There are more than 30 million research papers out there, and more than 3,000 papers are published every day. Put simply, you haven’t a chance in hell to read all of them. So what’s a poor researcher to do when set a challenge in a brand new field of research? Once the wave of blind panic and urge to drink copious amounts of gin has dissipated, you reach for a technology solution. Iris believes it has just the thing. The company launched a public beta to show off its technology this week.
“We’re of course really excited with the first results,” says Anita Schjøll Brede, the company’s CEO. “But to be honest we’re running a marathon here. Our ultimate goal is an AI Scientist and we’re not done until we get there!”
With a product aimed at people who read research papers on a regular basis, Iris is trying to help R&D departments in big corporations ingest, process and analyze huge sets of data. The argument is that, especially when doing research into new fields, even experienced researchers don’t necessarily know the appropriate keywords to be looking for. Iris takes that problem out of the equation by analyzing and summarizing information.
“Our biggest competitor is Google Scholar,” says Brede, but points out that Scholar has a similar problem as most other research tools. “If you have dedicated your life to a niche field of study, you probably know everything that is happening in your field. If you need to draw information from adjacent fields of study or even a brand new field, it can be a daunting challenge to get an overview.”
The tool is deceptively simple. By giving Iris a research paper to “read,” it reads the abstract, maps out the key concepts and presents the user with the most relevant articles from more than 30 million open access papers. The results are visualized, explorable and help to quickly create an overview of the field of study. From there, researchers can dive deeper.