Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beyond the Book with Elsevier's Rafael Sidi

From his beyond the book series, Chris Kennealy interviews Rafael Sidi, Elsevier VP of Product Management for Applications Marketplace and Developer Network.
“We are letting [researchers] play with our data and build on top of our data stuff that they need to build. In the end, scientists and researchers know their problem better than us.”

Sidi cited a variety of innovative application efforts, including for SciVerse, which offers developers access to Elsevier content, and the community driven projects Apps for Science Challenge and Apps for Library Idea Challenge. (Interview)
Some clips from the transcript of the interview:

So what we are trying to do with the data, we want to give access to our data as we’ve been giving, to make that data easily remixable, reusable among the developers. And wanting that, I’ve been saying that if we let the data to be used by the scientists, by the researchers within our environment, they are going to be able to create much, much better solutions. They are going to be able to create solutions that we couldn’t have imagined.

So what we are doing is just we are going to the crowd. We are letting them play with our data and build on top of our data stuff that they need to build, because at the end, scientists and researchers, they know their problem better than us, in some cases, and what we are doing, we are giving them the tools and we are providing the services for them in this application and developer network in our framework so that they can build using our services and tools.

Good question. What we are trying to do right now is to reach out to the community, to the crowd. We’ve been doing different challenges. I mentioned we had a challenge at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Our first one was at New Jersey Institute of Technology. And what we are doing right now, currently we have two different challenges going on.

One, we call it Apps for Science. It’s a challenge among six countries where we are asking developers to submit applications and then we are giving them prizes. And the other challenge that we are doing among our librarians, Apps for Library. So we are asking to librarians to submit ideas. And we are going to – again, a judging committee is going to pick the ideas and then what we are planning to do, some of the ideas we are going to go to our developer network and develop, and those ideas are going to be developed by the developer network.

So, so far, we’ve seen an excellent biomedical image search application that is going to be built by the University of Madison, Wisconsin. So we are getting some ideas that we haven’t thought about it.Just recently, we launched a new app from a company called iSpeech and the app takes the text and then translates to words, so you can just hear the text. And that’s also very important for us in terms of accessibility to the content, making the content easily accessible to everyone. So I if I have an impairment, then I can listen to the text.

No comments: