Europe PMC Database Curation Tool Designed to Make Research Easier

EUROPE PMC has launched a new tool called SciLite that overlays annotations on research articles to make it easier for users to identify key concepts and access links to related resources.

SciLite has been developed as a curation tool to help link the literature found in the Europe PMC database with its underlying data. Its developers note the importance of biological databases, such as Europe PMC, for research and how curation can help to guide its users towards useful and relevant information among vast amounts of data.

Database curation is often carried out by experts who read numerous article and manually annotate the data with corresponding information. SciLite is offered as a way to improve the impact of this manual curation by displaying the annotations generated from range of sources over the text of articles. These interactive annotations identify relevant concepts in the text, such as names of genes and proteins, and then provide additional information. This information can consist of a link to a related database or letting the reader know the source of the annotation.

In describing the software, the developers write: “When such information is presented effectually it will aid users in identifying the main concepts, plausibly beginning to reduce the burden of extracting the essence of a given article.” To improve the accuracy of the text-mining algorithms used for the tool, readers with SciLite enabled can also report any errors found in the annotations.

“There is an increasing need to develop tools that bridge the gap between literature and data for the benefit of the scientific community,” the team explained. “With SciLite, we have taken the initial step in bringing literature closer to the underlying biological data in a very transparent way. We believe that the impact of SciLite will be more pronounced with community-wide participation.”

Currently, annotations only appear on articles with a CC-BY, CC-BY-NC or CC0 license, consisting of around 775,000 items.

Jack Redden, Reporter

Keywords: Curation, Database, Europe PMC, Research, SciLite