Collaborative apps are designed to help you work with other people. They include things like Academic Networks that you can use to promote your research and network with other people; social bookmarking and reference management apps for sharing information, communication apps for videoconferencing and online chat, and services for sharing the fruits of your work both formal and informal.
Academia.edu is often called 'Facebook for academics', mainly because of the emphasis it places on social networking. However, it is not just a tool for sharing your research it can be very useful for discovery as it covers such a broad range of subjects. You can search for people, their interests and for papers. It’s worth setting up the news feed tool to keep you up to date with your area of interest. There are currently just over 2,000 members of Academia.edu who have registered themselves as connected to Edinburgh Napier!
Epernicus Network is a social networking site for scientists, (a little bit like LinkedIn) it allows people to list their 'assets' e.g. your specific research area, the research methods in which you excel. A key part of the service is using the discussion forum to post questions and answers.
GoogleScholar profile enables you to showcase your own papers and interests and easily see the number of citations your papers are receiving (via Google Metrics). You can add co-authors and keywords to help people find you. To set up a GoolgeScholar profile you need a Google account. When you create your profile it is private – don’t forget to change the setting and make it public!
Lanyrd focuses on connecting people via conferences. You can search for conferences by topic, or see which conferences people you know are attending. Tools help you to track what is happening at conferences (whether you are there or not) by linking with other applications like Twitter. Lanyard can also help you as a speaker by building a portfolio of your work that you can share.
Mendeley is primarily seen as a reference management tool, but it can also help you to discover research papers by taking advantage of the collaborative side of Mendeley. There is a large ‘crowd-sourced’ catalogue of papers which you can search.
Once users have registered (for free), you can save papers in your own private library, or share them publicly. You can track papers using tags or by the groups who have expressed interest in a paper. Some papers may be full text, but many are abstracts. There may be links you can follow to find a paper but it is not guaranteed that you will get access to the full text. Use LibrarySearch to see if you can find the paper via one of the databases we subscribe to.
ResearchGate is another academic social networking / collaboration tool mainly aimed at scientific researchers, but in reality most subjects are represented. ResearchGate can be particularly useful for the discovery stage of your research as it encourages the community to ask questions and create discussions. These are public and indexed by Google, so you don’t even need to register with ResearchGate to start using it for research discovery.
Sci-Mate provides discussion forums and networking tools, aimed mainly at scientific subjects. Including a discussion forum, research tools, job listings, conference alerts and other things of interest to scientists or industry, SciMate can be a useful resource for early career researchers interested in science and technology. Membership is free to individual research scientists.
Zotero is another popular tool for managing references and sharing bibliographic data. You can create your own group or join others. Each group can share its own library of papers, notes and discussion threads. Initially Zotero was an add on for Firefox, but it can now be configured with Chrome and Safari. Although Zotero can take a little bit of time to set up, there are useful guides available via the Zotero homepage.