Perhaps you’ve heard of VIVO, ResearchGate, ORCID, & LabRoots, but you’re not really sure what they are or if you should participate. This guide offers an overview of professional social networking & provides examples & futher resources.

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Social Networking for Clinicians & Researchers

Topic Overview

"Social networking" is defined by Merriam-Webster as, "an online community of people with a common interest who use website or other technologies to 

communicate with each other and share information, resources, etc".

Though social networking in the digital sense began as a way to build and maintain personal relationships, it quickly expanded to the professional realm. In response, various social media platforms have been created to support not only general professional networking (e.g., LinkedIn), but also niche markets and disciplines. 

Social Networking for Clinicians

SERMO- A global social networking community exclusively for doctors, SERMO bills itself as a "virtual doctors' lounge" and offers a place for completely anonymous discussions about the business and practice of medicine, as well as medical crowdsourcing. 

  • Launched in September 2006
  • Has over 260,000 members
  • Funding- "pharmaceutical companies, medical device firms, and biotechs underwrite the market research and sponsorship opportunities within our site."


Doximity- "a professional networking tool exclusively for Physicians and health care professionals."

  • Launched March 2011
  • Has over 400,000 verified physician members as of December 2014
  • Funded by corporate investors 


Figure1- " network for healthcare professionals to share and discuss images and other medical content. It is safe and deeply conscious of patient privacy, but simple and easy to use. "

  • Launched in May 2013
  • Has over 150,000 users, worldwide as of April 2015
  • Funded by corporate investors


SharePractice- "the collaborative medical reference used by doctors to rate and review the effectiveness of drugs, herbs and supplements. By crowdsourcing the real time consensus of the global medical community, SharePractice enables doctors to instantly get thousands of qualified second opinions from trusted colleagues on any diagnosis."

  • Launched in 2013
  • Has over 5,000 users
  • Funded by venture capitalists


A more exhaustive list of social networking sites specifically for clinicians is available here. 

Social Networking for Researchers

VIVO- "VIVO enables the discovery of researchers across institutions. Participants in the network include institutions with local installations of VIVO or those with research discovery and profiling applications that can provide semantic web!-compliant data. The information accessible through VIVO's search and browse capability will reside and be controlled locally, within institutional VIVOs or other semantic web-compliant applications."

ResearchGate- "ResearchGate was built by scientists, for scientists. It started when two researchers discovered first-hand that collaborating with a friend or colleague on the other side of the world was no easy task. Founded in 2008 by physicians Dr. Ijad Madisch and Dr. Sören Hofmayer, and computer scientist Horst Fickenscher, ResearchGate today has more than 7 million members. We strive to help them make progress happen faster."

ORCID- "ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized."

- "an online social network service, based in Yorba Linda, California, aimed at improving scientific collaboration for tech innovators, engineers, and scientists."

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