Knimbus hopes to connect researchers across the world

Niche social networking sites and forums online are trying to fill the gaps, where the likes of Facebook might fail.

Knimbus, a New Delhi-headquartered start-up, targets one such critical niche users — researchers worldwide — and seeks to provide them with a platform to access cutting-edge journals and network with people from their fields of study.

Knimbus co-founder Rahul Agarwalla says the service hopes to address the serious aspirations of researchers, in India and abroad. India, he points out, trails the rest of the world by a distance in research and development, and also in contributions to scientific, technical and medical journals.

Currently, the country has only 2.2 per cent of the world's R&D professionals contributing to around 0.7 per cent of journal articles and 0.2 per cent of patents. Research productivity has a high correlation with the amount of research (a scientist typically reads 280 articles a year) and the nature of research works is more collaborative than individual (93 per cent of the world's published research is co-authored). The scientific, technical & medical (STM) information sector is estimated to be worth $24.9 billion.

Real-time search

Since its launch two years ago, Knimbus has reached out to more than 450 campuses in the country, including the IITs and the IIMs and also the state-run research institutions such as the CSIR laboratories and DRDO. It has provided researchers with a platform for real-time search across millions of articles, books, patents; facility to share articles and tags; and an opportunity to create shared projects and build profiles and peer networks.

But this is just the beginning. As the network further reaches out to the critical mass, Mr. Agarwalla says, the analytics engine will be able to give both institutions and researchers helpful insights. “Already, some research organisations are asking us if the networks will be able to provide leads on what are the growth areas, and which sector to concentrate upon to earn the biggest bang for the buck invested.”

Knimbus hopes to become a mix of Google and LinkedIn for researchers online; a place to find relevant information and link with relevant people. The articles listed under the Knimbus search engine include both paid-for content from leading STM publishers as well as content from open source communities like the Open Science Project that is publishing free content.

For more information, visit www.knimbus.com.