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How Startups Can Impact Academic Research

How Startups Can Impact Academic Research
Thursday, 14 December 2017

Startups such as Coursera [1] have already been changing the way education is offered to students by making high quality courses available to students anywhere, at any time, online. At the same time, there is still an open window for how startups can greatly impact academic research, a time-honed practice within institutions [2].

Within universities, research grants are given to those who have recognition and experience, many times not taking full advantage of the new and upcoming minds that can contribute to the field. This makes it difficult for new academics to get grant money and publish papers. In addition, these papers and the knowledge acquired tend to get stored away in prestigious journals that are difficult for individuals to access. However, new startups can help make it possible for more people to have the ability to contribute to human knowledge [2].

Already, there are startups that are trying to make the world of academic research more accessible. For example, [3] and [4] are working to connect researchers world-wide in one place. These competing startups are trying to help create an ecosystem where researchers can truly understand what others are doing in other places, and could expand to include additional collaboration tools for researchers, etc. [2]

Crowdsurfing is also becoming popular within research groups when there is not enough funding for projects [5]. This not only promotes public involvement, but also allows projects to be funded when they may never have the opportunity strictly within the academic environment [2].

Finally, it is important to consider how researchers are able to co-produce and collaborate with other researchers world-wide in an efficient and effective way. In a world where researchers are pressured to publish more than ever before, facilitating this process could be extremely beneficial for academics and a potential success story for a startup. For example, the startup Scholastica [6] is working towards creating an online platform where editing happens online. In addition, this could help provide more access to this information than is currently available only to those who can and are willing to pay for it. [2]

Many changes can be made to the way academic research is currently being carried out, making contact, collaboration, and dissemination easier. Hopefully it is an area where future startups will be looking to invest.