Zappy Lab opens the way to mobile apps for researchers

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 6.55.39 PMI had the pleasure of meeting with Lenny Teytelman, co-founder of Zappy Lab a few weeks ago. He shared with me his vision for Zappy Lab: researchers will soon go mobile and there’s a need for good quality apps. The mobile apps for researches market is just emerging. A few journals,  search engines and life science companies already have their apps. Their are also a few simple apps that allows one to calculate dilutions and molecular weights.  I will very soon create a dedicated section for these apps in the “Online tools for researcher page“.

Zappy lab is the first company focusing on its mission to create an ecosystems of useful, practical and foolproof apps for researchers both in and outside the lab.They started with three simple but useful tools; a lab counter to count cell number at the microscope, another helps microbiologist keep track of bacterial growth curves, and a third app helps geneticists score yeast tetrad dissections.

Their flagship product is called PubChase, a tool to search, organize, and discover biomedical research. PubChase uses the PubMed database to allow users to easily search and browse through paper abstracts and to bookmark them to a personal PubChase library. Unlike other scientific search engines, PubChase generates recommendations for other papers based on the articles in your library, adapting rapidly to changes in interests you might show. This will be appreciated when starting new projects, especially when compared to other recommendation systems such as Google Scholar’s, that are based on citations. PubChase is available for both mobile devices (both iPhones and Androids) and web browsers.

The app is constantly evolving.  The web browser version now offers a free PDF cloud-storage to PubChase functions. Store up to 300 of your favorite articles for free and pay a subscription to store additional files. Many other functionalities are to come says Lenny, with the goal of creating a comprehensive and integrated suite of applications to support the researcher over the entirety of the research cycles (literature search, protocol development, experimentation, writing/communication).

Put your research results out there with Zenodo

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 8.56.22 PMRepositories for research papers have flourished over the past few years. Universities are opening their own to gather and share the work of their researchers. Others like arXiv are field specific and encourage users to deposit the pre-print versions of papers. More recently, social networking websites for researchers such as ResearchGate and Academia also started to encourage their members to upload their manuscripts.

Zenodo, is a new repository for research results that came online this May. It is the child of the OpenAir initiative, a european portal for open access research. Zenodo offers interesting core features:

  • 1 gigabyte of free space
  • searchable database
  • assigns digital object identifiers (DOI) to make citing the documents easy
  • allows easy upload of the documents thanks to its integration with dropbox

All this is great, but what is different about Zenodo? Well, this repository accepts document from all fields of science, either open or close access, without any restrictions. It is also publicly funded, as part of a project funded by the European commission. This makes Zenodo a non-profit with the sole purpose of gathering research results in a single location, not to profite from site traffic. Your files are saved in cloud research data center from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider; I suppose your files will be sitting next the Higgs boson data.

A social component has also been built in. One can comment on the articles, contact other users, create your own collection with the authority to accept or reject all uploads to it. This could serve very useful for research institutions who don’t want to or cannot afford to establish their own repository. In that way Zenodo encourage researchers around the world to deposit and share their scientific results by offering a centralized, easy to use framework for both individuals and institutions.