Stronger together: Connecting the world of science

By Tilo Mathes 

What I love most about ResearchGate is how it brings people together.

The people doing the experiments. The people analyzing the data. The people coming up with the next hypothesis to investigate. Experts from all over the globe and from innumerable different disciplines. It's the people that make it.

Reflecting on my own academic career in biophysics, I always felt privileged to work in micro-communities of smart and inspiring people who helped me move forward. When I was writing my master's thesis, the PhD students in the lab would enthusiastically pass on 'secret knowledge' that seemed not to be written down in any manual. When my PhD subject was different from what the rest of my lab was doing, I was able to stay connected with my peers working in other labs on related projects through a national research network. I found my post-doc project through this network and was encouraged to attend conferences I wouldn't normally have considered which led to unexpected collaborations.

I was a ResearchGate member before I joined the team five years ago. It was the company's mission to 'connect the world of science' that drew me to the role. I knew I'd found somewhere with the same collaborative spirit that made me fall in love with science. For me, this mission means empowering the people behind the science to collaborate, innovate, and improve our world.

One of the most rewarding things for me at ResearchGate is hearing from our members. That's why we've created Researcher Stories - to share their stories with the research community and beyond. From innovators working to make science more open, to scientists overcoming challenges with their work, Researcher Stories is our new hub to share the experiences of the people behind the science, and inspire the research community around the world.

To launch Researcher Stories, and to mark ResearchGate's 12th birthday, we asked our members to share their experiences using our platform to establish new collaborations and grow their academic profiles. Here's what they told us.

Siniša Srečec, who researches plant biodiversity, echoed my own thoughts on the importance of collaboration.
"What matters most in academia is not money. It's not fancy facilities or buildings. Those things matter, sure, but the most important thing? It's the people. ResearchGate, scientific meetings, conferences - these are just the places where you meet people, where your energy can overlap with the energy of the others."

Siniša Srečec, Ph.D., Department of Plant Production, Križevci College of Agriculture

Data scientist Kashif Hussain told us how ResearchGate helped him early in his academic career when he found a co-supervisor for his PhD project on the platform.
"ResearchGate is great for showcasing your research outcomes, establishing new collaborations, following researchers you admire, and keeping up-to-date with your research interests. It's also where I found my P.h.D co-supervisor, who helped me brush up my research and publication skills. To this day I use it to make connections that ultimately strengthen my research profile."

Kashif Hussain (Ph.D.), PostDoc, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu

Rodi Abdalkader started using ResearchGate early in his academic career in pharmaceutical sciences. His networking efforts led to him securing his current professorship.
"I joined ResearchGate during my master's degree. It's helped me reach out to other researchers, and helps them find me. I actually found my current position through a contact on ResearchGate! It's also a great way to keep track of my research profile, and watch it grow."

Rodi Abdalkader (Ph.D.), Assistant Professor, Kyoto University, Japan

Vishnu Renjith, whose areas of research include headache disorders, stroke, and adult nursing, especially appreciated finding information for his PhD project on ResearchGate.
"As an early-career researcher, ResearchGate helps me connect and collaborate with similar researchers from across the globe. During my doctoral studies, I found the Q&A sections immensely helpful for finding authentic information from experts in the field. ResearchGate has given me a platform to showcase my research achievements and build my career."

Vishnu Renjith, Lecturer, RCSI Bahrain

Of course, a career in science may not always be smooth sailing. As researchers, we sometimes find ourselves in less comfortable situations. Perhaps when your work is challenged during peer review of your manuscripts or grant applications, or when you receive harsh questions about that presentation you prepared so diligently for. It can be difficult not to take these critiques personally.

But science is one of the few disciplines where healthy scrutiny and constructive feedback are agreed-upon parts of the process to ensure scientific rigor. One of the nice things about it is that after a particularly uncomfortable questioning of your talk, for example, you might find yourself in an inspiring discussion with your 'inquisitor' over a drink in the conference's informal sessions. This can often lead to a new collaboration or mentorship. When I interviewed Siniša, he painted a nice picture, which reminded me of this:
"ResearchGate for me is just like the pub around the corner - a place where every researcher and every scientist around the world can meet and have interesting conversations. The people are very, very decent."

Siniša Srečec, PhD, Department of Plant Production, Križevci College of Agriculture

Tilo Mathes

Before joining ResearchGate in 2015, I worked as a scientist with a special interest in solving molecular puzzles about photosensory signal transduction.

Researcher Stories is now live! Discover the inspiring journeys of the people behind the research.

Want to share your story with your peers? Get in touch with me via this link.