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Microsoft Research Unveils Free Software Tools for Scholars



Microsoft Research has released a set of free software tools aimed at allowing researchers to publish, preserve, and share data throughout the entire scholarly communication lifecycle.

According to Tony Hey, VP of Microsoft External Research, "Collecting and analyzing data, authoring, publishing, and preserving information are all essential components of the everyday work of researchers -- with collaboration and search and discovery at the heart of the entire process. We're supporting that scholarly communication life cycle with free software tools to improve interoperability with existing tools used commonly by academics and scholars to better meet their research needs."

Tools currently freely available include:

  • The Article Authoring Add-in for Word 2007 that lets metadata be captured at the authoring stage to preserve document structure and semantic information throughout the publishing process, which is essential for enabling search, discovery and analysis in subsequent stages of the lifecycle.
  • The Creative Commons Add-in for Office 2007 lets authors embed Creative Commons licenses directly into an Office document (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) by linking to the Creative Commons site via a Web service.
  • The Microsoft e-Journal Service provides a hosted, full-service solution that facilitates self-publishing of online-only journals to facilitate the availability of conference proceedings and small and medium-sized journals.
  • The Research Output Repository Platform helps capture and leverage semantic relationships among academic objects -- such as papers, lectures, presentations and video -- to facilitate access to these items in new ways.
  • The Research Information Centre, in partnership with the British Library. This collaborative workspace will be hosted via Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and let researchers collaborate throughout the entire research project workflow, from seeking research funding to searching and collecting information, as well as managing data, papers and other research objects throughout the research process.


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