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[ DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ] November 24, 2017

Why we need to break down the silos of early science

Academic conferences are the touchpoint that bring the entire scholarly ecosystem together to network and present the latest scientific findings. Ironically, this cutting-edge research is often restricted to an offline format - huge halls lined with row upon row of paper posters is the norm.

Academic conferences are the touchpoint that bring the entire scholarly ecosystem together to network and present the latest scientific findings. Ironically, this cutting-edge research is often restricted to an offline format - huge halls lined with row upon row of paper posters is the norm. As soon as the conference is over, these early scientific results are left unstructured and undiscoverable unless they are published in a peer reviewed journal, which happens months or even years later. In fact, as an average of over 50% of these posters do not end up being published in academic journals, many of these valuable findings end up disappearing entirely post-conference.

This means researchers cannot discover or share these findings and reach out to potential collaborators, and conference organizers have no system to manage these posters, plus miss out on any insights into how their delegates interact with conference material. This is something Morressier’s cofounders Sami Benchekroun and Justus Weweler discovered firsthand while working as technical advisors at academic conferences during their studies. Returning home after the European Stroke Conference in London, Sami discussed the posters with his friend, an ophthalmologist. A few days later, a patient showed up at his friend's clinic presenting with symptoms she hadn't encountered before. She remembered a condition described in one of the conference posters and, with this knowledge, was able to quickly diagnose and treat the patient. That an ophthalmologist could benefit so much from research presented at a stroke conference was a wake up call for Sami. He realized that conferences needed to stop taking place in a silo, isolated from all other scientific disciplines. Instead, this research needs to be opened up and structured in a way that's useful for scientists across all fields.

With that, the idea for Morressier was born, and Sami and Justus dedicated themselves to building software tools to bring academic conferences into the digital realm. Three years after launching, Morressier's poster and conference management system is already being used at over 250 international conferences to structure, aggregate and organize conference material in a way that helps scientists get the most out of this content. In fact, Morressier's software system has now facilitated over one million interactions with early-stage research from scientists around the world. The journey doesn't end here though. The poster and presentation management software is the first step towards Morressier's mission to provide scientists with one place to discover and build on the most recent and ground-breaking research. It's the beginning of a long ride!

Butterfly on flower with message about digital transformation in scholarly publishing