As research meets social media, publishers become 'matchmakers'

In the Huffington Post, an Elsevier Managing Director writes about using social media methods to create new opportunities for researchers

Olivier DumonIn a recent post on the Huffington Post Science blog, Olivier Dumon, Elsevier's Managing Director of Academic and Government Markets, writes about the ever-expanding body of information available to scientists — the growing avenues available to disseminate research — and the way this new reality is changing the way researchers and publishers work.

Type in the words "water research" and "water management" on Google and you get no less than 256 million results! Such a proliferation of destination sites clearly demonstrates the need for a lot of filtering to determine what research is already being done and, more importantly, the outcomes. Enter the business behind science.

But he says it's not enough for publishers to enable people to search and filter content effectively; they should also use the approach people have become accustomed to in social media and e-commerce, where information is actively pushed out to users based on their online activity. He gives the examples of recommendations by online retailers like Amazon, and related content popping up on social networks like Facebook.

Such tools enable those of us in scientific publishing to open up new avenues of opportunity by influencing the trajectory of published works. We now have the ability to proactively play "matchmaker" by recommending and promoting relevant research and related information from a broad range of sources around the world. Especially to the early career researcher, such a process potentially opens many doors of opportunity. Technology that drives content based on behavioral patterns means that published articles by younger researchers can potentially share the spotlight with the work of senior and more broadly published authors, a potentially career-changing opportunity. ...

Like any other business, scholarly publishing is not just about giving our customers what they want; it's also about anticipating their needs and facilitating a dialogue between authors and their audience once an article has been published.

He explains that scholarly publishers, including Elsevier, already use social signals and usage data to match content to researchers. He mentions some of the challenges inherent in this technological transition — including the issue of privacy — and says the researcher should play an active role in determining which "tradeoffs" are acceptable.

Read the full article.


Elsevier Connect Contributor

Alison Bert, DMAAlison Bert (@AlisonBert) is Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier Connect. She joined Elsevier in 2007 from the world of journalism, where she was a business reporter and blogger for The Journal News, a Gannett daily newspaper in New York. In the previous century, she was a classical guitarist on the music faculty of Syracuse University. She holds a doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, was a Fulbright scholar in Spain and performed in the 1986 international master class of Andrés Segovia.

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