Why KNODE/Wiley—And Why Now?
Given the huge investments being made in research and science, it’s little wonder that the number of companies releasing research networking products has grown so dramatically. As KNODE CEO David Steinberg explains, “[T]he push toward collaborative research and publishing is growing. The average number of co-authors per PubMed citation has grown from 1.5 in 1950 to around 4 in 2003 to over 5 in 2013, and today almost 10% of NIH grants are inter-institutional. What this all means is that identifying, profiling, and describing research expertise is becoming incredibly important. To succeed in scholarly publishing, researchers and organizations must do a better job—in a noisier environment—of finding each other, promoting themselves, and managing their collaborations. New tools, using the latest data mining and techniques, are required to address the challenges in this changing landscape. That’s exactly what Knode is designed to do.”
KNODE’s existing database, built on publicly available research data, has given the system a “rich, flexible database of experts and their content,” Steinberg says. “We can provide valuable capabilities for many kinds of organizations like universities, scholarly societies, regional organizations, and life science companies.” The company was created by Enlight, a consortium of pharmaceutical companies including Abbott, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Merck, Novo Nordisk, and Pfizer, first developed a concentration in the life sciences. It released a public beta version of KNODE a year ago.
“The research community is moving away from raw impact scores to measure research output towards KNODE’s approach, which is a more descriptive, broad-based measure of true ‘research signatures,’” says David C. Tharp, KNODE’s head of business development. “Based on this, there are several paths that we can take [our development of] these custom portals and our platform. What you’re seeing today is based off of our open system and there is an opportunity to add more tools for direct collaboration and outreach, while also adding custom data and analytics to slice and dice data for searches around different tasks, or tailor your respective view of experts in your field. We’re excited by the conversations we have with current and prospective users, as we’re constantly coming up with new uses and applications for the platform and the information gleaned from it.”
Adopted by the University of Iowa last fall, “KNODE is an automated, turn-key solution which relieves the burden for researchers of manually creating and curating their profiles, while also allowing them to edit their information in the portal” according to the school’s Jennifer Clothier Lassner, assistant VP for research and economic development. “In addition, our users can also search across the entire system for researchers at peer institutions and across the globe. KNODE has attracted a highly-regarded, international partner in Wiley and we look forward to future advances in the platform. We’re excited to see next-generation systems like KNODE become available and expect that users will dictate their evolution. Currently, companies, administrators, and researchers all use the portal but we could see others who want to connect to our university finding value in the database as well. Adding technology transfer opportunities to our researchers’ profiles is a clear way to generate interest in our research base, better characterizing that our researcher’s expertise is perhaps even more interesting and useful to prospective partners.”
John Reynders, Ph.D. and CIO at Moderna (and formerly with KNODE’s partner, AstraZeneca), notes that “the KNODE platform combines a focus upon the semantic integration of information with cloud-based architecture. Understanding how information connects in a semantic rather than co-occurrence context provides great insight and signal strength in forming hypothesis across information stores. And the cloud dimension ensures rapid scalability in the integration of new knowledge bases.”
Taunya Phillips Walker, associate VP of research commercialization at the University of Kentucky, describes the university’s choice of KNODE based on “the ease of getting the database populated and the functionality it provides. We spent a relatively small amount of time providing KNODE with the data they needed to get our database up and going. Our university community now has the ability to do a variety of searches on internal and external experts in the life sciences area, thereby fostering collaboration and allowing informed decisions to be made. The partnership with Wiley will make the KNODE database of information even more valuable, given the millions of documents Wiley has published. The more information, the more powerful the KNODE tool becomes.”
“Many of the research networking products complement each other,” according to Harvard Medical School’s Griffin Weber. “For example, KNODE worked with UCSF to create a plug-in for Profiles RNS, which is the product that my team developed. So, as KNODE improves, other products do too. As research networking products increasingly adopt data exchange standards, there will be new opportunities for integration, such as cross-institutional expertise discovery and collaboration. The problem of author disambiguation, which occurs when two investigators share the same name, continues to be a challenge when trying to build accurate investigator profiles. The non-profit organization ORCID is taking one approach of addressing this by assigning unique digital identifiers to authors. However, it might take many years before the use of these identifiers is commonplace.”