Talk:ResearchGate/Archive 1

Active discussions
Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Wikipedia page name

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was NO CONSENSUS to move page, per discussion below. -GTBacchus(talk) 01:34, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

ResearchGate should be spelled ResearchGATE, since that is the official name of the social networking platform[1]. Are there any concerns to rename the page?
16:44, 03 February 2009
  • Oppose I can't seem to find indication that "GATE" is an abbreviation for anything, so MOS:TM would apply here. TJ Spyke 19:33, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose per MOS:TM. Station1 (talk) 07:06, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.
  • Solved ResearchGATE has officially been renamed to ResearchGate, so spelling matches MOS:TM anyways. esy 11:07, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

This article has been accused of COI, but there is no discussion on this page as to why or based on what evidence. I would suggest discussing the issue on this page (as one is supposed to), and provide evidence -- otherwise I would suggest taking down the COI tag. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:37, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Is this page just an ad for a spam site?

I'm currently being spammed with emails from ResearchGate. The article reads like an ad, and is framed in mostly positive terms. Almost all content is put in by IPs and users with no other edits, and no user page. I think this page should be deleted. Ketil (talk) 10:22, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

As a scientist, and user of ResearchGate (among other tools), I would not consider the ResearchGate site "just a spam site". This is far too excessive. It appears to me like a genuine academic platform. One interesting aspect is that it gathers scientist from many parts of the world and not only the american/european area. Yet it sounds rather unpleasant to read that Ketil is being spammed by this company. But can you (Ketil) be more precise ? What do you mean by "spammed" ? Do you received a few mails of justification from ResearchGate ? Or did you actually received lots of them or some mails with unappropriate content ? On the substance of the page, I agree that it lacks of neutrality and has to be improved but not removed (Ltdm (talk) 11:39, 8 April 2012 (UTC))

I mean that I am receiving emails claiming that N.N. added me as a co-author of X applications. This is a lie, and RG just harvested this information, and pretends this was a conscious action on the part of my co-authors. I also contacted some of the cited sources for information in the article to see if any of the claims can be substantiated, but didn't receive any reply. Ketil (talk) 20:55, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
As a scientist who does NOT use ResearchGate, I consider the spam I get from ResearchGate to be "just spam", and it's irksome. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:38, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I can confirm ResearchGate is a spam site. I've just received an invitation that was claimed to come from a friend. I asked him, and he said it is not the first time, they spam all his other collegues as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:33, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
ResearchGate indeed is one of the most annoying science spammers. Second only to GESTS. -- (talk) 11:15, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Contested deletion

This page should not be speedy deleted as an unambiguous copyright infringement, because the correct reference was added --Preisen81 (talk) 09:13, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

I think that this page should be restored. I cannot see (from an archived copy) that it contains copyrighted material. It does however contain a warning about ResearchGate's spamming activity that would be useful to Wikipedia users. I suspect that challenging non-existant copyright infringement was just a ploy by ResearchGate to prevent dissemination of warnings about their acitivity and justifyably negative puvlicity for them. Roy Hoffman (talk) 13:00, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

What appears to have happened is that the main article was deleted per WP:COPYVIO on 23 July, but was restored by someone else on 24 July. However, when the main article was restored the Talk page was not restored. I have contacted the restoring admin to request that the Talk page be restored as well, so that the conversation that has occurred here can be used to improve the article. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 13:57, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Done. Sorry for not getting it right first time :) SmartSE (talk) 19:25, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Please help us to improve our page

Hi everyone – The ResearchGate article has been marked as “advertisement”. I’d like to change it; however, I’m facing a conflict of interest, as I’m an employee of ResearchGate. It would be great if you could take a look at this proposal in my sandbox User:Danbe13/sandbox and edit as you deem appropriate. Please get in touch if you have any questions: danielle.bengsch at researchgate dot net. Thank you! Danbe13 (talk) 16:47, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Sorry to say, but I think it should remain marked as advertisement until there is clear mention of problems such as criticism about spam. Since you are an employee, you should relaize that there is also another way .... stop spamming and clean up terms of use ... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:38, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Please stop spamming first, and apologize to the scientific community. Your reputation is by now comparable to GESTS. -- (talk) 11:15, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Come on, you are not only spamming, you are *forging* it to look like it is from legitimate users. In other words, fraud and identity theft - so don't expect a lot of sympathy. Personally, Danielle, I think you deserve to go to jail. And: "our" page? This is Wikipedia, you know, it's not "your" page. Ketil (talk) 06:58, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
I too suffer from the practice described by Ketil: receiving e-mails with a forged "From:" address that seem to originate from colleagues I know. In reality these messages are sent by ResearchGate. I share Ketil's view that this is spamming, identity theft, and fraud, and should be punished as a criminal offense. I am not interested in whatever an employee of this organization may have in his/her sandbox. --- However, I think that the Wikipedia article should remain -- with a strong emphasis on the illicit activities of the web site and the company behind the site. --Yen Zotto (talk) 17:59, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Another suggestion

If there simply are not sufficient sources to write a balanced article on this subject, then perhaps the article should be deleted. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 15:07, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Though deletion would make this easier., Wikipedia is not about "balance." We present what reliable secondary sources have said about the subject. The subject does seem to be notable enough for an article. That none of those sources have deigned to write about the spam issue is outside our control. Best thing would be to encourage the relevant magazines & journals to cover that aspect of the company. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 22:53, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
As I see it there are three different questions: Are the sources reliable? Are they primary sources and are we allowed to use them? Is this original research or not? As argued above, my answers are: Yes. Multiple scientists complaining with real name about a simple fact "receiving spam" -- I don't know what could be more reliable. These are primary sources, but policy does not forbid their use if no other sources are available and we are reporting about simple, i.e. do not do original research. And no, I don't thing that reporting that RG has been criticised for sending spam when there are sources doing exactly this can be considered original research. Martin.uecker (talk) 00:22, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
All you could really say is, "persons X, Y and Z received emails which they call spam." We can't just say ResearchGate is spamming without a secondary source, as that's a contentious claim. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:38, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
The primary resource is ResearchGate that reports fictuous user numbers of 2.3 million users. The secondary resources (blog, quora etc.) say the reported user numbers are meaningless, because the users are just tricked into the site via spam and are not really using it, and their colleagues have actually canceled their accounts. -- (talk) 22:07, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
Blogs, with very few exceptions, are considered primary sources for the author's opinion, nothing more. Forums are right out. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 22:28, 30 December 2012 (UTC)
This rejoinder by HandThatFeeds is a red herring, because the proposed text does not say that RG is spamming. Instead, it says that RG has been accused of spamming. That is a much less contentious claim, and does not require WP to evaluate whether the accusation is true. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 16:51, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Correction to be made to the paragraph regarding the spam

The sentence "ResearchGate automatically invites a user's co-authors" is misleading.

ResearchGate automatically invites individuals with the same names as the user's co-authors. The invited person's are not necessarily the same as the co-authors; they just have the same name.

For example, I am a mechanical engineer in California with only a B.S. degree, but "Robert Forman invited" me because I was invited because I have the same name as a co-author of his, who has a PhD and is at Thomas Jefferson Medical Center, in Philadelphia, 3000 miles away. (talk) 03:04, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for your contribution. However, given that we are currently having trouble deciding whether the spamming issue can even be mentioned, I think this is too fine a point to worry about at this time.
As with the other aspects of this issue, if you can find a reliable source to back up the claim, then by all means proceed. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 16:53, 1 January 2013 (UTC) source

An extensive addition to the criticism section was a bit out of WP:WEIGHT, and I am concerned about mentioning the purported author of the somewhat inflammatory piece since does not appear to be a peer-reviewed journal or a journalistic source. Anyone could post a paper on this site, under any name. Or am I mistaken? Although I did not remove the content entirely, I would not oppose removal. Keepcalmandcarryon (talk) 20:18, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

If there is no peer review, then the source fails WP:RS and should be removed. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 21:06, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree with the comments above and believe this new addition to the article should be removed. JNorman704 (talk) 22:28, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
I think we're all in agreement that this source is questionable. My objection is not so much the lack of peer review (which would be necessary if this were a science article) as the social media nature of the posting website. I will go ahead and remove this. Keepcalmandcarryon (talk) 12:33, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
In order to qualify under WP:RS, a source must have some kind of editorial gatekeeping. If it aspires to be academic literature, then that is peer review. If it aspires to be a magazine, then it is some kind of responsible editor.
So I think we were saying the same thing, but my "peer review" comment was making an assumption about what the source was trying to be. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 15:22, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes. Well said. Keepcalmandcarryon (talk)

Sleep well with Nobel laureates in economics being declassified

(contribution by User Franz Weber)

Everything that was said in the contribution can be verified in any University Library around the world now. I kindly invite all readers first of all to go through a list of Nobel laureates of economics to see the point raised. Readers should start to check the entries of economics Nobel laureates in Researchgate. Even the giant Professor Milton Friedman receives from the system the following comment: i.e. his impact factor is said to be 0. Superb scholarship indeed, in the service of economics!

Sleep well, looking at the Researchgate figures for Nobel Laureate Professor Thomas J. Sargent, who seems to be the only Economics Nobel Laureate in recent years to have actively joined the RG-system.

Tell me then that the information kept in the Wiki article (referring to a blogger) is more valuable than the Weber entry. Good luck and good night! What a just and valuable system these scores are! Superb! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Franz weber (talkcontribs) 15:43, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Spam accusation

I just restored the item regarding spam. As has been argued above, this falls under the guideline of "using primary sources with care." It is not WP:OR or WP:SYNTHESIS because all we do is state what is directly stated by the primary sources.

I did remove one sentence that claims the policy is not clear enough, as that goes beyond what any source says. I furthermore have deleted the WikiLeaks ref, as I don't think that's tenable.

On the other hand, I am not restoring the item regarding the number of users, as I don't think that is salvageable under policy. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 01:40, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

I have again deleted the paragraph based on the blog post and synthesis of primary sources (WP:OR). I am annoyed by their spam, too. But we have policies and guidelines here. If you can find a reliable source that claims there has been significant, noteworthy criticism of the spam, I will support inclusion. (Surely it must be out there.) The onus is on those who want to include this criticism to find an appropriate source. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 03:45, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
Anthonyhcole, you have yet to respond to my argument in favor of this text, even though I have posted it multiple times. Here it is again:
WP:SPS says that "[s]elf-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article." The author of this source has identified himself as Erich Schubert, a researcher in mathematics and computer science. He even gives his CV, which is modest IMO but at least arguably qualifies him as an expert on the topic of the article (which is simply the community of professional researchers, of which Schubert is one). Schubert has recently added a disclaimer to the original blog post that modestly declines the status of RS for WP purposes, but (as I've just said) I'm not sure I agree with him. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 16:57, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
The blog author is not an expert on ResearchGate. That's why it's not acceptable to use as a source here to back up the claim that RG is a spam house. We could cite him for his expertise in mathematics and CS, but not this. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:12, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
The blog author is not asserting there has been significant, noteworthy criticism of RG's use of automated email. He's not claiming to have done some kind of thorough investigation of the range and nature of that criticism. This is why I've been referring to the paragraph as WP:SYN and WP:OR: it takes one complaint and stitches it together with some other primary sources to draw a conclusion.
He's not being modest, he's being realistic. He seems to understand what constitutes a reliable source for Wikipedia. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:47, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Why do you think that we need a source for the fact that there is "significant" and "noteworthy" criticism? The source is only needed to support the fact that "RG has been criticised for sending spam". And it does exactly this. On a general note, I find it kind of sad that to get even a small glimpse at reality one often has to look at the talk page of an article instead of the article itself. Martin.uecker (talk) 05:25, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

And just for reference, here are five other primary sources: [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Martin.uecker (talk) 05:44, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

I have stumbled upon this page again after receiving numerous "invitation" mails seemingly sent by my friends, just to notice that the spam criticism has been duly censored, as several times before. I was trying to give a shot to a phrasing that states only non-debated facts: no one in this discussion debates that the invitations are worded as such. No newspaper documented this (what a surprise), yet is is true and confirmed. No one debates that there were spam accusations (would be self-contradicting, right?). There are numerous sources for these, both in the article and in the discussion. I kindly invite others editing the page to rephrase rather than cut. Believe it or not, there is a reason why this spam criticism about ResearchGate was part of the page several times. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:30, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Need help resolving editing dispute

I removed from this article criticisms that ResearchGate is a spam site. The reason I removed it is that the criticism had no credible online source to back it up. The citation to support the criticism was an anonymous Quora comment, which could have been posted by a competitor or anyone else hostile to the company. An anonymous Quora comment is hardly a credible, objective, third-party source.

As soon as I removed that criticism on the grounds that it isn't properly sourced, an anonymous Wiki editor,, added it back--this time, with no source at all for a citation. This editor also removed content I added that I believe gave more balance to the article, such as the company's research breakthroughs as well as their legitimate challenges (though this last part wasn't removed).

In short: I suspect this user is making malicious edits. I'm a long-time Wiki editor with many valid contributions. Please consider the revisions I made and compare them to the most recent edits made by only contributions to Wikipedia have been to this page on August 9th. If you agree with me, please reinstate my edits, or at least remove the unfounded spam accusations. Thank you very much for your help. --JNorman704 (talk) 17:18, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

I don't think the edits are simply malicious. Not that my word counts on Wikipedia, but I can attest that the accusations are true. On the other hand, the sourcing is pretty iffy. The best I can find is the the Quora site in question, where Madisch himself acknowledges that the "co-author invite feature" is "opt-out". My inference from this is that an "opt-out" feature is likely to be used inadvertently, leading to ResearchGate emails that ostensibly were intentionally sent by a respected user, but of which the ostensible sender knows nothing, which could easily be interpreted as spam.
So my interpretation is that the folks who have been adding this stuff to the article are inexperienced users who are upset about having received what they interpret as spam. The problem with this kind of (arguably) shady behavior is that it doesn't make great copy, so you don't see it appearing in RSs, so it's hard to verify to WP standards. But on the other hand, for those who know about it, it feels wrong to leave it out. I'm not proposing a solution, just suggesting a way to understand what people are doing.
While we're talking about verifiability, I wonder how RG counts its members. Are nearly 2 million people actually active on the site? Is that just the number of people who looked at the site once? Or (worse), is that just the number of people who have received one of these questionable emails? The article sources are either RG itself or other authors who don't seem to question RG's numbers. Just saying. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 20:40, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
We need to keep the eyes open for other sources to cite with respect to this spam. I personally can also tell a lot of stories here. For example, ResearchGate keeps on resending the spam every other week. So it is not triggered by user action only, but it also sends out reminders to join. Then I've heard from colleagues that ResearchGate claims to have as members that they a) (believe to) have never joined or b) only joined "to make the emails stop" (although they should know better). Given the numbers from ResearchGates reply on Quora - 20% of users active within the last month once and the growth rate (1.9 now, 1.4 m a month ago?) I have the strong impression that the 20% of "active" users are exactly those that just joined within the last month... Their top computer science topic ("Science, Engineering and Technology") has around 48000 followers. There just *can't* be that many truly active users on their platform. But given this rate of spam success they have, they will run out of new users to join anytime soon, and then it will become obvious what a dead duck their spam site is. -- (talk) 15:53, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your responses. However, they don't address the continuing problem with this article--that unsubstantiated allegations are being made against this company. I have looked for and not found one credible, third-party source for the allegations of spam that are persistently added to this article without proper (or any) citation, and often by anonymous IP accounts. An anonymous Quora quote, which was the original citation for this allegation, does not meet Wikipedia verifiability guidelines, which state: "Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." By removing these unsourced allegations (which were quickly restored), I have attempted to follow Wiki guidelines about dealing with unsourced material, which state: "If a claim is doubtful and harmful, remove it from the article." Are there any Wiki editors willing to back me up on this? I'm simply trying to follow Wiki guidelines here and protect this page against allegations that have not been verified by reliable, third-party, published sources. JNorman704 (talk) 21:46, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

There still aren't any citations given for the section on spamming and in my personal opinion this criticism is not valid. Why don't you remove it and freeze wiki-article for a while. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 10:35, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your suggestion. I just removed the spam criticism, but I'm not an administrator, so if you are or someone who reads this is, please take the necessary steps to protect this page from repeated, unsourced criticisms, often from anonymous users. Thank you. JNorman704 (talk) 18:39, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Yet again, an anonymous user with no Wiki editing history has posted unfounded claims of spam against this company. The user cited an anonymous blog post for its source. This has been going on for months on this page. I have removed the criticism but I could use the Wiki community's help preventing this from continually being added, usually by anonymous users with no Wiki track record and citing dubious sources. Thank you. JNorman704 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:13, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I'm not a regular Wikipedia editor but I feel to see a mention of the annoying marketing campaigne run by this company, based on deceitful claims as I learned through personal experience, similar to the ones discussed above). The reason I looked up the company on wikipedia is I wanted to have unbiased information about _who_ on earth are these people that keep trying me to trick me into their system? A couple more of those and I'll try to make an 'official' edit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:33, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Please read Wikipedia's policy on WP:No original research. I'm sure you are a trustworthy person, but because we cannot verify that in this kind of an online community, we cannot take your word (or mine) for anything. Only information that is verifiable from reliable sources can be used as a basis for text on Wikipedia.
Like you, I have received a questionable email from ResearchGate. However, unless we can find a reliable source that discusses their activities in this regard, we cannot have the information on Wikipedia. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 02:57, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
Of course a source is needed, but Researchgate is actually an heavy spammer, anyone who has received their "invitations" can confirm it. I hope that sooner or later someone somewhere makes some reliable statistics. Anyway, also the "1.9 Million members" should have some reliable source! If you are a researcher, please look at your "profile" and at the profiles of your colleagues. What I mean is that I never signed to Researchgate, but I do have a "profile"... not exactly... I have at least 4 profiles, one for each paper of mine that researchgate knows of. I checked the "profiles" of some colleagues of mine, and it is the same, they appear multiple times. Hence I do not believe to the "1.9 Million members", and I also guess that many of them are unsigned and appear multiple times. You can reach 1.9 Million much more easily, that way!--Popopp (talk) 18:05, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

Removed the spam criticism because a mostly anonymous blog post is not considered a reliable source according to Wikipedia guidelines. See for details. JNorman704 (talk) 17:26, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Well, it is a stupid policy considering how the (paid?) pieces in the press about a startup are somehow reliable sources, while real complaints from people are not. It creates a fake reality made by PR money. A search turns up a lot of anonymous/not-anonymous posts. See also here, where the founder feels the need to respond: Disclaimer: I am also one of the people who deleted my account there because they send out fake emails with my name in the sender and I received similar fake emails with the name of other people as sender name even after deleting my account, which only stopped after clicking another opt-out link. Yes, I hate spammers. It would be nice if somebody could add this again with a few more/better sources. Martin.uecker (talk) 17:58, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
I can only second this. As mentioned above by Martin.uecker, most of the reports on RG in the media seem to be taken over directly from company statements, without any inquiry into the accuracy of the purported facts or the privacy policy. It seems, at best, problematic to accept such media coverage as a more trustworthy source than complaints by first-hand witnesses. I am one of those who have never signed up with ResearchGate but are receiving frequent spam from them. Most often these e-mails have fake sender names corresponding to persons that I know - and who have not sent these mails themselves. I acknowledge the "No original research" principle of WP, but accepting advertising talk from a company, amplified by some media, as encyclopedic knowledge is no better, and the article contains a lot of that (basically 100% outside the "Criticism" section). The way in which the spam accusations are presented in the article in its present form ("has been criticized for...") seem to be quite balanced to me given the source situation. Anyway the spamming issue must remain in this article, for the simple reason that it is the truth (which is much less certain for some other statements, such as number of members). --Yen Zotto (talk) 10:32, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
PS. As an example of how articles in the press -- even in newspapers of high reputation -- are actually not worth a lot as a source, consider the article in the New York Times that is currently reference 2 in the WP article on ResearchGate. The newspaper article says about RG, "Its membership has mushroomed to more than 1.3 million, Dr. Madisch said". And, a little further down: "In 2011, ResearchGate reports, 1,620,849 connections were made". -- The NY Times article is dated January 16, 2012. It does not seem realistic that the average ResearchGate member connects to the service only 1.2 times a year - or, if they do, it means they don't actually use ResearchGate. What is more likely is that some of the figures are simply wrong, e.g., the number of members. But the NYT just echoes the company statements, without addressing the questions arising from these obvious contradictions. And the paper is not alone in this regrettable attitude. --Yen Zotto (talk) 10:54, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
There is a lot fishy around ResearchGate. For example, on their "profiles recently updated" page , 9 out of 10 profiles seem to take you to the user listing page. Does this indicate that 9 out 10 people updating their profile actually delete it? Who knows. ResearchGate does not publish active user numbers or anything. They only publish the "signups" on the front page, a number that might even include deleted accounts without being entirely incorrect... I believe I read somewhat that some university plans on studying collaboration on RG. But I cannot find it anymore. That might at some point develop into a good source. --Chire (talk) 17:18, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

I see there's a request for Dispute Resolution, so I would like to say something seeing as I am a neutral party having nothing to do with ResearchGate nor this article previously. From my understanding, WP:RS, WP:SPS, WP:OR and WP:PSTS apply.

1) WP:RS which includes WP:SPS, states that: "

Anyone can create a personal web page or publish their own book, and also claim to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason self-published media—whether books, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, blogs, personal pages on social networking sites, Internet forum postings, or tweets—are largely not acceptable."

As such, self published material generally does not meet criteria for inclusion as a WP:RS because there is no editorial control over the content. Within the scope of this definition, we can rule out from being used in this article the anonymous and other self published blogs, the Quora reference (which one must be logged in to see anyway), and any other references used that do not have an editorial staff to fact check statements.

2) WP:OR and WP:PSTS: As defined, WP:OR refers to

"such as facts, allegations, and ideas—for which no reliable, published sources exist.[1] This includes any analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not advanced by the sources."

WP:PSTS states that,

"Primary sources are original materials that are close to an event, and are often accounts written by people who are directly involved."

Within the scope of these definitions, again, neither the references using Quora nor the self published blogs should be allowed.

On the other hand, I may have found a solution for everyone involved. I searched Google for references to ResearchGate and spam, and I found the [| Wikileaks "Syrian Files."] This consisted hundreds of thousands of papers from and to Syrian government officials including a ton of the above referenced ResearchGate spam emails. They are addressed from ResearchGate to different government email addresses and regular email addresses (it looks like ResearchGate sent one to each person on the official’s contact list, but that’s just speculation on my part).

Anyway, before I go on, I know some might say that Wikileaks does not pass WP:RS or WP:OS, so before I'm torn apart for mentioning it, I did a search in the [|WP:RS Noticeboard] for any mention of Wikileaks and sure enough, there were quite a few. While I found a number of conflicting references with many of them citing WP:OP, the [|most recently answered question] about WikiLeaks agreed it could be used under certain situations. Essentially, it says that if a third party source references the specific leak incident, Wikileaks may meet the guidelines, but it also says that the editor using WL as a source would have to show cause. To that end, I have found a [|third party reliable source] that mentions the specific leak, the very page that the emails appear on without having to search for them. Thoughts? JC.Torpey (talk) 06:55, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Thank you so much for all the thought and research you put into this! I really appreciate it. To me, though, the email marked as spam and published by Wikileaks as part of some 2 million emails from the Syrian government doesn't prove to me that ResearchGate knowingly and actively spams; it could be interpreted that its email is marked as 'spam' by the recipient's email system, and we all know that legitimate email can be marked as such. JNorman704 (talk) 18:05, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
I also appreciate your effort, JC.Torpey, but I agree with JNorman704 that your proposal sets up the spam filter of some unknown Syrian official as the arbiter of whether ResearchGate's emails are spam or not. Your source could be used as evidence that these emails exist, but we don't even know that this Dr. Deeb did not intend to invite his colleague to join ResearchGate.
On the other hand, I think you spoke too sweepingly about dismissing self-published blogs. WP:SPS says that "[s]elf-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article." The author of this source has identified himself as Erich Schubert, a researcher in mathematics and computer science. He even gives his CV, which is modest IMO but at least arguably qualifies him as an expert on the topic of the article (which is simply the community of professional researchers, of which Schubert is one). Schubert has recently added a disclaimer to the original blog post that modestly declines the status of RS for WP purposes, but (as I've just said) I'm not sure I agree with him. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 20:02, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
It seems as if DrEng Mohd Deeb no longer uses ResearchSpam. His profile redirects to the profile list now. But in my opinion, the Syria Leaks is a good example of how ResearchGate is spam, and not true invitations. Who else would invite government "info", "office" and "manager" email adresses intentionally to a researcher community? (type "researchgate" into the search box to see all examples). This highlights that the users are tricked into blindly sending these emails. And as above blog post highlights, the researchgate news actually explains how it works. You have to disable the invitations in the preferences... -- (talk) 22:36, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you JNorman704 and BlueMoonlet both for not smashing me for making those points. I admit that you are both right concerning the statement that the published emails do not exactly prove the spamming; but (I was about to post this before I saw BlueMoonlet's answer so please forgive my duplication) the existence of those emails as they are published online at least prove the point that ResearchGate is actually sending them on behalf of users who may or may not know the emails are being sent, something that could turn the issue into one of privacy violations/unauthorized account usage rather than spam.
About WP:SPS, I did not check the CV when I wrote that, so again, you are right (about my dismissal of self published blogs) and after looking at it, I must agree with you about his being an expert. However, the fact that he wrote about receiving emails from RG I think would still be considered original research because he is connected to the emails, and being an expert shouldn't matter in the case of OR. If I'm not mistaken, I think that was one of the points from the above discussion, yes?
Something to consider... Websites such as |Threatpost (by Kaspersky Labs) or |Naked Security (by Sophos) for example, investigate spam reports no matter how small they are, and then write about the issues they've found if there are any. To date, as far as I can find, neither of them have written about RG at all. I also searched the |Abusive Hosts Blocking List checker tool and the |Sucuri domain blacklist and malware checker for RG, and it is not listed. In both these cases, had RG been spamming as indicated, it would have been at the very least blacklisted. The fact that RG isn't listed could prove it is not spamming, or it could prove not enough people care to report it as a spammer for the blacklists to notice.
In any case, because the third party source backs up the existence of the emails, maybe concessions could be made on both sides of the spam argument in the section on invitations where the comment about RG spamming exists to address the emails from a neutral standpoint. It could say something about there being no evidence to prove spam one way or another except for not existing in any blacklist. On another note, because of the way the section is worded, has anyone thought about WP:UNDUE? At this point, it would seem that the single source used to back up a single statement about spam might give undue weight to the article, if not a severe bias. Again, thoughts? JC.Torpey (talk) 23:00, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for continuing to weigh in on this, J.C. Torpey and BlueMoonlet. I really do appreciate your thoughtful analysis. I have pointed out before that in my opinion, [[WP:UNDUE]} is at play both in the spamming criticisms as well as in the correlation between ResearchGate's members and the number of its Twitter followers. I am open to suggestions for resolving these editing conflicts in a way that is fair, objective, and sourced according to Wikipedia guidelines. My feeling is that neither of these criticisms (spamming and the correlation between members and Twitter followers) really stand up to those guidelines and feel like, especially when combined, they seem like a thinly veiled attack on the company. I believe additional feedback from the Wiki community might help, so I'm going to post this on a few other relevant noticeboards. Again, thank you both. JNorman704 (talk) 23:25, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
As one of the victims of their aggressive policy of unsollicited e-mailing, I will certainly admit that my contributions to the discussion (above) lack NPOV and are OR. I therefore gladly leave the discussion to others with a more neutral POV. But the facts that I mention are 100% true, and I strongly refute JNorman704's insinuation of attacking ResearchGate for any covert or undue reasons. --Yen Zotto (talk) 14:11, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
JNorman704, per WP:FORUMSHOP, please list on this talk page all the noticeboards on which you have posted about this article. It's only right that all the interested users, and not just yourself, know about these other conversations. Thanks, --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 23:50, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Hi BlueMoonlet, I just posted about this to the following noticeboards: WP:NPOVN, WP:RSN, and WP:ORN, as well as to WP:DRN. JNorman704 (talk) 00:06, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
From the mentioned blog post (Schubert), I've copied the link to the researchgate news site where they give details on the invitation policy. The german-language blog post referenced is also interesting, you might want to try google translate. It mentions there is research at St. Gallen university ongoing about researchgate impact, it should be here [7] but I can't find any mentioning of ResearchGate on that site. Another interesting, but probably not RS is this discussion on researchgate itself: [8] which indicates that it is mostly students on the web site. There was a call for open statistics by RG, but I didn't spot any official RG statement there. -- (talk) 08:05, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

I have made two significant edits to the criticism section with the edit summary, "Remove content supported by a blog and OR" where I removed

ResearchGate has been criticised for sending spam.[1] Unless disabled in the settings, ResearchGates automatically invites co-authors when "claiming" publications.[2] The wording of this setting gives the impression that it would primarily add co-authors already using ResearchGate, and does not mention it sends emails to those who are not.[2] These emails give the misleading impression that they are a personal invitation triggered by the user, although they are automatically generated.[3]

and the edit summary, "Remove OR" where I removed

The claimed user numbers (1.9 Million as of August 12, 2012) contrast to the number of followers for the top topics such as "Science, Engineering and Technology" that have less than 50,000 followers.[4] The official ResearchGate Twitter profile has less than 4000 followers.[5] The number of active users (20% active at least once a month) reported by company founder Ijad Madisch approximately equal the growth rate.

1. ResearchGate Spam
2. How to get the most out of Publications on ResearchGate
3. Wikileaks Syria Files - ResearchGate invitation sent to a non-personal government contact address

4. Science, Engineering & Technology Topic in ResearchGate
5. ResearchGate Twitter profile

I removed this because it constitutes Original research, something we don't do. We are expressly forbidden to take evidence from primary sources, make a case and draw conclusions that have not been drawn in Wikipedia:Reliable sources. All we are permitted to do here - especially when it involves disparaging criticism - is report what reliable sources conclude; and when it is disparaging of the subject the reliable sources have to be strong. This is not easy for researchers to grasp at first - they spend their lives synthesising primary sources and drawing conclusions - but believe me, it is the case. The clearest exposition of this policy is at WP:SYN. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:36, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

You could have discussed this before removing the content, because many people here seem to have a different opinion. Wikipedia policy is not as strict as you claim. E.g. about Primary sources "Policy: Unless restricted by another policy, primary sources that have been reliably published may be used in Wikipedia; but only with care, because it is easy to misuse them.[4] Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the source but without further, specialized knowledge" A lot of researchers reported with a full name on their blog that they received Spam from Researchgate and critized them. There is absolutely no interpretation or original research involved when stating on Wikipedia that ResearchGate has been critized for sending spam. This is a simple fact, which can be verified by everybody in second with a simple google search. Martin.uecker (talk) 22:39, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Everything has been criticised. Everything. If you want to include criticism of ResearchGate's use of automated email, your job is to demonstrate that the criticism is significant-enough to warrant inclusion. Don't do that by scouring the net for bloggers or forum-posters who have criticised it. Find a strong secondary source - a column in the New York Times or Scientific American might do it. Reliable sources. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 02:41, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
How about we apply some common sense instead of mindlessly applying a very restrictive interpretation of wikipedia policy (which actually only discourages not forbids the use of primary sources)? To me it seems that it this is a very significant fact about a company of this kind that it recruits by spamming. At least a lot more relevant then all the PR bullshit all the reliable sources have written (or copied from press releases). Martin.uecker (talk) 06:05, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
We are permitted to use primary sources under some circumstances; this is not one of those circumstances. We are never permitted to engage in original research. What I have deleted is synthesis of primary sources. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:24, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't the term primary source only refer to things published by ResearchGate directly or indirectly (PR news)? So in fact, what you deleted is mostly secondary sources? So e.g. the Twitter follower numbers, published by Twitter, are secondary sources, and so are the blogs? As I understand Wikipedia:PSTS we should largely ignore what RG published themselves, and instead prefer such secondary sources.
"A secondary source provides an author's own thinking based on primary sources, generally at least one step removed from an event. It contains an author's interpretation, analysis, or evaluation of the facts, evidence, concepts, and ideas taken from primary sources. Secondary sources are not necessarily independent or third-party sources. They rely on primary sources for their material, making analytic or evaluative claims about them."
as I read this, the blogs that were mentioned in fact do qualify as secondary sources, the only thing to argue is whether they are reliable. But in lack of other reliable secondary sources, this is probably the best we can do. -- (talk) 12:43, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
I would say that are primary sources reporting (and expressing criticism) about the fact that they received spam. I don't agree that we are doing original research when we report that RG has been criticised spam. This is a simple fact verifyable by everybody able to do google searches. It is also clearly not true that we "synthesize" sources to come to this conclusion. There are many individual sources stating *exactly the same thing*. A synthesis would mean that one has to combine multiple sources to come to a conclusion which is not stated direclty in a single source. This is not what is happening here. Martin.uecker (talk) 00:02, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

It is really ridiculous how some self-proclaimed Wikipedia editors can censor criticism from this page. Just read through this talk page or look at the edit history. It is a comedy how by saying "I don't like your source" and cutting content, the page can be kept pure marketing. I'm re-adding the criticism. As it was said by many here in the talk page, these are verifiable, reliable sources. You can doubt this ... but please stop messing with the criticism. To put an end to this endless discussion, lets just go back to the basics: "Any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged must be supported by a reliable source." All over this dispute, the criticism itself has NEVER BEEN challenged. Do you see how ridiculous is this? This means that is is not, and it is not likely to be challenged ever. Everyone agrees that there is this criticism. There is debate about the sources. Here let me go back again to the basics: If you think these are primary sources, no problem. It is still enough: "A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the source but without further, specialized knowledge.". And this is what you find in the criticism. Straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person. Or do you have issues doing such a verification? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:35, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Swinburne source for criticism

With this edit, I hope I have ended the dispute that has taken up the bulk of this Talk page. Finally the sources are starting to catch up with the facts on the ground.

I hope that those who have advocated adding information about RG's email practices to this article, as well as those who have resisted, will agree that this is sufficient. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 04:52, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for finding this source. This is the best so far, and pretty well written (not too much speculation). --Chire (talk) 08:04, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure I fall into either camp, but I like source and succinct wording. No issues here. Millionmice (talk) 11:24, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
I can live with these changes. You've found a good source, though I don't agree about disqualifying the other sources. Amaurea (talk) 19:07, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
I can live with the Swinburne source but do not believe this addition was written in a balanced way. It's written as if ResearchGate always sends unsolicited invitations to coauthors, which I strongly doubt is true and which does not jive with their policies as stated on their FAQ. JNorman704 (talk) 16:56, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
@JNorman704:It's not clear to me whether the box is "opt-in" or "opt-out," but it seems clear from the Swinburne source that many users either checked the box or allowed it to be checked out of confusion, and/or did not expect a solicitation to be written as if it came from them. I've edited your edit, hoping to find the best balance. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 17:57, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your edit BlueMoonlet. I still strongly believe it's subjective to make a blanket statement that "ResearchGate emails unsolicited invitations to the coauthors of its users." Can anyone prove this happens 100 percent of the time? If so, then fine, we leave it in. But I've logged into ResearchGate as a new user myself and the check box in question is quite obvious. All you have to do is uncheck it to prevent ResearchGate from automatically sending out those emails. I respectfully ask you to restore my edit that states 'some users claim' that ResearchGate emails unsolicited emails. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JNorman704 (talkcontribs) 18:05, 25 April 2014 (UTC) Whoops, sorry, forgot to sign this. JNorman704 (talk) 18:10, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
"Unsolicited emails" implies that they are unsolicited by the recipient of the email, which is certainly true. That part of the statement is not speaking about whether it was intended by the user whose name is on the email. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 18:13, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but the statement 'ResearchGate emails unsolicited invitations to the coauthors of its users' still has a negative ring to it and makes it sound like this is always going to happen if you use the service. The same is true for any social media network. If I ask you to be my friend on Facebook, for instance, I am sending you an unsolicited message in order for that to happen. Bottom line, I do not believe this statement about RG and unsolicited emails to be consistent with Wikipedia policies on neutral POV. JNorman704 (talk) 18:19, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I see your point. I just tried again. What do you think? --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 19:05, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
We're nearly there. I took out the part that states 'A ResearchGate FAQ encourages users to ensure that this box is checked.' That is a subjective reading of what the FAQ actually states: "If you’d like your co-authors to join you, just ensure that the Invite my co-authors to ResearchGate box is checked when you’re adding publications." JNorman704 (talk) 19:12, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Judging from [9] the box used to be checked by default, and it used to read "Add my co-authors that are already using ResearchGate as contacts and invite those who are not yet members.", but not giving you the choice of only adding those that are already using RG. Given that the currenlty cited post is december 2013, it seems they only recently changed this, due to the large amount of criticism they received on this. Maybe we should document both the old and the current situation? In particular, as the criticism clearly was before this change. --Chire (talk) 14:45, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Professor Robert J Shiller Nobel Laureate in Economics 2013 RG Score 6.03

I wonder why the critics of my entries here on this page who have deleted my earlier contribution, cannot explain to me this fact. Voila: a Nobel Laureate in Economics classified as worse than 50 or more % of the scientific community! If the founders of RG say they want a Nobel Prize (who does not?), certainly they won't get it in scientometrics now!

User Franz Weber — Preceding unsigned comment added by Franz weber (talkcontribs) 15:07, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Sjuttiosjuochfjorton (talk) 15:09, 28 April 2014 (UTC)Clearly, his 7 papers have low impact factors according to Researchgate. This is a discussion that you have to bring up with the founders of the website (Are the impact factors accurately reflected?)or the scientific community as a whole (Does a high impact factor really mean high quality work or vice versa?/Are journals in economics devalued compared to biology-related ones?). Further to this, Shiller is more than likely not engaging in discussions on the website, which would enhance his score. It is on the whole an interesting observation, though, and it should be mentioned under a separate heading perhaps?

Spam, additional sources

As the spam paragraph has been edited to-and-fro a number of times today, here are some more sources.

  • The SAIS 2014 Proceedings 'Analysis of a Scholarly Social Networking Site' is an academic source that says literally: "by default, invitations to join ResearchGate are automatically sent to co-authors when a user posts an article in their profile".
  • ResearchGate News July 31, 2012 indicates that the checkbox used to read: "Add my co-authors that are already using ResearchGate as contacts and invite those who are not yet members", as well as indicating that you have to "untick this box".
  • ResearchGate FAQ part II December 12. 2013 could mean that this policy might have changed later, and that you might need to "just ensure that the Invite my co-authors to ResearchGate box is checked when you’re adding publications, and where possible, an invitation will be sent" now. However:
  • The current signup page checks this box by default: "Invite my co-authors to ResearchGate.", so I'm unwilling to blindly assume the default policy has changed to opt-in from opt-out... to verify, go to [10] and enter the name of an established researcher, e.g. Donald E. Knuth for the first step (you don't need to proceed further). But this constitutes WP:OR and should not be added to the article... anyway, there is reason to doubt that this opt-out invitation sending policy has changed, even in december 2013.

Given the last indication, I do think the text should explicitly mention that the invitations are sent by default, and that you need to opt-out. This is supported by the SAIS source, which I just added to the article.

As mentioned above, I have a minimal COI: every other month I get spammed by them. I don't think this makes me too biased (if so, any happy user of their site is also biased!), and as you can see I try hard to find reliable sources for the statements regarding the invitation policy. Recently, I also have been seeing invitations by non-coauthors. So apparently, they have also started offering to invite anyone from the same institution?!? (I don't have WP:RS for this though - anyone has something?) --Chire (talk) 10:00, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

I read the SAIS study, and it's pretty critical of RG... it does support much of the critizism, including email spam, RG score unreliability and false attribution of articles (mismatching names and automatically adding articles). I have added paragraphs for the first two to the article, but please feel free to make them a bit more neutral. As said before, I am not a fan of RG because of their spamming. (They also have a fake profile for me, but it is "unclaimed", and apparently there is no false match on my name yet). It may be neccessary to add a paragraph about the "fake profile" / attribution thing though. I remember having seen researchers complain about this, too: seeing their publications "claimed" by someone else on RG (which, most likely, was done automatic and not by those users). With appropriate sources, of course, but SAIS can be one of them. --Chire (talk) 12:59, 29 April 2014 (UTC)

Sjuttiosjuochfjorton (talk) 17:59, 29 April 2014 (UTC) 1. You originally linked an abstract that had no mention of RG. The information in the article is not obtainable for most readers unless you provide the actual link to the paper (I presume you have, correct?). I skimmed through the paper and it is broadly talking about RG, Academia, and Mendeley (also google scholar profiles). You appear to have summarized some points but you need to make sure that these are only applicable to RG and not to scholarly social networking in general. Otherwise you need to make a new article on "scholarly social networking". 2. The article is not a scientific study and consisted of creating one (1) profile. This is not a sufficient number to draw any reliable conclusions from. Further to this, the addition of research papers now requires RG members to actively add (or "ok") the papers. So the critique is outdated. 3. Chire: You have shown one more time that you have an agenda and are actively searching to discredit RG. Statements like "I am not a fan of RG" and "researchgate is useless crap" are not intelligent ways of proving that you are unbiased in your critique.

1a) I had no trouble accessing the full source.
1b) The source talks in detail about RG specifically, so the onus is on you to argue that any use in the article does not rely on an aspect of the source that is specifically about RG.
2a) A controlled double-blind experiment hardly seems needed here; the SAIS source seems quite sufficient as a description of what can happen on RG.
2b) As I've said above, the SAIS source describes the state of RG at the time of the study. This is relevant, even if RG has changed since then.
3) As I've said above, both Chire and Sjuttiosjuochfjorton should assume good faith and stop casting up the WP:COI policy at each other. Having a strong opinion is fine, and seeking sources that support your opinion is fine, as long as your arguments are not motivated by something other than your honest opinion (e.g., financial gain). --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 18:50, 29 April 2014 (UTC)
@BlueMoonlet:: would you consider Thelwall, M., & Kousha, K. ResearchGate: Disseminating, Communicating and Measuring Scholarship?, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology [11] a RS? It discusses the correlations of RG score on an institutional level. Correlation of RG score to established rankings is positive ("correlate moderately well"), but is actually less than the correlation among these measures. The impact points measure was found to be the most correlated of the RG measures; and RG score was most correlated with RG statistics views (0.970). It also raises the question of manipulation: "if the rankings are taken seriously then there may be attempts to spam or manipulate them in some ways." and bias "the research of some nations will be disproportionately be advantaged or disadvantaged". However, this seems to be a preprint only so far - "to be published", I can't find it in the Wiley online library yet. --Chire (talk) 09:32, 30 April 2014 (UTC)
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