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Posted: May 15, 2012
It's research, Jim, but not as we know it - Crowdsourcing promised radical changes to the way research is done
(Nanowerk News) The collective knowledge across scholarly research is growing exponentially, however much of it can be found buried in desk drawers, left unloved on servers or locked away behind publisher paywalls. Our ability to search, harvest and interpret this information is hugely significant for encouraging future advances and helping researchers organize and navigate a growing ocean of research papers.
So how can we change the world of research for the better?
Mendeley gives control of research data back to the community in an effort to make research more collaborative, open, and efficient.
Already an established research management tool, over the last three years, Mendeley has built a searchable database of research now numbering in excess of 225 million documents. At the same time, the 1.6 million Mendeley users worldwide have become a social ecosystem for research - sharing, commenting and collaborating on research together across the Internet.
With one of the largest research databases in the world, Mendeley is not only helping to liberate knowledge - now it is using crowdsourcing to help us understand the impact of it. Using metadata from the growing database, and collaborative filtering technologies Mendeley learns about users' preferences and interests and then connects them to people with similar interests. It also highlights and recommends related papers for reading that might have been missed. Crowdsourcing heralds a new way of working for researchers, where documents can be 'pushed' to them based on who they are as individuals, rather than them having to be sought our via search engines - saving them time, and ensuring the widest possible understanding of the body of literature available.
Mendeleys' crowdsourcing is now producing real-time data on content usage and providing never-before-seen insight into how academics collect, read, share, and annotate their research. This presents a possible future for academic research where collective knowledge can be distilled and patterns within specific fields identified and analyzed.
Mendeleys' Open API gives accessibility to this data back to the research community for them to freely explore and 'mashup'. Already, apps built using Mendeleys' crowdsourced data, such as ReaderMeter and openSNP, are providing a greater understanding of content consumption and new metrics measuring the real-time impact of research.
Whilst the company is only three years young, it is already boldly innovating the research process and throwing open the doors to academic data.