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EBSCO Invests in 2 Innovative Research Platforms

Library research provider EBSCO Information Services has invested in two innovative open access research-oriented companies. The first, Code Ocean, is a cloud-based "computational reproducibility" application that lets researchers and developers create, share, discover and run scientific code. The second, protocols.io, is a service for academic and industry researchers to record and share detailed up-to-date methods for research. Besides investing in both companies, EBSCO will also become a Code Ocean reseller.

EBSCO works with libraries to provide access to research resources through its Discovery Service and other products.

Code Ocean grew out of co-founder Simon Adar's postdoctoral work in hyperspectral image processing at Cornell University's Cornell Tech. During his research, Adar had looked to previously published works and tried to build on them. But, as Adar described in a Medium article, he stumbled across the challenge of "reproducibility" — being unable to reproduce the findings of others' work. So, he teamed up with Ram Dayan to build a platform with the purpose of increasing "the pace of science." Code Ocean allows authors of scientific articles to upload code and data in any open source language or MATLAB or Stata and provide a working computational environment where others can come in, change the parameters, change the code, upload their own data and then run the experiment over to see what changes occur in the results. The system runs in the cloud.

"Working together with EBSCO as an investor and as a reseller will help bring Code Ocean to a global audience for publishing, reproducibility and day-to-day research," said Adar in a statement,

Protocols.io was co-founded by three researchers. Alexei Stoliartchouk, Irina Makkaveeva and Lenny Teytelman came up with the idea after seeing Teytelman's futile efforts to correct a step in a previously published protocol introduced during his postdoctoral research at MIT. Teytelman spent a year and a half on the effort. As the company noted, "because it was just a correction rather than a new technique, he had no good way of communicating this knowledge to other scientists using the same method."

"As a software developer, I found it absurd that scientists did not have something like GitHub for sharing their protocols," said Makkaveeva.

The program helps researchers develop, organize, troubleshoot and disseminate methods before, during and after publication. And it enables institutions to maintain their stewardship over that aspect of research output. Protocols.io is free to anyone who shares work openly; individual, group or site-wide enterprise licenses are available for private use.

The program has been funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The investment from EBSCO will allow the company to continue advancing the development of the service. The company said that hundreds of journals already recommend and integrate protocols.io in their various submission, review and publication systems.

Teytelman said he expects that the partnership with EBSCO will increase its adoption and the amount of sharing done on the platform. "EBSCO is lending us the expertise, support and scale to build out our mission alongside other important startups in this new exciting ecosystem. We expect to bring the company to sustainability, far faster than would be possible without EBSCO's involvement."

The investments come a few months after EBSCO announced a partnership with Arkivum. The latter provides a system for protecting and discovering institutions' long-term data collections. In that arrangement, Arkivum Perpetua was being integrated with EBSCO Discovery Service to provide a combined solution so that archival content could be discovered, viewed and used alongside other institutional resources.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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