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ScienceDirect Development Partners


In June 2006 ScienceDirect launched its new Development Partner program. Marking a new stage in collaboration between ScienceDirect and the library and research communities, this program emphasises ScienceDirect’s commitment to implementing true user-focused design.

The aim of the program is to create a community of ScienceDirect users and customers who will be integral to the continuing development of ScienceDirect by consulting on new ideas and helping conduct user tests of new prototypes. Partners are drawn from the wide base of ScienceDirect customers and currently include a mix of fourteen corporate, academic and government organizations.

Stephen Prowse, Journals Coordinator, from King’s College London - one of the founding members of the program - states “It’s always great when library staff can get involved in shaping the design, development and philosophy of one of its major resources, be it a library management system or a database like ScienceDirect. And it’s always great when a company wants to engage its customers and users in this way. In short, we were made an offer we couldn’t refuse. As a partner we get the inside track on what features are being planned and what concepts are being considered. But what was particularly gratifying was seeing a timetable for bringing changes into ScienceDirect arising from our testing.”

Engaged in one of the first projects to involve Development Partners, Lisa Janicke Hinchcliffe, Head, Undergraduate Library, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, comments “The Development Partners program offered an intriguing opportunity to be involved with the re-development of an online journal system that is of great importance to our researchers and learners.” Her colleague on the program, JoAnn Jacoby, Sociology Subject Specialist, also stated “The process of user-centered design in use brings out user perspectives and needs that are otherwise hidden from librarians and system designers.”

“Because the use of information resources evolves so rapidly today, we see the best way of responding to the needs of our users by actually directly working and involving them in our product development” said Joep Verheggen, Director, ScienceDirect. “The Development Partner program is for us a permanent commitment in developing a real dynamic partnership with the research and librarian communities.”


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