A sneak peek inside the researcher journey – and how scientific networks like ResearchGate can help

October 12, 2022

At ResearchGate, where everything we do revolves around the needs of researchers, we’re privileged to have access to important information that helps us understand those needs and how to meet them – because we know how hard the journey from project inception to final product can be.

Take Sara,* for example. She’s a cancer researcher in Canada, and she’s working on a funding application for a new investigation into transposable elements in cancer. There are mountains of publications she needs to read through for insights on the current state of research and to find out where her project might have the most impact.

ResearchGate's visualization of the phases of the cyclical researcher journey. The different phases include preparing research, discovering research, conducting research, publishing research, sharing research, and connecting with others. Each phase has moments that matter to the researcher.
ResearchGate's visualization of the phases of the cyclical researcher journey.

She opens her laptop and starts Googling. She searches for a recent article a colleague has recommended, finds it on ResearchGate, and continues her search from there. She can filter for publications, authors, and questions to find the most relevant content to dive into. While reading, she’s prompted to follow her topics (transposition, malignant transformation, and cancer) so that when new research comes out, she’ll be one of the first people to know. 

Now that she’s armed with the background information and studies she needs, the “real science” can begin. For her method, she chooses headspace needle trap extraction. Then she selects her equipment (including silcosteel-treated stainless steel needle trap devices and gas chromatography), but her lab doesn’t have the right gas chromatograph. She turns to ResearchGate to ask if any other scientists can recommend the best gas chromatograph, and finds a great suggestion from a researcher at a cancer research institute in Australia. She researches the new piece of equipment, compares it to others, and selects the one she wants. Once the background research is complete, she submits her funding application and waits to hear back. 

Good news: her funding application has been granted and she can start building her lab, including purchasing new equipment. Once she orders and receives the new gas chromatograph, she starts collecting data by sampling and following published protocols, after which she analyzes and interprets it. She knows that irreproducibility is a problem she’s faced in the past, and she doesn’t want another researcher to go through the same – so she’s methodical about documenting her steps. 

Success! Sara confirms her hypothesis and starts drafting her paper. Once it’s all written up, she reaches out to a researcher in Australia via ResearchGate and asks him if he’ll take a look. He is impressed with her research and even knows someone at a major scientific journal, so he recommends she submit it for publication there. She also finds two journals via their journal pages on ResearchGate as alternatives and submits her research to them as well.

Her paper is accepted in a journal. The peer review process takes a few months, but after that point, Sara is proud to share her research with others in the field. The first thing she does is upload her open-access publication to her ResearchGate profile so she can share it with the broader community. Another researcher in Finland messages her directly to ask her if she’d like to collaborate on an upcoming research project on additional transposable elements in cancer, which she promptly accepts.

As you can see, ResearchGate has become a pivotal part of our members’ research journeys. Researchers like Sara rely on the platform to support their work at every stage: when they’re preparing their research, discovering past papers, conducting their own research, publishing and sharing their work, and connecting with others in their fields. For more information on the pivotal touchpoints that researchers like Sara depend on when using ResearchGate, read our report on researcher moments that matter

Download the Commercial Insights Report: Identify and leverage the researcher moments that matter.

*Sara and the other researchers mentioned in this article represent a composite of the researchers we spoke to in the course of our research for the Commercial Insights Report: Identify and leverage the researcher moments that matter.

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