Men have one; professionals have one, so why shouldn’t scientists have one? Sciencia.org launches new social network for scientists.
Sciencia.org was originally founded in 2000 by a small group of scientists in South Korea. It has since evolved into a niche social networking site that includes real time updates. According to their website: “Sciencia.org‘s goal is to provide peer-reviewed scientific news as well as news from less scientific sources to you. You can either frequently visit Sciencia.org or alternatively subscribe to one or more of Sciencia.org‘s numerous feeds to stay updated with news in your preferred science category. While Sciencia.org provides the latest scientific discoveries, it does not intend to publish unqualified popular stories like many nor most other social networks. Each and every submission is reviewed by our staff to avoid spam and other unwanted content. While Sciencia.org is updated several times a day, the review of individual stories is a time-consuming process which may result in slight delays in publication of relevant user content.”
Currently, the website boasts 1.2 million articles in 75 categories, and there are over 64,000 users and 8,200 journals that cover all areas of the sciences. Articles are shared at a rate of almost 3,000 a day, and since content is picked up real time, the delay between original publication date and its appearance on the site is usually no more than two days.
The site uses different kind of updates to sort and categorize entries. These include “Digg-Style” “Popular” and “Upcoming” sections. All articles can be bookmarked and there are sharing buttons accompanying most articles and posts. Further, the site keeps a Twitter account which currently has a modest 758 followers but more than 139, 000 tweets.
Sciencia’s categories are broad and inclusive. For example, they have a Biological Sciences category which covers areas such as the function, structure and origin of living organisms. There is also a Forestry section which has ten sub-sections and an Agriculture Sciences section which boasts nearly 36, 000 articles from 250 scientific journals. The Health section ranges from Audiology to Rheumatology, and there is even a section which includes Linguistics, Politics and Religion.
According to the website, “Sciencia.org’s standalone platform offers fast search and retrieval functionality that enables its users to optimize their knowledge discovery process.”And they are always working to create faster, user friendly searching options: “New tools are constantly being added to further facilitate the news-retrieval process to be more efficiently shared, stored and passed to colleagues, peers and friends.” Further, in an attempt to keep postings visually appealing and easy to sort, Sciencia encourages the use of visuals along with articles: “Sciencia.org encourages you to submit more stories which are integrated with images, illustrations and videos to provide a more lively experience of science information to its users.
While many attempts to integrate academia and new media have been stronger theoretically than they are practically, Sciencia seems a decisive step in the right direction for combining real time social media with traditional academic print publishing. Yet another niche social networking site is born.