An overview of digital tools for scientific publications and project funding

Digitalisation continues to evolve, with the emergence of new digital tools. SaaS platforms, web portals, mobile applications and more are innovations that have changed our personal and professional daily lives.

Paradoxically, scientific research has been at the forefront of the use of various cutting-edge technologies, like big data in the so-called “omics” approaches in biology for example, but it’s lagging behind for the in-depth digital transformation of its daily activities.

This paradox is undoubtedly linked to the existence of a multitude of digital tools, often complex and poorly integrated. This heterogeneity is a source of confusion among researchers, many of whom are sticking to basic tools such as Excel or Google Calendar to manage their work.

Here are some examples of digital tools that are fairly widespread in two key areas for research: scientific literature and project funding.

Digital tools for scientific literature

The volume of scientific publications is an key indicator of research activity. And since a few years, it has been increasing continuously.

However, researchers face a problem: They have to pay a fee to be able to access articles from their peers and even their own publications. Hence the emergence of the “open science” movement that has led to the creation of numerous platforms enabling researchers to write their articles, publish them, make them available to the scientific community and freely consult them.

Digital tools for scientific literature meet several needs of researchers:

  • Exploring
    The most used are specialized search engines that help scientists quickly find articles of interest for them and stay up-to-date with the evolution of their field;
  • Writing
    Research is increasingly dependent on collaborations between laboratories. Collaborative writing tools have emerged to help researchers write their articles while closely following the changes made by others;
  • Publishing
    Thanks to open access platforms, all researchers can view their articles for free. They can also maximize the exposure of their work. Finally, a set of tools designed to support the publication of articles brings additional functionalities, such as the integration of executable code in an article;
  • Assessing
    New collaborative platforms are changing the way in which the scientific value of publications is evaluated. The evaluation system becomes more open and instantaneous, avoiding the traditional filter of scientific journals.

Explore/Manage

Write Publish

Assess

Scientific Watch

Google Reader

Netvibes

Visualisation 

ACS ChemWorx

Elsevier

 

Search & Management

EndNote

RefWorks

CiteULike

Papers

BibTex

CiteUlike

Google Scholar

Mendeley et Zotero (collaborative)

Collaborative

Atlas

Authorcafe

Authorea

Fidus Writer

Stackedit

Typewrite

 

Specialized Tools

Ludwig

Ref-n-Write

Writefull

Open access platforms

eLife

F1000Research

GigaScience

PeerJ

ScienceOpen

 

Sharing

biorXiv

Figshare

Peerage of Science

 

Support & Advice

Collage Authoring Environment

Exec&Share / RunMyCode

Google Charts

 

Peer Assessment

F1000

Journal Review

Labii

Paper Critic

Pubmed Commons

ScienceOpen

Altmetrics

Altmetric

ImpactStory

PLOS Article-Level Metrics PlumAnalytics

Digital tools for the funding of scientific projects

Project funding is a major issue for scientific research. Despite the effort of public authorities and various foundations, the budgetary resources allocated to research are not always up to the task.

It is therefore necessary to find additional sources of financing. Crowdfunding is an example of a worthwhile alternative to finance small and inexpensive research projects more quickly.

Projects requiring large investments follow a more traditional and heavier cycle, based on the filing of a funding request. Several tools have been developed to help researchers in this activity.

France

USA

Crowdfunding Platforms

CysmykDavincicrowd

Thellie

ExperimentSciFun Challenge

SciFlies

Consano

Support Tools for Funding Documents

Grant Forward

Instrumentl

Pivot COS

Publiconn

LabsExplorer

 

Key takeaways

Modern research is changing and scientific projects are increasingly dependent on complex technologies. Nevertheless, this technological dependence is not accompanied on a daily basis by a profound transformation of scientific activities. This paradox is partly explained by the heterogeneity, the complexity and the lack of integration of available tools.