ResearchGate is a popular social media tool that can help you connect to other researchers, follow developments in your subject area and get your own research to a wider audience. However, there are copyright and privacy issues that you need to know about before investing your time in this or similar websites. You also need to make your research REF eligible, but the good news is that there are Leeds Beckett systems and teams to help you do both. Our Research Services Team explain further…
“Websites like ResearchGate aim to be easy to use and attempt to pull information from other online sources to save you having to input data manually. Whilst convenient in the short term, this automation lessens the ease of control you have over your data.
A simple solution is to link your ResearchGate profile to your Leeds Beckett staff profile. Having this single source of truth means you won’t need to upload anything to ResearchGate or spend time replicating information there. This will save you time and ensure that your publication list is up to date, providing you’re already using the University’s systems.
Even more importantly, if you use Symplectic to save your publications in the Leeds Beckett Repository within three months of acceptance they will be REF compliant. Your work will be Open Access but we’ll ensure copyright law and publisher rules are upheld, a service ResearchGate doesn’t provide.
Questions remain about the business model of ResearchGate and this should be of interest to anyone using it. The site is free to use and has had $85 million+ of investment from some big hitters of the technology world. Being free to use is great, but when are those investors expecting a dividend and where is it going to come from? If you’re using such sites, you (your contact details, demographic information and the content you upload) may be the product on offer. Therefore, you should be aware of the privacy implications and make sure you’re happy with the terms and conditions before signing up.
In summary, ResearchGate could be beneficial to you personally, but activity on social media doesn’t help you comply with the key mandate placed on the University – the REF. Therefore, we recommend you use the Leeds Beckett Repository (via Symplectic) and then link any social media, such as ResearchGate, to your staff profile.”
What to do next –
- Decide if you have the time and interest to keep an account up to date, respond to requests and connect with others
- Ensure your research is REF compliant by uploading accepted manuscripts in Symplectic within three months of acceptance. See our webpage for details
- Contact the Research Services Team if you need more information.