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Modern Science is a Team Sport

Modern research is not an individual activity. By working together through specialization, peer review, and collaborative research we can be dramatically more effective in advancing our collective knowledge than we could ever hope to be in isolation. It's time for our tools of the trade to reflect this. It's our hope that Litmaps can lead an industry-wide paradigm shift from research tools focused on individuals, to those focused on teams. This is a first step in that direction.

What this means for: Librarians

Research tools to date have largely focused on aiding individual researchers. But modern research practices are not carried out in isolation. In order to be effective it is necessary to work effectively as a research unit. Sharing insights, onboarding new team members, and retaining the lessons learned by experienced practitioners even after they leave a research group or organisation. Litmaps for Teams is built to help with this. As key drivers of research quality librarians are well positioned to help researchers work more effectively as teams.

Use-case highlight: Team based exploratory search

You can add collaborators and team members to a workspace.
These collaborators can then work together to navigate and understand the literature.

What this means for: Early career researchers

The shift from working effectively as an individual researcher into the establishment and growth of a high performing research team is a critical, but often neglected, part of being an early career researcher. How do you balance autonomy and guidance to help PhD candidates excel? How do you ensure that you’re prioritizing the most promising research directions, effectively collaborating with the most driven, insightful people? It’s a lot. We built Litmaps for Teams to help.


Use case highlight: Collaborative Notes

Team members sharing notes on a paper can accelerate collective learning.

What this means for: Principal Investigators

You’ve got a research group up and running. Postdocs making progress on high value research problems, and training and grant pipelines in place. What’s next? How do you ‘level up’ your research performance? Our proposal is to take an already capable team and empower them with tools to both work together more effectively, and to keep records of their insights and observations on key pieces of research. While new members may join your team, and other leave, you can retain a growing model of the groups collective knowledge base. Have a new doctoral candidate picking up some work from a departing research assistant or postdoc? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a complete set of easily shared notes on the key literature for that new person to dive into bringing them up to speed rapidly?

Use-case highlight: Researcher onboarding/offboarding

Retaining notes from experienced researchers can reduce knowledge loss during team changes.

What this means for: Undergraduate students

Being an undergraduate student can easily become an isolated experience. However, there is a consistent reinforcement of the benefits of collaborative work and peer analysis, but with limited tools or systems provided. It is often emphasised by staff that students share concepts and discuss ideas for readings and literature reviews with peers. Online learning can create an environment where the isolated aspects of study can feel inescapable, and collaborations feel daunting, inaccessible and too exhausting to execute. Litmaps has created a way to easily collaborate and coordinate with peers within these projects. The teams features allows a way for critically evaluating others' work, thereby gaining a better understanding of other students’ knowledge sets. In this way, Litmaps provides a tool that makes collaboration between peers more accessible at the undergraduate level.

What this means for: Doctoral candidates

If they were easy to get, everyone would have one. A doctorate requires orienting yourself in the literature and finding a way to make novel progress in your domain. That’s not something everyone can do. Fortunately, there are many clever people to learn from. Our goal for doctoral candidates and students using Litmaps for Teams is that they find an environment that makes the overwhelming mass of literature navigable. The system should empower you to organise your thoughts, and collaborate with peers and mentors. There’s a lot on your plate already, if we can make this part easier. Then that’s a win.

Use-case highlight: Map Mixer

Map mixer can allow researchers to visualize how different areas on research connect.



What this means for: Industry Scientists

As an industry scientist your work needs to have real world impact. Whether that’s shipping a superior product, identifying actionable insights in complex datasets, or automating manual intellectual or physical work. There’s a concrete benefit to a real person resulting from the results your team delivers. Therefore, it’s essential that your team is able to pull in the same direction and bring your individual expertise together into a coherent process that takes into account the patent as well as the research landscape. We see the Litmaps tool as valuable to industry teams in its capacity to help experts work together across the organisation. Triaging important resources for use by other employees.

Use-case highlight: Triage of helpful resources

Tracking and tagging important resources such as protocols for team projects can be very helpful.

What this means for: Industry team leaders

Running an R&D team is a unique challenge, combining the uncertainty of research with the urgency of commercial projects. Risk management inevitably plays a critical role. What if a competitor establishes IP in a key area of development? Or if a key team member exits the organisation taking an essential, hard to find set of expertise with them. Litmaps for Teams can be of assistance in both cases. First, by connecting patents into other Scientific resources your team uses the visibility on strategic IP such as patents is increased. When an expert leaves, having a copy of the both the research and patents they consider most important to their work, alongside their notes and discussions with teammates regarding these resources can be a lifesaver!

Use case highlight: Reducing key person risk

Having a running record of resources and notes used by key employees can prove invaluable in an unexpected change of staffing.

In summary

Modern research is not an individual activity. By working together through specialization, peer review, and collaborative research we can be dramatically more effective in advancing our collective knowledge than we could ever hope to be in isolation. It's time for our tools of the trade to reflect this. It's our hope that Litmaps can lead an industry wide paradigm shift from research tools focused on individuals, to those focused on teams. This is a first step in that direction.

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