Thursday, 11 October 2018

Announcing new Europe PMC Beta!

We are always listening to what our users have to say. And this week we are happy to present you a Beta version of Europe PMC with lots of improvements based on extensive user feedback.

Europe PMC Beta will be available alongside the current Europe PMC website throughout October and November. You can access it at any time using the Beta link in the header of the current site.



Over the last year we’ve been making several design changes to make Europe PMC easier to use, and we’re excited to be sharing them with you! Here is a quick overview of the major updates, which mainly apply to the two key pages: search results and the article page.

Search results page

Search results have a new layout and design. You’ll notice there are labels to identify articles which are reviews or preprints, and those that have free full text or are open access and free to reuse (as shown below). You can now apply more than one search filter at a time (the current site only allows one filter to be selected). And if you want to save the citations of several articles you can add them to your export list, then review and edit the list before exporting the citations.

Article page

Most importantly, the abstract and the full text of each article have been combined into a single page. It’s great news for readers, as you no longer need to switch between different records, and can view all relevant information on the same page.


As you scroll down the article page you can discover the full text, if available, as well as useful content. We have introduced a left-hand navigation on the article page to help you find your way around the publication and related data. The navigation links to sections on the page including Figures, Full text, Data, Impact, References, Related content, and Funding. Each section is packed with handy resources, for example the Impact section will contain not only traditional article citations and alternative metrics, but also show you if the article has been cited in Wikipedia, or curated into a life science database. The Data section will be your single go-to place for all research data associated with a study, including links to the supplemental files, as well as research data cited as accession numbers or DOIs.
Figures are perhaps one of the most essential parts of a research publication - they present scientific data and summarise major results in a visual way. We have put special emphasis on figures by displaying a figure preview directly under the abstract. It allows you to quickly scan the primary data and get an overview of the key findings. The figure preview feature is only available if the article has an open access license.


We have also added a tools menu on the right for some frequently used functions. It enables you to:

- Highlight biological terms, such as organisms or gene/protein names in the article, to skim read the text
- Get the citation, if you want to cite the article
- Open the PDF

We’ve also significantly improved the Highlight Terms (also known as the SciLite annotations) feature. When you first open the side panel using the ‘Highlight terms’ link, all the unique biological terms that have been found in the abstract or full text can be seen at a glance. It’s easy to highlight the terms individually, or alternatively to highlight all terms in a category (such as diseases), and see where they appear in the article.


All design changes on Europe PMC Beta are based on user research findings and feedback. In 2017 we asked 12 researchers to complete a diary documenting their literature searches over one week, to better understand how and why they carried out literature searches in the context of their day-to-day work. We also carried out several rounds of usability testing, to evaluate how well Europe PMC works for the people who use it. If you are curious to see it, the results of our user research are published on Figshare.
An experience map illustrating how life scientists search for research literature based on user research by the Europe PMC
UX team. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4789744.v1

We would love to hear your thoughts on Europe PMC Beta! Please use the Feedback button to leave your feedback, or email helpdesk@europepmc.org. If you would like to take part in future Europe PMC usability testing, to help us continue to improve the website, please contact helpdesk@europepmc.org.


We will make further improvements before any of the new designs and features are available on the current Europe PMC website, and we hope that with your help we will continue creating the best tools for literature research.

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