Continuing from Part 1 in our series of interviewing industry experts, Enago’s Tony O’Rourke and Kudos’ Charlie Rapple continue their conversation and get into the nitty-gritty of Kudos, including its visibility across a wide range of users.
Here’s how it went:
Tony: How does Kudos help increase the visibility of one’s research and make it more accessible for researchers worldwide?
Charlie: There are a lot of different ways in which we are trying to help with that challenge. First, just encouraging people to explain their work in plain language, by itself, makes that work more accessible to more people, whether it is people outside your specialization or speakers of other languages. Simplifying your explanation of the study means that more people can understand it. And those plain-language explanations also lend themselves more readily to auto-translation such that if someone does find one and still can’t quite understand it, it is much easier to put that simpler explanation into an online search engine and get a meaningful result compared to if you were to put the original abstract into the search engine, which might be too dense and technical to really work well in a translation program.
In addition, the plain-language explanations also make the work more discoverable through search engines, because now a different range of search terms will find that work, whereas the original abstract had discipline-specific language that may not contain the words that everyone else would use in their searches.
Tony: The last 10 years in publishing have been really interesting. We have almost seen a parallel suite of tools and services being created alongside the publishing industry. From your perspective, how long do you think it will be before researchers start to embrace resources such as Kudos?
Charlie: Looking back over the last few years, researchers have been really quick to embrace a lot of aspects of these new developments. They were very quick to start using online journals, for example, and to embrace reference linking and things like that. In certain communities, you already see quite a lot of uptake. One interesting example is ORCID, the program that helps to disambiguate between authors with the same name. That program has significantly taken off, particularly in some countries where the issue of people having the same name is more common. I think it will be perhaps only five years before everybody is using ORCID. Everybody is aware of Altmetric and looking at that too. Everybody is trying to take an active approach to increasing the impact of their work with a toolkit like Kudos.
Source: Supporting authors post-publication- what works? by Ann Lawson, Head of Business Development at Kudos Innovations, at the The University Press Redux Conference
Tony: In today’s environment, there is a significant drive among publishers and journals to promote research through a variety of different platforms. But, researchers themselves are often reluctant to adopt these new platforms and trends. What is Kudos doing to come to the rescue of these researchers?
Charlie: That is something that we were conscious of from the very beginning of our discussions around this toolkit: it had to be easy, it had to show people that their efforts were worthwhile, and there had to be virtually no time gap between undertaking an action and seeing its results. Those considerations drove many aspects of product development—the interfaces and data sources we sought and the processes we developed within it. I think that one key to our success so far and to the speed with which we have been able to gain traction is that we brought together data that previously was time-consuming for people to look for, or even to know that it existed, let alone put it all together and try to make sense of it. We now have a simple graph that shows you when you send out a social media posting about your work and what has happened since then with regard to the readership of your work, the discussion of your work online, or the citations of your work.
What has been crucial to our success is our approach—taking out a lot of the noise and effort involved and creating a simple workflow so that people could write an explanation of their work in five minutes, get the trackable link for sharing it, and then come back only hours later and see the results that they have achieved. Then we have wrapped other mechanisms around that, such as e-mail updates. That is what has worked for us, and that is how we are different from a lot of the other systems that people are being asked to use, but which don’t have such a clear benefit for researchers—or if there is a benefit, it hasn’t been demonstrated so clearly. That has been a focus from us from the outset, and I think that is why so many people have adopted the service that we have created.
About Kudos: Kudos is a web-based service that helps researchers, institutions, and funders to maximize the visibility and impact of their published articles and research. It provides a platform for (a) assembling and creating information to help with search filtering, (b) information sharing to drive discovery, and (c) measuring and monitoring the effects of these activities. Visit their website for more details!
(This interview is a part of our interview series of connecting scholarly publishing experts and researchers.)