. In the first weeks I felt a little helpless as I have knowledge on virology but I could not do anything. So when I saw that ResearchGate was looking for community moderators I immediately applied.”

We are grateful for their selflessness. It motivates us to continue to build tools to help the scientific community.


(Want to see who the community moderators are? Go to the community page and scroll down until you see the community moderators section on the right.)

Even though this initiative is a small-scale pilot, we are extremely excited about it because it highlights the unique value that ResearchGate provides: a wealth of research-related content, combined with a dedicated scientific community, all on one platform. The community moderators are a small but telling example of how having both the people and the research in one place can help move science forward — at a time when the world needs science more than ever.
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