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Canary Haz

App finds scientific articles

Canary Haz program searches for free versions of articles

Physicist Peter Vincent and student Benjamin Kaube, both of Imperial College London, have created an app for mobile devices and computers called Canary Haz, which can quickly find research papers in scientific journals. Like Spotify, an app that enables users to access millions of songs online, Canary Haz automatically connects to some 5,000 publications, academic search tools such as Google Scholar, and websites of university libraries to find the desired article in PDF format. If the researcher has limited access to academic databases, the app searches for free versions of the article in institutional collections or in preprint form. Kaube, one of the founders of the startup Newsflo, which measures the impact of scientific articles and has been purchased by the Elsevier publishing house, began to think about developing the app when he started writing his PhD thesis and realized how hard it can be to access research articles. “Compared to Netflix and Spotify, the process felt antiquated,” he commented in an interview given to the Imperial College news bulletin of May 30, 2017. “Researchers waste hours jumping through hoops to access research articles hidden behind publisher paywalls,” Vincent added. The researchers emphasize that the app does not promote piracy of closed-access scientific articles, like the Russian website Scihub, but simply makes it easier to access PDFs of research papers that are hidden in internet repositories.