How Collaborative Reading Can Increase Your Productivity and Visibility in Research

Learn how collaborative reading enables researchers to be more productive.

Updated on September 6, 2016

researchers discussing collaborations prior to writing SCI-listed academic papers for publication

As a researcher, you hardly have a moment to spare. Your days are spent doing fieldwork, teaching, mentoring, grant writing, attending meetings – the list goes on.

And did I mention reading?

Reading can be a time-consuming activity for researchers. You read others' work as it relates to your particular line of research, and you read about new discoveries taking place in your field. Unfortunately, with so many new papers being published, it has become increasingly more challenging to stay up to date.

But what if you could be more productive in your time spent reading and in your work overall? And what if in addition to that productivity, you could increase the visibility of your own research?

Meet PaperHive.

Live since May 2016, PaperHive is a tool that allows researchers to engage in collaborative reading which makes reading more effective and efficient. PaperHive was created after Dr. André Gaul found himself spending enormous amounts of time reading during the research process. He partnered with Alexander Naydenov, and together they comprised a solution that would enable researchers the ability to reduce unproductive reading time, while also giving them the opportunity to read collaboratively with other academics.

What is collaborative reading?

We asked PaperHive's co-founder Alexander Naydenov how he would define collaborative reading. He notes:

“Research and innovation are chain reactions of collaboration. But collaboration has rarely been a part of the reading process. Researchers spend 12-25 hours a week with some of the most complex documents alone. It's no surprise that time is often wasted trying to decipher jargon and complicated methods while often repeating others' mistakes.

“Reading collaboratively allows researchers and students to discuss articles and books online while enriching them at the same time. Readers can attach questions, opinions, links, and figures directly in the margin of the original text where everyone can benefit from their contributions. Scattered conversations around academic texts transform into documented and citable parts of the academic literature. Experts benefit from the feedback of their colleagues, discover relevant content, and increase the visibility of their own work. Collaboration is the future of reading, in both higher education and research.”

When publishers integrate their journals and books with PaperHive, readers are able to interact on pages and sections of a text by commenting. Readers may leave initial comments, or they can respond to comments others have made. If a person replies to one of your comments, you will receive a notification and can continue the conversation if you wish. With the implementation of the software, users can comment directly into the digital version of the text which can then be read by any other person who accesses the article. Documents of interest can also be followed, so that you receive a notification if there are updates, new insights, or questions in the future.

How does collaborative reading help researchers?

Having in-text discussions about research introduces a deeper level of engagement and understanding of what is being read. PaperHive has found researchers are benefitting from their software in the following ways:

1. More productive reading.

By having a platform that enables research to be understood more easily through comments and discussions, researchers are able to devote more time to other academic literature of interest or other research activities.

2. More learning opportunities.

As people document their questions, thoughts, and ideas within a text, future readers have the opportunity to learn from these documented insights. The value and impact of articles is increased. There are multiple applications in university lectures and seminars.

3. Increased visibility for both authors and readers.

In addition to authors gaining more exposure when their articles are commented on, readers that respond to an article have the opportunity to share and raise awareness about their own work when relevant. The interactions taking place through collaborative reading are also opportunities for sharing and networking.

PaperHive Screenshot of a deep link for a comment on an article

With researchers managing so many different, yet necessary, aspects of the research process, it's nice when an idea is introduced to simplify and accelerate some of those tasks. PaperHive is an example of a company that is doing that by providing a software that allows researchers to read collaboratively. Not only will this help researchers reduce the required reading time, it should also broaden opportunities for collaboration and dissemination of great research.

Special thanks to Alexander Naydenov from PaperHive for contributing to this article.

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