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My lab:
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Almost right on my cue, Judson Dunham of Elsevier reveals the results of a recent survey into how researchers want to search for information and data. Here are what I thought were the two most interesting paragraphs:
Interestingly, when asked which type of applications would be most useful to the scientific community, there was no clear winner. This may reflect the diverse needs of researchers, as well as the interest and potential to develop a myriad of applications. In fact, all of the application options in the survey had similar response rates as follows: applications that facilitate more customised search (18 per cent); those that extract data to elicit more meaningful insight (17 per cent); apps that show content which trusted peers find valuable (16 per cent); those that provide personalised content delivery based on my interests and background (16 per cent); and apps offering analytical tools that are able to target trends, look at historical research output and text/data mine to create semantic relationships across scientific content (16 per cent).

While the exact detail of which applications need to be developed first remains fuzzy, the endgame appears to be coming into focus. Nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents selected ‘collaborative knowledge networks (online groups of trusted peers)’ when asked which search technology trend will have the greatest impact on search and discovery over the next several years. Additionally, more than 80 per cent of respondents agreed that in the next several years researchers will use knowledge networks as a reliable source for filtering and viewing information.
Basically, the first paragraph tells Elsevier, a company with a profit margin of 30% and an annual profit of more than 700 million Euros, that all the fuinctionality they ask for is needed in the scientific community. The second paragraph tells them that expert opinion is still highly valued and that people are interested in what their peer are interested in. Elsevier, undoubtedly one of the commercial publishers with the deepest pockets now has solid market research showing them that the advances and innovations in scientific publishing and management spearheaded by organizations such as PLoS, F1000, Frontiers or Mendeley are exactly along the desires of their customers and that these organizations are on the right track to serving the community the functionality they expect.

I'm not privy to the financial situation in these organizations, but I'd hazard a guess that even if their investment potential were combined they'd even be in the ballpark of Elsevier's vast resources. Now Elsevier knows that these organizations are doing exactly what their customers expect from Elsevier. If Elseveir doesn't plan on getting out of business within the foreseeable future, they're going to first copy the functionalities of the smaller organizations and then out-innovate them. At least that's what I would do if I were Elsevier. And the development of 2Collab or ScienceDirect show that they've been moving in this direction already before this survey. Now they have confirmation that this is the way to go.

Via Euan.
Posted on Friday 01 October 2010 - 11:47:21 comment: 0
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