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!).