Stereotype has it that the cleverest people have the toughest times of finding a date. But hey, breaking news: nerdy academics have a romantic life too (of course they do!). No, I won’t tell you about how some academics ended up being lonely-because-they-are-too-picky while others cheerfully wallow on their live-happily-ever-after love stories… I’d rather tell you how researchers could find a potential “partner”.
Searching for a research collaborator is pretty much like searching for a date: you look for someone who shares the same passion and interests as you. After all, this commonality is what draws people together, and it’s the chemistry that gravitates us toward another person. This is the very principle of how Piirus works, as what its Founder, Fiona Colligan, tells Business Insider: ‘Like a typical dating site, you complete a profile on yourself, express what you’re looking for from someone else and then look for matches.’
Piirus works on a very simple premise, one which is rooted in the needs of the research community. Although, there might seem to be a bit of resemblance with other services, Piirus doesn’t try to compete with giants like Mendeley, ResearchGate or Academia. Piirus works on a different framework; it’s a platform to make introductions and meet new partners, not a place to advertise historical publications. Hence, its main audience are the seemingly disenfranchised member of the sectors: PhD students and early career researchers (ECRs).
On top of being a “dating site”, Piirus also has a thriving blog community where it features a wide array of topics on research collaboration, tips for PhD students and ECRs, as well as various other higher ed themes. More recently, it had a guest blogpost from Ryan Anderson on how he has ended up doing research on evolutionary psychology, in which he said that the ‘net cast by the discipline of psychology is incredibly large’. That itself could be a potential barrier to finding your perfect research partner. But Piirus has a feature which effectively addresses this issue: you can search for potential collaborators by the keywords they use. So, if like Ryan, you are keen about evolutionary psychology, you’d search for collaborators by typing in: evolutionary psychology (of course), brain evolution, evolution, or even evolutionary biology. Alternately, you could also use more specific keywords from your research interest, which in this case, could be: mate selection, dating, or mate copying.
Piirus further spreads its love to the research community by hosting Twitter chats, such as #piirusvoices, #piirustips and #letscollaborate. Leveraging on its Twitter presence, Piirus keeps it followers updated about events that might be of interest to its audience, such as conferences and vlogs. It also has a collection of infographics and videos to offer insights and advice to researchers. Piirus has a lot to offer, be it academic company or helping you find the perfect partner – in research!
Whether you’re in search of a romantic partner or a research collaborator, you don’t need to get stuck in isolation. With technology becoming more advanced, dating challenges becomes less of a hassle. In academia, researchers could take advantage of networking platforms such as Twitter and other academic networking services, to create meaningful and lasting partnerships. Piirus is a free and excellent service which brings together researchers who may be working in parallel fields, but because of geographical distance, or language of publication, remain unaware of each other’s research “chemistry”.
Dennis Relojo earned his MSc Research Methods in Psychology from the University of Hertfordshire, where he has carried out a research project on expressive writing as an intervention tool on exposure to thin-ideal images. Before he moved to the UK, Dennis was a psychology lecturer in the Philippines. At present, he is a Correspondent for Piirus, a global academic networking service. He also manages a website, Psychreg.com, an online resource about people whose works and interests centre on human behaviour. You can follow him on Twitter @DennisRelojo