Dear ReserachGate: please wither and die

I’m done with ResearchGate today.

Dork1: You know what?  Let’s make a social network.

Dork2: You mean like Facebook?

Dork1:  No.  More lame and with less global relevance!

Dork2:  This idea will not change the world.

Dork1: Let’s make it so we can promote so-so scientific literature.  Let’s make sure we send as many our users as many useless notifications as possible.

OMG!!!! Someone you cited in 2009 bought a new pipet” (Ok maybe not that useless).

There you have it.  How I think the creation story of ResearchGate played out.

Below I pasted my ResearchGate page.  My gripes at first glance:

Someone I don’t know wants to know what I’m working on.  Yes!  The fastest way to contact someone should be to Google them and look for relevant contact info like so.

Yes.  It’s every way you could want to contact me.  But instead I’m asked through an irrelevant medium that I only check when I receive spam.

Then there’s “Recent activity.”

Look at the second cell in “Recent activity.”  Because the person confirmed they were a co-author of one of my papers my reach increased…. to +11.  +11!!!!  What does that mean?  Was it not enough that the subject matter of the confirmed manuscript is also the subject of my Ph.D. thesis?  Pseudo legitimacy?

Farther down you’ll see someone I don’t know started following my profile.  Neat!  And this isn’t to say these are not good people or they have done something wrong.  It is, that all of this Facebook-for-science-knockoff nonsense is better served by ORCID (unique identifier for researchers because there may exist more than one John Smith Ph.D.) or a Google Scholar profile (frequently re-indexed for up-to-date information).  If one wants information for a particular topic or author you can use Google Scholar or PubMed to send alerts when certain search criteria are met and updated.   Here’s a challenge for you ResearchGate user.  Google your own name.  What comes up first?  Your place of work?  LinkedIn?  Personal website?  For me, the first Google search page has no mention of ResearchGate.

Here’s my ResearchGate page