Research Square recently entered into a partnership with MyScienceWork, provider of a leading international scientific platform for researchers and institutions. Through its global community and array of services, MyScienceWork helps share and promote research findings, and as part of the collaboration, MyScienceWork will offer Research Square’s Video Abstracts through its Polaris platform. In light of the new partnership, I caught up with MyScienceWork’s CEO and co-founder, Virginie Simon, for a quick interview. For more about the partnership, please see MyScienceWork’s news page or our press release.
Ben Mudrak: Tell us a little more about the history of MyScienceWork and the launch of Polaris.
Virginie Simon: The MyScienceWork adventure began during my PhD in nanotechnology for cancer therapy. As a biologist, I was working with physicists, chemists, computer scientists… Finding the information I needed and communicating with these other fields was such a struggle. I was sure that if a comprehensive, multidisciplinary platform existed, it would be so much easier. So, once I defended my thesis, I immediately focused on creating MyScienceWork.
Since then, our scientific community and the services we are able to offer have grown and multiplied. In early 2014, we launched our offer for institutions, the Polaris platforms for research promotion. Polaris provides labs, departments, research centers—any group of scientists, really—with a website that serves as their face to the world. It provides a clear, complete image of their research, and helps them maximize their impact.
BM: How do research institutions benefit from Polaris?
VS: After talking to lots of research groups of different types, we understood that they all face the same challenges in terms of visibility for themselves and the work they produce: How can they make their research stand out when thousands of studies are published every day? How can they find people with the right expertise to ensure their future collaborations are successful? And how can they reach out into the world to have a bigger impact on society? The Polaris platforms address all of these issues.
For starters, Polaris serves as a repository of an institution’s research production, as well as a space where networking can happen, thanks to individual member profiles. Administrators of a platform have access to a dashboard with metrics that allow them to track their readership and monitor progress.
To maximize impact, we offer communication services transforming research into accessible, enjoyable formats and disseminating them across MyScienceWork’s entire multidisciplinary community. This includes not just researchers, but students, journalists, policy makers, and the simply curious about science. PR is another way we assist Polaris clients, helping PIs and lab directors share the most important messages about their research with different target audiences.
BM: What kinds of groups find Polaris useful?
VS: We kept hearing about the same needs, around the science world, for promoting research and researchers. So, Polaris has attracted an interesting variety of scientific communities.
Stanford’s AIMS, for instance, is an association of postdocs that works to connect its members with jobs and mentors in industry by providing networking opportunities. The goal of the LBMCC, a non-profit cancer lab, is to increase its visibility to ensure productive collaborations and future funding. A graduate school in biology at the University Pierre and Marie Curie, in Paris, adopted the platform for their current students and alumni, as a tool to begin preparing their future research career now.
These are some typical examples. Next, we’ll be working with a large foundation, supporting its community of 1,500 research fellows, and a non-profit, Ocean Sanctuaries, to optimize their citizen science conservation efforts. Small, independent scientific publishers, like Ashdin Publishing, are another community that’s keen to work with Polaris. Visibility is vital to their success, for drawing high quality submissions to their journals and increasing their readership. And that’s something we are eager to promote.
BM: What was appealing about adding Video Abstracts to the offerings in Polaris?
VS: Communication among people with different backgrounds or specialties is at the heart of the mission of all those groups I just mentioned. Research Square’s Video Abstracts are exactly what we mean by accessible, digestible ways of presenting research that allow its impact to go well beyond a few specialists in the lab. Their clear, visual explanations make it easier for anyone to grasp what’s important about a new scientific study. Sometimes a nice animation is worth a thousand words!
Video content is also very popular online, and science is no exception. The Video Abstracts provide our clients with visibility, both with scientists and with the public, in a short, accurate format. They are easy to share on all social media and within MyScienceWork’s large network of 500,000 members worldwide. It’s becoming easier for scientists to collaborate with companies like Research Square and MyScienceWork to make their research more available while they focus their own time on doing science.
BM: Thanks so much for sharing some information about MyScienceWork and Polaris. We look forward to a long-lasting partnership increasing the visibility of research.