Thomson Reuters recently launched its first Challenge: Seeking Creative Use Cases for Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge. This $10,000 Ideation Challenge – part one of a two-part Challenge series – seeks creative use cases for Web of Knowledge content, tools, and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that would enable users to engage in creative new behaviors, beyond what is currently possible with online research portals. Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge is an online research platform that provides a single point of access to premier multidisciplinary content alongside emerging trends, subject specific content, and research data to provide a multifaceted view of scholarly outputs. We recently spoke with Ellen Rotenberg, Senior Manager of Product Innovation at Thomson Reuters, about this exciting Challenge. [Ed note: View Thomson Reuters’ announcement of the Challenge here, as well as a dedicated landing page which provides additional information about the Challenge].
Hello Mrs. Rotenberg – thanks for joining us today. To start, could you tell us a bit about Thomson Reuters and share with us your key objectives for this Challenge?
Thank you for the opportunity! Thomson Reuters is the largest provider of intelligent information to businesses and professionals in the world. The content, tools, and services we deliver across the scientific and scholarly research community empower our customers and users to swiftly identify, evaluate, and promote the research that will continue to advance our world. We support the entire research lifecycle from the first stages of search and discovery through publishing and analysis.
For this Challenge, we are looking to engage the community to collaborate with us on the future of scholarly search and discovery. We realize information technology is changing rapidly and we’d like to ensure that the Web of Knowledge continues to better support and enable the world’s most innovative users.
What was your primary motivation for crowdsourcing this Challenge to InnoCentive’s Solvers (as opposed to using more “traditional” means to solicit ideas and solutions)?
First-hand interaction with our customers is paramount to delivering innovative solutions that enable them to achieve amazing results. In order to do this, we continually strive to maintain an open and transparent dialog with the global research community. Whether by recognizing exceptional research, or by providing support as our customers build new skills and expertise, we are committed to enabling their professional success. Participating in crowd-driven innovation, and posting Challenges on InnoCentive, is a natural evolution and a critical part of our community engagement and product development process.
How have you seen the needs of your users – researchers, scientists, students, scholars, information professionals, etc. – evolve over the years, and what are some of the key trends you’re observing in the area of online content search and discovery?
The dynamics of search and discovery are constantly changing, and there is little evidence that the pace of change is slowing down. Research tools and content have quite literally moved into the palms of our hands through the use of smartphones and tablets! Publishing models for scholarly content are shifting to reflect evolving user needs and government mandates for open access. And, the amount of content available is growing exponentially, so users need more sophisticated ways to separate what’s ‘good’ from ‘good enough.’ As you can imagine, we must be vigilant in monitoring and supporting emerging trends; one such example is discovery beyond traditional content to datasets, videos, and so on.
What are some of the key attributes that you’d like to see in a winning solution?
There are 20 million global users of the Web of Knowledge, ranging from students, to information professionals, to researchers and teaching faculty. Our platform is critical to these individuals in their efforts to accomplish their content discovery goals. So, the winning solution will need to focus on ways to enhance and evolve the discovery for one of the above types of user, since their needs and pain-points differ based on where they are in the research innovation lifecycle.
While this particular Challenge is focused on soliciting creative new ideas and use cases, you are also planning a second phase (Challenge) which will be more focused on prototyping. What details can you share with us about this second Challenge?
For the second Challenge, which we are referring to as the ‘Build Challenge,’ we will be looking for the delivery of a white paper and working code. Our plan is to let Solvers use the Web of Knowledge Application Programming Interface (API), and structure the Challenge so that it looks to prototype interesting ideas and solutions that we received during this first Ideation Challenge. We’ll be certain to share more details as they are finalized. [Ed note: Visit Thomson Reuters’ dedicated landing page periodically for more details].
Thanks for your time Mrs. Rotenberg. Any final advice to Solvers as they tackle this exciting Challenge?
Get creative and have fun! Scholarly researchers have a unique perspective on how the Web of Knowledge operates and how it fits within their current research workflow. They know better than anyone how the solution is currently used, and its potential beyond its current offerings. We want to tap into those potential solutions to not only ensure that the Web of Knowledge reaches its potential, but far exceeds it.