Friday, April 06, 2012

Pee Dee Effing Brilliant

Are you a scientist or student? Life sciences? Do you ever read research literature in PDF format?

Did it ever occur to you that it might be useful, or at least convenient, if scientific articles in PDF format were a bit more 'connected' to the rest of the web? And would enable you, for instance, directly from the text, to:
  • look up more information about a term or phrase you're encountering (e..g a gene, a protein, etc.)
  • look up the latest related articles (e.g. in PubMed, Mendeley)
  • see, in real time, how the article is doing (Altmetrics)
  • search (NCBI databases, protein databases, Google, Wikipedia, Quertle, etc.)
  • share comments with fellow researchers
Well, all of that – and much more – is now possible. All you have to do is view your PDFs in the new Utopia Documents.

Utopia Documents has been developed by researchers from the University of Manchester, is completely free, and available for Mac, Windows and Linux. It works with all PDFs* irrespective of their origin**.

I invite you – urge you – to try it out, tell your colleagues and friends, and ask them to tell theirs. And tweet and blog about it. Registration is not necessary, except if you want to make use of the public 'comment' function. Feedback is highly appreciated. Either as a comment on this blog, or directly to the Utopia crew. And testimonials, too, obviously.

Disclosure: I work with these guys. A lot. They are brilliant and yet pragmatic. Driven by a desire to make life easier for scientists and students alike.

*With the exception of bitmap-only PDFs (scans)
**From any publisher, and even including 'informal' PDFs as can be found in repositories, or those that you have created yourself from a manuscript written in Word, for instance

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