– social networking site providing tools for scientific collaboration is a social networking site providing tools for scientific collaboration. The home-page boasts that scispace offers “access control, sharing tools, a complete archive, and global 24/7 access,” all of which are becoming standard features on most academic social networking sites. Though my first impression of the site was positive, I was disappointed and ultimately frustrated upon entering the site as a registered user.

The first page you land on once you’re signed in is virtually empty, save five tabs entitled community membership, friends, file widget, pages, and activity. There is no welcome message or introductory text, and there is no accompanying instructions on how to use the content of these tabs to populate an account. Unlike, which greets new users with a welcome message and points them to an extensive user-guide explaining in detail each of the site’s features, provides no additional literature.

It was unclear to me how to find communities, browse other users, or upload documents. The Q & A link, which is where I assumed I would find the information that was absent from the main page, was vague when it came to explaining how to find friends and communities. The link directs users to a ‘browse’ button that does not exist, and after reading the entire section I still could not determine how to find other users, short of simply creating a search using a random surname – surely not the most effective way to bring people together. 🙂

I wish I could offer a more in-depth analysis and review of this site, but quite frankly this was impossible due to the impenetrable wall of blank spaces and lack of instruction. As a reviewer, I spent infinitely more time trying to decipher this user-unfriendly site than I ever would have as a regular user, and that doesn’t bode well for a site that is competing against a growing number of like-minded sites for networkers who are becoming increasingly web-savvy and demanding of more diverse, interesting, and intuitive features.


  1. Thank you Sophie for your post. Please have a look at this site in Chile. It has become the biggest social network for scientific collaboration in spanish speaking countries. It has an english version. I created it with a Colleague back in 2006 at the University of Cambridge (UK) and now is funded by Chile´s Science and Technology Minister. It is one of the few truly active web-based scientific communities with many remarkable results. Have a look and feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more about it.
    Best wishes-CHC
    Twitter: @Latingene

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