The ResearchGATE site links researchers from around the world and is driving homegrown, locally relevant innovation in developing nations.
“When Dr. Kelvin Leshabari was studying in 2008 for his medical degree in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, he felt isolated from medical researchers in the rest of the world. But then he stumbled upon a U.S.-based Web site, ResearchGATE, that takes the social networking concepts underlying popular services such as Facebook and LinkedIn and applies them to the research community.”
We are familiar with The Honeybee Network, a database of grassroots innovations developed by Indian farmers, but a LinkedIn style network for agricultural researchers represents a quantum leap.
ResearchGATE serves a variety of communities of interest, from law and physics to earth science and economics. And it serves agricultural research at: https://www.researchgate.net/science/748_Agricultural_science
(Subsets (19) include agronomy, irrigation and horticulture.)
ResearchGATE claims 180,000 subscribers, is free of charge, and offers tools that support collaboration and professional networking. And there is an associated blog at: http://blog.researchgate.net/masterblog/
The rationale for the site is explained by the founders:
“We have also experienced that research collaboration, the exchange of promising ideas or a cooperative grant application work best if the co-researcher is a trusted and known person. In the best case, he’s a good friend.
“Social scientists have long recognized the importance of boundary-spanning individuals in diffusing knowledge (Allen 1977; Tushman 1977), and recently, several papers have rigorously demonstrated that technological knowledge diffuses primarily through social relations, not through publications.”
Sorenson, Olav and Singh, Jasjit, “Science, Social Networks and Spillovers” (December 26, 2006)”
Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP