Recommended: A Lifeline for Researchers

The research community relies on access to information in order to thrive. This is part of the reason behind the push towards open access. However, there is no shortage of academic research in the modern world. In excess of 4,000 primary research articles are published every day in life sciences alone. There has been a constant increase in the number of articles published annually. In 2003, 1.3 million papers were published whereas 2.4 million were published in 2013, an increase of 6.3% per annum. The sheer volume of published work can be overwhelming. A survey conducted in 2015 of 4,000 users of nature.com found that 85% of those who took the survey felt they had not yet read all the relevant papers in their field and 25% revealed that in most weeks they do not feel up to date.

In response to this issue, Springer Nature has developed Recommended—a personalized service to help ensure that researchers no longer miss papers relevant to them. Recommended analyzes the last 100 papers you have read from nature.com, SpringerLink and BioMed Central. Based on this history, the adaptive algorithm searches for similar articles in about 45,000 journals from Crossref and PubMed. These repositories contain more than 65 million papers increasing the likelihood that relevant papers will be suggested for a diversity of fields. Recommended also receives input from other sources such as Altmetric and uses this data to create a recommendation score. This score is then used to suggest primary papers that you might be interested in reading. Recommended continually learns from how you interact with its suggestions which means that its suggestions should continually improve. Recommended suggests the most relevant papers for you even if they were not published by Springer Nature and also works in a browser but you can still sign up for recommendations to be emailed to you.

The beta version of Recommended has been in use for almost a year in order to make necessary improvements to ensure its usefulness to the research community. Researchers from more than 200 countries have used Recommended and more than 70% are repeat users. At present, most of the recommendations focus on CRISPR technology. Dr. Sarah Greaves, Publishing Director at Springer Nature, has indicated that they will not stop here and are already looking at ways to further develop Recommended around researchers’ broader interests. Dr. Greaves also mentioned that these would include conferences, funding opportunities, and the ability to discover research not directly related to their primary areas of interest while still keeping the focus on serving their readers’ needs.

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