Collaboration Proves Key to Innovative Developments

Applications are the new form of publications on the web

“Applications are the new form of publications on the web." — Vishal Gupta, Director, Developer Network

The launch of the SciVerse platform in 2010 provided a forward-driven and collaborative scientific community with access to the world’s largest source of peer-reviewed content. SciVerse holds an abstract and citation database containing 41 million records - 70% with abstracts - and nearly 18,000 titles from 5,000 publishers worldwide.

In November 2010, Elsevier expanded the service offered by the platform with the addition of SciVerse Applications, a gallery offering a new way of sharing knowledge, insight and improvement in workflows; all supported by steady input and feedback from the global research and developer community engaged through the Developer Network.

Jay Katzen, MD of A&G Markets, explains: “We spent a significant amount of time doing research with librarians and researchers across all segments including academic, government, corporate and health science.”

Referring to the new developments on SciVerse he adds: “Our goal is to foster the creation of a new type of community to collaborate and drive innovation, much like you see with Apple, Facebook, Google and others.”

Trusted Partnerships

By opening up its content, Elsevier’s Developer Network is leading the way for engaging experts from all subject areas to develop applications using available APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). The flourishing of this new scientific knowledge ecosystem, a concept brought to the public by Rafael Sidi (VP, Application Marketplace and Developer Network), was preceded by a number of trends: a call for openness and interoperability, personalization of information and an increasing need for trusted collaboration.

“As researchers become increasingly bogged down by information overload, creating tools to help them is crucial." — Michelle Lee, Director of Product Management, SciVerse Applications

Apps are being created to increase collaboration between researchers such as the Co-Author Visualizer, Prolific Authors , and Expert Search etc. On a broader scale, partnerships have become significant in the development of apps.

Vishal Gupta (Director, Developer Network) points to the venture between the US’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Elsevier: “This resulted in the launch of the app and illustrates how researchers, government and web scientists are accessing scholarly content and linking this with government datasets to provide a richer experience to the end users in their scientific research.”

Some of the SciVerse applications now available

Another example is the Reflect-Network application, integrated within the life sciences journals on SciVerse Science Direct via Reflect, a tool that tags proteins and chemicals in a document. It addresses the workflow challenges of life sciences researchers by helping them quickly understand and visualize the content of an article. The application was developed in partnership with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Germany, and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research (CPR), University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

More than 3,000 interviews with librarians, information specialists and researchers have been conducted in a long preamble leading up to the emergence of SciVerse Applications and the Developer Network.  As Katzen remarks: “This is a way that developers can work with researchers, or researchers can become developers themselves and customize or make applications based on article content, author data, affiliation data, and abstracts…to really deliver more value for the end user.”

The necessity of collaboration is not new in research. It is deeply ingrained in the authoring and peer-review process. “Applications too need to be reviewed.  Product managers in the SciVerse Applications team spend considerable time engaging and supporting developers to review and ensure high quality apps.  In addition, users will also be able to review and provide direct feedback to the developer,” says Michelle Lee, Director of Product Management, SciVerse Applications.

Gupta takes this a step further: “Applications are the new form of publications on the web. They can provide additional insights to the researcher and can be accompanied by an applications note that can be further published in the traditional way. The use of the applications in the context of the underlying content will also enrich the value of the journal content, which in turn will help increase the journal usage and make it the ‘destination of choice’.”

Centered on categories such as collaboration, search, management (of information) and analysis (of information), applications will slowly pervade a researcher’s career. Supporting multidisciplinary research, applying ontology and semantic driven searches, bringing the exploration of numerous datasets to manageable proportions and offering valuable insight into author networks are a few examples of the significance of SciVerse Applications for research communities.

Increasing content value

Lee elaborates: “As researchers become increasingly bogged down by information overload, creating tools to help them is crucial. These could be simple apps, like the eReader Formats app that allows a researcher to download a PDF and put it on his iPad. Or they can be highly analytical apps like quantiFind that extract and aggregate data from our corpus and visualize that to illustrate trends. SciVerse Applications enables a radically different approach to how our customers and end users approach our content."

Author Biography

Gwendolyn-HolstegeGwendolyn Holstege
Gwendolyn has recently started work for the Media and Communities team of the A&G Markets department of Elsevier in Amsterdam. She is responsible for keeping the needs of authors, editors and reviewers top of mind when these relate to the online solutions Elsevier offers like SciVerse (ScienceDirect, Scopus, Applications ) and SciVal  (Spotlight, Funding, Strata). Prior to that, she worked in a number of different roles for A&G Markets. Gwen holds an MA from the University of Amsterdam.

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