Introducing "Methods", our largest group

ResearchGATE has been growing very fast over the past year. Thousands of scientists from all over the world engage in discussions on the platform every day.

The Methods group, focusing on lab techniques and scientific methods, is currently our largest group: It recently welcomed its 1000th member. We talked to the group's founder, Axel Hueber of the Centre for Rheumatic Diseases, Division of Immunology, Infection and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow.

How did you come across ResearchGATE?

I had the fortune to be invited for the initial beta test and have enjoyed being a member of ResearchGATE ever since.

Why did you decide to create the Methods group?

With lots of highly specialized groups showing up, I wondered what researchers have in common. Coincidentally, at that time, I was struggling with a specific method in the lab, so I started this group. Getting a quick answer from colleagues, I was pleased that at that time even 10 members could interact efficiently on ResearchGATE. Now reaching 1000 members, the Methods group increases in range of knowledge daily. Admittedly, a risk of non-commitment comes with this size. However, so far discussions are ongoing and questions are answered. 

What sort of discussions do people engage in?

To be honest, all sorts of discussions. From troubleshooting, sharing buffer recipes to primer design and protein biology questions. These can be very simple discussions, as well as topics I have never heard of before. The great thing is that most of the time someone in this community will have an answer.

The Methods group is currently the largest group on ResearchGATE. Did you anticipate this growth?

Not really. When i heard this, I was surprised that the Methods group has become the largest group. It seems to reflect what researchers need on a daily basis. Without the overall success of ResearchGATE, this would not have been possible.

What do you think of the current development of ResearchGATE?

It was time for a platform where researchers can interact and exchange thoughts, knowledge and ideas. The huge advantage of ResearchGATE is the flexibility of its team and how it adjusts and improves the platform based on scientific demand. It remains in the responsibility of the scientific community to use all the excellent tools offered, such as file sharing or discussion groups, and maybe move away from impact-factor driven science.