#FuturePub London - New Developments in Scientific Collaboration Tech

On Wednesday night Junior Consultant Shalini attended the first #FuturePub London event of the year, hosted by John Hammersley from Overleaf. Overleaf is a startup and social enterprise that builds modern collaborative authoring tools to help make science and research faster, more open and more transparent, to find out about advancements in scientific collaboration technology and how this will affect STM publishing in the future. At the event there was a series of 6 mini talks, introducing new forms of technology by the developers.

Pint of Science is an annual festival of talks across three days in pubs and cafes to make new research more accessible, which has quickly snowballed into a world-wide phenomenon taking on a life of its own. There are now around 600 events across 24 countries, and there has even been a beer which has been created from this, so you can literally have a pint of science. The festival is popular not only amongst the scientific community, but also to those outside of this as the speakers are always advised to make their delivery jargon-free.

RosettaHUB aims to connect the dots between online clouds and research software, as well as other tools, to offer a platform for collaborative science. It’s easy for scientists to access as a service in the browser and work in collaboration with peers in real-time, without any delay.

Heron is a company which takes an AI approach to discuss and resolve contradictions made in different research papers. They do this by building an online graphical map of science by extracting relevant data to be compared without having to read through the whole text.

Research Square aims to increase the popularity of preprints by offering the option to publish a preprint version of a full paper whilst under consideration and going through the peer review process to speed up the dissemination of important information. The platform offers many interactive solutions to collaboration, with notes made by readers being accessible to peer reviewers as well as the paper’s author. Authors will have more control over the process as they will be able to see a workflow of their paper’s delivery and they have seen a 52% opt-in rate so far.

Similarly, Scholarcy, is another AI solution for the information overload experienced through research. The Chrome extension digests papers, articles and preprints into condensed core parts which can then be added to a core library for future ease of access. To publishers, it can offer discoverability without giving too much away as it picks out key points of papers with hyperlinked citations and definitions for lay readers into an interactive flashcard and has a high success rate.

With the amount of papers being published, and a range of ways by which they can be accessed, Researcher is to offer a social media-like feed in a mobile app with all of the sources in one place. Users can apply filters to have a personalised feed of information, set up notifications and share papers with Whatsapp-like groups to open discussion. The app will be able to identify trending papers amongst readers, offering an easy and remote way by which users can keep up to date with research being published.

It was really interesting to hear about the direction in which STM publishing is going, with so many advancements being made and focus being put on collaboration amongst peers. These bite-size talks gave a great insight into the changing publishing landscape, and how traditional methods of publishing can adapt and should be embraced when considering how to quickly share information and how the process can become even more collaborative.