Back in January Google launched a huge repository of science data at research.google.com. The idea is to create a home for terabytes of open-source scientific datasets built on the data visualization technology from Trendalyzer. Storage and access to the data is free and documents have YouTube-style annotating and commenting features. But they aren’t the only one interested in this idea.
Now, launching its beta, is a new site from Germany, Twidox. The aim is to create an online library of ‘quality’ documents which have been created and uploaded by users, such as academics, researchers and non-governmental agencies. Universities get to save on printing and distribution. Their documents are optimised for search engines – assuming they haven’t already thought of this of course – and Twidox can sell advertising against the content. It just got got a second round of investment from Media Ventures, a German VC, which took a 20% stake in the startup (though terms were not disclosed).
But, I hear you say, what about Scribd? The difference here is that Twidox will concentrate on the high end of the market – data, statistics, academic articles, dissertations, and so forth. And the focus is not so much on any old user as direct co-operation with institutions. Twidox has so far managed to pick up the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) as a client and is now looking to extend into European universities. Interestingly there is also a UK startup trying to do something similar, edocr (reviewed here), but edocr is yet to win substantial backing, and aims more at businesses.
TechCrunch has 500 beta invites for Twidox to give away. When you click on “Register now for private-beta” there is a box called “How do you know about us?” Write TechCrunch in there to get on the beta.