An interview with the co-founder of Iris.ai – the world’s first Artificial Intelligence science assistant | The Saint

“Have you ever spent hours sifting through journal papers? Ever got frustrated at your inability to find relevant research? Ever wished that there was an easier way to filter the seemingly endless stream of information on the web? The team at Iris.ai certainly did, which is why they have created an AI-powered science assistant to help anyone that wants to find related papers for an original research question. The software – Iris.ai – can be used to build a precise reading list of research documents, and the company claims that it can solve your research problems 78% faster (without compromising quality) than if you were carrying out the tasks manually. The concept for Iris.ai was first established three years ago at NASA Ames Research Centre. The team was taking part in a summer programme run by Singularity University (SU) when they were set the task of creating a concept that would positively affect the lives of a billion people. This exercise got the team thinking about the current state of scientific research, and more specifically about the restrictions created by paywalls, and the inability of human intelligence alone to process the three thousand or so research papers that are published around the world every single day….

When asked about challenges that the team have experienced so far, Ms Ritola was quick to point out the issue of paywalls. She explained that the Iris.ai system is connected to about 130 million open access papers – almost all those available to the public – but that many useful documents are still hidden behind systems that require users to pay for access.

However, rather than just accepting this situation as it is, the Iris.ai team have devised a scheme to solve the problem– Project Aiur – an initiative that aims to revolutionise the current workings of the research world.

“What we’re trying to do is to build a community, which is not owned by us, but by a community of researchers, a community of coders, anyone who wants to contribute to building a new economic model for science that works around a community governed AI-based Knowledge Validation Engine and an open, validated repository of science. Over time, the goal is to give access to all the research articles that are in this world”, Ms Ritola told The Saint.

This is not a straightforward task, as the Iris.ai team are faced with the challenge of encouraging researchers to publish and carry out their investigations using Aiur rather than the current systems- something that will take a fair amount of research and incentivisation. The team have started a pledge, offering students and researchers the chance to be an “advocate for validated, reproducible, open-access scientific research.” At the time of the interview,Ms Ritola informed The Saint that more than 5,000 people had signed the pledge….”

Open Access Tools & Resources – Tinkering Librarians

“When following a conference on Twitter last week, one attendee tweeted about Unpaywall. It was the first time they had heard of it, which surprised me at first. I was equally surprised that the Open Access Button had not been mentioned at the same time.  I realize now that I have had the benefit of attending OpenCon and following many people active in Open for a while now. Below I will list some of the open tools and resources, which hopefully, someone will find useful.”

Frontiers and the National Library of Sweden sign Open Access Framework Agreement

In addition to a centralised invoicing process that covers the publishing fees (article processing charges), researchers at participating organisations benefit from a discount.  This is the first Nordic agreement of its kind and follows the Austrian Open Access framework publishing agreement between Frontiers, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the University of Vienna in late 2017.  The Agreement is open to all participating organisations of the Bibsam Consortium, which includes universities, university colleges and government-funded research institutions. Twenty organisations have already joined, including leading universities. All new participating organisations will benefit from the same terms and conditions, regardless of size or research output.

Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web (AKSW) — Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web (AKSW)

“The Research Group Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web (AKSW) is hosted by the Chair of Business Information Systems (BIS) of the Institute of Computer Science (IfI) / University of Leipzig as well as the Institute for Applied Informatics (InfAI).

Goals

  • Development of methods, tools and applications for adaptive Knowledge Engineering in the context of the Semantic Web
  • Research of underlying Semantic Web technologies and development of fundamental Semantic Web tools and applications
  • Maturation of strategies for fruitfully combining the Social Web paradigms with semantic knowledge representation techniques

AKSW is committed to the free softwareopen sourceopen access and open knowledge movements.”

Open Access Key

“The Open Access Key, or OAK for short, is a unique, new financial platform to manage, consolidate and process publication fees incurred in Open Access Publishing. It has been designed to reduce your time, effort and expenditure and to connect individual authors to their universities, researcher funders and learned societies.

OAK is a global company delivering its services to authors, institutions and publishers around the world. It has been designed using the latest web and business softwares by a technology team based in Norway and Denmark. We built the platform engaging advice and guidance from all participants in OA Publishing. OAK is a system which meets and will continue to meet the needs of all involved….”

Joint Roadmap for Open Science Tools

“We propose an effort to develop a “Joint Roadmap for Open Science Tools”. This will be delivered by an informal group of like-minded organizations coming together around a common purpose.

Our objectives will be to deliver:

  • A vision for the toolchain or dashboard of the researcher of the future
  • A mission for what we hope to achieve and how we can work together
  • A set of user stories that together describe the problems we want to solve
  • A preliminary roadmap for how the known existing projects can come together
  • Next steps

Why

There is a growing category of open science technologies and services stewarded by non-profit organizations that are targeting the key needs and requirements of scholarly production, publishing, dissemination and collaboration. However, to date, the major projects in this category have not made a unified effort to come together, compare notes, and identify areas of cooperation and integration. As leaders of these projects ourselves, we are aware there are obvious synergies that are not being pursued, and likely many others still waiting to be discovered. Moreover, there is no holistic vision or overall game plan about what the researcher experience of the future should or could be that these projects can support….

We are focusing on open tools and services delivered by non-profit organizations because we know from our own experience that there is a shared sense of mission and a willingness to collaborate openly between these teams that are often lacking in their for-profit counterparts. These groups are actively building and delivering solutions, and thus have product roadmaps that they can speak authoritatively to. It is also critical that researchers participate because their needs and perspective drives the demand for what we’re doing, and thus our goals….”