Scrazzl: from literature to lab equipment
There has been plenty of excitement about publishers opening up their data to be used in new applications. The vision is that new tools will emerge that help researchers in ways that may not have been thought of by publishers and could not easily be provided by publishers themselves.
A Dublin-based startup has developed a way of extracting insight into laboratory instruments and materials from the experimental sections of journal articles (from Elsevier SciVerse).
“I was at a meeting and met a product manager at Elsevier just as they were starting to open up their APIs and we realised that the methods section of papers mentions equipment all the time,’ explained David Kavanagh, the founder. ‘Scientists could benefit from applications using this, but we could also make money from it. It makes sense for scientists and for the companies that supply materials and equipment and it is also scaleable and a value-add for publishers.’
The Scrazzl application pulls all the product information out of a journal paper and organises that information by company. This is supplemented with links to product descriptions and user-generated content such as product reviews. It can also link with inventory control so that a researcher can see that their lab does have a sample of, for example, a particular antibody and in which freezer it is stored.
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