New company to run and publish academic seminars

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Ben Kaube and Andrew Preston

The former founders of Kopernio, Mendeley and Publons have joined forces to launch a new company – Cassyni. 

With the launch of Cassyni, founders Ben Kaube and Andrew Preston seek to address what they describe as a previously underserved problem in research: the discovery, organisation and publication of academic seminars. Seminars are a critical part of the research ecosystem, with more than a million held each year. They are a key part of research culture allowing academics to share ideas, often while they are still in development. During the pandemic, in-person seminars have become difficult to hold, but online meetings have opened up opportunities to increase the reach and impact of academic seminars. Cassyni is a smart online video seminar space - making it much easier for researchers to create, capture and publish content and recordings of academic seminars in a cohesive and transparent manner.

The team say the full interactive potential of seminars is currently not being realised due to the lack of suitable workflow solutions for seminar organisers, speakers and attendees, resulting in the ad-hoc use of disjointed and unsuitable tools, leading to wasted researcher effort, fragmentation of the seminar landscape and lost academic discourse.

Cassyni launches with customers from research departments and journals around the world, and with Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand as a founding partner for their institutional offering.

Researchers organise, host, run and publish their own seminars, and assign them with a DOI so they can be cited by the academic community and also discover seminars of interest and join live or watch recordings of past seminars.

Ben Kaube said: 'Academic seminars are one of the main ways that researchers collaborate, communicate and disseminate their latest findings and provide an accelerated and early route to communicating scholarly research. With Cassyni researchers can now increase their visibility and impact by making their academic seminars easily citable via DOIs - it’s an additional and faster way to get cited.'

Academic institutions increase the global impact and reach of their research by providing institution-wide access to Cassyni. Institutions can much better support the growth of research communities and amplify the international reach and impact of seminars via dedicated institutional analytics and comparisons. Improving the online seminar infrastructure within the university can bring together members of a department or multi-disciplinary teams to build a more cohesive research culture. 

Institutions are increasingly making it a priority to tell their story and share their research globally through online video services, not just in response to the pandemic, but also to lower their carbon footprint to support the fight against climate change.

Professor Margaret Hyland, Vice-Provost (Research) at Wellington’s University said: 'We are excited to be Cassyni’s launch partner, making their suite of seminar organisation tools available to our researchers. Even before Covid-19 we were looking at low-carbon alternatives to travel. We believe that Cassyni will help to grow the reach and impact of our research, and allow others to benefit from our extensive experience. We are particularly proud to be launching a flagship research series, ‘Te Herenga Waka’ (our Māori name), covering climate resilience, governing for the future, creativity and mātauranga Māori – indigenous research, bringing a distinctively New Zealand perspective on issues of global relevance.'

Leading journals are already engaging with their authors and journal communities by hosting seminars on Cassyni. For example, the Journal of Computational Physics (Elsevier) is running author-led discussions of highly impactful papers on Cassyni. Journals can also provide this as a service to their authors, further helping them to amplify their research impact, improving transparency and ultimately accelerating research.