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ScienceWise.com Launches B2B Workplace for the Science and Engineering Community
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Posted On May 1, 2000
ScienceWise.com might be a new name to some of us, but the company has been around a while, doing business for more than 10 years as Federal Information Exchange (FIE) and then Research and Management Systems, Inc. (RAMS) of Gaithersburg, Maryland (formerly http://www.rams.com or http://www.rams-fie.com). The newly launched site (http://www.sciencewise.com) is aiming to be a one-stop shop, "the B2B Workplace on the Web for science and engineering." To do so, the company has pulled in $7 million in venture capital funding and key partners such as Webforia (http://www.webforia.com) and ISI (http://www.isinet.com). And it has ramped up its staffing, redesigned its site, and expanded beyond its focus on research funding opportunities.

ScienceWise.com has been created to meet the needs of scientists and engineers who rely on research for their professional careers. The new site offers scientific content, news, and business tools and resources for scientists to stay current in their fields. According to the company, more than 100,000 science and engineering professionals are already active subscribers to ScienceWise.com services.

"ScienceWise.com offers comprehensive services—a workplace for science and engineering professionals where they can get information quickly and efficiently, reduce their administrative time, and collaborate with colleagues," explained John Rodman, president and CEO of ScienceWise.com. "We want scientists to have the time to do science, to let the best and brightest do research rather than spend their time with administrative duties." Rodman said he has worked at this goal for the last 30 years, twice heading up university research centers before founding RAMS.

ScienceWise.com offers a variety of information, products, and services; some are currently available and others are in development and will be added within the next few months. ScienceWise Alert offers personalized e-mail updates of grant funding opportunities matched to an individual professional's area of research and development. The service is available in a free version that includes listings from several Federal agencies, and in a premium subscription version that extends to all agencies plus corporate and other listings, currently priced at $178 a year. This model will be changing as of September 1, when access to all titles of all grant opportunities will be free, and the Premium version will provide an abstract, additional information, and personalization capabilities. Pricing is expected to be similar.

Journal Tracker is a subscription alert service offered in partnership with ISI, the well-known aggregator of published scientific research. It will provide a customized profile service that delivers via e-mail the table of contents, bibliographic information, and full article abstracts (where available) upon publication of each new issue of selected journals. When the service is implemented, there will be two subscription levels available. Users may select up to 10 journal titles for $69 a year, or 11 to 25 titles for $109 a year. Subscribers may then choose to purchase the full text of an article for an additional fee, payable by credit card.

The Journal Tracker service is the same one that ISI makes available through the Web to academic and corporate individuals and enterprise customers. The partnership with ScienceWise.com extends the availability of ISI's information to unique individual market sectors beyond its heavily academic clientele. In addition, the partnership provides for ScienceWise.com content and funding opportunities to be added to the product portfolio.

ScienceWise.com will also provide free access to two other ISI resources. Science Watch is a newsletter that monitors emerging fields, assesses performance in research, and presents interviews with leading scientists. The Hot Papers Database is an analytical tool that tracks the most noteworthy and significant recent journal literature as assessed by the scientific community, allowing users to identify and monitor important findings and key trends within the most recent two-year period. The database will be keyword searchable. It will not be quite as current as the same database available to ISI subscribers.

ScienceWise.com provides a list of the day's science news headlines, currently linking to the full text at the Science Daily Magazine site, and to UniSci (Daily University Science News). Marilyn Keyes, vice president of marketing for ScienceWise.com, said they are in discussions with other key content providers that will bring in additional news, as well as other resources such as journal articles and encyclopedia content.

The company is also building a Career Center with job hunting resources, scholarships, and employment listings. It will be free to job seekers; companies will be charged to list jobs with the site. Also in development is a Marketplace for scientific products and services. Books and software are now available and supplies will be added soon. The company hopes to later add an auction capability for equipment.

ScienceWise.com also plans to build community features for the site that provide discussion opportunities, chat, online events, file sharing and calendar features. Keyes said they have developed proprietary software, ScienceWise Project, which will allow e-mail and documents to be shared within a private group, and provide for threaded discussions. The software is expected to be available in the next few months and will be free to groups of 10 or less and available for licensing to larger groups.

The site is hosted by Webforia, which in February made a $2 million investment in ScienceWise.com, giving Webforia a significant minority stake in the business. Besides hosting, Webforia will also bring the customized applications, services, and its other business partnerships to ScienceWise.com. Webforia's recently announced deal with CNN for content will allow targeted science news from CNN to be added to ScienceWise.com. The Webforia Clickbar will be available in a version customized for ScienceWise.com.

Rodman said: "Webforia's investment enabled us to get to market faster and cheaper than we originally anticipated. Their resources were exactly what we need to strengthen our own branded products and services. We're in the business of science, and by partnering with Webforia, we can focus on the scientific needs of our community and offer members the great tools and services for business offered by Webforia. This is an industry-leading service to our members."

Rodman said the site is not aiming to compete with EiVillage or other deep, vertical sites, such as associations. Instead, ScienceWise.com aims to be broad and cross-disciplinary, and its goal is to partner and co-brand with the vertical sites and with key content providers and e-commerce partners.

Finally, Rodman has just told Information Today that ScienceWise.com has arranged for a strategic content and e-commerce partnership with the well-known and respected publisher Congressional Quarterly. The partnership will particularly enrich the science policy section of ScienceWise.com and will provide the opportunity to boost shared revenues to both organizations through e-commerce sales of CQ-published material on ScienceWise.com. The site will post and sell science-related articles from The CQ Researcher, including past issues. Summaries, photos, and tables of content will be available for free, but entire articles will be available to ScienceWise.com registered members for a fee. The CQ Researcher has been a staple of academic libraries and news organizations, and this arrangement will now make it accessible to individuals.

For more information, visit the ScienceWise.com site, send e-mail to info@sciencewise.com, or call 800/875-2562.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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