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R Discovery accelerates your research discovery journey, with latest and relevant content in your area of interest.

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Why R Discovery is the best AI tool for academic paper search

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Worried about missing out but tired of always searching for the right academic research papers? Enjoy seamless research reading with R Discovery's Reading Feed, which identifies articles based on your interests and delivers personalized recommendations in a simple social media style.

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It helps the individual to save time searching for literature and also have ample time to read and make your notes.

Josephine Sarfo

It's a great for scholars who are enthusiastic in research and this app keeps me updated everytime based on the domain I choose which is very easy to continue my exploring in research. This app is soo helpful for me. It's a great app

Priyanka Gundu

It keeps me updated with the latest trends in the desired fields of research. Nothing better than this. Incredible APP for researchers!

I'm glad I stumbled upon this product. It has been really easy sailing through the tiring part of searching and filtering through an overwhelming number of publications with R Discovery. Simply Love it!

Gayatri Prasanth

Incredibly well thought out app. Makes scanning through multiple research articles a breeze. The concept search feature takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.Highly recommend i t!

Rads Sharma

Amazing app for independent research, whether casual or in depth! Plenty of tags to keep to what's relevant or even explore other topics. I also appreciate getting papers from around the world in different languages

Richard Solace

I receive subject notifications daily of the most up to date research in my field. I can save my own library of research papers to refer to later.

Sandy Comber

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Frequently Asked Questions About R Discovery

Who can use and benefit from r discovery.

R Discovery is an app for students and researchers to simplify literature search and research reading, but it can be used by anyone interested in scholarly pursuits. Say goodbye to information overload and hello to seamless research reading with R Discovery, which instantly creates personalized reading feeds based on your interests, so you’re always updated on the latest, most relevant academic research for you!

What content will I find on R Discovery?

R Discovery hosts content from top aggregators like PubMed, PubMed Central, CrossRef, Unpaywall, Open Alex and top academic research publications, including Wiley, Elsevier, Springer Nature, IOP, SAGE, Taylor & Francis, NEJM, Emerald Publishing, BMJ, Karger, Underline.io and more. Elevate your research reading experience with access to 250M+ research articles, including 40M+ open access articles, across 32,000 journals as well as 2M+ preprints and 7.5M+ patents.

How can R Discovery help me find relevant academic research papers?

Once you enter your reading preferences, R Discovery’s robust AI algorithm scans its academic research database to identify and prioritize the top reads for you based on your topics of interest. Users can also search by paper title and abstract or find academic research papers on specific topics or from a specific journal. Simply filter by publication type or date, access type, journals, authors, or relevance to fine-tune the academic research results. The best part, R Discovery’s AI learns from past searches and the kind of academic research papers you like on the app to refine its suggestions, ensuring you have the very best research reading experience.

What are R Discovery’s best features to support researchers?

R Discovery’s unique features are designed to help you save time and improve your literature search and research reading! Read free scientific articles from the most trustworthy global academic research database, cleaned to remove duplication, eliminate ambiguities in journal, publisher, author names, and exclude predatory content. Benefit from our daily research reading recommendations, curated feeds, institutional access to paywalled journal articles, smart summaries, and new research alerts. Redefine your research reading with R Discovery Prime, which lets you listen to research on the go, read research in your language, collaborate on shared reading lists, and automatically sync your library with reference managers. It’s all you need and more to take your academic research to the next level.

How can I access R Discovery for my academic research projects?

R Discovery allows you to effortlessly switch between mobile and web depending on your academic research reading habits. Simply register for free and enter your topics of interest to set up your feed and start getting relevant academic research reading recommendations for your research project. Browse online at https://discovery.researcher.life/ or download the free R Discovery app (recommended), which comes with additional app-only Prime features, from Google Play or the App Store.

Is R Discovery free or a paid app/product?

R Discovery is free to install and use for anyone who wants to stay updated and create an impact with their research. Once you download the app for free on your Android or iOS operating system, it only takes a few minutes to register and setup your academic research library. Explore for free or get an R Discovery Prime subscription to unlock unlimited Prime benefits at just $12/month or $24/quarter or $72/year.

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When you begin using Lateral and add PDF files, it uses up 'Page Credits' based on how many pages are in your PDFs. You start with 1,000 Page Credits when you join. Once you use them all, you’ll have to get a subscription plan, called Lateral Supreme, to get more Credits. If you delete any documents, this will not return Credits. If you have a Supreme subscription, you can buy extra Credits.

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Lateral Supreme is a subscription that you can pay for every month or once a year. If you choose to pay each month, you can use up to 2,500 Page Credits within that month. If you decide to pay for the whole year at once, you can use up to 30,000 Page Credits for the entire year. Any unused Page Credits will expire; they don’t roll over to the next month or year.

When you add papers or documents to a project, Lateral does a lot of heavy lifting to make the content searchable and suggestible. Each page uses 1 page credit. Taking an average of 20 pages per paper for example, this means for Premium monthly 2,160 pages are around 108 papers and for Pro monthly 5,000 pages are around 250 papers.   Deleting documents does not re-add page credits, as the processing of the documents has already been completed.

Does Lateral use GPT?

No, Lateral does not use GPT. We have built our own machine learning technology (LIP API) to make content suggestions. Your content is not sent to Open AI servers.  

What happens to the documents I upload to Lateral?

When you upload documents, they stay private and only you can see them in your workspace. We don’t share them with other users. Also, we don’t use your documents to make our AI smarter. Our AI is already trained and it just helps you find related content across your documents.

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The app works best with English. You can keyword search for text in other languages, but the AI currently can only give suggestions if you're using English.

Does Lateral work on mobile?

Currently Lateral is only available on desktop.

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  • Mendeley Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network. Make your own fully-searchable library in seconds, cite as you write, and read and annotate your PDFs on any device.

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Audemic Scholar

Audemic Scholar enables PhDs and researchers to transform stale research PDFs into a time-saving reading and listening experience.

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Audemic Insights

Audemic Insights app summarizes open research articles and reports into brief written and audio summaries for the non-academic.

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Access any academic research via audio

A powerful tool that enables Ph.D. students and researchers to save time and organise their knowledge

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Used by 10,000+ users at top leading institutions

Upload your paper

Upload the PDF of any academic paper or import it from your reference manager.

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Listen to any academic paper. Choose between the full text or key statements.

Organise yourself

Built for researchers.

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Speed up your reading

It will allow you to read and understand papers in much less time, especially for getting to grips with some of the knottier papers.

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Need help reading academic papers, taking notes or organising your research? Audemic allows you to do all of this from one place, so you don’t miss a thing.

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Scientific knowledge is mostly communicated in English, which may pose a barrier for non-native English speakers. Upload any paper and choose the language you want to translate it into*

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Organise the sections of any paper you upload, according to your every whim, from the left-hand sidebar.

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Get the most out of academic papers, whilst spending less time on them. Audemic allows you to ditch clunky PDFs to provide better listening with intuitive navigation across different sections of the paper, smart summaries, and gives you the ability to easily take and sync highlights across all your devices.

You can use Audemic for free , receiving 5 credits to start ! To use Audemic for more papers you can upgrade to premium.

PDF’s of research papers

Yes, it is currently available as a web app, so it can be accessed via mobile on Google Chrome, Safari and other browsers.

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Not currently, but we are working hard on this!

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Listen to Research Papers & Retain More

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Table of contents, listen to research papers aloud: we show you how, types of research papers, how text to speech works, technical language, length and density, time constraints, accessibility issues, proofreading, benefits of listening while reading research papers, text highlighting, speed controls, lifelike voices, ocr scanning, how you can listen to research papers aloud with the speechify website, how you can listen to research papers with the speechify chrome extension, how you can listen to research papers aloud with the speechify app, scan and listen to printed research papers with the speechify app, try speechify and read any text aloud, frequently asked questions.

Listen to research papers aloud and boost productivity and comprehension with our TTS .

In the realm of academia, research papers are a cornerstone for disseminating knowledge and contributing to the growth of various fields. However, the dense and technical nature of these papers can pose a challenge for many readers. Fortunately, text to speech (TTS) technology has emerged as a powerful tool to aid in the consumption of all academic papers. This article will explore different types of research papers, delve into the challenges of reading them, and highlight the benefits of using TTS, with a special focus on Speechify as a premier TTS app for academic purposes.

Research papers are a cornerstone of academic exploration, acting as vehicles for the dissemination of knowledge and the advancement of various fields. Within the realm of scholarly writing, a diverse array of research papers exists, each tailored to specific objectives and methodologies, including:

  • Analytical research papers: These delve into breaking down and examining a subject, often presenting an in-depth analysis of complex ideas or concepts.
  • Argumentative or persuasive research papers: These papers aim to convince the reader of a particular viewpoint, often involving the presentation of evidence and logical reasoning.
  • Cause and effect research papers: Focused on exploring the relationships between events, these papers aim to identify the causes and consequences of a particular phenomenon.
  • Compare and contrast research papers: These papers highlight similarities and differences between two or more subjects, encouraging critical thinking and analysis.
  • Definition research papers: These aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of a specific concept or term, often clarifying its various facets.
  • Experimental research papers: Centered around scientific experiments, these papers detail the methodology, results, and conclusions of research studies.
  • Interpretative research papers: These involve the interpretation of data, literature, or artistic works, requiring a nuanced understanding of the subject matter.
  • Survey research papers: Based on survey data, these papers analyze and present findings from questionnaires or interviews.

Text to speech (TTS) is a technology that converts written text into spoken language. This innovative system enables computers, devices, or applications to audibly articulate the content of written material, ranging from articles and documents to emails and web pages.

TTS works by processing the input text through algorithms that analyze linguistic elements, such as syntax and semantics, to generate a corresponding audio output. The synthesized speech can be delivered in a variety of voices and accents, often aiming for a natural and human-like sound.

TTS serves a crucial role in enhancing accessibility, aiding individuals with visual impairments or learning disabilities, and providing a versatile solution for consuming written content in situations where reading may be impractical or inconvenient.

Challenges of reading research papers and how text to speech can help

Studying often involves grappling with the challenges presented by research papers. As we navigate through these dense repositories of knowledge crucial for intellectual growth, one powerful ally emerges to mitigate these challenges: text to speech (TTS) technology. Let’s unravel the challenges posed by academic texts and delve into how TTS emerges as a transformative tool, enhancing accessibility, efficiency, and overall engagement:

One of the primary challenges of reading research papers is the abundance of technical language and specialized terminology. For individuals not well-versed in the specific field, deciphering these terms can be a daunting task. Text to speech (TTS) technology addresses this challenge by providing an auditory component to the reading process. Hearing the content aloud can aid in pronunciation, contextual understanding, and overall comprehension of intricate terms. By engaging multiple senses, TTS assists readers in navigating the intricate linguistic landscape of academic papers.

Research papers are often lengthy and densely packed with information, requiring dedicated time and mental focus to absorb the content fully. TTS can alleviate this challenge by allowing users to listen to papers while performing other tasks or listen at a faster rate than physical reading allows. By breaking down the information into manageable auditory segments, TTS enables users to absorb complex concepts without the need for prolonged, uninterrupted reading sessions.

Busy schedules, whether due to academic, professional, or personal commitments, can limit the time available for in-depth reading and analysis of research papers. TTS provides a solution by offering a more time-efficient means of consuming academic content. Users can listen to research papers during activities such as commuting, exercising, or doing household chores, maximizing the utility of their time and seamlessly integrating learning into their daily routines.

Traditional reading methods can pose accessibility challenges for individuals with conditions such as dyslexia, vision issues, or attention disorders. TTS technology serves as an inclusive solution, offering an alternative mode of content consumption. By listening to research papers, individuals with learning differences can overcome barriers related to text-based challenges, making academic content more accessible and fostering a more equitable learning environment. TTS also addresses eye strain issues associated with prolonged reading, promoting a more comfortable reading experience.

Writing research articles can be difficult and re-reading them for typos can seem even more daunting. Text to speech platforms offer a distinct advantage in catching typos and grammatical errors that might be easily missed during traditional visual proofreading. By listening to your research paper, you engage a different cognitive process, allowing you to detect discrepancies in syntax, grammar, and word choice more effectively. This dual approach to proofreading, both visual and auditory, enhances the overall accuracy of your written work, ensuring that typos are promptly identified and rectified, contributing to the production of polished and error-free research papers.

Listening while reading research papers can significantly enhance the learning experience. Combining auditory input with the visual engagement of reading creates a multimodal learning approach that caters to different learning styles. The act of listening to text to speech read research papers aloud can help improve concentration and maintain focus during the often rigorous and dense process of digesting such content. This dual-input method not only reinforces comprehension but also aids in retaining information by tapping into multiple cognitive channels. Additionally, it can make the learning process more dynamic and enjoyable, potentially reducing the perceived difficulty of understanding complex topics.

Why Speechify is the best text to speech for reading research papers

In the ever-expanding landscape of text to speech (TTS) applications, Speechify emerges as a standout contender, particularly for the discerning academic reader. Navigating the intricate realm of research papers demands a tool that not only provides seamless functionality but also caters to the diverse needs of scholars and learners. Speechify, with its comprehensive set of features and user-friendly design, stands out as the premier TTS app for reading research papers. Here are just a few unique features that position Speechify as the go-to TTS app for the academic community, elevating the reading experience for research papers to unprecedented heights:

Speechify offers text highlighting synchronized with the audio, facilitating better retention and comprehension. This feature is especially beneficial for individuals with dyslexia, ADHD, and other learning differences, who benefit substantially from following along with the text as it is read aloud.

Users can adjust the reading speed to suit their preferences, enabling a customized and comfortable listening experience. Students can easily slow down the reading as they take notes or speed up the reading to meet deadlines or boost productivity.

Speechify boasts a diverse range of 200+ natural-sounding voices indistinguishable from human speech across 30+ various languages and accents, accommodating a global audience and providing an immersive reading experience.

The OCR scanning functionality allows users to convert printed or handwritten text into digital format, enabling students to listen to any digital or physical text aloud.

How to read research papers aloud with Speechify

Speechify, the leading text to speech app, provides an unparalleled solution for listening to research papers aloud, offering a seamless and enriching experience for academic readers. In fact, let’s explore how you can use the Speechify website, Chrome extension , or app to listen to research papers, including how to listen to scanned research papers.

You can listen to research papers straight from the Speechify website. Simply follow the steps below:

  • Open your web browser and navigate to Speechify.com
  • Sign in or create an account if you haven't already.
  • Tap “New” in the left-hand toolbar.
  • Click “Text Document.”
  • Copy and paste the research paper copy into the text box.
  • Press submit.
  • Customize the voice, reading speed, and other preferences.
  • Click the "Play" button to listen to your research paper with Speechify.
  • Enjoy a seamless and accessible reading experience right in your web browser.

If your favorite browser is Google Chrome, you can also listen to research papers by using the Speechify Chrome extension. Here’s a breakdown of how to get started:

  • Install the Speechify Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store.
  • Click on the Speechify icon in your browser toolbar.
  • Sign in or create an account.
  • Select the text you want to read and choose your desired settings.
  • Click the "Play" button on the Speechify pop-up to start the text to speech conversion.
  • Listen to the content being read out loud while you browse the web, and even adjust settings on the fly.

If you’d like to read research papers on the go, follow this easy tutorial showing how to use the Speechify app:

  • Download the Speechify IOS or Android app from the App store or Google Play store.
  • Open the app and sign in or create a new account.
  • Tap “Add” on the bottom toolbar.
  • Choose “From your computer.”
  • Choose files and import your research paper or copy and paste text into the app.
  • Customize voice preferences, reading speed, and other settings.
  • Tap the “Play” button to begin listening to the converted content.
  • Use the app’s additional features, such as highlighting text or changing the voice for a more interactive reading experience.

You can even read printed research papers with Speechify. Follow this guide to use the Speechify app to scan pictures of your physical documents:

  • Download the Speechify IOS or Android app on your mobile device from the App store or Google Play store.
  • Choose “Scan Pages.”
  • Grant Speechify access to your camera.
  • Use the OCR scanner to take photos of the research paper you wish to convert to audio files.
  • Press “Next” in the bottom right hand corner.
  • Click “Listen” in the top right hand corner.
  • Press “Save.”
  • Tap the "Play" button to begin listening to the new audio version of your research paper.
  • Customize the settings to suit your preferences, such as reading speed and voice selection.
  • Enjoy hands-free learning while you focus on comprehension or follow along as the text is highlighted.

Navigate through dense research papers, craft concise summaries or Google Doc annotations, review social science notes, explore journal articles, read ChatGPT responses, or immerse yourself in academic journals, check emails, and listen to research papers with the help of Speechify. Whether you're a student, researcher, or lifelong learner, Speechify makes it easy to transform any text into speech. Try Speechify for free today and transform your reading experience all while taking advantage of its user-friendly design and innovative features.

Yes, text to speech software, such as NaturalReader or Speechify can read HTML tags and citations aloud, making it easier to follow the structure of the paper and understand the sources cited.

Speechify allows you to easily listen to any physical or digital text aloud. Sign up for free and check it out today.

Text to speech can benefit language learners by improving their pronunciation and listening skills, increasing vocabulary and comprehension, and providing access to a variety of materials in the target language.

For academic research, some of the best podcasts include "The Research Report Show" and "Research in Action," which provide insights into the latest research across various fields.

Some of the best audiobooks about researching include, How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and The Craft of Research by Wayne Booth, Gregory Colomb, and Joseph Williams. These audiobooks are highly recommended for academic researchers.

You can listen to any text aloud, including research papers on an iPhone using the Speechify app.

ChatGPT 3 Text to Speech: Explained

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Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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The Semantic Reader Open Research Platform

Semantic Reader Project is a collaborative effort of NLP + HCI researchers from non-profit, industry, and academic institutions to create interactive, intelligent reading interfaces for scholarly papers. Our research led to the creation of Semantic Reader, an application used by tens of thousands of scholars each week.

The Semantic Reader Open Research Platform provides resources that enable the broader research community to explore exciting challenges around novel research support tools: PaperMage , a library for processing and analyzing scholarly PDFs, and PaperCraft , a React UI component for building augmented and interactive reading interfaces. Join us in designing the future of scholarly reading interfaces with our open source libraries!

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Open Source Libraries

We provide PaperMage + PaperCraft for building intelligent and interactive paper readers. Below we showcase how to extract text from a PDF to prompt a LLM for term definitions and then visually augment the paper with highlights and popups.

Process and Analyze Scholarly PDF Documents

Create Visually Augmented Interactive Readers

Research Prototype Showcase

Here we present several interactive demos to showcase systems you can build with PaperMage and PaperCraft.

Photo of TaeSoo Kim

Augmenting Research Papers with Author Talk Videos

Demo Paper Presentation

Photo of Hyeonsu B. Kang

Synergi & Threddy

Clipping Research Threads from Papers for Synthesis and Exploration

Paper Presentation

Photo of Tal August

Paper Plain

Making Medical Research Papers Approachable to Healthcare Consumers

Demo Code Tutorial Paper

Photo of Joseph Chang

LLM Paper Q&A

A GPT-powered PDF QA system with attribution support.

Demo Code Tutorial

Photo of Joseph Chee Chang

Augmenting Citations in Papers with Persistent and Personalized Context

In-Production Paper Presentation

Photo of Napol Rachatasumrit

Localizing Incoming Citations from Follow on Papers in the Margins

Photo of Raymond Fok

Automatic highlights for skimming support of scientific papers

In-Production Paper

Photo of Andrew Head

Augmenting Papers with Just-in-Time Definitions of Terms and Symbols

Founding Project Demo Paper

Publications

Semantic reader project overview.

The Semantic Reader Project: Augmenting Scholarly Documents through AI-Powered Interactive Reading Interfaces Kyle Lo, Joseph Chee Chang, Andrew Head, Jonathan Bragg, Amy X. Zhang, Cassidy Trier, Chloe Anastasiades, Tal August, Russell Authur, Danielle Bragg, Erin Bransom, Isabel Cachola, Stefan Candra, Yoganand Chandrasekhar, Yen-Sung Chen, Evie (Yu-Yen) Cheng, Yvonne Chou, Doug Downey, Rob Evans, Raymond Fok, F.Q. Hu, Regan Huff, Dongyeop Kang, Tae Soo Kim, Rodney Michael Kinney, A. Kittur, Hyeonsu B Kang, Egor Klevak, Bailey Kuehl, Michael Langan, Matt Latzke, Jaron Lochner, Kelsey MacMillan, Eric Stuart Marsh, Tyler Murray, Aakanksha Naik, Ngoc-Uyen Nguyen, Srishti Palani, Soya Park, Caroline Paulic, Napol Rachatasumrit, Smita R Rao, P. Sayre, Zejiang Shen, Pao Siangliulue, Luca Soldaini, Huy Tran, Madeleine van Zuylen, Lucy Lu Wang, Christopher Wilhelm, Caroline M Wu, Jiangjiang Yang, Angele Zamarron, Marti A. Hearst, Daniel S. Weld . ArXiv. 2023 .

Interactive and Intelligent Reading Interfaces

Qlarify: Bridging Scholarly Abstracts and Papers with Recursively Expandable Summaries Raymond Fok, Joseph Chee Chang, Tal August, Amy X. Zhang, Daniel S. Weld . ArXiv. 2023 .

Papeos: Augmenting Research Papers with Talk Videos Tae Soo Kim, Matt Latzke, Jonathan Bragg, Amy X. Zhang, Joseph Chee Chang . The ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. 2023 .

Synergi: A Mixed-Initiative System for Scholarly Synthesis and Sensemaking Hyeonsu B Kang, Sherry Wu, Joseph Chee Chang, A. Kittur . The ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. 2023 .

🏆 Best Paper Award CiteSee: Augmenting Citations in Scientific Papers with Persistent and Personalized Historical Context Joseph Chee Chang, Amy X. Zhang, Jonathan Bragg, Andrew Head, Kyle Lo, Doug Downey, Daniel S. Weld . Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2023 .

Relatedly: Scaffolding Literature Reviews with Existing Related Work Sections Srishti Palani, Aakanksha Naik, Doug Downey, Amy X. Zhang, Jonathan Bragg, Joseph Chee Chang . Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2023 .

CiteRead: Integrating Localized Citation Contexts into Scientific Paper Reading Napol Rachatasumrit, Jonathan Bragg, Amy X. Zhang, Daniel S. Weld . 27th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces. 2022 .

🏆 Best Paper Award Math Augmentation: How Authors Enhance the Readability of Formulas using Novel Visual Design Practices Andrew Head, Amber Xie, Marti A. Hearst . Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2022 .

Scim: Intelligent Skimming Support for Scientific Papers Raymond Fok, Hita Kambhamettu, Luca Soldaini, Jonathan Bragg, Kyle Lo, Andrew Head, Marti A. Hearst, Daniel S. Weld . Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces. 2022 .

Exploring Team-Sourced Hyperlinks to Address Navigation Challenges for Low-Vision Readers of Scientific Papers Soya Park, Jonathan Bragg, Michael Chang, K. Larson, Danielle Bragg . Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction. 2022 .

Paper Plain: Making Medical Research Papers Approachable to Healthcare Consumers with Natural Language Processing Tal August, Lucy Lu Wang, Jonathan Bragg, Marti A. Hearst, Andrew Head, Kyle Lo . ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. 2022 . Presentation at CHI 2024.

Threddy: An Interactive System for Personalized Thread-based Exploration and Organization of Scientific Literature Hyeonsu B Kang, Joseph Chee Chang, Yongsung Kim, A. Kittur . Proceedings of the 35th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. 2022 .

🏆 Best Paper Award SciA11y: Converting Scientific Papers to Accessible HTML Lucy Lu Wang, Isabel Cachola, Jonathan Bragg, Evie (Yu-Yen) Cheng, Chelsea Hess Haupt, Matt Latzke, Bailey Kuehl, Madeleine van Zuylen, Linda M. Wagner, Daniel S. Weld . Proceedings of the 23rd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. 2021 .

Augmenting Scientific Papers with Just-in-Time, Position-Sensitive Definitions of Terms and Symbols Andrew Head, Kyle Lo, Dongyeop Kang, Raymond Fok, Sam Skjonsberg, Daniel S. Weld, Marti A. Hearst . Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2020 .

Open Research Resources: Libraries, Models, Datasets

🏆 Best Paper Award PaperMage: A Unified Toolkit for Processing, Representing, and Manipulating Visually-Rich Scientific Documents Kyle Lo, Zejiang Shen, Benjamin Newman, Joseph Chee Chang, Russell Authur, Erin Bransom, Stefan Candra, Yoganand Chandrasekhar, Regan Huff, Bailey Kuehl, Amanpreet Singh, Chris Wilhelm, Angele Zamarron, Marti A. Hearst, Daniel S. Weld, Doug Downey, Luca Soldaini. Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing: Demos. 2023.

A Question Answering Framework for Decontextualizing User-facing Snippets from Scientific Documents Benjamin Newman, Luca Soldaini, Raymond Fok, Arman Cohan, Kyle Lo . undefined. 2023 .

🏆 Best Paper Award LongEval: Guidelines for Human Evaluation of Faithfulness in Long-form Summarization Kalpesh Krishna, Erin Bransom, Bailey Kuehl, Mohit Iyyer, Pradeep Dasigi, Arman Cohan, Kyle Lo . ArXiv. 2023 .

Are Layout-Infused Language Models Robust to Layout Distribution Shifts? A Case Study with Scientific Documents Catherine Chen, Zejiang Shen, D. Klein, G. Stanovsky, Doug Downey, Kyle Lo . ArXiv. 2023 .

The Semantic Scholar Open Data Platform Rodney Michael Kinney, Chloe Anastasiades, Russell Authur, Iz Beltagy, Jonathan Bragg, Alexandra Buraczynski, Isabel Cachola, Stefan Candra, Yoganand Chandrasekhar, Arman Cohan, Miles Crawford, Doug Downey, Jason Dunkelberger, Oren Etzioni, Rob Evans, Sergey Feldman, Joseph Gorney, D. Graham, F.Q. Hu, Regan Huff, Daniel King, Sebastian Kohlmeier, Bailey Kuehl, Michael Langan, Daniel Lin, Haokun Liu, Kyle Lo, Jaron Lochner, Kelsey MacMillan, Tyler Murray, Christopher Newell, Smita R Rao, Shaurya Rohatgi, P. Sayre, Zejiang Shen, Amanpreet Singh, Luca Soldaini, Shivashankar Subramanian, A. Tanaka, Alex D Wade, Linda M. Wagner, Lucy Lu Wang, Christopher Wilhelm, Caroline Wu, Jiangjiang Yang, Angele Zamarron, Madeleine van Zuylen, Daniel S. Weld . ArXiv. 2023 .

VILA: Improving Structured Content Extraction from Scientific PDFs Using Visual Layout Groups Zejiang Shen, Kyle Lo, Lucy Lu Wang, Bailey Kuehl, Daniel S. Weld, Doug Downey . Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics. 2021 .

Document-Level Definition Detection in Scholarly Documents: Existing Models, Error Analyses, and Future Directions Dongyeop Kang, Andrew Head, Risham Sidhu, Kyle Lo, Daniel S. Weld, Marti A. Hearst . Proceedings of the First Workshop on Scholarly Document Processing @ ACL. 2020 .

See the  Project Overview Paper  to see a full list of contributors. † For questions and inquiries, please contact Joseph Chee Chang (PaperCraft & Intelligent reading interfaces), or Kyle Lo and Luca Soldaini (PaperMage & Scientific document processing).

Research Advisory Board

Intelligent reading interfaces research, scientific document processing research, research libraries and tooling.

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Using This Guide

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This guide will cover apps that I find useful for research, ebook reading,  and organizing references and notes.

iPhone/iPad Apps

Money

  • Evernote Create text, photo and audio notes ● Auto-synchronize your notes to your Mac, PC, and Web ● Magically makes text within snapshots searchable ● All notes include geo-location information for mapping and search
  • Dropbox Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily.
  • QR Reader Barcode and QR code scanning app.

Android Apps

  • Xodo PDF Reader & Editor Xodo is an all-in-one PDF reader and PDF editor. With Xodo, you can read, annotate, sign, and share PDFs and fill in PDF forms, open .docx/.pptx as PDFs, plus sync with Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive.
  • QR Droid Code Scanner Barcode and QR code scanning app
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  • Last Updated: Jan 18, 2023 12:47 PM
  • URL: https://library.mcla.edu/apps

The Fastest Way to Read Research Papers self.__wrap_b=(t,n,e)=>{e=e||document.querySelector(`[data-br="${t}"]`);let s=e.parentElement,r=B=>e.style.maxWidth=B+"px";e.style.maxWidth="";let o=s.clientWidth,u=s.clientHeight,a=o/2-.25,c=o+.5,p;if(o){for(r(a),a=Math.max(e.scrollWidth,a);a+1 {self.__wrap_b(0,+e.dataset.brr,e)})).observe(s):process.env.NODE_ENV==="development"&&console.warn("The browser you are using does not support the ResizeObserver API. Please consider add polyfill for this API to avoid potential layout shifts or upgrade your browser. Read more: https://github.com/shuding/react-wrap-balancer#browser-support-information"))};self.__wrap_b(":Riim:",1)

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Fourwaves

  • Event Website Publish a modern and mobile friendly event website.
  • Registration & Payments Collect registrations & online payments for your event.
  • Abstract Management Collect and manage all your abstract submissions.
  • Peer Reviews Easily distribute and manage your peer reviews.
  • Conference Program Effortlessly build & publish your event program.
  • Virtual Poster Sessions Host engaging virtual poster sessions.
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Top 11 Apps for Researchers in 2023

Matthieu Chartier, PhD.

Published on 01 May 2022

The evolution of new technologies has caused a digital transformation in almost every industry and field of interest, including academia. Technology has changed the way that academics conduct research, document findings, and collaborate with peers. 

Academics can now rely on new avenues of collaboration that didn’t even exist when they launched their careers. Networks like SSRN and Mendeley provide opportunities for researchers to share their work for increased collaboration, and abstract management tools streamline the peer review process required by legitimate academic conferences and journals. 

As this digital transformation accelerates, researchers can now access a vast array of apps aimed at simplifying their workflows and facilitating information sharing. While these apps have the potential to improve the way scientists conduct and share their research, the selection can be overwhelming. 

Based on our experience and extensive research, here are the 11 best apps available for researchers in 2023.

1. Fourwaves 

Fourwaves is a conference management software for researchers. Their free web application allows you to create a complete event website, manage abstract submissions, peer reviews, host virtual poster sessions , manage registrations and more. 

It’s the easiest way to organize scientific events as the tool was crafted with researchers in mind every step of the way. 

Fourwaves can be used not only for in-person events but also for hybrid and virtual conferences . They offer a complete virtual venue to access live streams, chat or call other participants and attend virtual poster sessions.

You can go as far as mass email your attendees, automatically generate your event schedule or even print out your name tags; everything you need for your event is in one place.

Most interesting features:

  • Ready-to-go event website ; all you have to do is enter your event’s content and you’re ready to publish. 
  • Abstract management & Peer review tool ; you can easily collect submissions, review them according to your criterias, email authors and publish your material and the full conference schedule online.
  • Registration and payment management ; attendees can easily register to your event and pay online on your Fourwaves event website. 

All-in-one platform for scientific events

2. R Discovery: Academic Research

R Discovery is a free app that empowers researchers to save time wading through a sea of academic research papers by finding the articles that are most relevant to your work and delivering them to you each day. It curates over 96 million research articles which includes over 24 million open access articles. 

The app is mobile-only, available for download on the Google Play App Store and the Apple App store for mobile use on your Android device, iPhone or iPad. The app scans papers from all major disciplines in the arts and sciences. 

  • As soon as you sign up and submit your areas of interest, R Discovery will serve you the top three related articles in a news feed each day.
  • R Discovery uses AI to learn your reading interests over time and populate your news feed with content increasingly tailored to your specific interests.
  • The app provides export functions for easy integration with reference managers to organize your citations.

R Discovery app features

3. LabArchives  

LabArchives is a web-based application that acts as a digital lab notebook, helping researchers keep their work and notes organized to improve productivity in their labs. Users can access LabArchives to make notes, store images and data, and use the search feature for simple access to all of their material. 

There are also Android and iOS versions of this app available in the Apple App Store and Google Play App Store that allow users to access their digital notebooks from their Android devices, iPhones and iPads and have instant access to all of their data, from anywhere. While there are Premium and Enterprise versions of the platform for more advanced use and collaboration, individuals and small teams can access a free version that still includes unlimited notebooks and 1GB of storage. 

Most interesting features: 

  • Makes it easy to store and share data between your team members, with user-friendly search functions. You can even share DNA sequence files in over 30 formats! 
  • Access information from your desktop or your phone, thanks to the free iOS app for your iPhone or iPad. There is also an Android app available in the Google Play store, but based on reviews it appears that functionality is limited. 
  • Data security that lets you determine file access and sharing limitations, so you know exactly who is viewing your files and when.

Text editor example on LabArchives

Typeset is a web-based application that was created to help researchers write, collaborate, format and submit research papers for publication. Typeset allows you to upload your work to their platform, and use their AI to reformat your research and submissions to meet the publication requirements of various journal and conference organizers. 

Typeset works seamlessly with reference management software like Mendeley, Zotero, Paperpile and more. It allows users to choose from over 45,000 verified journal formats and export your work to Word, LaTex and PDF formats. 

Typeset does not offer mobile apps for Apple or Android devices. There are a variety of subscription levels available with pricing ranging from free to $20 per month. 

  • Editing features that increase the chances of being published.
  • Integrations that enable you to submit research for publication directly from the app.
  • Plagiarism and grammar checker for increased quality and peace of mind.

Typeset app dashboard

5. BenchSci

The BenchSci platform was built to use advanced biomedical AI to help source the materials that scientific researchers need to move forward with their work. 

Once the app user enters their protein target into the BenchSci platform, the app will sift through thousands of reliable information sources like websites and scientific publications, delivering options that will help determine the antibody or reagent needed. BenchSci is a web-based application that is not available for Android or iOS. It is used by more than 48,000 individual scientists and over 4,000 institutions. BenchSci boasts that their tools can accelerate projects through their AI-powered reagent and antibody selection process, cutting the selection time from 12 weeks to 30 seconds. By empowering researchers to find the antibodies and reagents they need easier and faster, BenchSci reduces the number of materials they need to purchase and experiment with, therefore reducing costs. 

  • AI-Assisted Reagent Selection, which uses AI and automation to reduce the errors and inefficiencies in the reagent and model system selection for scientists. 
  • AI-Assisted Antibody Selection, which follows the same principle as the reagent selection but focuses on antibodies. This feature is free for you to use if you are a student or researcher at an academic, government, or nonprofit institution. 
  • Things change quickly, so the platform is constantly updated to add new antibody and reagent products to ensure that users can access everything available.

BenchSci platform search results

6. eLabJournal

There are many Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs) available on the market, but the eLabJournal takes the concept of ELNs to the next step. eLabJournal was designed to increase productivity and efficiency in your research lab and simplify the process of organizing and locating data, collaborating with peers, and exporting files into a variety of formats. 

This is a web-based application with mobile versions available on the Google Play and Apple App Stores. Academics can purchase a subscription to the eLabJournal for $15.55 per month, while Industry users are charged $41.95 per month. 

  • This ELN uses a simple, intuitive interface that was specifically designed to meet the needs of those in the life science research and development field. 
  • Facilitates the ability to link data with functionality to upload images (via the Android and iPhone apps) and a wide range of file types. 
  • Seamlessly integrates with eLab’s other products through their SDK and APIs, providing extensive customization opportunities to meet the specific needs of your lab.

eLabJournal experiement browser screenshot

7. Connected Papers

Connected Papers is a web-based application that provides a uniquely visual representation of the published research available in a certain field. This helps researchers and scientists browse the information available related to their field of study and ensure that nothing is being missed as they prepare their work for submission. 

The app works when a scientist enters their research topic into the search bar. Within seconds, Connected Papers reviews tens of thousands of papers related to that topic, and creates a visual map showcasing all of the work available for the scientist to review and consider in their research. Connected Papers is currently not available on the Apple App Store or Google Play App Store. It is completely free to use. 

  • The visual maps create an easy-to-follow pathway that showcases how closely related particular sources are to the work you’re conducting.
  • The app creates clusters that groups papers based on their level of similarities, and pushes less relevant papers away.
  • Connected works scans the citations used by various sources and classified papers to be closely related based on how many citations overlap. 

Connected Papers mapping example

8. Papership

The Papership app allows you to store, annotate, manage and share research papers from anywhere. Available on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad, Papership syncs with popular web-based platforms Zotero and Mendeley to allow app users to access their curated research libraries stored in their Zotero and Mendeley accounts conveniently and remotely. 

  • You can choose a free version of the app which can integrate with annotation apps like Evernote, or purchase the annotation function of Papership for $9.99 per month.
  • Documents annotated through Papership can be shared via email, SMS, iMessage, Facebook and Twitter. 
  • Papership provides quantitative measurements of the significance of a publication to alert the reader as to the legitimacy of the research. It measures both peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed sources. 

Papership app screenshots

9. GanttPRO

Ganttpro is a web-based project management application that helps research teams plan and organize projects through the use of collaborative Gantt charts. By providing the ability to create interactive Gantt charts online, GanttPRO makes it possible to plan and control many projects at the same time. It empowers researchers to organize and schedule tasks, set deadlines, identify dependencies and manage resources, all while making this information readily available to all collaborators. GanttPRO is available in a mobile version that can be downloaded for your Android and Apple mobile devices. The company offers a free trial and once that is complete different app packages are available that range from $7.99 to $19.99 per month. 

  • Drag and drop capabilities to make it simple to organize and reorganize as inputs, outputs and priorities change
  • Allows for the creation of multiple workspaces to separate personal tasks from overall team projects
  • Collaborative functions make it easy to track the progress of each team member and step in to help whenever needed. 

Ganttpro project example

Trello is an app that can be used by academics, researchers, marketers, computer scientists and basically any other student, professor or business person interested in seamlessly collaborating and managing projects on-the-go. Trello is organized in boards, lists and cards that are customizable and expandable as the project and team grows. Trello easily integrates with other popular apps like Dropbox, Slack, Chrome, Teams and more. It is available for Android and Apple mobile devices on the App Store and Google Play App Store. 

  • Timelines that allow all team members to stay on track and be held accountable to deadlines
  • Table views that connect work across a variety of related Trello boards
  • A handy Dashboard that highlights usage and engagement stats for all of your boards.

Trello board

11. Researcher

The Researcher app was built to make it easier for researchers to find academic articles relevant to their work. By aggregating over 19,000 sources that include peer-reviewed academic journals, blogs, podcasts and recordings from live events, Researcher helps scientists stay up-to-date on emerging trends and information related to any given field of study or interest. The creators of Researcher claim that their app is “like social media, but better.” The Researcher app is free to use and is available for download on the Apple App Store, the Google Play App Store and the AppInChina App Store. 

  • Filter options that allow you to sift through tens of thousands of sources in seconds
  • Notification options to ensure that any time a new source is published that relates to your stated interests, you’ll find out about it right away.
  • Bookmarks that make it easy for you to come back to an interesting piece when the time is right, without having to search.

Researcher app on a mobile phone

Conclusion 

The apps listed above can help you be more efficient, collaborate better with your colleagues, and get more organized. We hope one or more of them considerably help you with your research. Let us know if we missed any! 

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Get the Reddit app

Reddit’s little corner for iPhone lovers (and some people who just mildly enjoy it…)

What's a good app for reading research papers?

Hi r/iphone ! I am looking to get back into studying so I was looking for a easy-to-use app with good UI for reading research papers (basically PDFs) where I can annotate, save parts of the papers, etc? Ideally, a good PDF reader should be able to do that (I think?) but I'm not quite sure which one would be good for my purpose.

Any help would be really appreciated!

R Discovery: Academic Research 4+

Access 100m+ research papers, cactus communications private limited, designed for ipad.

  • 4.8 • 258 Ratings

Screenshots

Description.

R Discovery is a free app for students and researchers to find and read research papers. This literature search and reading app for researchers curates an academic reading library based on your interests so you stay updated on latest academic research with access to scholarly articles, scientific journals, open access articles, and peer reviewed articles. With R Discovery, you can do a literature search like on Google Scholar, refseek, Research Gate, or Academia.edu, or let our AI generate separate feeds of relevant scholarly articles for you. We search, you read. It’s that simple! R Discovery gives you access to: • 250M+ Research articles (journal articles, clinical trials, conference papers & more) • 40M+ Open access articles (world’s largest OA journal articles library) • 3M+ Preprints from arXiv, bioRxiv, medRxiv & other preprint servers • 9.5M+ Research topics • 14M+ Authors • 32K+ Academic journals • 100K+ Universities & Institutions • Content from Microsoft Academic, PubMed, PubMed Central, CrossRef, Unpaywall, OpenAlex, etc. See how R Discovery’s personalized research reading feed and unique features save time and improve your literature reading! Largest repository of open access articles Access the largest library of open access journal articles and preprints on mobile, with 40M+ open access articles from top publishers and global research databases. Unlock full-text papers with institutional access Use your university credentials to log in and access paywalled journal articles for your thesis research with our GetFTR & Libkey integrations. Most reliable, cleanest research database Read science articles from the most trustworthy global research paper database, cleaned to remove duplication, eliminate ambiguities in journal, publisher, author names, and exclude predatory content. Curated research feeds Benefit from our AI-curated research feeds dedicated to the Top 100 papers, open access articles, preprints, paywalled papers, journal feeds, etc. Coming up: New feeds on patents, conferences & seminars. Reading lists from the research community Access and share research recommendations by a community of peers in your field; these lists allow for quick, easy, relevant research discovery and better literature reading. Collaborative reading lists Save, view, and share your reading lists with co-researchers on your study. Easy knowledge sharing via our premium collaborative reading list feature helps accelerate innovation; so invite your peers to join now. Audio streaming Amplify your reading with audio listening for library lists, research paper titles & abstracts. This Prime feature lets you create audio playlists and delve into research articles on the go. Research paper translation Read research articles in your own language with our academic translation Prime feature. Choose a paper to read and click on the translate option to read in your chosen language. Auto sync library with Zotero, Mendeley Our auto sync Prime feature integrates your research paper topics and research library with Mendeley, Zotero, updating it every time you save or remove papers. Coming up: Endnote integrations! Easy accessibility, summaries & notifications Read research that matters with alerts on Just Published research papers and assess relevance with research summaries. Bookmark articles on the research app and read on the web. R Discovery partners with research publications, including Elsevier, Wiley, IOP, Springer Nature, Sage, Taylor & Francis, Hindawi, NEJM, Emerald Publishing, Duke University Press, Intech Open, AIAA, Karger, Underline.io, SAGE, JStage for the best content. Enjoy free research discovery or upgrade to R Discovery Prime to unlock unlimited use of our premium features. Join 3M+ academics and redefine the way you read on R Discovery, the highest rated app in this space (rated 4.6+ on App Store). Get it now!

Version 3.3.9

This app release includes enhanced feature education stories to help you understand R Discovery app better. This version also includes performance improvements and bug fixes.

Ratings and Reviews

258 Ratings

Best research app/tool I’ve used (and I’ve tried them all)

I’m a final year PhD student who has just started writing my thesis. It’s such a chaotic process and R discovery has been such a help. It’s structured my reading, helped me find all the relevant papers I need, it’s constantly sending me emails with new papers in my research area so I’m able to come to research meetings and impress my supervisors! It’s saved me so much time it’s unreal. So much love for this & the fact it’s completely free (with no catch) is the icing on the cake. If you haven’t downloaded this yet - what are you doing??!?!?

Developer Response ,

Hi Emilack, thanks for the hearty endorsement of our app! Your review has made our day! We're pleased to know you're finding it so useful in finding relevant research recommendations. Do help us by spreading the word about our app amongst your friends and colleagues. And if there's any new feature that you'd like added, or if you have any other suggestions for us, please let us know at [email protected]. Have a good week!

Very useful app

That app is wonderful to keep up with the papers of a particular topic
Hi eichimochi, thanks so much for leaving us a review and a 5-star rating! We're happy to know you're finding the app useful. Do use it everyday for better recommendations of research papers and peer reviewed articles. Write to us at [email protected] to share any feedback or suggestions you might have for us. We'd love to hear from you!

Fantastic app

As a researcher, this app is incredibly valuable. I often use it to browse unrelated topics in an easy and intuitive manner. Highly recommend. To the developers; please consider horizontal rotation when viewing pdfs! This would make the app a lot easier to use. Many thanks

App Privacy

The developer, Cactus Communications Private Limited , indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy .

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The following data may be used to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies:

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Privacy practices may vary based on, for example, the features you use or your age. Learn More

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Unpacking the science of reading – what the research says

Unpacking the science of reading – what the research says

There has been a lot of media coverage recently on the science of reading. But what does the evidence say? In their new paper on the topic, ACER Senior Research Fellow, Greta Rollo, and ACER Research Fellow Dr Kellie Picker, from the Effective Practice in Education team synthesise evidence reviews conducted by ACER researchers that unpack the science of reading.

In this 3-part series, Greta and Kellie will explain each of the components that make up the science of reading and share implications for teaching. This first article provides an overview of the 6 key components of the science of reading.

What is the science of reading?

The science of reading is generally used as a catch all expression for the body of research that helps teachers understand what students need to be taught to become effective readers. It is a multi-disciplinary body of research and knowledge from education, linguistics, cognitive psychology, special education, and neuroscience. This article unpacks the 6 key components that make up the science of reading which include:

  • Oral language
  • Vocabulary (and morphology)
  • Reading comprehension
  • Phonemic awareness (part of phonological awareness)

For a more detailed discussion please see ACER’s recent paper Unpacking the science of reading research .

These ‘Big 6’ components of the science of reading are inter-related and have different roles at different times in the development of early reading skills. Some, such as phonemic awareness and phonics are somewhat constrained skills. They are largely mastered by the time the child starts reading independently for meaning. Others, such as oral language, vocabulary and comprehension, require deep conceptual development and are unconstrained, which means they can continue to develop for the rest of the child’s life (Turner et al., 2018).

Constrained skills

Phonemic awareness is ‘ the ability to break down and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken language.’ (Stark et al., 2015) . It is part of phonological awareness, which addresses wider spoken language and larger chunks of speech (for example, syllables) . Phonemic awareness includes segmenting words into sounds. It includes blending sounds into words and articulating sounds sequentially to say a word. At its most sophisticated it refers to manipulation of phonemes – deletion, addition and swapping sounds from words to make new words. Phonemic awareness is important for reading development because it supports understanding of the alphabetic principle and orthographic mapping, critical parts of phonics.

Phonics involves combining knowledge of English phonemes (phonemic awareness) with knowledge of English letters (graphemes) to decode words (Rohl, 2000). There are 2 key parts to phonics – the alphabetic principle and word reading by decoding. The alphabetic principle requires mastery of all letter-sound relationships. Combining these skills to learn to decode allows students to read most words they typically encounter. Decoding skills in turn are critical to orthographic mapping, the process whereby students map decoded words and parts of words like morphemes to their current interpretation of their meaning, which supports their reading of irregular words.

Fluency requires accurate reading aloud with appropriate attention to phrasing, intonation and punctuation. Monitoring the development of fluency requires consideration of accuracy and speed, and prosody. Accuracy means reading words correctly. Speed is simply how quickly words are read. Prosody is the use of expression, intonation and phrasing that enhances meaning when reading and is highly correlated with reading comprehension. A students’ reading accuracy and speed can be recorded together in the number of correct words read per minute (CWPM), or their Oral Reading Fluency Assessment (ORFA).

Unconstrained skills

Oral language proficiency underpins communication and learning. This is especially evident in the early stages of learning to read. Research has demonstrated that children with larger oral vocabularies displayed greater reading and mathematics achievement, increased behavioural self-regulation and fewer externalising and internalising problems at school-entry. There is also a strong reciprocal relationship between oral language development and reading development including the obvious links between oral language development and the next Big 6 skill, vocabulary.

A student’s vocabulary is all the words they understand. A rich vocabulary is essential in developing reading comprehension because students must understand the meaning of almost all words in a text to accurately interpret its meaning. A deep and broad vocabulary can drive the development of reading comprehension. A more abundant vocabulary leads to a more comprehensive understanding of ideas, which may in turn enrich reading experiences. Vocabulary instruction must include morphology – the study of morphemes, the smallest meaningful units of a language. These morphemes can be joined together to create specific meanings. Knowing more about morphemes and having a bigger vocabulary supports the development of reading comprehension.

Reading comprehension involves an active process of making, constructing, or deciphering the meaning of a text. It involves elements of decoding, working out meaning, evaluating and imagining. The process draws upon the learner’s existing background knowledge and understanding, text–processing strategies and capabilities, and relies on the integration of all of the previously mentioned skills from the Big 6. At its most sophisticated, reading comprehension involves making inferences, critical analysis and applying knowledge of text types and social and cultural resources to evaluate or interpret a text.

Stay tuned: In the next article, Greta and Kellie will delve into phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency in greater detail.

Related reading:

Kellie Pickier and Greta Rollo have also published an online visual resource, Unpacking the science of reading , that explains the Big 6 pillars of learning to read. You can read it here .

References:

Rohl, M. (2000). Programs and strategies used by teachers to support primary students with difficulties in learning literacy. Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 5(2), 17–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/19404150009546622

Rollo, G., & Picker, K. (2024). Unpacking the science of reading research. Australian Council for Educational Research . https://doi.org/10.37517/978-1-74286-742-7

Stark, H., Snow, P. C., Eadie, P. A., & Goldfeld, S. R. (2015). Language and reading instruction in early years’ classrooms: The knowledge and self-rated ability of Australian teachers. Annals of Dyslexia, 66, 28–54.

Turner, R., Adams, R., Schwantner, U., Cloney, D., Scoular, C., Anderson, P., Daraganov, A., Jackson, J., Knowles, S., O’Connor, G., Munro-Smith, P., Zoumboulis, S., & Rogers, P. (2018). Development of reporting scales for reading and mathematics: A report describing the process for building the UIS Reporting Scales. Australian Council for Educational Research. https://research.acer.edu.au/monitoring_learning/33/

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Expert Q&A: Phonics and early reading instruction

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Why Are Companies That Lose Money Still So Successful?

  • Vijay Govindarajan,
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New research on how to identify investments that produce delayed but real profits — not just those that produce short-term accounting profits.

In a well-functioning capital market, profits should be the sole criterion for firm survival; that is, firms reporting losses should disappear. Of late, however, loss-making firms are highly sought after by investors — often more than some profitable firms. Unicorns, or startups with valuations exceeding a billion dollars, are examples of such loss-making firms. What has changed over time? When and why did losses lose their meaning? The authors’ series of new research papers provide some answers, guiding managers to make the right investments: those that produce delayed but real profits — not just those that produce short-term accounting profits but decimate shareholder wealth in long run.

In 1979, psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky famously posited that losses loom larger than gains in human decision-making. For example, a dollar of loss affects our behavior more than a dollar of profits . Likewise, when a firm announces losses, its stock price declines more dramatically than it increases for the same dollar amount of profits. Investors abandon and lenders tend to stop financing loss-making firms , which then start restructuring their business lines and laying off employees. Some firms go even further, conducting M&A transactions without substance and “managing earnings” to report profits instead of a loss.

  • Vijay Govindarajan is the Coxe Distinguished Professor at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, an executive fellow at Harvard Business School, and faculty partner at the Silicon Valley incubator Mach 49. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. His latest book is Fusion Strategy: How Real-Time Data and AI Will Power the Industrial Future . His Harvard Business Review articles “ Engineering Reverse Innovations ” and “ Stop the Innovation Wars ” won McKinsey Awards for best article published in HBR. His HBR articles “ How GE Is Disrupting Itself ” and “ The CEO’s Role in Business Model Reinvention ” are HBR all-time top-50 bestsellers. Follow him on LinkedIn . vgovindarajan
  • Shivaram Rajgopal is the Roy Bernard Kester and T.W. Byrnes Professor of Accounting and Auditing and Vice Dean of Research at Columbia Business School. His research examines financial reporting and executive compensation issues and he is widely published in both accounting and finance.
  • Anup Srivastava holds Canada Research Chair in Accounting, Decision Making, and Capital Markets and is a full professor at Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary. In a series of HBR articles, he examines the management implications of digital disruption. He specializes in the valuation and financial reporting challenges of digital companies. Follow Anup on  LinkedIn .
  • Aneel Iqbal is an assistant professor at Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University. He examines the accounting measurement and financial disclosures for new-economy firms and incorporates his wide-ranging industry experience into his research and teaching. He is a seasoned accounting and finance professional with diverse experience in auditing, financial analysis, business advisory, performance management, and executive training. Follow Aneel on LinkedIn .
  • Elnaz Basirian is a PhD student at the Haskayne School of Business. She examines the influence and role of intangibles in accounting and finance, aimed at improving valuation and market efficiency. She brings a decade of work experience in international financial markets. Follow Elnaz on LinkedIn .

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How Pew Research Center Uses Its National Public Opinion Reference Survey (NPORS)

In 2020, Pew Research Center launched a new project called the  National Public Opinion Reference Survey (NPORS) . NPORS is an annual, cross-sectional survey of U.S. adults. Respondents can answer by paper, online or over the phone, and they are selected using address-based sampling from the United States Postal Service’s Computerized Delivery Sequence File. The response rate to the latest NPORS was 32%, and previous years’ surveys were designed with a similarly rigorous approach. 

NPORS estimates are separate from the  American Trends Panel  (ATP) – the Center’s national online survey platform. Pew Research Center launched NPORS to address a limitation that researchers observed in the ATP. While the ATP was well-suited for the vast majority of the Center’s U.S. survey work, estimates for a few outcomes were not in line with other high-quality surveys, even after weighting to demographics like age, education, race and ethnicity, and gender.

For example, in 2018, roughly one-quarter of U.S. adults were religiously unaffiliated (i.e., atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”), according to the General Social Survey (GSS) and the Center’s own telephone-based polling . The ATP, however,  estimated the religiously unaffiliated rate at about 32%. The Center did not feel comfortable publishing that ATP estimate because there was too much evidence that the rate was too high, likely because the types of people willing to participate in an online panel skew less religious than the population as a whole. Similarly, the ATP estimate for the share of U.S. adults identifying as a Democrat or leaning to the Democratic Party was somewhat higher than the rate indicated by the GSS and our own telephone surveys .

From 2014 to late 2020, the Center approached these outcomes slightly differently. We addressed the political partisanship issue by weighting every ATP survey to an external benchmark for the share of Americans identifying as a Republican, Democrat or independent. For the benchmark, we used the average of the results from our three most recent national cellphone and landline random-digit-dial (RDD) surveys. 

During this time period, ATP surveys were not weighted to an external benchmark for Americans’ religious affiliation. The ATP was used for some research on religious beliefs and behaviors, but it was not used to estimate the overall share of Americans identifying as religiously affiliated or unaffiliated, nor was it used to estimate the size of particular faith groups, such as Catholics, Protestants or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. NPORS allows us to improve and harmonize our approach to both these outcomes (Americans’ political and religious affiliations). 

Design and estimates

Read our fact sheet to find the latest NPORS estimates as well as methodological details. Data collection for NPORS was performed by Ipsos from 2020 through 2023 and is now performed by SSRS. 

Why is the NPORS response rate higher than most opinion polls?

Several features of NPORS set it apart from a typical public opinion poll. 

  • People can respond offline or online.  NPORS offers three different ways to respond: by paper (through the mail), online, or by telephone (by calling a provided phone number and speaking to a live interviewer). The paper and telephone options bring in more conservative, more religious adults who are less inclined to take surveys online.
  • Monetary incentives.  When sampled adults are first asked to respond to NPORS online, the mailing contains a $2 incentive payment (cash visible from the outside of the envelope) and offers a $10 incentive payment contingent on the participant completing the survey. When nonrespondents to that first stage are sent the paper version of the survey, the mailing contains a visible $5 bill. These incentives give people a reason to respond, even if they might not be interested in the questions or inclined to take surveys in general. 
  • Priority mailing.  The paper version of the survey is mailed in a USPS Priority Mail envelope, which is more expensive than a normal envelope, signaling that the contents are important and that the mailing is not haphazard. It helps people distinguish the survey from junk mail, increasing the likelihood that they open and read what is inside. 
  • Low burden.  The NPORS questionnaire is intentionally kept short. It’s about 40 questions long, including demographics such as age, gender and education. This means that NPORS takes about seven minutes to finish, while many polls take 10 minutes or longer. 
  • Bilingual materials.  In parts of the country with sizable shares of Hispanic Americans, the materials are sent in both English and Spanish. 
  • No requirement to join a panel.  NPORS respondents are not required to join a survey panel, which for some people would be a reason to decline the request. 

These features are not possible in most public polls for a host of reasons. But NPORS is designed to produce estimates of high enough quality that they can be used as weighting benchmarks for other polls, and so these features are critical.

Why a ‘reference’ survey for public opinion?

The “R” in NPORS stands for “reference.” In this context, the term comes from  studies  in which researchers calibrate a small sample survey to a large, high-quality survey with greater precision and accuracy. Examples of reference surveys used by researchers include the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) and the Current Population Survey (CPS). NPORS is not on the scale of the ACS or CPS, nor does it feature face-to-face data collection. But it does have something that those studies lack: timely estimates of key public opinion outcomes. Other studies like the American National Election Survey (ANES) and the General Social Survey collect key public opinion measures, but their data is released months, if not years, after data collection. The ANES, while invaluable to academic researchers, also excludes noncitizens who constitute about 7% of adults living in the U.S. and are included in the Center’s surveys.

NPORS is truly a reference survey for Pew Research Center because researchers weight each American Trends Panel wave to several NPORS estimates. In other words, ATP surveys refer to NPORS in order to represent groups like Republicans, Democrats, religiously affiliated adults and religiously unaffiliated adults proportional to their share of the U.S. population. The ATP weighting protocol also calibrates to other benchmarks, such as ACS demographic figures and CPS benchmarks for voter registration status and volunteerism.

Pew Research Center is weighting on political party affiliation, but isn’t that an attitude?

It’s correct that whether someone considers themselves a Republican or a Democrat is an attitude, not a fixed characteristic, such as year of birth. But there is a way to weight on political party affiliation even though it is an attitude and without forcing the poll’s partisan distribution to align with a benchmark. 

Pew Research Center started implementing this approach in 2021. It begins with measuring the survey panelists’ political party affiliation at a certain point in time (typically, each summer). Ideally, the reference survey will measure the same construct at the same point in time. We launched NPORS because we control its timing as well as the American Trends Panel’s timing, allowing us to achieve this syncing.

NPORS and ATP measurements of political party are collected at approximately the same time each summer. We may then conduct roughly 25 surveys on the ATP over the next year. For each of those 25 surveys, we append the panelists’ party affiliation answers from the summer  to the current survey. To illustrate, let’s say that a survey was conducted in December. When researchers weight the December ATP survey, they take the measurement of party taken in the summer and weight that to the NPORS estimates for the partisan distribution of U.S. adults during the summer time frame. If, for example, Democrats were more likely than Republicans to respond to the December survey, the weighting to the NPORS target would help reduce the differential partisan nonresponse bias. 

Critically, if the hypothetical December poll featured a fresh measurement of political party affiliation (typically asked about three times a year on the ATP), the new December answers do  not  get forced to any target. The new partisan distribution is allowed to vary. In this way, we can both address the threat from differential partisan nonresponse and measure an attitude that changes over time (without dictating the outcome). Each summer, the process starts anew by measuring political party on the ATP at basically the same time as the NPORS data collection. 

Is the NPORS design connected to the American Trends Panel?

A key feature of NPORS is that respondents are not members of a survey panel. It is a fresh, random sample of U.S. adults. This matters because some people are willing to take a onetime survey like NPORS but are not interested in taking surveys on an ongoing basis as part of a panel. That said, in certain years, NPORS serves as a recruitment survey for the ATP. After the NPORS questions, we ask respondents if they would be willing to take future surveys. People who accept and those who decline are both part of the NPORS survey. But only those who consent to future surveys are eventually invited to join the ATP.

Can other survey researchers use NPORS?

Yes. As a nonprofit organization, we seek to make our research as useful to policymakers, survey practitioners and scholars as possible. As with the Center’s other survey work, the estimates and data are freely available. 

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ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER  Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of  The Pew Charitable Trusts .

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Think NJ professors kick back in the summer? They're out researching tons of cool stuff

7-minute read.

University professors are busy all school year — whether preparing or teaching a lecture, grading exams, or conducting office hours, there is always something going on.

But, while the campus quiets down during the summer, the pace often does not for professors. Many of them use the lull in courses to begin, or continue, meaningful research in their field.

We talked to six professors at universities in New Jersey to see what they are working on this summer. Whether developing a wearable device to treat psoriasis, taking students on a trip to caves in Crete, studying the effects of horses that help veterans with PTSD or analyzing the impact of vaping on cartilage development, professors have their hands full.

Simiao Niu, Rutgers University

Simiao Niu, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University, had psoriasis as a child in China.

“It left a lot of scars on my skin,"Niu said. "I did not have good medicine, and it was too expensive.”

Now, Niu’s team at Rutgers is developing something that will help many who experience what he went through as a child — a wearable electronic device to treat psoriasis. 

“With our treatment, even in only four days, you can see significant improvement in skin condition,” said Niu. 

Niu’s team developed a patch combining advanced electronics, living cells, and hydrogel to potentially treat psoriasis. “We also can keep this treatment monitored to know the progress," Niu said. "We can measure skin temperature and humidity.”

The team is currently conducting animal trials, but Niu hopes the group can expand to clinical trials to test on human patients and then apply for Food and Drug Administration approval to get the patch into the commercial market.

And Niu sees even bigger opportunities for his recent breakthrough.

“We believe this technology is not only limited to psoriasis," Niu said. "It can be used in other skin disease treatments, like skin cancers and inflammation. The broad ethical ability for this form of technology to treat other skin diseases is an end goal.”

Michael Griffiths, William Paterson University

A group of students from William Paterson University in Wayne and graduate students from the University of Birmingham recently finished a nine-day trip to the Greek island of Crete, led by William Paterson University environmental science professor Michael Griffiths and his colleagues.

The group explored caves to help develop paleoclimate records to try to reconstruct past rainfall on the island, which has the richest archaeological record of western civilization.

Griffiths and his team want to find out how people survived on an island that was generally dry and how the changing climate played a role in the success and demise of civilizations on the island for over 6,000 years.

“One of the main goals is to generate climate records to compare to archaeological records to see if there were climate changes that helped shape ancient civilizations,” said Griffiths. “For example, did big droughts play a role in conflict in these periods?”

Griffiths has studied caves since he earned his doctorate in 2006. He was invited to participate in this project because of his expertise in caves and analyzing cave minerals. 

One of Griffith’s colleagues, James Bendle, who started the project, had previously installed equipment in the caves. The team revisited the equipment and downloaded the data it had. It also collected cave drip waters and stalagmites, and surveyed an undocumented Roman shrine on a mountaintop.

Griffiths hopes the insight into how ancient civilizations adapted to fast climate change can help with future climate challenges. “If societies can thrive in harsh conditions with lack of technology, how does that help provide information to modern societies, like the Mediterranean today, which is dealing with rapid climate change,” said Griffiths. 

Griffiths enjoyed exposing students from underserved communities to the research, as he wanted to give them an idea of what it is like in the field to go caving and collect records.

Jessica Cottrell, Seton Hall University

Jessica Cottrell, an associate professor of biological sciences at Seton Hall University in South Orange, has conducted research that found certain vape juice additives disrupt the development and function of cartilage in the body.

“More recent experiments using chondrocytes suggest that exposure to these additives can alter gene expression patterns related to cartilage formation and integrity,” said Cottrell, who chairs the Department of Biological Sciences. 

Cottrell and her students became interested in the topic due to the growing popularity of vaping, and its potential health effects. “I was intrigued by how vape additives, which are often overlooked in terms of their safety, might influence chondrogenesis — the process by which cartilage is formed,” said Cottrell. 

Besides discovering that vape juice additives disrupt chondrocyte proliferation and function, Cottrell’s recent experiments suggest that exposure to vape additives can alter gene expression patterns related to cartilage formation and integrity. 

“Seton Hall students showed considerable enthusiasm for this project because it directly affects them and their peers, given its popularity during their adolescence,” said Cottrell, who believes her research not only informs public health policies but also provides insights into potential mechanisms of cartilage-related diseases.

“I hope that this research can contribute to a better understanding of the risks associated with vape juice additives,” said Cottrell. She aims to promote informed vaping practices and potentially inspire safer alternatives in the future. 

Karyn Malinowski, Rutgers University

A group of Rutgers scientists has found that interactions with horses appear to be an effective treatment for addressing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The scientists, including Karyn Malinowski, a professor and director at the Rutgers Equine Science Center, conducted a pilot study looking at Equine Assisted Activities in 2016. In the study, they found that veterans with PTSD had reduced symptoms after five days of such activities.

Malinowski is trained as an endocrinologist and has studied the effects of different equine activities on stress levels in the horses being used for decades. 

In the 1980s, Malinowski sampled horses who engaged in different equestrian practices to measure cortisol concentrations, a hormone released during stress, and found that they were higher than horses involved in other activities, such as racing. 

In Malinowski’s recent studies, however, she has found that “the horses used had no increase in plasma cortisol concentrations.” Ellen Rankins, her doctoral student, continued this investigation to test if horses and veterans co-regulated biological systems during the sessions.

“There is an increasing outcry from the general public about horse welfare and any science-based information that we can share with the public is very important,” said Malinowski, who has spent her entire career looking for ways to properly manage horses so that their stress level is minimized.

Equine Assisted Activities "are not covered by insurance because there is limited scientific documentation" that they work, said Malinowski, who believes that Rankins has made a big step forward to changing policy, which would not only help veterans but people of all ages who have mental and physical disabilities.

“I hope that with science-based information about the positive effects" of Equine Assisted Activities for veterans with PTSD, "more veterans would hear the word from peers and that the insurance carriers would begin to recognize the positive effects,” said Malinowski.

Tinchun Chu, Seton Hall

Early in her career, Seton Hall biology teacher Tinchun Chu noticed the alarming rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as superbugs. 

“I was inspired to conduct research in this area after seeing patients and health care professionals struggling with infections resistant to conventional antibiotics,” said Chu. 

Chu’s collaborators informed her about the health benefits of tea. Chu was fascinated that “something as common and accessible as tea could be the key to combating antibiotic resistance.”

Chu’s team began researching tea after securing funding from federal agencies, and discovered that green tea extracts could significantly boost antibacterial efficacy when combined with antibiotics such as ampicillin. 

“The result was encouraging and personally fulfilling as it supported our hypothesis that natural products could offer alternative solutions to modern medical challenges,” said Chu. Her team’s recent studies have found that combining green tea extracts with antibiotics has shown a 400% increase in effectiveness. 

These findings, along with others, “have led to joint patents and published research highlighting the promise of tea polyphenols in health care applications,” said Chu.

Currently, Chu’s team is examining the antispore and antibiofilm properties of tea polyphenol-based formulations to fight against infection control. 

Her team’s ultimate goal is to “develop effective natural antibacterial, antispore, and antibiofilm agents that can be incorporated into medical and consumer products.” Chu added they aim to extend the applications of these natural compounds to other areas, including oral care, medical devices, food preservation, health care hygiene, and more.

“This journey has been deeply rewarding — it has allowed me to combine my passions with professional objectives and has led to important contributions to the fields of microbiology and public health,” said Chu.

John Saccoman, Seton Hall

John Saccoman has always been a big baseball fan, and the professor of mathematics and science at Seton Hall combines his expertise and interests in research on sabermetrics. 

Saccoman has written three books on sabermetrics with the Rev. Gabe Costa, an associate professor of math at Seton Hall, and Michael Huber, a math professor at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. Sabermetrics is the application of statistical analysis to baseball records, especially in order to evaluate and compare the performance of individual players. 

Saccoman became interested in sabermetrics after he started playing Strat-O-Matic, a dice baseball game with his cousin, and when Bill James came out with “Baseball Abstracts” back in 1982.

“I got ‘Baseball Abstracts’ and read insights from other statistics — not just home runs, runs batted in, and batting average — and realized there was a deeper thing going on,” said Saccoman. He became particularly interested in WAR statistics, which means "wins above replacement" and which estimates a player’s overall value to a baseball team.

In their books, Saccoman and his co-authors discussed finding a more democratic way to use WAR without proprietary data, since websites such as Fangraphs.com and Baseballreference.com use proprietary data that can't be replicated by the public. 

One of Saccoman’s prior students, Karl Hendela, conducted a project on this issue for a senior thesis and created a WAR calculation that was highly correlated to Baseballreference.com without using proprietary data. “We are coming close, so I am trying to build closer to that,” said Saccoman. 

Saccoman teaches a weeklong summer program at Seton Hall on sabermetrics for students interested in applying statistics to their favorite teams and players.

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The proposed method involves training neural operators on datasets generated using a Preisach-based model of the material NO27-1450H. The datasets include first-order reversal curves (FORCs) and minor loops, with inputs normalized using min-max scaling. The DeepONet architecture comprises two fully connected feedforward neural networks (branch and trunk nets) that approximate the B fields through a dot product operation. The FNO uses a convolutional neural network architecture with Fourier layers to transform the input tensor and approximate the B fields. The RIFNO modifies the FNO architecture to exclude the sampling array, making it invariant to sampling rates and suitable for modeling rate-independent hysteresis.

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The proposed method’s performance was evaluated using three error metrics: relative error in L2 norm, mean absolute error (MAE), and root mean squared error (RMSE). The neural operators, particularly FNO and RIFNO, showed superior accuracy and generalization capability compared to traditional recurrent architectures. The FNO exhibited the lowest errors, with a relative error of 1.34e-3, MAE of 7.48e-4, and RMSE of 9.74e-4, highlighting its effectiveness in modeling magnetic hysteresis. The RIFNO also maintained low prediction errors across various testing rates, demonstrating robustness and the ability to generalize well under different conditions. In contrast, traditional recurrent models like RNN, LSTM, and GRU showed significantly higher errors and struggled to predict responses for novel magnetic fields.

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In conclusion, the researchers introduced a novel approach to magnetic hysteresis modeling using neural operators, addressing the limitations of traditional neural networks in generalizing to novel magnetic fields. The proposed methods, DeepONet and FNO, along with the rate-independent RIFNO, demonstrate superior accuracy and generalization capability. This research advances the field of AI by developing efficient and accurate models for magnetic materials, enabling real-time inference and broadening the applicability of neural hysteresis modeling.

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Aswin AK is a consulting intern at MarkTechPost. He is pursuing his Dual Degree at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He is passionate about data science and machine learning, bringing a strong academic background and hands-on experience in solving real-life cross-domain challenges.

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While recycling systems and bottle deposits have become increasingly widespread in the U.S., actual rates of recycling are “abysmal,” according to a team of MIT researchers who studied the rates for recycling of PET, the plastic commonly used in beverage bottles. However, their findings suggest some ways to change this.

The present rate of recycling for PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, bottles nationwide is about 24 percent and has remained stagnant for a decade, the researchers say. But their study indicates that with a nationwide bottle deposit program, the rates could increase to 82 percent, with nearly two-thirds of all PET bottles being recycled into new bottles, at a net cost of just a penny a bottle when demand is robust. At the same time, they say, policies would be needed to ensure a sufficient demand for the recycled material.

The findings are being published today in the Journal of Industrial Ecology , in a paper by MIT professor of materials science and engineering Elsa Olivetti, graduate students Basuhi Ravi and Karan Bhuwalka, and research scientist Richard Roth.

The team looked at PET bottle collection and recycling rates in different states as well as other nations with and without bottle deposit policies, and with or without curbside recycling programs, as well as the inputs and outputs of various recycling companies and methods. The researchers say this study is the first to look in detail at the interplay between public policies and the end-to-end realities of the packaging production and recycling market.

They found that bottle deposit programs are highly effective in the areas where they are in place, but at present there is not nearly enough collection of used bottles to meet the targets set by the packaging industry. Their analysis suggests that a uniform nationwide bottle deposit policy could achieve the levels of recycling that have been mandated by proposed legislation and corporate commitments.

The recycling of PET is highly successful in terms of quality, with new products made from all-recycled material virtually matching the qualities of virgin material. And brands have shown that new bottles can be safely made with 100 percent postconsumer waste. But the team found that collection of the material is a crucial bottleneck that leaves processing plants unable to meet their needs. However, with the right policies in place, “one can be optimistic,” says Olivetti, who is the Jerry McAfee Professor in Engineering and the associate dean of the School of Engineering.

“A message that we have found in a number of cases in the recycling space is that if you do the right work to support policies that think about both the demand but also the supply,” then significant improvements are possible, she says. “You have to think about the response and the behavior of multiple actors in the system holistically to be viable,” she says. “We are optimistic, but there are many ways to be pessimistic if we’re not thinking about that in a holistic way.”

For example, the study found that it is important to consider the needs of existing municipal waste-recovery facilities. While expanded bottle deposit programs are essential to increase recycling rates and provide the feedstock to companies recycling PET into new products, the current facilities that process material from curbside recycling programs will lose revenue from PET bottles, which are a relatively high-value product compared to the other materials in the recycled waste stream. These companies would lose a source of their income if the bottles are collected through deposit programs, leaving them with only the lower-value mixed plastics.

The researchers developed economic models based on rates of collection found in the states with deposit programs, recycled-content requirements, and other policies, and used these models to extrapolate to the nation as a whole. Overall, they found that the supply needs of packaging producers could be met through a nationwide bottle deposit system with a 10-cent deposit per bottle — at a net cost of about 1 cent per bottle produced when demand is strong. This need not be a federal program, but rather one where the implementation would be left up to the individual states, Olivetti says.

Other countries have been much more successful in implementing deposit systems that result in very high participation rates. Several European countries manage to collect more than 90 percent of PET bottles for recycling, for example. But in the U.S., less than 29 percent are collected, and after losses in the recycling chain about 24 percent actually get recycled, the researchers found. Whereas 73 percent of Americans have access to curbside recycling, presently only 10 states have bottle deposit systems in place.

Yet the demand is there so far. “There is a market for this material,” says Olivetti. While bottles collected through mixed-waste collection can still be recycled to some extent, those collected through deposit systems tend to be much cleaner and require less processing, and so are more economical to recycle into new bottles, or into textiles.

To be effective, policies need to not just focus on increasing rates of recycling, but on the whole cycle of supply and demand and the different players involved, Olivetti says. Safeguards would need to be in place to protect existing recycling facilities from the lost revenues they would suffer as a result of bottle deposits, perhaps in the form of subsidies funded by fees on the bottle producers, to avoid putting these essential parts of the processing chain out of business. And other policies may be needed to ensure the continued market for the material that gets collected, including recycled content requirements and extended producer responsibility regulations, the team found.

At this stage, it’s important to focus on the specific waste streams that can most effectively be recycled, and PET, along with many metals, clearly fit that category. “When we start to think about mixed plastic streams, that’s much more challenging from an environmental perspective,” she says. “Recycling systems need to be pursuing extended producers’ responsibility, or specifically thinking about materials designed more effectively toward recycled content,” she says.

It's also important to address “what the right metrics are to design for sustainably managed materials streams,” she says. “It could be energy use, could be circularity [for example, making old bottles into new bottles], could be around waste reduction, and making sure those are all aligned. That’s another kind of policy coordination that’s needed.”

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  • Elsa Olivetti
  • Basuhi Ravi
  • Karan Bhuwalka
  • Richard Roth
  • Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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  • Materials science and engineering
  • Sustainability
  • Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)
  • Cleaner industry
  • Technology and society
  • Environment

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