On the shores of Lake Victoria, western Kenya, scientist Gabriel Dida was gathering data about the spread of malaria.
But Mr. Dida, a biologist based at the institute of tropical medicine at Nagasaki University in Japan, ran into a problem. To make sense of his data, he needed a whole lot more on mosquitoes and their breeding habits, and he didn’t have it.
His options were limited, so he decided to try a very unscientific solution: He turned to social media, and the ResearchGate website.
ResearchGate is a platform where scientists across disciplines can pose questions to be answered by peers around the world. For the social media savvy, it’s a combination of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Users can connect with each other, publish research and ask others questions or for feedback on their work.
The questions Mr. Dida asked changed his research and his career. “Now I can’t stop using the site,” he said.
ResearchGate was started in Berlin in 2008 by Ijad Madisch, a German with a Harvard medical qualification and doctorate in virology, together with two friends, Sören Hofmayer and Horst Fickenscher.