Scaling up paywalled academic article sharing by legal means

“It was a Sunday afternoon at the summer house in the Finnish countryside. Sitting by the lake to keep cool in blazing heat I was lazily browsing Twitter. That’s when I bumped into this widely shared tweet by Holly Witteman: “If you read a paper, 100% goes to the publisher. If you just email us to ask for our papers, we are allowed to send them to you for free, and will be genuinely delighted to do so.” Those who are not familiar with how the publishing industry works might wonder why could such an archaic means for sharing knowledge be in anyone’s interest. Research papers have been in digital format for a while and the internet, which was originally invented by Tim Berners Lee precisely for sharing articles between researchers, has been there for 20 years. Surely there are more effective ways for sharing than email….

At Iris.ai we’re working to change that by launching R4R. By facilitating requesting and sharing of papers via email, the initiative aims to make the process of sharing as speedy and frictionless as possible, targeting particularly those resources that are not yet accessible via open repositories. Technically R4R is a simple tool designed for unlocking access to scholarly articles when the existing open access services fall short….”

 

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….”