My story started in February 2012 when I decided to do my Master internship at computer science laboratory of La Rochelle University. During this period, I spent most of my time at reading research papers. I found myself reading many times the same paper to be able to understand it. Event if the paper is annotated, I still need to read it again to remember what the authors stand for. After six months, I finished my Master internship and I got an opportunity to continue my research work as a Ph.D. student at the same laboratory. When I began my thesis, I looked for a tool, which can help me to do not waste time in reading again papers I have already read.

  • WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

I found that there are two main categories of tools for researchers. The first is reference management tools like Mendeley, Papers, ReadCube or Zotero. The second is collaboration tools as ResearchGate, Aminer, Academia, ShareLatex, Overleaf or ParperHive. Among these tools, I did not found tools which cool associated my experience when I read the file in reference manager with the peers manage in the collaborative tools. Then, I decided to propose a tool that can make the two main tools communicate together. This tool helps me summarize papers I use, manage my reading notes and share them with my peers.

 

What it does really mean?  When I read papers in the existing tools, I annotate them. But, that is not enough, since when I have to write a literature review or a new contribution paper, I need to cite some of those papers. The lack of summarize notes forces me to spend many times reading again the same papers in order to remember what the authors stated. For example, when I began to write my thesis manuscript I spent too much time re-reading the majority of the papers I have already read and annotated. That frustrated me too much. Why? Even if I annotate the paper, I need to scroll the whole paper to remember my annotations. Furthermore, it is difficult to share my annotations with my peers and colleagues.

 

Moreover, when a paper is too long or too hard to read, I usually print it out and annotate it manually. But, I never reproduce my manual annotations on the digital version. Also, I could not ask my colleagues to send me their reading notes or to explain me a paper in this format. Because the notes are not well structured.

 

Many researchers (Cohen 1988; Keshav 2013; Greener 2016) agreed that:

  • Research work is HARD;
  • Research paper can be HARD to write;
  • Research paper can be HARD to read;
  • Research paper can be HARD to understand;

Therefore, we need to assist the researcher in his/her daily work. We need to simplify paper understanding. We need to capitalize research paper reading. We need to highlight research paper contents (methods, results, impact, etc.).

 

An investigation study showed that a researcher reads an average of 22 papers per month. They spent an average of 48 minutes on each paper (Van Noorden 2014). Sometimes, it takes several hours in deep reading mode. I also made an investigation among young researchers and Ph.D. students of my lab. Those researchers told me that they tried to use their own models for capitalizing reading tool. But, these tools are not easy to use and do not optimize capitalization and sharing. That confirms that they are facing the same problem I do!

 

  • What IS THE IDEA BEHIND

To solve the real problem that researchers are facing, I proposed a new way to take notes, which is implemented within a platform that helps researchers manage their reading notes on a well-structured note format (Smart Note for Research). This platform helps researchers catch the essential information of a given paper: snare paper. It gives them opportunities to share their reading notes that could help other researchers understand research papers while saving time in getting a consistent overviews. It helps them avoid reading many times the same paper by providing a concise summarize of their reading.

 

The SN4RE platform allows researchers: Creating, visualizing, modifying, removing reading notes; Sharing (open-access) reading notes with the members of his/her community and beyond; Selecting relevant reading notes for a given research activity.

 

  • HOW DOES IT WORK?

Researchers can spend most of their time in reading papers. The better way to read a paper is to take notes during the reading (Hanson 2000)(Raff 2016) Thus, SN4RE platform supports researchers in this activity. It offers a well-structured reading note component and manages their reading notes while providing the possibility to share them with other researchers.

 

  • 3 USE-CASES

  • Collaboration between a young researcher and an expert.

Paul and John are two researchers. Paul is an expert in his field and John is a young researcher in the same field. In SN4RE, Paul can help John understand paper as follows:

  1. John asks Paul: Would you like to help me understand this paper?
  2. Paul answers Paul: Sure! Start with a reading note that I will review.
  • John says to John: Great! Your valuable review does really help. Could I share it with my friends?
  1. Paul answers John: Yes, you can.

 

  • Paper reading note.

Paul does not want to be frustrated having to read the same paper again when he has to write his literature review. In SN4RE, Paul can summarize the paper he wants to read by answering the question “What could I do to not read a single paper many times?” by “Well, I will make my structured reading note!”

 

  • Paper Cross-analysis.

Paul summarizes many papers. Now, he wants to highlight the innovation or to show the trend among those papers. In SN4RE, Paul can ask the system to analyze his reading notes and show him the trends as follows:

  1. Paul asks himself: What are the innovations introduced in the papers I read?
  2. Paul answers to himself: I will ask SN4RE platform to analyze my “reading notes” to extract the trend I selected (Main conferences, keys authors,...).