A research lead at a private company needed to conduct systematic literature reviews and network meta-analyses in rapidly changing disease areas. They also found themselves shifting between multiple disease areas based on new business requirements. Ramping up quickly and staying up to date on all these areas of research proved to be difficult, until they discovered scite.
At a high level, they wanted to perform the following tasks:
Let’s go through how they managed each of these with and without scite.
As part of their process, they have an information collection phase where they speak to clinical and scientific experts to help craft research questions. In many cases, it is often their first time in a disease area, so they are typically unsure of the established experts in the field.
Traditionally they approach the problem by finding review papers that cover a topic of interest, scroll down to the bibliography, and scan for names that seem to occur most frequently. This approach has many downsides -- in part, it is unreliable, generally inefficient, and treats the author of the review article as a gatekeeper for relevant studies in the field.
With scite, they were able to leverage the Advanced Search feature combined with author aggregation filters to quickly see which researchers were most published in disease areas (Figure 1). They reached out to several of these authors who agreed to speak to them and provide relevant info.
For a more in-depth look at how this works, you can read our tutorial here.
In some projects, there is a constant stream of new scientific publications that their team needs to be aware of.
Normally they would accomplish this through alerts for new publications on various search engines and journals, be notified by email, and then find and read each one. Most importantly, they would have to manually track where each new publication was in the context of other articles by checking who they cited, and how they cited them.
Luckily, scite makes this easy in two ways:
When evaluating the quality and relevance of a publication, it is helpful for them to see the corresponding citation statements.
For example, when evaluating a Phase 3 randomized controlled trial (RCT), it was inefficient to have to manually read 50+ papers to get a good feel for a topic. They found themselves constantly chasing footnotes to find relevant tidbits of information.
With scite, they could load the scite Report Page for the relevant paper and load the citation statements. They could, for example, see another paper’s discussion section referencing this RCT with a highlight on the drug’s serious adverse events, quickly cluing them into taking a deeper look into an issue, and making it easier to separate the signal from the noise (Figure 3).
As another example -- sometimes the original paper is not clear on what methodology it used (cohort study, retrospective, etc). The scite report pages allow them to see how other researchers refer to the study in the citation statements to get a better sense of what the study was and what it looked at.
Sometimes these citation statements provide additional limitations of the original study than what the authors in the original paper self-disclose in the discussion section, helping build a more accurate understanding of the paper and its findings.
Beyond literature reviews, their team also drafts copies of reports they publish and need to see if references they or their collaborators use are sound.
For example, did any of them receive any editorial notices like corrections or retractions? Have there been new findings that suggest the references used have irreproducible findings? Since citations are constantly being made, performing this analysis is not a one time task, but something that needs to be checked at various stages of the writing process. And even if it were just a one time task, depending on the number of references used, it can be incredibly time consuming to do that for each reference being used.
With scite, they were able to leverage the Reference Check feature by uploading drafts to see if they made any citations to articles with findings that were challenged or have other potential issues (Figure 4).
Since these drafts usually include 100+ references, the Reference Check feature saves considerable time by helping them avoid having to check each one manually. Most importantly, they can upload their draft at different points as the manuscript is being written so they can easily, continuously check if the references they use are reliable.
To learn more about what scite can do for you, or to get a license for your organization, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.