Highwire publishers to pilot eLife open-source tool

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Lens, an open-source tool introduced by eLife to make reading articles online easier, is being piloted in journals from six publishers on the HighWire platform.

The Journal of Biological Chemistry, The Plant Cell, Journal of Lipid Research, and mBio are among the journals introducing the Lens viewing experience to readers this fall. First introduced by eLife in 2013, Lens is aimed at making reading scientific articles on-screen easier by making it possible to explore figures, figure descriptions, references, and more - without losing your place in the article text.

'We've been very pleased by the response to Lens so far, and think it has great potential to improve the online reading experience for scientists in many areas of their work,' said Mark Patterson, eLife executive director. 'Helping other groups use new technology and experiment with it is exactly the type of contribution eLife continues to make.'

Publishers taking part in the pilot currently include: American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), American Society for Microbiology (ASM), American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), and European Respiratory Society (ERS), all of which use the HighWire Open Platform to host their content. In the next several weeks, the American Physiological Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will join the pilot.

'Building partnerships which help our publisher clients serve their readers more effectively is at the heart of the HighWire mission,' added John Sack, founding director of HighWire Press. 'Early comments from readers indicate they prefer the Lens reading experience to using PDFs; image-intensive reading is much faster and improved.'

The pilot is expected to run for three months. If successful, the Lens viewer will be made available as an option to all publishers on the HighWire platform in 2015.