Lately it seems that ResearchGate is getting more and more popular. This is a website where academics can post their research—both published and unpublished work (subject to copyright restrictions)—keep up with their area of interest, and access other researcher’s work easily. It also provides a bit of a biographical aspect: it feels like a mini Facebook for research academics.

The general public will find it difficult to post things on ResearchGate. This ensures a certain level of trustworthiness and confidence in the materials that are posted. However even if you are not a research academic, you can find and download materials easily.

In mathematics, the ArXiV has for some time now been the default repository for posting preprints. This is a very valuable site that has allowed a lot more visibility to papers which has not been published. It is a way for researchers to stake a claim on work they have done before it is officially published—this can be valuable considering that the waiting time to get published in journals is often more than a year and realistically more like 2 years and up.

The ArXiV has a policy of accepting LaTeX submissions only. This means that a fair amount of expertise with LaTeX is required, and for articles that have a lot of diagrams, the process of uploading them can, or at least used to be, rather onerous. About 3 or 4 years back I was struggling trying to upload some dozens of images that accompanied a paper on Hyperbolic Geometry that I was trying to post to the ArXiV. After several long and painful attempts at the uploading proved unsuccessful, I contacted the ArXiV admin and asked if I could just upload the pdf file. They rather shortly refused, and I found that I consequently lost interest in the ArXiV as a place for my papers. Indeed I always struggled understanding how the ArXiV could justify demanding mathematicians hand over their LaTeX documents, which can easily be copied, cut and pasted rather than the pdfs, which are more high level and secure (at least to an ordinary user such as myself). I suppose I read their explanations, but wasn’t convinced.

So I am rather grateful that ResearchGate allows me to easily upload the pdfs of my papers, catalogues them conveniently for me, and allows the general public to find these papers, read them online, and download them. This means I no longer have to worry about organizing a list of publications on my own UNSW website–believe me, this is a great convenience.

Goodbye journals! Hello ResearchGate!

Actually I am kidding a bit here: I do still plan on submitting papers regularly to KoG, the Croatian Society for Geometry and Graphics Journal which has to be the physically most attractive journal in pure mathematics, and a few others. But it really makes one think, doesn’t it? I am now in the position of writing papers, publishing them myself on ResearchGate, and letting the world decide whether the papers are worth reading. Brave new times.

Here is the link to my ResearchGate list of publications:

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Norman_Wildberger/publications

and here is the link to my ArXiV publications: