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New paper out: "Discoverability in (a) Crisis"

In today’s world, we face many challenges such as climate change, the spread of infectious diseases, and global inequality. If we want to effectively tackle these complex issues, various stakeholders around the world have to work together. To do so, we need the ability to discover relevant research and to build on each other’s knowledge.

But this much-needed collaboration is currently at stake due to a crisis in discoverability. With three million publications per year as well as many new output formats (e.g. datasets, preprints, and source code), discoverability of scientific knowledge has become a challenge in itself. The on-going pandemic made this problem even more evident. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus we have witnessed an explosion of scientific publications and data related to it, and researchers struggle to stay on top of this knowledge.

Current proprietary discovery systems are not able to address the discoverability crisis appropriately because they lack innovation. Features like visualizations, recommendations, and semantic search that we are used to from other parts of our daily lives are not available to academics in these systems. This is where Open Knowledge Maps comes into play. The open and community-driven infrastructure takes on the discoverability crisis challenge by providing gamechanging services. Open Knowledge Maps’ search engine enables researchers, students, and practitioners to quickly identify relevant resources by creating knowledge maps. Instead of long, unstructured lists, it creates rich visual overviews of research topics. The infrastructure builds on library content and dramatically increases their visibility and discoverability. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Open Knowledge Maps has teamed up with ReFigure to address the specific discovery needs of scientists developing therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19. Together, we have launched CoVis, a curated knowledge map of seminal biomedical research works on COVID-19.

Open Knowledge Maps is part of the open discovery infrastructure, which provides many new and unique tools that go far beyond the functionality of traditional search engines. Open infrastructures also have many advantages that are particularly relevant to research organisations and libraries. They follow open standards and use open licenses for software, data and content, which facilitates migration between systems and avoid lock-in effects of closed offerings. Today, the open discovery infrastructure is the strongest driver for innovation in discovery.

The establishment of the open discovery infrastructure is an important step towards overcoming the discoverability crisis. However, to provide adequate discovery for research and all its stakeholders in societies around the world, further effort is needed. We have proposed four key actions that are necessary from our point of view. Eager to find out more?

Read our recently published paper
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