Whether it's a pharmaceutical company seeking a treatment for Alzheimer's disease or a biotechnology company developing virus-resistant papayas—one of the first steps in any new research study is to gather up relevant peer-reviewed research on the topic at hand.
Although literature search may seem like a minor step in the research lifecycle, it is a critical factor for success. Done right, literature search and acquisition arms scientists with highly relevant and useful scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journal articles—setting the foundation for an effective and efficient research study.
In theory, gathering up relevant articles seems like a quick and straightforward task. But in reality, the opposite is true. In fact, most organizations expend an extraordinary amount of time and resources on literature search and acquisition.
The biggest obstacle of course, is dealing with the sheer volume of content. There are more than 50 million journal articles available today, with millions more published each year. In short, the body of knowledge is massive. As anyone who has conducted a comprehensive literature search knows, it is a tedious, time-consuming, and often frustrating process. And once the search is over, successfully obtaining the full-text PDF adds additional time, cost and complexity to the process.
Reallocating human resources to eliminate wasteful spending
Most organizations spend far more than they need to on literature search and acquisition. And one of the biggest factors in overspending is a poor allocation of resources.
Typically, the scientists conducting the study are also the ones who perform the literature search and acquisition duties. Which means they are spending a lot of time (often days or weeks on end) searching for the content and navigating through various websites to acquire the documents. But with modern technology, these tasks can be automated to speed the process and improve results.
With the software available today, there's no reason for organizations to pay their PhD scientist to uncover and access relevant content—when administrative staff can do so just as effectively. Because most scientists fall on the higher end of an organization’s pay scale, simply reassigning these tasks can result in surprisingly big cost savings. And in so doing, companies will free up more time for scientists to spend in the lab, putting their expertise to better use.
Leveraging automation to improve efficiency and lower costs
Modern research technologies automate and simplify the complex tasks that used to take up so much valuable time. With on-demand document retrieval software, for example, organizations can save time and money with:
- Simpler search and access: discover, order and obtain full text PDF's all in a single workflow via integrations with PubMed, Google Scholar, and dozens of other article databases
- Lower cost acquisition: immediately identify the least expensive way to access the article, including open access and subscription holdings, via automated filters.
- Faster delivery: access full-text PDFs directly from the search results page - with most documents available for immediate download or by email within minutes.
- Deeper context: automatically receive any supplementary materials with the article order, which might otherwise not be included.
Curious to learn more? This blog post is the first of a three-part series based on our new white paper, The ROI of Document Delivery. Each post will provide a high-level overview on a simple fix pharma and biotech companies can employ to save time and money on scholarly literature search and acquisition.