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I use ResearchGate purely for finding and connecting with people in my field (Molecular Biology). But I would like to know if there are any other network platforms where you can connect with people you don't know from before. Preferably equally big, but more importantly without commercial interests.

Thanks in advance!

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Arguably not quite the same thing, but open archives for preprints are nowadays a significant part of fast communication between researchers. In molecular biology I understand that biorxiv is quite big, but I have no idea what portion of the academia you're interested in might be there:


You can set alerts and there is a sort of comment area (with Disqus, ouch). This might be a significant part of what you're looking for in a community, or not.

The elephant in the room is then Twitter... On which, see some optimistic takes at https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200504/16564544432/twitter-making-it-easier-to-study-public-discussions-around-covid-19.shtml and https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200413/00032744289/oncologists-say-absolute-best-information-theyre-getting-these-days-comes-twitter.shtml

Twitter is proprietary and commercial and everything but at least its commercial interests are orthogonal to research, so it probably won't go on a direct collision course with the interest of researchers in the same way SSRN, Mendeley or AcademiaEdu did. The better way to do microblogging is of course Mastodon or another member of the fediverse, which has millions of users these days. There's also an instance for scientists https://scholar.social/about which definitely doesn't satisfy your criterion "preferably equally big".

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