Founded in 2008 by two German physicians and one German computer scientist, ResearchGate is “the professional network for scientists and researchers. Over 15 million members from all over the world use it to share, discover, and discuss research. We’re guided by our mission to connect the world of science and make research open to all.” (Source: ResearchGate About page)
Why should you care about this site? It’s an easy way to get a hold of scientific research papers for free, including ones about cybersecurity, malware, and other Information Security topics. Those of us outside of academia may tend to forget about all the great InfoSec research, thoughts, and publications that get circulated in and around the ivory towers.
The main page of the site kind of seems like an actual gate, meaning, none shall pass unless you register and log in.
But, here’s the thing — you can actually search their contents two different ways without registering and logging in. Of course, the best functionality may be through using the site in the way it was intended. But, I know how the OSINT crowd is about privacy and so below are some of the ways to bypass the registration.
- Google Dorking
Say you want to search with the keyword malware.
Go to Google. Type site:researchgate.net malware (as an example of a search) into the search bubble.
You will get either a link that will take you into the site or an actual PDF.
2. Scroll Down to the Bottom of their Site
This one just seems too easy, but it’s true. At the bottom of their main web page, they have some options to navigate around their site.
If you select the “About us” link, you will see a search area in the upper left hand side of the screen. This is true for all of the links EXCEPT for “News” and “Help Center.” The search bar on the News page only searches News, and the Help Center search only searches the Help Center. Makes sense.
Another place you can search without logging in is their News page, which is also called their blog.
Keep in mind that the blog is more limited and does not link to the full database of their research paper treasure trove. For example, neither the term cybersecurity nor malware yielded any results from the News/Blog search. That’s just not a topic they have blogged about, despite them having research papers in their repository on those topics.
If you do want to search their main repository, you have some options.
You can search by your own keywords, or you can select one of the many topics they have curated. Remember, this isn’t specifically an Information Security site, so you may need to hunt for items directly related to InfoSec. Keep in mind, though, that some of these topic headings are merely a Quora-esque forum for Q & A, discussion, etc. Use the search suggestions above if only looking for articles and publications.
But, guess what they do have? A curated topic entitled, “Computer Security and Reliability!” Huzzah!
So, again, the curated forum topics can be solely a Q & A area. This is the part where registration comes in handy, if you want to post questions and offer answers.
If you do want articles, there are a lot to choose from submitted from all over the world. So, it’s a nice little repository of global academic content.
ResearchGate is on social media and has a newsletter.
In conclusion, ResearchGate is a useful tool to find some academic research on a variety of topics, including those related to Information Security. Keep in mind that these articles are self-submitted, so this is by no means a comprehensive repository. But, it’s free and has a social aspect in case you want to interact with fellow researchers.