Using WhatsApp to support research, communication: Opinion


In a recent article for Nature, Christine Ro discusses how scientists are using WhatsApp to conduct research, communicate with each other and the public, and reach those in need. Ro writes that some scientists use the platform specifically because it uses so little mobile data and operates in many rural regions. For researchers Holly Bik and Virginia Schutte, who were travelling to East Antarctica, this was particularly important because the application could still function in the Southern Ocean. Ro writes that some researchers also use WhatsApp for collaboration and as a way of collecting survey responses. The app can also be used by health professionals to monitor patients and as a “workspace” for votes, updates, instructions, and project management. The author notes that though the app is widely used, it is banned in locations such as mainland China.