ResearchGate

Academia gets social

Brian Owens examines the rise of academic social networking websites, such as Academia.edu and ResearchGate, and asks researchers how these sites are shaping their careers.

A few years ago, Jorge Castillo-Quan, a post-doc studying the biology of ageing at University College London, UK, wrote a report about how insulin and cortisol interact to affect brain function. It didn’t seem to make much of an impression on the scientific community, and was not highly cited, so Castillo-Quan moved on to other topics. But recently Castillo-Quan has seen a sudden resurgence in interest in his work on cortisol, in the form of people reading and downloading the paper from his profile on the academic social networking site Academia.edu. “The cortisol work has been seen by probably 50—100 people so far this year”, he says. “And they’re not looking at my newer work.”

The attention has come from various researchers around the world, he says, indicating that the topic might be becoming interesting again to the field. Now because of that resurgence in interest Castilllo-Quan is considering whether he should go back and perhaps pick up where he left off. “I’m looking at what would be interesting to revisit”, he says. Read more in The Lancet.