I just had a former colleague email to let me know that he was invited (supposedly by me) to join ResearchGate. I'm not sure if I agreed to this at some point or if it is the default behavior. But, it seems that for any papers you connect to your profile it will identify names, try to connect them to emails, and send out an invite like the one below as if it was from you. I'm used to this kind of farmville spam in facebook. But, it seems more problematic for something like ResearchGate because I care more about annoying my co-authors than my friends and family. I have unknowingly sent out 56 invites including three to Eric Green and four to Francis Collins. They must be really sick of hearing from me! There goes my future chances of being director of the NIH or NHGRI. Haha. Also, at least some of the email addresses have been incorrectly guessed where the name is correct but the email is clearly the wrong domain for my co-author making the email really pure spam. The colleague I mentioned closed his ResearchGate account over this behavior. I would like to keep mine but maybe we should complain to them. Their value is derived entirely from our participation. I think I prefer the LinkedIn approach where connections are made actively and with my explicit consent. Maybe when a new publication is added we should get the chance to select which (if any) co-authors we want to spam before hitting an invite to join ResearchGate button? Thoughts?
You can turn off the option by unchecking 'settings'->'track invitations you sent'->'invite my co-authors to ResearchGate'
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Obi Griffith firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 2:05 AM
Subject: Reminder: Obi Griffith and 4 others invited you to join ResearchGate
Obi Griffith invited you to join ResearchGate and confirm authorship of:
cisRED: a database system for genome-scale computational discovery of regulatory elements.
4 pending invitations, including:
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ResearchGate GmbH, Invalidenstr. 115, 10115 Berlin, Germany.