TheScientificWorld (http://www.thescientificworld.com) has launched a new file on its system, methodsBASE, which consists of the MethodsFinder file from BIOSIS (http://www.biosis.org) with some new content and features. On TheScientificWorld site, methodsBASE will have links to full-text articles and documents supplied from sciBASE, the megabase covering input from several established databases (MEDLINE, CAB Abstracts, and others) as well as full-text sources. It will also integrate with Lab Shelf, a service that allows users to purchase equipment and materials directly. As in MethodsFinder, users will have the option to add and publish protocols directly into methodsBASE.
The methodsBASE file covers studies relevant to laboratory work in the life sciences, including research and preparation, instrumentation, equipment specifications, measurement and analysis techniques, and experimental protocols and methods. The core of the 175,000-record methodsBASE continues to come from articles identified in the main Biological Abstracts bibliographic database. Articles that reflect substantive content on the methods used in life sciences carry pointers in the main BIOSIS file. Once identified, these records are transferred to methodsBASE. The original MethodsFinder file also added original records covering patents and links to manufacturers' and suppliers' Web sites, and these are also available in methodsBASE. The file updates weekly and allows browsing as well as searching. The methodsBASE service also offers current-awareness alerts based on user-interest profiles through the pupALERT service. Users of methodsBASE who are interested in posting their own protocols can use the i-PUBLISH feature on TheScientificWorld.
In announcing the new methodsBASE file, Jeffrey Hillier, president of information services at TheScientificWorld, Inc., said, "The integration of methodsBASE into our product offerings will continue to empower users to put research findings from disparate sources, including databases, into a relevant and scientifically useful context." According to Hillier, the methodsBASE service is now available only to institutional subscribers for $2,500 as a base price for a site license. In the future, they may also offer pay-per-view access. Currently, interested parties can have a free trial of the service.
The subscription pricing model reflects the same approach taken in marketing the old MethodsFinder file. Initially that file came out priced at $6,000 annually, but quickly dropped to $3,000. In announcing the new methodsBASE, Linda Sacks, senior vice president of product development and marketing at BIOSIS, said: "Our collaboration with TheScientificWorld on methodsBASE marks an important tactical step for BIOSIS. As BIOSIS moves to add more Web-based offerings, our partnership with TheScientificWorld demonstrates how effectively the Web can deliver an assortment of data and resources directly to researchers."
However, in private conversations, Sacks indicated that the move also reflected BIOSIS' continuing struggle with technical difficulties that persisted throughout the year of MethodsFinder's availability as a commercial project. Technical glitches made it difficult to meet the update frequencies anticipated, as well as to add new improvements and features. Finally, BIOSIS executives decided that it would be easier and a better service to the marketplace to let a partner handle the interface and loading problems and let BIOSIS concentrate on its content strengths. According to Sacks, the new methodsBASE will add 10 times the number of Web site links as in the past.
If the move to TheScientificWorld proves as successful for methodsBASE as anticipated, BIOSIS hopes to convert its existing MethodsFinder subscriber base to the new methodsBASE service.
BIOSIS is a not-for-profit organization publishing megabases that abstract and index the international literature of the biological, medical, and life sciences. It processes over 600,000 documents annually, from primary research and review journals to books, monographs, and conference proceedings.
TheScientificWorld, Inc. is a Web-based scientific online service to science professionals that supplies an integrated suite of products and services. Its coverage extends across several major scientific fields, including the life sciences, chemistry, physics, and environmental sciences.