SPapers: Redefining the peer review process of your research

There has been always a question about how to showcase scientific research in a better way; is there a better way to make sense of the papers you published? We at Biotechin.Asia believe that the answer might lie in what you read below.

Spapers

SPapers is one such platform that helps scientists to improve their research manuscript through the peer review process and also showcase their publications in a much represented format.

SPapers describes itself on their website as:

SPapers was founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is operating from the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. It is a privately owned research service with the mission of helping scientists showcase their research effectively and connect with readers. A beta version of the SPapers website was introduced in July 2013.

It featured an application that allows authors of research articles to create a “home page” for their article on www.spapers.com. In April 2016, SPapers introduced a peer review system that allows authors to connect directly with peers and get their papers peer reviewed. Unlike most traditional peer review systems involving journal editors and anonymous reviewers, this peer review system is direct and transparent—it connect authors to reviewers of their choice.

I had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Kamy Singer (one of the founders of SPapers) to know more about his startup and his journey as an entrepreneur.

The founders

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The founders of Spapers – Edwin & Kamy

SPapers was founded by Kamy Singer and Marc Mojica in late 2013 in Michigan. At that time, they launched an application that allows researchers to create “home pages” for their research articles. After SPapers moved operations to North Carolina, Edwin Centino took over the software development from late 2015 to develop the new peer review platform.

Kamy obtained his Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Michigan, USA, in 2013. He later continued his research on the genetic modification of plants and algae as a postdoc at Purdue University and North Carolina State University. Edwin and Marc both have an extensive background in software development. Edwin obtained his B.S. in electronic and communications engineering in the Philippines, and has been working in information technology for the last 20 years. Marc has a B.S. in computer science from Texas A&M University. He is the CTO and founder of several startups located in Michigan.

What does the company do; what is the product?

The company’s aim is to help research scientists publish and showcase their research. It is now focused on creating a new peer review platform that is free for researchers. If you are a scientist and you have a research manuscript that you are about to publish, but you would like to get feedback before submitting it to a journal in order to improve it, you can send it to SPapers. We will work with you to get it reviewed by an expert—this is also known as pre-peer review. Our other free application allows researchers who have already published their work to create home pages for their articles in order to increase the visibility of their research. Creating a page on SPapers is rather simple and quick.

How much is the platform priced at? 

For research scientists, the service is free. For companies who would like to partner with us in the future, we are still working on pricing. So far the response has been very good. We found that researchers like the idea of a new way of doing peer review.

Any users from different parts of Asia? 

Research scientists from all over the world signed up for SPapers, and many of them are from Asia.

What is the business/revenue model of the company?

Right now we are focusing on providing value to researchers and growing our user community. As we grow and need more operating budget, we plan to partner with other businesses and integrate other services related to scientific communication.

What other streams of revenue do you foresee? What are the future plans for your company?

The market of scientific communication is estimated at about $25 billion. There is a lot of potential to generate revenue in different ways as the market has transitioned to digital and is now transitioning to open-access models. I foresee a lot of changes in scholarly publishing in the coming years. As we grow, we will experiment with new ways to generate revenue in this changing market.

What are your achievements so far?

While we are still organizing and developing our beta-stage peer review platform, we already received a lot of interest and support from researchers who want to contribute and participate. Researchers have already started to sign up for our peer review platform, so we are optimistic about the future.

What are your thoughts on biotech and healthcare startups in India/Asia, in general?

I really don’t know much about biotech and healthcare startups in India or the rest of Asia because I live in the United States. But as I see a lot of successful Asian-born scientists and entrepreneurs in the USA, I think there is a lot of talent in Asia that can do great things if given a suitable infrastructure and environment.

How has your startup journey been as a (co-)founder?

Starting your first company is very difficult. I think that scientists who are used to spend most of their time in the lab have to face even more challenges. At the same time, once you have your own company, you start learning a lot “on the job,” and overcoming challenges can be very satisfying.

Biotechin.Asia’s team thanks Dr. Kamy Singer and his team for educating our readers about SPapers. 

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