New web application to enhance research collaboration

2collab is an online collaboration tool for researchers. It enables you to share, connect and discuss relevant research with your peers. Elsevier’s Camelia Csora tells Reviewers’ Update what this innovative tool has to offer.

Latterly, the volume of electronic literature has increased enormously, resulting in potential information overload for researchers. There is a growing need for a new set of tools to help researchers in efficiently identifying, processing and using this vast array of online scientific information. That is where 2collab comes in, providing a free reference management, sharing and discussion tool specifically for the scientific community.

Launched in late 2007, 2collab is still young but is already making its mark on the world of scientific research, with science bloggers giving positive reviews such as Deepak Singh and Felix Grant who stated in his review of 2collab for Scientific Computing Worc_Csorald, “It's a good system which deserves to succeed.”

Camelia Csora, Product Manager, explains the major functions of 2collab: “First and foremost, it allows scientific researchers to collaborate, by sharing their findings and creating discussions around their work or around their research interests - to further their ideas and to connect with other experts in their field.”

So how does 2collab work?
Away from the noise of general web applications you can store and easily manage (using tags for added flexibility of categorisation) your links library, using this library to form a reference database, which can be easily shared, or exported ready to be used in your next research paper.

With 2collab groups, you can start discussions around information you share (such as research articles, news, events details, etc) with your faculty, networks or community. 2collab provides options for both a secure private or more open public groups.

Also, by being free and accessible to all scientists, 2collab is perfect for people constantly travelling, using multiple computers and who work in distributed research teams.

As a published author you can create a 2collab profile and import your publication history (with citations) from our extensive coverage of over 2.5 million validated author profiles and our unsurpassed database of 15,800 peer-reviewed journals, all provided by Scopus.

2collab as a unique tool
In very recent years advances in internet technology have fostered a shift in thinking: from the internet as a platform for offering traditional products, to services centred on solving problems of information users.

Camelia Csora explains “2collab is built upon this approach but unlike other social applications it is tailor-made for scientific researchers. To help them connect and collaborate with peers and specialists in order to enhance their work, and to bring their existing trusted networks or communities online.”


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The future of collaboration
Like all new technologies it is a continuous quest to understand users’ needs and ensure that 2collab fits easily into day-to-day work. Camelia says: “our aim is to continue developing this tool in close partnership with the scientific community by involving them regularly in generating ideas, sharing feedback, reviewing new features and testing functionalities.”

She continues: “Development for 2collab over the next six months will focus on building enhanced features for the scientific community. Feedback from users has shown that they would like to have more debate opportunities like a ‘question and answer’ feature, options for a suite of paid-for or recommended add-ons like collaborative whiteboards and annotation tools are just a few items discussed.”

Benefits for authors and reviewers
While 2collab is a great tool for networking, it also provides authors with a platform to promote and profile their own work. “Making your papers available via 2collab is a good way to disseminate your research and to gain more citations. Authors can connect with their communities, and add to their published work with links to supplementary resources or additional information like lab notes, formulas, back-ground studies – but also enhance it with newer, but equally relevant, results that didn’t make it in the published article.”

“Basically,” continues Csora, “2collab is a great supplement to traditional journal content; it is not seeking to replace journals but it enhances their value by bringing experts and ideas together.” For reviewers, this is a valuable source of information and context to draw on during the peer review process.

It’s all about working together
Reviewer’s Update has a request for all reviewers reading this article: we would like to form a small advisory board consisting of 3-5 reviewers to get involved in working closely with Camelia Csora and the 2collab development team.

2collab is a tool still growing, and we would like to ensure this tool is beneficial for the reviewer community.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to the 2collab team at: my2collab@2collab.com – and please provide your contact details.

We are sure it will be a very rewarding experience for reviewers who have an interest in new technologies and how the scientific world is evolving.


Useful links
2collab

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