Bill Gates backs social network for researchers

Jun 04, 2013
Bill Gates, pictured on May 28, 2013, joined backers of a social network aimed at promoting scientific breakthroughs such as life-saving medicines.

Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates on Tuesday joined backers of a social network aimed at promoting scientific breakthroughs such as life-saving medicines.

Gates and others pumped $35 million into Berlin-based ResearchGate, which was started five years ago by three friends intent on making it easier for researchers to collaborate and share information.

"Our goal is to from the ivory tower, to digitalize it and make it accessible for everyone in order to accelerate scientific progress," said ResearchGate co-founder and chief Ijad Madisch.

"We're excited to add to our group of investors whose goals are perfectly in line with ours, and who understand the relevance of what we are doing—not only for science, but for society."

The roster of ResearchGate investors includes Founders Fund and Benchmark in .

Madisch, a virologist and computer scientist, was working on research in Boston when he was vexed by the likelihood that others had wasted money and time doing the same failed experiments that he was trying.

"I was very frustrated with the fact that science is broken," Madisch said.

"My primary goal is to facilitate breakthroughs by connecting the right people with each other."

People must have email addresses at scientific institutions to join ResearchGate, which has grown to about 2.9 million members in 193 countries, the top being Germany, India, Britain, and the United States.

"Just as I witnessed at and Facebook, a true network-effect business like ResearchGate has the power to change the world," said Benchmark general partner Matt Cohler, who is on the ResearchGate board.

"We are just beginning to see the transformative impact of removing the arcane barriers to scientific collaboration and sharing."

Triumphs in the online community include a Nigerian scientist seeking the cause of a girl's death in Africa sharing data with a professor in Italy who then discovered that a dangerous yeast had mutated from plants to humans.

"This would not have been possible if they had not connected on ResearchGate," Madisch said after recounting the story.

"We have many more examples; in green chemistry, cancer research, engineering..."

This third round of funding will enable ResearchGate to beef up its platform for publishing results and to build software tools for members, according to Madisch.

ResearchGate is looking into the potential to make money with job boards where companies or schools can recruit talent, and with advertising focused on equipment needed for experiments.

Data at ResearchGate was to remain free and open.

"I call it open science," Madisch said. "This will benefit all of us."

Explore further: As Facebook stumbles, LinkedIn thrives

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Career-focused LinkedIn tops 200 mn members

Jan 09, 2013

LinkedIn on Wednesday announced that more than 200 million people have joined the career-focused online social network since its launch nearly a decade ago.

Nextdoor renovates before taking on the world

Feb 12, 2013

Neighborhood social networking service Nextdoor.com rolled out home improvements on Tuesday along with word it is flush with new funding and eyeing community-minded cultures around the world.

As Facebook stumbles, LinkedIn thrives

Apr 24, 2013

One of the most successful social networking companies in Silicon Valley saw tremendous growth last year, primarily because it's not a place for posting vacation photos, rating restaurants or playing online ...

Bill Gates says aid must be tied to results

Jan 30, 2013

Bill Gates on Wednesday urged the world to take a page from his corporate playbook and link aid to measurable results, saying a harder-nosed strategy could dramatically reduce disease and poverty.

Recommended for you

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

11 hours ago

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

13 hours ago

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

beleg
not rated yet Jun 05, 2013
Open sources. Open sources?

More news stories

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exasperated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.