[eBrief] Putting the Researcher in the Driver’s Seat: The Race to Connecting Workflow Tools in Life Sciences Research

There is an ocean of published scientific literature out there and the tide is rising. PubMed, a medical database, lists about 24 million records. With at least 50 million scholarly journal articles already filling information pipelines and 2.5 million more added each year, the pace is only accelerating. And on the bottom of all of it is data. Never before, have so many data sources been available to feed scientific research, either generated in the lab or published online.

Data isn’t the only thing that has proliferated—there has been a veritable explosion of workflow tools dedicated to the changing ways of scholarly research: tools for searching, monitoring, curating, analyzing, connecting, managing, and collaborating. Yet, in the era of big data, what’s needed is a way to tame complexity, not create more of it.

There is a remarkable scientific research revolution underway: technology that facilitates highly personalized research workflows is being developed and will soon become mainstream. Far more valuable than simply presenting information, personalized access tools will put the researcher in the driver’s seat, making the best of available content and data by pinpointing to what’s important. Personalization will dramatically improve the way researchers in all fields are able to work — and the revolution can’t begin soon enough.

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