Updates inform you about new followers, new publications of yours added by your co-authors, comments on your publications, answers to questions you asked or followed, and much more. Clicking on the update takes you directly to the new content, so you can instantly see who is interacting with your research and how.
Messages are where you can find private messages either sent to you or sent by you.
Sending a private message
There are three ways to send private messages on ResearchGate.
If you’re following the researcher you’d like to message, click on the envelope icon in the top right-hand side of the screen, then select View all. To send a private message, click on the Message button at the top right-hand side and enter the name of the researcher you'd like to contact.
You can also go to the profile page of the researcher you'd like to message and click the blue Message button in the top right-hand corner of the page.
If you're not following the researcher you'd like to message, you can go to their profile page and click on their Info tab. In the bottom right-hand corner, you'll see a white Send message button. Click there to compose a message.
It's not currently possible to delete a private message. You can however archive them by going to your message inbox by clicking on the envelope icon at the top of any ResearchGate page. Select the message you would like to delete and click Archive conversation.
To reverse this process, filter your messages by Archived, click on the message you want to recover and click Unarchive conversation.
Requests contains all Feedback, Full-text, Author, Skills and other types of requests. These generally require some kind of answer or confirmation.