journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution introduced such a feature, requesting each author to provide text, 120 characters long, describing their manuscript’s key finding. Following success, other journals, including BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, have taken the same step. As Sack points out: ‘[In our case] the reader can edit the tweet and I think that’s the cool thing. So instead of appearing in the journal’s or the author’s tweet stream, the tweet will appear in the reader’s tweet stream and I think this is even better.’

Scholarly publishing players are discovering that the audience for research is much broader than originally thought

to make even more accurate recommendations.’ ‘Technologies that drive content based on behavioural patterns means that published articles by younger researchers can potentially share the spotlight with the work of more broadly published authors, a career-changing opportunity,’ he adds.

Shifting landscape For HighWire’s John Sack, the rising demand for what he coins ‘instant comprehension’ stems from more fundamental changes taking place in discoverability right now. Researchers and academics have long been pre-occupied with keeping up- to-date with recently published information, and librarians have provided ‘current-awareness’ services accordingly. But this state-of-play is evolving. ‘Researchers have wanted to keep up with their field, and we’ve called this the ‘just in case model,’ says Sack. ‘But search engines are now so good [at providing information] that there’s no real need for researchers to stay aware of everything; when they want information, they just ask. This

is the “just in time model”.’ Sack also believes this shift from discovering information ‘just in case’, to accessing it ‘just in time’, will gather momentum as younger generations of researcher join academia. And at the same time, the use of social media in discoverability it going to gain an ever greater foothold.

Researchers are increasingly alerting colleagues of new information via Twitter or Facebook and, according to Sack, a publisher will need to know where its audience is reading this information and ensure its own material is on that channel. ‘Twenty years ago this meant getting yourself on Pubnet; 12 years ago it meant getting onto Google Scholar; and now it probably means getting your content onto social media channels in a way that’s appropriate to that medium,’ he says.

Given these developments, Highwire recently teamed up with a publisher that uses so-called tweetable abstracts that can be generated as a reader peruses an article. As early as 2013, the online-only

16 Research Information JUNE/JULY 2016

Kudos’ Rapple believes that social media is gaining in importance for the discoverability of all areas of research.

‘Again we are beginning to see studies on social media and, while we don’t yet have conclusive answers, I think it’s indisputable that authors are using this at all stages of research from discussing ideas to promoting published research,’ she says. ‘And this is making research output more

‘Recommendation tools are

continually being updated’

discoverable as well as the entire research process.’ Indeed, with research promotion in mind, Elsevier set up its daily news platform, ‘Elsevier Connect’, in part to address the pressures on academics to showcase research to funders, policy-makers and the general public. Articles are promoted through the publisher’s social media channels. And as Haak points out: ‘Last year, the news site attracted 1.5 million unique visitors and has enabled many

authors to tell their stories to a vast multi-disciplinary research community, as well as an extensive lay audience.’ But for Haak, social media is also important to ease a researcher’s workflow. ‘Tools that enable researchers to personalise search parameters by integrating social and traditional research results are crucial to ensuring workflow efficiency,’ he says. ‘Sharing platforms such as Mendeley, social scientific networks and other technologies allows teams to be located anywhere in the world, so researchers can work seamlessly across different platforms.’

Beyond discoverability As more and more scholarly publishing players focus on making content more discoverable, HighWire’s Sack also highlights how industry needs to look very closely at accessibility. ‘You’ve found something you want to look at but how easily can you get access to it?’ he asks. ‘Legitimate researchers are university-affiliated, but they go home at night... and don’t have good access.’

For its part, Highwire Press is working with search engines so any user can get an instant indication of whether or not the content that he or she is curious about is ‘free’ or requires a subscription. For example, the company recently integrated ‘CHORUS’ to its platform so authors and their publishers can more easily make mandated research freely available. ‘Content can be tagged so a researcher can see it in a search engine, Google, or Google Scholar, and know that it’s accessible now,’ he says. ‘As open access becomes more successful as a business model, this becomes easier, but accessibility is a new frontier that we’re working on.’



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