Social networking for researchers


21 July 2011


It would be nice to have a place to share ideas, links, comments in a very informal way with others involved in research in statistical methodology and data science. is great for specific questions, but is not suitable for commenting on papers or sharing ideas and links.

Although I have a facebook account, this seems the wrong place to carry out a research discussion because my family and friends are generally not interested, and it is messy to restrict posts to groups of friends. (In general, I ignore friend requests from anyone other than family and people I interact with outside of work.) Also, the search facilities are non-existent, so if you want to find that post from a month ago, there is no alternative but to trawl through the history looking for it.

LinkedIn is a more natural fit, and there are groups set up just for this purpose. For example, there is an active forecasting group and another for R. There is also a very active data analytics group called AnalyticBridge.

Now we have Google+ which aims to be all things to all people. Using circles of friends makes it easy to share posts with subsets of friends and so it could be a useful place for interacting with family, friends, work-colleagues, other researchers, and any other group, without flooding each of them with irrelevant posts.  It is early days but it has the potential to do everything facebook and LinkedIn already do and more. It still needs search (which is odd given it is a Google product), and groups, but I’m sure they aren’t far away. So if you’re game, sign up and check it out. If you want to add me as a friend, do it via my Google+ profile.