Health IT

A LinkedIn for biomedical scientists, engineers, builds up social networking hub

A social networking hub for biomedical researchers, engineering and other communities sees itself as a LinkedIn for scientists. It’s adding more tools to help users access multimedia content in one place, exchange ideas and opinions and find jobs.

First-time users of Labroots are directed to register for free, providing a profile so content can be better geared to their specialty.

Labroots CEO Greg Cruikshank said the website has added tools to be more interactive and give users less reason to change websites to access information to do various tasks. It has bolstered its academic journal library to make the website stickier so users can more easily search for a particular specialty or access their own articles in one place.

Life science, biomedical and healthcare currently account for the site’s largest customer base. About 29 percent of users have medical degrees and 22  percent work in healthcare, said Cruikshank. Almost half are based in North America, but it has a substantial audience in Asia, which accounts for 22 percent of users. Cruikshank said one of his priorities is to grow its engineering audience. He believes scientists represent a huge market for social media particularly because they are more likely to comment on news, article and forum postings.

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Videos images, files, and links can be posted and viewed. Users can also post reviews of publications, products and companies. They can listen to webinars, and find and post jobs. They can also follow companies and institutions or start their own company page.

Labroots was launched in 2008 but Cruikshank said it’s been well overdue for an update as social media use has grown and expanded into specialties.

LinkedIn has spawned lots of professional networking communities, particularly business to business sites in the life science community such as for physicians, pharmaceutical professionals and research scientists (and this one, too). Earlier this year mobile IT startup ZappyLab said it was seeking to establish a social networking channel for scientists to exchange and compare laboratory protocols to make research more efficient with the hope of  standardizing best practices.

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