Magazine article Information Today

Elsevier Acquires Collexis' Semantic Technology

Magazine article Information Today

Elsevier Acquires Collexis' Semantic Technology

Article excerpt

Darrell W. Gunter, executive vice president and CMO of Collexis Holdings, Inc., likes to say that there are three ways that companies can expand their offerings in the marketplace: by partnering for it, by building it, or by buying it. And that's just what happened to Collexis on June 10. Elsevier announced that it had acquired the assets of Collexis' semantic technology and its knowledge discovery software. Details about the acquisition, which was effective immediately, were not disclosed.

The acquisition came on the heels of a project that started last April between global STM publisher Elsevier and Collexis at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and North Carolina State University. In the partnership, Collexis is linking research faculty data for the two universities from Elsevier's Scopus database and RAMSeS software developed at UNC-Chapel Hill. Once the project is finished, the platform will become the largest statewide research community of its kind, offering a web-based network with fully populated information on grant data, publications, and citations from more than 15,000 researchers in all research disciplines.

"Without ever lifting a finger, each researcher will have a robust expertise profile that will continue to update as they write new scientific papers," says Christian Herzog, managing director of the Collexis STM business. "The system is even suggesting potential collaborators based on the comparison of the expert profiles across all disciplines. ... Implementing such a system will really change the scientific landscape."

And Elsevier has been watching the changing landscape of the research market for some time. "We at Elsevier have been concentrating on how the research market is changing the landscape for libraries and for librarians and researchers," says Jay Katzen, managing director of Elsevier Science and Technology. "We've also been looking at the drivers that are changing the landscapes, for example, there's a significant increase in funding pressure as funding becomes more competitive with the economic downturn. There's also a drive toward multidisciplinary research ... and there's more growth in international and national collaboration," he says.

Combining the assets of Collexis and Elsevier raised the offerings to researchers and institutions to an all-new level. Though Elsevier obviously had assets such as the Scopus database to help in these areas, the acquisition of Collexis is a way to extend Elsevier's product line and offer new value to universities and agencies in meeting the new challenges around performance, planning, and funding (PPF), Katzen says.

Delivering Value to Scientists

"As more value in scientific research shifts towards the relationships between experts on very specific topics regardless of the phase in which their work may be in a publication cycle, organizations like Elsevier are examining how to deliver value to scientists in this greater cycle of scientific communications," says John Blossom, industry analyst and president of Shore Communications. "While formally published scientific research remains highly valuable, the processes that go into its creation and its ability to foster new cycles of inquiry and insight are becoming at least as valuable to its audiences as the publications themselves."

Armed with Collexis' semantic technology, Elsevier can offer new ways to help researchers and institutions collaborate, accelerate grant-related workflows, and showcase their accomplishments. "Collexis is a clear leader in this space," says Katzen. "[Elsevier has] invested in this strategic direction, which allows us to create solutions to help identify institutional strengths, such as comparing how University 1 ranks against another university in, say, biofuels versus biology and chemistry," he says. "So we're looking at this from a much more granular level to help inform institutions how best to set their strategic direction to measure their performance, how to identify the top researchers, how to identify who to recruit, and who to collaborate with. …

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