Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Elsevier Announces the “Article of the Future”

I think this prototype "Article of the Future" from Elsevier is great. It's basically a web interface that succeeds in making plain vanilla printed science journal articles easy to read, interactive and engaging.

Some of the key features are clickable graphics, audio interviews with the scientists who wrote the paper and embedded videos. Plus it's incredibly easy and intuitive to dig through the references (making it easier than ever to see if you've been cited in the article yourself!).

It's only when you see the original PDFs of the articles that you realise quite what an achievment this prototype interface is - instead of having to print out every article, Elsevier and their imprint Cell Press have come up with a way of making them easy to read on-screen.

Here are some of the main points from the full press release which on AlpaGalileo.org...

The Article of the Future launches its first prototypes this week, revealing a new approach to presenting scientific research online. The key feature of the prototypes is a hierarchical presentation of text and figures so that readers can elect to drill down through the layers based on their current task in the scientific workflow and their level of expertise and interest. This organizational structure is a significant departure from the linear-based organization of a traditional print-based article in incorporating the core text and supplemental material within a single unified structure.

A second key feature of the prototypes is bulleted article highlights and a graphical abstract. This allows readers to quickly gain an understanding of the paper’s main ‘take home’ message and serves as a navigation mechanism to directly access specific sub-sections of the results and figures. The graphical abstract is intended to encourage browsing, promote interdisciplinary scholarship and help readers identify more quickly which papers are most relevant to their research interests.

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