|Weekly News Digest
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ResearchGate Raises Funds for Open Science Initiatives
Scientist social network ResearchGate raised more than $35 million from Bill Gates, Tenaya Capital, Inc., Dragoneer Investment Group, Thrive Capital, and previous investors Benchmark and Founders Fund to continue its contribution to the open science movement. Plans include building an API, adding new revenue streams, and improving the site’s job board.
ResearchGate, founded in 2008 by physicians Ijad Madisch and Sören Hofmayer and computer scientist Horst Fickenscher, allows researchers to distribute their publications and make a name for themselves among their peers. Anyone with an institutional or research company email address can become a member. There are currently more than 2.9 million members, and 30% of them access the site monthly.
Bill Gates is using his own money to invest in ResearchGate, not the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation account. His work fighting diseases such as malaria and polio depends on “major scientific advancements and making knowledge accessible for all,” says Madisch, ResearchGate's co-founder and CEO. “These goals are perfectly in line with ours.” He believes that Gates understands “the relevance of what we are doing—not only for science, but for society.”
ResearchGate’s mission is to “lead science into the digital age,” according to its website. Madisch says he hopes to “free knowledge from the ivory tower, to digitalize it, and make it accessible for everyone in order to accelerate scientific progress.”
The funding will help improve online sharing and searching of scientific data, raw data, and failed experiment data. Madisch feels strongly about the importance of failed data: Scientists shouldn’t be afraid to publish negative results, because others can learn from them.
The site’s job board will also get an upgrade—there are more than 12,000 postings that are freely available, but premium features can now be added.
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