Fabian Kersten, Solutions Marketing Manager, Science & Technology, Elsevier
It’s Facebook, Linked-In, and del.icio.us all rolled into one. Or, as Fabian Kersten described it in the title of his talk at Online Information 2008, it’s about scientists harnessing social media to get their research done.
Fabian is the product manager for 2Collab, one of the new Elsevier initiatives I promised to write about in a prior post.
You will recall, during my briefing on Tuesday, Elesvier representatives told me the company is interested in getting outside the box and developing added-value services on top of their journal offerings. In the case of 2collab, the service is absolutely free and you, yourself, can take it for a test drive right now.
Sign up. Develop a profile. Link your profile to the Scopus database of journal literature and automatically import your publishing history (not restricted to Elsevier journals). Opt to show your citation history. Bookmark articles you think are interesting, tag stuff, and share it all with everyone else, or just with your trusted friends and research associates. Generate a tag cloud for the resources you have marked. See what literature your friends have discovered. Form a public or a private group and start 2 collaborate. Find experts . . . and who knows what else might happen in this social space.
Man, I said, it looks to me–to steal a term from the Dark Ages–like you’re empowering the "invisible college," (a network of researchers talking to each other, but not necessarily through the journal literature).
Since the launch a little over a year ago, Fabian reported that users have bookmarked 100,000-plus items. But I could not get him to tell me what the average number per user was, let alone how many users there are.
He did give that "it’s rather a generational thing, that may not appeal to everyone," but said that by building services around the "recommendation culture," Elsevier hopes to create growth in its overall business. Recall that 2collab is free to the user, as most social networking platforms in the consumer world are. Fabian said that, of course, the system promotes use of the literature, where Elsevier still makes its bread and butter. (Sometimes you gotta have a loss leader, right?)
2collab, IMHE, blends a full range of Web 2.0 tools into a platform that should make sense to, and is totally appropriate for, the research community, at least the digital native end of it. Wave of the future? Quite possibly. Added value on top of the literature? You bet. The type of innovation I would expect from the market leader? Ab.sol.ute.ly.
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