Poor visibility can be a problem. Meteorologists talk about it frequently, and we’ve all experienced it at one time or another — say, when you’re driving down a narrow, winding, country road… at night… in a blizzard. That would qualify as a visibility problem.
Under other circumstances, poor visibility can be a full-fledged crisis. Like if you’re a pharmaceutical researcher tasked with developing a potentially life-saving vaccine in the middle of a pandemic… and you can’t readily find comprehensive information about prior studies of similar viruses. It has nothing to do with meteorology, but, clear as day, it’s a visibility crisis — a research visibility crisis — and that’s the predicament some scientists find themselves in today, as they furiously seek to battle COVID-19.
Reviewing the back catalog of peer reviewed scientific journals is standard operating procedure for drug researchers, and a fairly straightforward task. However, without access to abstracts and posters from recent (and even not-so-recent) life sciences conferences, a researcher’s knowledge may be woefully incomplete. Because less than half of all studies and only about 60% of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) presented at conferences are eventually published in a peer-reviewed journal, often several years after they’ve concluded. Public interest research organization Cochrane studies indicate that the most innovative ideas are often the ones that have the most trouble getting published in peer reviewed journals because the peer-reviewers act as guardians of the status quo. So conference abstracts and posters offer the most comprehensive and timely view of work that has been done in a particular field, and therefore an invaluable resource delivering the most innovative new ideas in this time of crisis to life sciences researchers and business decision makers.
Northern Light’s life sciences conference abstracts and posters collection provides otherwise inaccessible insights into the latest cutting-edge research, often two years before that research is published in peer-reviewed journals. Content in the collection related to COVID-19 is growing rapidly — 239 abstracts are presentations about COVID-19 over the last six months — and nearly 12,000 documents pertain to coronavirus epidemics of the past decade. Furthermore, a search on the term “pandemic” yields 7,000 conference presentation results. In total, the collection contains over 3.5 million documents from more than 4,000 meetings dating back to 2010. There have been 469,917 abstracts and 28,852 posters added in the past two years alone.
Whether a researcher works in an academic, corporate, or clinical setting, scientists know that conference materials are a critical component of their research. The COVID-19 crisis is reinforcing the urgency of having access and visibility into those materials — and Northern Light’s life sciences conference abstracts and posters collection provides it.