Why should you join Epernicus if you’re on LinkedIn?

Recently, we received the following in an email:

“I am already on LinkedIn – which I find useful.  How is this site different?”

I really like LinkedIn as well as Facebook, and I find them incredibly helpful.  I’ve used LinkedIn to learn about business contacts and research potential hires.  And I spend more time than I’d like to admit on Facebook connecting with friends from all parts of my life (including long lost elementary school buddies). 

Mikhail and I started Epernicus because we realized that the social networks to which we belonged weren’t able to serve our needs as scientists.  The profiles didn’t capture what was important to scientists.  And equally as important, we couldn’t use these networks to help us find expertise in real world scientific networks. 

For example, I have hundreds of contacts on Facebook and LinkedIn.  But neither site can help me find a person in my department who has who expertise with dynamic light scattering or siRNA delivery.  This is why we built Epernicus.

Epernicus connects you automatically with your real world scientific network.  Your real world network is not just the people who you know directly – it’s also the people to whom you’re connected through your department, institution, and advisors (current and past).  This is one of your most valuable resources.  Some of these people you’ve never met before, but you share a kinship with them through your common affiliation.  When you register on Epernicus and enter your affiliations, you are automatically connected with this network.

Epernicus also captures people’s assets – the specific topics, materials, and methods in which they have expertise.  Assets give you a more detailed understanding of a scientist’s skill set, and they make searching on Epernicus a rich experience.

With Epernicus, I can now search quickly through my scientific networks for a specific topic or technique to find the people that I need.   It might be someone I know peripherally in my department, someone I’ve never met at my institution, or a former labmate.  It might also be someone I know (Epernicus can help you learn new things about people you see all the time!).


4 responses to “Why should you join Epernicus if you’re on LinkedIn?

  1. Good answer, and I agree. Here’s another question! Why should I join your network and not any of the half dozen other social networks for scientists?

  2. There are a number of networks out there for scientists that focus on everything from profiles and blogs to job searches and mining relationships from the literature. Mikhail and I tried most of these networks, but we didn’t find anything that solved a critical challenge: how do you search through your scientific network for specific expertise and skills?

    The distinctive elements of Epernicus are its automated networks, its assets (topics, methods, materials in which a scientist has expertise), and its search function. When you join Epernicus, you are automatically placed in networks with people who share your department, institution, and current and past advisors. You may not know all these people individually, but they are an important part of your “real world” scientific network. Epernicus also captures your assets, allowing you to learn about another scientist’s skills and enabling you to search for specific expertise. Thanks to the thousands of assets that have been added by members, I can search for topics like “Adult Stem Cells” or “Angiogenesis” and find people in my network with expertise in these areas.

    We’re glad that the web 2.0 world is starting to address scientists’ needs through new online applications. And we’re happy to partner with companies that are providing unique services. Our focus is on enabling scientists to access their real world network and find specific expertise efficiently. This remains an important challenge in science.

    For another scientist’s take on Epernicus, check out this posting on OneBigLab.

  3. Pingback: Social networking with a brain: a critical review of academic sites | In the Library with the Lead Pipe

  4. Pingback: I Am Biotech: Discover. Share. Discuss.

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