Seek alternative funding for you research with ScanGrants

scan grantsI have been a busy, busy man these past few weeks. But I have a couple more exciting online tools for researchers that I want to mention here in the near future. Here’s one that I’ve wanted to share for a long time: ScanGrants.

ScanGrants was first developed for Samaritan Health Services and its collaborators to list funding opportunities related to the heath field. But ScanGrants is also available for use by the general public and includes funding opportunities for bio- and bio-medical research that could be interesting for researchers. Currently over 500 funding opportunities are listed!

Interestingly, ScanGrant doesn’t typically list traditional sources of funding like governmental agencies. Instead, it focuses on funding opportunities from private foundations, corporation and not-for-profits organization that are much harder to hear about. The value of ScanGrants is obvious when one thinks of the shrinking public research budgets in many countries, and alternative funding schemes such as partnerships with industry becoming the norm.

You can also follow them on twitter to hear about the latest grants.

WriteLaTeX brings collaborative writing to LaTeX

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 5.15.45 PMA quick post about a recent addition to the list of online tools for researchers:

I’ve just added WriteLaTeX, an interesting online service created by two mathematicians: John Hammersley and John Lees-Miller. LaTeX is one of the few ways to generates good quality scientific documents, that easily integrates formulas and figures.  WriteLaTex is an effort to facilitate collaborative writing of scientific papers using LaTeX.

The service lets you create, edit and share your LaTeX documents online and for free. Open a free account and get:

  • Up to 1 GB storage space
  • Unlimited projects & collaborators
  • Private documents as standard
  • Dashboard to manage your docs
  • Save & Restore version history
  • Higher priority compiling

A full tutorial is available here. 

Publons set to revolutionize peer review in physics

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 7.46.35 PMPublons is another great alternative or complement to the traditional peer review process. Like others, this service is an answer to the slow and rather opaque peer-review process, in which the fate of a manuscript is to the mercy of an anonymous pair of experts. The idea is that publishing research results should not be the limiting step. Papers should be published, then reviewed and commented-on by the readers. This sort of system would allow researchers to have a direct, rapid and interactive feedback on their work.

Andrew Preston and Daniel Johnston, described in their founding article that publon are facetious particle that is to academic research what an electron is to charge. Peter Koveski first described them as “[…] the elementary particle of scientific publication. It has long been known that publons are mutually repulsive. The chances of finding more than one publon in a paper are negligible. Even more intriguing is the apparent ability of the same publon to manifest itself at widely separated instants in time. One reason why this has not emerged until now seems to be that a publon can manifest itself with different words and terminology … defeating observations with even the most powerful database scanners.”

As you might have guessed, Publons is focused on physics manuscripts. It allows researchers to comment and review paper published on the pre-print repository arXiv and a list of top physics journals (Applied physics letters, Nature, PRL…).

Users can review, discuss and rate papers, and can also create a profile page gathering their contributions as well as their own publications. Once more, Publons’ success will largely depend on the size of the community that it can attract. So, have a look and share the word!

The tool was added to the list of Online Tools for Researchers


Rubriq: pre-publishing peer review service now in phase 2 of beta testing

rubriq-logoFollowing the success of it initial beta testing, Rubriq, the pre-publishing peer reviewing service (see blog post), is launching phase 2 of its beta testing.

This means opening up to over 200 biological and medical fields. This beta testing phase also comes with two new services, journal recommendation report and plagiarism check. Rubriq is now welcoming manuscript submission as well as applications to become a (paid) reviewers.

See original press release.