A Facebook-Style Shift in How Science Is Shared

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Ijad Madisch, a founder of ResearchGate, a social network, says it has signed up 12 million scientists, or roughly 60 percent of all such potential users worldwide.

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Gordon Welters for The New York Times

Calvin Coffey, a professor of surgery at the University of Limerick in Ireland, has a world of gadgetry, scientific equipment and medical tests at his disposal.

Recently, he added another tool: social media.

During a monthslong project to prove that the mesentery — folded tissue that connects the intestines to the wall of the abdomen — was in fact a human organ, Professor Coffey regularly turned to his followers on ResearchGate, a free Facebook-style social network aimed solely at scientists worldwide, for tips and suggestions on where his four-person team should…

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