Insights in the digital science industry

Digital science startups (of which you can find a long list here) are playing a major role in the development of the research ecosystem of tomorrow. They are the creators of digital tools developed with researchers in mind, and that are redefining how researchers communicate with each other and society, and how research is conducted, analyzed, and evaluated.

With the development of cloud technologies, the number of digital science companies has grown rapidly over the past 10 years. I have had the opportunity to mention some of this in a report I wrote in 2015 for the European Commission. Digital science companies have emerged, typically founded by researchers frustrated with some aspect of academic research. The digital science industry is increasingly being funded by publishers that are realising they must evolve their business model away from publishing and towards innovative services for researchers (see figure below).

Elsevier’s investments in digital science companies.  The figure is from the excellent 101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication project

But although the importance of digital science companies is now rather clear, there is limited data available about them. We launched our Digital Science Industry survey with the goal to have a clearer picture of what the digital science industry looks like. What type of organizations is this emerging community formed of? How well are they doing? How do its actors see the future? And how can Connected Researchers and others like alike help? This post summaries the responses of the 42 digital science companies that responded to the survey.

We first wanted to know who the participants were. We will not disclose the name of the companies that chose to identify themselves, but will give an overview of of their main characteristics.

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