Top 3 Things to Look for When Evaluating a Solution to Accessing Scientific Literature

This is the last in our series of blog posts on “Automating Information Management and Discovery,” taken from a recent panel discussion around the unique research and information challenges of emerging life science organizations. The session provided cross-functional insights from those working in varying roles within small biotech and life science organizations, including compliance, technical writing, training, and information management.

Following are insights provided by our expert panelists when asked, “What were the top three things you were looking for when evaluating a solution to accessing scientific literature?”

You want to integrate all these different pieces of the puzzle: copyright, subscriptions, document delivery, storing, collaboration workflows and references.

Ease of use is obviously very important and making everything automated for [users], so copyright is automated. They don’t need to even think about it, it’s just done.  The system does it in the background, as well as that subscription piece.  I’ve seen so many times, companies subscribe to a journal, and then nobody knows that they have access to it, and it goes underused or unused completely. So, you want to be able to integrate subscriptions or prepaid tokens into the system.

And anything that you don’t have access to already through previously obtained content or through your subscriptions or open access, you have that capability where you can place an order.

Then automatic storing – you order a PDF, do you then have to upload it? You don’t want to have to rely on your colleagues to get it into this central [library] – so a system that automatically puts that into the [library] for you, so there is no more siloed content.

You want to be able to collaborate and work with your colleagues and annotate and add tags.

Also, can you then reference your content? Can you either export to a reference manager or does that literature management tool have its own site and rights functionality? Those are all really important features in literature management.”

Heather Desmarais

Heather Desmarais, President of HJD Consulting LLC

The first thing I was looking for was ease-of-use.

RightFind has a great interface that allows our scientists to go and use the tools that they’re used to using. There’s a huge barrier to entry if you’re adding time to the process that a scientist is using. So, because it integrates with PubMed and Google Scholar, which are the two search tools that my clients like to use, it is very easy sell to our management, but also to our scientists.

The second thing I was looking for was some sort of a collaborative space.

So, some way for our scientists to tell if something has already been ordered so it doesn’t fall into a black hole. It’s not something that they would print out and stick in a drawer, but they have the ability to collaborate between themselves without ever taking it out of the system. So, they can annotate and comment and do the sharing that they were doing before, but doing it in a protected workspace where the ‘losing the printed issue’ wasn’t going to occur.

And then finally, we wanted to make sure that it could grow with us.

So, …does it integrate with subscriptions? Because we weren’t sure at the time when we started our relationship with Copyright Clearance Center, whether we were using specific journals enough to subscribe to them. We spent a year purchasing articles through RightFind and then I ran reports within the system to see that …there’s one journal that we were purchasing more articles out of than a subscription would have cost us in that year. So, we were able to work with RightFind and the publisher to integrate a subscription with our RightFind subscription. So, now that’s sort of a seamless process and when our scientists go search, they can look at anything in that journal that we subscribe to. But again, it’s in the same place with the same potential collaboration.”

Sarah Jo Smith, APTD, Training Coordinator, Signature Science, LLC

I completely agree that the easy-to-use aspect is incredibly important, otherwise people just won’t use it. They will go around you. It has to be something they can be convinced of and part of ….An easier way to make groupings that can be shared, their specific projects, are an advantage for the scientists to be able to use. It can’t just be something that you’re imposing on them that they don’t see any point in having.

The thing that I’ve found in various companies I’ve been in – it’s an important feature – is rapid access to journal articles.

And in particular, it’s not the standard article, which are standard journals, but journals that are more obscure and sometimes book chapters that we need to get to that may be much more obscure, more difficult to find. Generally, the system for example, it’s rare I have to wait more than a few days for something coming from …the Astrobiology Journal about chemistry or something like that. So those are really the things that are most important for us.”

Lisa Geller, PhD, JD, Head of Intellectual Property, Frequency Therapeutics

For more expert insights and tips on automating information management for emerging life science organizations, view more from this blog series:

Automating Info Management & Discovery in Emerging Life Science Organizations – Part I (Challenges to Accessing Scientific Literature)

Automating Info Management & Discovery in Emerging Life Science Organizations – Part II (Copyright Considerations)

Want to learn how to reduce the time-consuming article retrieval process, facilitate collaboration across teams, maximize the value of content investments and simplify copyright compliance?  Visit CCC’s solutions page for emerging life science organizations.


Author: Keri Mattaliano

Keri Mattaliano is a Director of Corporate Solutions for the RightFind Suite in CCC’s Corporate Business Unit. Keri develops go-to-market strategies, conducts market research and competitive analysis, creates customer personas, and develops product positioning and sales training and tools to drive demand for our products. Keri started with CCC in 2011 and has had roles in customer service, account management and client engagement, including managing the client services team in Cologne, Germany in 2014 & 2015. According to the Master’s degree from Rutgers University that her dad framed, she is a librarian, however, she has never worked in a library.
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