eLife Sciences introduces eLife Lens

The research funder-sponsored initiative launches its first alternative technology for research consumption.

In June, eLife Sciences presented a sneak peek of an innovative tool for reading and navigating research online: eLife Lens. Following strong positive feedback from the academic community, eLife has adopted Lens into its main journal site so that every article may be readily explored on this new platform.

eLife Sciences is a unique collaboration between funders and practitioners of research designed to enhance the communication of influential discoveries through open access, fast, fair, and constructive review, and the use of digital media. eLife Sciences is backed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust.

eLife Lens improves reading and using scientific articles by making it possible to explore figures, figure descriptions, references and more without losing your place in the article text. While most online research articles tend to replicate print, eLife Lens takes greater advantage of the Internet’s flexibility; readers can absorb key elements in an important paper more readily, more quickly, and more effectively.

According to Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Director at CAPRISA in South Africa, “eLife Lens adds so much more to the reading experience than simply being a PDF of a paper journal page. When I read articles in other journals electronically, I get irritated at not being able to see the diagrams simultaneously – your solution to this problem is great.”

Dr. Axel Brunger at Stanford University adds, “I really like using eLife Lens -- especially the dual windows with text on the left and either references or figures on the right, as well as the hyperlinks that jump to the correct figures or reference. A bonus is that it also works well on the iPad where I do most of my reading these days.”

The introduction of eLife Lens is a step toward realizing eLife's commitment to experimentation, innovation, and openness. Ian Mulvany, Head of Technology for eLife, says, “Our technology strategy is to facilitate open distribution of content and increase the surface area for research on the Web – including and beyond our own journal site.”

Lens is just one destination for research published in the eLife journal, which is automatically and simultaneously deposited at multiple locations across the Internet, including PubMed Central and Github. The eLife Lens platform can also incorporate content from other sources and is available to use under the open-source Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) license.

Explore research through eLife Lens at http://lens.elifesciences.org. More information about the eLife API is available at http://dev.elifesciences.org.