Why We Started PubTrawlr.

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Hi there! I’m here to share the story of why I started PubTrawlr. It all began back in 2010 when I was a young graduate student studying community psychology. This field focuses on creating systemic changes to help improve health and wellness in our communities. One key aspect of this work is getting good ideas out there to benefit everyone.

Good ideas can come from two main sources. First, we can gather evidence and data from community-based initiatives, which we call practice-based evidence. This involves looking at what’s happening in the field and using that information to help other communities. This is the work that we do over at the Dawn Chrous Group.

The more traditional way to spread scientific knowledge is through publishing in scientific journals. However, this system has many problems. Writing an article requires a high level of expertise, there are often substantial publishing costs, and accessing these articles can be challenging. Because of these barriers, it can take up to 17 years for a scientific finding to move from a journal into common practice—a phenomenon known as the research-practice gap.

Early in my studies, I learned about implementation science, a field dedicated to addressing this gap. Implementation science studies how to disseminate and enable evidence-based practices in real-world settings, ensuring that scientific findings are applied effectively across various settings and populations.

One significant challenge in closing the research-practice gap is making scientific articles more accessible. They are often filled with jargon and difficult to read. Through my work in communities, I became familiar with qualitative data—using words to describe context. I discovered how natural language processing (NLP), a set of AI tools, can analyze and make sense of words. This got me thinking: how can we apply NLP to scientific publications to organize, summarize, and disseminate information more effectively?

PubTrawlr was born from this idea. We aim to use NLP tools, which have been around for over 20 years, to help practitioners, family members, and patient advocates better understand and use scientific information. This is crucial because a lack of access to scientific knowledge can lead to significant problems, including lost lives and economic consequences.

At PubTrawlr, our goal is to improve the way people engage with science. We’re not trying to replace reading articles or the hard work needed to become competent in a specific field. Instead, we want to lower the barriers, create excitement, and make scientific discovery more accessible. By doing this, we hope to reduce the research-practice gap and help people become better consumers of science.

Thank you for your interest in PubTrawlr and for joining us on this journey to make scientific knowledge more accessible and impactful.

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