When it comes to content, scientists leverage the Internet to fill a variety of information needs for their work, and it is increasingly taking place across community-focused and even community-authored online channels.
Scientists read 50 percent more papers than they did in the 1970's. They require a plethora of different kinds of content in addition to peer-reviewed publications, and to a rising degree these content types are arriving electronically and often created or intermediated by a peer or a group of peers.
On the other hand, scientists are increasingly turning online to connect with like-minded peers through both loose affiliation and tight collaboration. Recent years have seen a proliferation of collaboration platforms, professional and academic networking services, crowd-sourced content intiatives and open-source data repositories and tools. Just has scientists have long followed one another's works through the publication stream and professional meetings, they are now keeping abreast of the work of each other, and many others, online with ease and increasing alacrity.
Social networking sites for scientists
The following is a list of some social networking sites for scientists that are designed to help you make and maintain your professional contacts.
- SciLink – is a souped-up networking site that actually knows who a lot of your contacts will be before you even sign up. Uniquely, SciLink mines literature databases to build a network of professional relationships that you can slot into (and of course expand futher) when you sign up. You can also find jobs. Discussion, news etc. on the site.
- MyNetResearch – is a powerful website for finding collaborators for your project. You set up your own account/profile and build a network of contacts as with the other social networds but MyNetResearch is designed to help you find people who work in the areas you are interested in (or interested in expanding into) and arrange collaborations with them.
- The Nature Network – as you might expect, this is the grand-daddy of science social networks. Not only can you set up a contact network, but you can also browse niche-specific forums and groups, start your own blog, and much more.
- Labmeeting – primarily allows you to archive, track and share your literature. From your account you can search for papers of interest and upload the PDFs to your account for later retrieval. You can also set up streams to keep you informed of the latest publications in your fields of interest, which you can then add to your archive. However, you can also set up a group area to share papers and talk about your interests, and to schedule events, such as lab meetings.
- MolecularStation.com - Visit MolecularStation for all the research and science information you need. Our protocols database, and bioinformatics databases will help you in your research regardless what field you are in. Our Science Forums will make it easy for you to get help for science questions, and discuss your research and its techniques with others.
- SEQanswers.com - SEQanswers was founded to be an information resource and user-driven community focused on all aspects of next-generation genomics. We hope to become the central location for next generation sequencing technology discussion and education. The site will always attempt to cater to everyone, regardless of scientific background or knowledge.
- protocol-online.org - Protocol Online is a database of research protocols in a variety of life science fields. It contains protocols contributed by worldwide researchers as well as links to web protocols hosted by worldwide research labs, biotech companies, personal web sites.
- JoVE.com - The first scientific video journal for biological research. The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) was established as a new tool in life science publication and communication, with participation of scientists from leading research institutions. JoVE takes advantage of video technology to capture and transmit the multiple facets and intricacies of life science research.
- ScienceBlog.com - Science Blog was started in August 2002. It lives, breathes and eats press releases from research organizations around the globe. Most of what you read here are press releases from the outfits named in the stories themselves. The other half of the equation is blog posts from readers like you. So if you have an interest in science, drop us a line and we’ll hook you up so you can join others in an ongoing, vibrant dialog about what makes the world tick.
- PLoS.org - The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource.
- BiomedExperts.com - BioMedExperts is a new online community that connects biomedical researchers to each other through the display and analysis of the networks of co-authors with whom each investigator works to publish scientific papers.
- LabRoots.com - a free, social networking site that enables scientists, engineers, and other technical professionals to connect, collaborate with, and learn from each other. LabRoots fosters world-wide scientific communication and incorporates the newest social networking technologies.
Online conferences - the next generation of scientific meetings?
BioConference Live is the online-only conference for the Life Science Research and Laboratory Sciences Community. It makes it easier and more cost-effective than ever before for the community to come together online, transcending time and distance. It features live video keynote presentations from life science thought leaders where attendees can have their question answered by presenters in real time.
BioConference Live will feature case studies as well as a virtual exhibit hall featuring poster sessions where researchers will present and discuss their latest work. This interactive virtual event will meet the collaboration needs of the community in a way that is not possible with physical events, webinars or other means. BioConference Live represents an opportunity to stretch your boundaries, meet other scientists and companies outside of your own areas of expertise, and learn how to apply the exciting new concepts, tools, and techniques to your own research.
For more information, visit the BioConference Live website.
(*The introduction to this article is from the Linus Report, Volume 1, 2011.)