2016: A Year of Global Investments, Grants and Growth
The world is a different place now compared to the world we knew at the start of 2016. For many, the global changes that we’ve seen are unwelcome and are the political manifestation of many factors including the real-world effects of globalisation, the decisions stemming from the financial crisis in 2008 and the rise of the Internet. These factors, together with their new manifestations in the “Brexit effect” (voting patterns) and post-truth politics (the rhetoric of the US election), affect us all as people and also affect Digital Science as a business.
During the turmoil of 2016 Digital Science made a decision as to what type of business we wanted to be in the future. The decision was in no way out of step with who we were or who we always wanted to be, but 2016 seemed to make it all the more important to say it and to ensure that it is known. We not only want to be a business that grows and gives back to the broad research community from which it came, but we also want to embody the culture of our colleagues in research. Digital Science is a place where anyone can work, regardless of their country of origin, regardless of their gender, faith, sexuality or any other appropriate diversity criteria. Lots of companies have such things written in their company handbook, but embracing these ideas and really making them part of the DNA of the business is another thing. It means finding innovative solutions to tough problems around hiring; it means committing to visa applications and to supporting people who want to move to work with other talented people; it means reviewing policies that have stood for a number of years and really looking hard to see if there is a way to make some things fairer.
In 2016, Digital Science turned six years old, but I hope that we also reached a different level of maturity as a company. It’s difficult to describe Digital Science as a startup anymore but from the energy of staff in the company, the will to do things professionally yet pragmatically and cleverly, the belief in our mission to improve the experience of researchers in their work, it is difficult to see how we’ve fundamentally changed from the startup that we were six years ago. I think that the main change I’ve seen is that we feel an even greater responsibility than ever “to do the right thing”. It’s difficult to put into words what that really means, but improving our professional services at the centre of Digital Science is important; ensuring that when any of the portfolio companies releases a new version of their product, the attention to detail is staggering; the time spent working with clients to really understand their problems and the willingness of clients to spend time with our teams is gratifying.
Below, you’ll read about the fantastic year our portfolio companies have had. Here, I just wanted to mention a couple of successes within the broader Digital Science community. Digital Science completed investments into TetraScience and Transcriptic, two exciting new startups in the US, each of which is well placed to change the way that labs work in the future. We published four Digital Research Reports, collaborated with Figshare and Springer Nature on a report on the State of Open Data, released the Digital Research Yearbook at the Royal Society in October, produced a white paper on the “New Research Data Mechanics” and worked with the UArctic collaboration to show how much work is being done on “Arctic Science”.
As we look forward to 2017, the amount of exciting and innovative projects just seems to multiply (perhaps slightly alarmingly to those on the team here at Digital Science)…
The Digital Science team wishes you all the best for 2017…keep watching this space!
Highlights from our portfolio
2016 was a big year for Altmetric with lots of new partnerships, projects and announcements! The year started with Summon discovery service adding Altmetric badges to their database. NISO announced the new Data Quality Code of Conduct for altmetrics in February which both Euan and Jean had a hand in putting together. Our first partnership of the year came in March with IEEE adding Altmetric badges into their Xplore Digital Library. We announced the very first Altmetric Research Grant in March which was awarded to Dr Lauren Cadwallader, Open Access Research Advisor at the University of Cambridge, in June. Our first major update to our functionality came in April when Altmetric data for Books was added to the Explorer. Later that month we partnered with Figshare giving users the ability to see Altmetric data on their database. Our summer began with the launch of our next big functionality update: the inclusion of Scopus Citations to details pages in the Altmetric Explorer. In July we had two more major integrations with the announcement that Profiles RNS and ÜberResearch added Altmetric badges to their databases. In September we added Syllbus data from the Open Syllabus Project to the Explorer showing where individual books had been included in Syllabi in over 4,000 institutions worldwide. Our biggest milestone of the year was the release of Version 2 of the Explorer for Institutions in September which features a completely revamped user experience including new visualisations, reporting and searching features. Our last big partnerships of the year were with Pubmed Central and IOP Publishing, both integrating Altmetric data. As always we finished the year with our Top 100 list of the most discussed research of the year with none other than President Barack Obama at the top spot!
With over 160,000 safety training courses delivered to scientists worldwide through BioRAFT, 2016 was a great year for safety and for the BioRAFT team. In addition to adding new life sciences, higher education, and medical device customers, BioRAFT kept its ongoing promise to the community to continually improve its suite of software and services. We released major enhancements to our IBC Biological Registration, Inspection, and Equipment Modules, and implemented powerful new dashboards that provide real-time, actionable data for EHS and for leadership across our customers’ organizations. BioRAFT also continued to be a major supporter of the EHS community through our thought leadership series and sponsorship of industry events: we hosted major educational webinars including one on The New View, a methodology for building safety conscious organizations, and attended 21 conferences/symposia. Of course, this all was accomplished by our amazing team, which increased by fifty percent in 2016, working closely in collaboration with our passionate and dedicated customers. We can’t wait to see what we will accomplish together in 2017!
Whilst 2016 was not everyone’s favourite year, from our point of view it was the most successful across a variety of measures. We now have over 3 million public articles, with 26 million page views, 7.5 million downloads and over 10 thousand citations. This year was spent building some great new features including Collections, Public Projects, Altmetric & Github integration, curation workflows, reporting and statistic dashboards, new file viewers and a number of search and discovery enhancements. We announced over 20 new partnerships with institutions and publishers including Amsterdam University, Royal Society Publishing, Springer Nature and Carnegie Mellon University, to name a few. Understanding the importance of working with the research community, we attended and spoke at conferences in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. We also expanded our community conference figshare fest, holding four events around the world – many more to come in 2017. In partnership with Digital Science and Springer Nature we published the first, “State of Open Data report” featuring the results of a survey of over 2,000 researchers on their attitude to data publishing featuring contributions from thought leaders all over the world. We look forward to an even better 2017!
During the first year we released the GRID database to the public, we added over 17,000 new records through manual curation, three new external identifiers to make it easier to link out to other datasets, and released our own RDF version of GRID for download to help out our linked data enthusiasts. We have already planned a host of exciting new improvements for the upcoming year. We are looking into increasing coverage of our current external identifiers, especially Wikidata IDs, as well as including some new ones to our already comprehensive coverage. Most importantly, we decided to further support the open data community in 2017 by making changes to the GRID license and going CC0, making it even easier to use in conjunction with other open datasets and software.
This year at Labguru we have diversified functionality with our clients and partners, including an improved Samples table for experiments. Large institutions continue to adopt Labguru, as well as a number of academic research institutions, biotech companies and government labs across the US, the Netherlands, France and Australia. The Labguru team will be out on a number of road trips in 2017 so do look out for us.
2016, Wow! What a year full of growth and excitement at Overleaf. We’re happy to share that as of the end of 2016, Overleaf has over 500,000 registered users, and over 6,000,000 documents have been created using Overleaf. That’s a lot of work and brain-power! We have 175 advisors promoting and supporting Overleaf around the world; over 20 institutional partnerships – and more to announce in early 2017; and over 20 publishing partnerships – which includes hundreds of journal authoring templates and simplified, 1-click submission links. Our authors can now write, collaborate, and submit to a number of journals with 1 click, directly from Overleaf! We have happily posted 64 blog articles; reached 33,398 Twitter followers and tweeted 1,265 nuggets of gold! We thank all of our incredible users and supporters – and we’re fired up to continue the incredible fun and momentum in 2017!
As 2016 winds down – we wanted to take this opportunity to send our most sincere thanks to all of our users, partners, collaborators, and colleagues for being part of the ReadCube & Papers family. This year, we surpassed all of our goals, and we could not have done it without your support. While there were many special moments this year – here are some of our favorites…
- Over 40 million people used ReadCube and Papers technology to read, discover and manage their literature in 2016! That is almost three times as much since last year!
- 219 million articles were read in ReadCube this year! That’s over 611,000 each day!
- Our readers spent over 1534 years’ worth of time reading in ReadCube in 2016 which is almost 4.4 years reading each day!
- Over 52 million articles are now available as Enhanced PDFs within ReadCube’s web, desktop and mobile applications.
- We have partnered with another 15 publishers and industry partners for a total of over 85 to date! New partners this year include: HighWire Press, Ingenta Connect, Taylor & Francis, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, The Geological Society of London, The Electrochemical Society and Liverpool University Press.
You can check out all the highlights in our end of year rundown via http://rdcu.be/n7jV and stay tuned for updates on all the exciting projects planned for the upcoming year via @readcube
Symplectic has had an exciting year in which we turned 13 years old! Our team managed three successful conferences, in Cambridge (UK), Melbourne, and Duke (Durham, NC). Elements v5.0 was released to rapturous critical acclaim, with a new UI and Assessment Module. We launched a new hosting service, with uptake from institutions around the world, and released a popular open-source ‘Bootstrapped’ VIVO theme at the VIVO conference in Denver. Symplectic now have clients in 2/3 of the THE World Top 25 Universities!
2016 has wildly exceeded TetraScience’s expectations. Our customer base has grown 5x, network 6x, and revenue 10x. One of our main highlights was launching a new product, TetraScience Utilization, further delivering on our vision to provide a deep and dynamic mission control for R&D labs. These accomplishments are directly attributed to the hard work of our phenomenal team. With loftier ambitions in 2017, we hope to add 10 members to our team in Q1 alone across multiple functions (engineering, marketing, operations, and sales – see here for jobs).
The third year of operations for ÜberResearch saw lots of exciting developments, in several different directions. The Dimensions database brought in many new sources, including from Russia, China and Japan, bringing the new total to over 3.4 million projects from 250 funders, and more than $1 Trillion of funding! The addition of new funding sources will continue into 2017 and beyond, and forms the backbone for not just Dimensions for Funders, but also the recently launched Dimensions for Publishers, as well as a new Dimensions interface for researchers coming in early 2017. 2016 also saw the integration of the Altmetric attention score into Dimensions for clients who use both platforms – bringing an extra splash of colour to the publications data in Dimensions with the Altmetric donuts!
Happy New Year! Enjoy our fireworks of data!