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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur 2021

4.9 ResearchGate and the Academic Social Network Sites: New Environments for New Bibliometrics?

From the book Handbook Bibliometrics

  • Enrique Orduña-Malea and Emilio Delgado López-Cózar


The objective of this work is to identify the main features of ResearchGate as an academic social network and its potential for research evaluation. To do this, first the birth of academic social networks in general, and ResearchGate in particular, are described. Next, a literature review about ResearchGate is carried out, showing the main topics covered by literature. Then, the general features of ResearchGate are identified and categorized, as well as all the metrics and indicators provided, broken down by entity. Finally, the main limitations and shortcomings of Research- Gate to be used as a bibliometric tool are synthetized. As a conclusion, our findings show potential of ResearchGate as a database (great coverage of documents, growing number of active users, and a wide variety of metrics). Nevertheless, it cannot be currently used for research evaluation due to several shortcomings (irreproducible indicators or lack of professional search/export features). These limitations are mainly derived from the ResearchGate business model, which is intended to be employed as a tool to enhance worldwide connectedness among researchers on the one hand and as a marketing tool to disseminate research-related ads and events on the other.

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