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Introducing key contributors

With the launch of the new COVID-19 research community page, we are testing having volunteer key contributors who can help make useful research easier for other ResearchGate members to find.

Why is ResearchGate using key contributors?

Our new COVID-19 research community page was created to help researchers working on this topic stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 research as it happens, get help and support others, and contribute to the body of research the international community is using to combat the current crisis.

For the space to be as useful as possible, a few volunteer community moderators are recommending what content should be displayed on the community page. But as more and more COVID-19 related content is being produced every day, it can be challenging for researchers to navigate new content and find what’s relevant and important for them. 

That’s where the COVID-19 key contributors come in. They are ResearchGate members who have demonstrated experience in a relevant discipline. Using their experience, they help identify content by recommending those research items they think deserve further attention from other researchers. 

What can key contributors do?

For now, the volunteer key contributors have one simple mission: to help identify content within the COVID-19 research community space they think other researchers will find useful and relevant. They can do this by recommending particular research items or adding a short comment, for example to explain why they think the research item deserves further attention. 

Of course, we encourage all ResearchGate members to recommend and comment on research items. The difference here is that, when contributors comment, you’ll see a special “key contributor” badge next to their name so that you can identify them. This badge means that we have confirmed their identity and that they have background experience in a relevant discipline.  

It’s important to note that contributors are volunteering their time to try to help the community. Neither the contributors nor ResearchGate are being compensated in any way. This means that contributors’ posts aren’t sponsored in any way by ResearchGate or ResearchGate customers. 

All contributors act entirely of their own accord. Their opinions are their own. ResearchGate has no involvement in directing individuals to comment on particular content, nor do we tell them what to say. This means that we don’t endorse what contributors do or say, nor do we guarantee that what they say is accurate or reliable. We do take steps to confirm their identity and background experience (see below), but we aren’t responsible for their actions or contributions in any way. We don’t review or approve content that contributors post. 

Who are the key contributors?

The current contributors are identified in the COVID-19 research community space. When they make a contribution, for example by adding a comment to a research item, you’ll be able to see their comment within the COVID-19 community space, as well as in the comments section on the research item’s own publication page. 

You’ll always see a special badge next to contributors’ names when they’re acting within their contributor role, so you can identify them. In the interests of transparency, you’ll always be able to see a contributor’s affiliation directly next to their name when they’ve left a comment or recommended something, and you can visit their profile to learn more about their background and experience. All contributors have public profiles so they’re visible to logged-out visitors of the platform as well.  

How are key contributors chosen?

Key contributors are individuals who have demonstrated that they have experience in a relevant discipline. Before they can start participating, we take steps to confirm their identity and experience.  

Key contributors should be active or former researchers, with a PhD or equivalent doctoral degree preferred. They should also have the following:  

  • An active ResearchGate profile, set to public
  • Complete profile information, including at least their name, profile photo, current affiliation, introduction, and a completed Experience tab
  • A verified institutional email address
  • A minimum of 1 year of membership on ResearchGate preferred 
  • No recorded violations of ResearchGate terms or policies
  • A secondary online profile or web presence, and/or a CV that mirrors the information displayed on their ResearchGate profile
  • Together, the information in their ResearchGate profile, secondary online web presence or CV, and their publication history demonstrate one of the following:
    • they are actively working on COVID-19 directly; or 
    • they are currently working in or have previous research experience in a relevant related discipline (e.g. virology, infectious diseases, epidemiology, immunology, pulmonology); or
    • they currently hold a position as a journal editor, grant reviewer, or similar, that entails close interaction with research in one of the above disciplines and requires informed quality assessments; or  
    • they have experience applying a relevant method such as PCR, mathematical modelling, etc.

By checking these criteria, we try to make sure that  key contributors are a good fit for fulfilling the function. However, just because we allow someone to be a key contributor, doesn’t mean that we endorse or share their views. Key contributors are wholly responsible for any content that they add to the platform, in the same way that all of our members are. 

In the end, it’s up to ResearchGate to decide if we appoint key contributors or not — it’s at our sole discretion. 

Key Contributor Policy 

Last updated: 23 April 2020

By agreeing to act as a key contributor ("Contributor" or "you") for ResearchGate ("we", "us", or "our"), you agree to be bound by our Terms of Service, Community Guidelines, and this Key Contributor Policy ("Policy") at all times. We may update this Policy from time to time, so please check this page periodically. Any capitalized terms not otherwise defined in this Policy have the meaning given to them in our Terms of Service

ResearchGate is trialing an approach whereby specific Members are given a Contributor status, so they can help to create the best possible experience for our Users ("Contributor Program"). The main function of Contributors operating within the Contributor Program is to recommend or add commentary to Member Submissions available within a dedicated topic area to help surface those Member Submissions they deem to be useful or relevant. Contributors may also contribute by undertaking other similar tasks related to this endeavor.

As a Contributor, you acknowledge and agree that: 

Eligibility and role

  • To be eligible to act as a Contributor, you must, at all times, have a valid and active ResearchGate account. 
  • You represent and warrant that you meet the current eligibility criteria for becoming a Contributor, that the information in your ResearchGate profile is up-to-date and accurate, and that any other information or representations you have made about your personal information, background, experience and qualifications are true. You will let us know if something changes so that you no longer meet the eligibility criteria. 
  • You understand that your participation in the Contributor Program is of a temporary nature. You can stop volunteering and thereby cancel your Contributor status at any time.
  • You are free to choose the amount of time that you contribute to the Contributor Program, and how to structure that time. That said, for you to retain your Contributor status, there is a hope that you will actively contribute to the Contributor Program on a regular basis, to ensure the Contributor Program achieves its objectives. 
  • Your contribution to ResearchGate and your participation as a Contributor are entirely voluntary and will not be compensated or rewarded in any way.
  • We will identify you publicly as a Contributor, for example within the topic space you are contributing to and/or on your ResearchGate profile.
  • You are not an employee, agent, independent contractor or representative of ResearchGate and must not, at any time, represent yourself as such. You have no authority to bind or speak for ResearchGate in any manner. 

Privacy and confidentiality 

  • We will only use information you provide us in relation to your role as a Contributor for the purposes for which it was given.
  • Our Privacy Policy applies to you while you are acting in your role as Contributor.
  • Even though you won't be granted with any insights, rights, or access to more personal information than a Member could otherwise obtain, we want to stress that, in accordance with our Terms of Service, you must not process any personal information of any other User for any purpose other than the natural purpose of such data being published within the Service by the respective User.
  • You may, in the course of acting as a Contributor, become aware of confidential information, including but not limited to non-public information about our software, technology, product, features, or specifications. You will not disclose such information without our prior written consent. This confidentiality obligation survives any termination of your participation as a Contributor, your ResearchGate account, or the Contributor Program.


  • You understand that your actions and contributions as a Contributor will be visible to all Users of the Service. You are solely responsible for your actions and contributions as a Contributor, including for any content that you add to the Service. We don’t review or approve content that you post. We are not, in any way, responsible or liable for your actions or contributions as a Contributor, including for any errors, omissions, or for any loss or damage arising from your actions or contributions. Allowing you to be a Contributor doesn’t mean that we endorse you, or approve of or share your views. 
  • You are responsible for complying with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, and all ResearchGate policies, including this Policy. You will not contribute to the Contributor Program in a manner that violates such laws, rules and regulations, or any ResearchGate policies, or in a manner that is deceptive, unethical, false, or misleading.
  • You are not expected or authorized to assess whether any Member Submissions may violate our Terms of Service, Community Guidelines or other policies. If you identify content that you think may violate any of our policies, you may report it to our Community Support team to review. 
  • We expect you to be objective and constructive in your actions and contributions as a Contributor. Your decisions shall not be influenced by the origins of Member Submissions, or by the nationality, religious or political beliefs, gender or other characteristics of the contributing Members. You must not receive payment or other compensation from a third party for taking a particular action or expressing particular views.  
  • We reserve the right to revoke your Contributor status and associated privileges at any time and for any or no reason, without advance notice. Abuse or other violative behavior may result in termination of your Contributor status and/or termination of your ResearchGate account.
  • We reserve the right to make changes to or discontinue the project you're contributing to and/or any aspect of the Contributor Program, including terminating the entire Contributor Program, at any time. This means, for example, that we may change the criteria for being eligible to act as a Contributor.