November 3, 2021. Back in 2015 I sat in a conference hall in Frankfurt for the STM Meeting. One of the sessions was led by Roger Schonfeld, speaking on the terrible experience researchers face trying to access research articles off campus using our own SAGE Journals platform as the example (which is still available to watch). SAGE Journals was not unique in this poor experience, which is common across journal providers and regularly resulting in researchers just giving up and finding an easy to access illegal version elsewhere. But using our journals as his case study made the problem even more real and personal for my colleagues and me at SAGE.
Roger wrote his talk up in this blog post and one of the people who read it was a librarian working at the University of Utrecht called Johan Tilstra. From his work at the library, Johan was also familiar with this problem and decided he would solve it using a smart, simple browser extension application. He left the University of Utrecht to launch Lean Library commercially in 2017 to bring his smart technology to more researchers and make the process to access research articles easier. And since then, for researchers at customer institutions, it really has been transformational – dramatically reducing the time they spend attempting to access content and increasing the usage of library acquired resources.
In 2018 we brought Lean Library into SAGE, and, as the person responsible for our web product experience, I was delighted that we could invest in a solution that will transform that access experience for students and researchers.
The new division at SAGE that Lean Library sits within is called ‘Technology from SAGE.' We all know that the right technology can remove barriers to knowledge, and we have created Technology from SAGE to make learning and research easier. Our technology services don't just work with SAGE content but are publisher-agnostic solving problems for students and researchers discovering, accessing, and engaging with content throughout their workflow.
We know that librarians are fundamental enablers of learning and research on campus and, as such, are central to the services Technology from SAGE delivers. Each service aims to amplify the value of the library and supports a future in which librarians are even more deeply embedded in patron workflows. In fact, we were recently delighted to support a major new research study into librarian futures, which details some new opportunities for academic librarians, led by the team at Lean Library. Check out the results published in a new white paper (and note that with each download, we are donating $1 to Computer Aid).
We have taken a portfolio business approach to build this division because we believe that independence sustains entrepreneurial verve. And independence is baked into SAGE's DNA; our founder, Sara Miller-McCune, established the company back in 1965 and has pledged that after her lifetime SAGE will retain its independence with her shares going to a range of universities and charitable trusts. With Technology from SAGE, we look for smaller businesses that, using a ‘startup spirit' are doing great things to solve the biggest pain points for students and researchers today and passionate about how they might solve their problems tomorrow.
Here's a little more about the exciting services in our business portfolio:
- Lean Library Access simplifies online access to library content and open access alternatives, with one easy-to-use browser extension. A comprehensive solution, Lean Library Access helps libraries drive usage, increase visibility, and save money.
- Lean Library Futures embeds your services and collections into the patron workflow, whether they start on Google Scholar, PubMed, Wikipedia or beyond, putting the library at the center of the student and researcher experience.
- Talis Aspire provides resource list management that connects faculty with library holdings.
- Talis Elevate offers collaborative annotation between faculty and students.
- Quartex allows librarians to manage and showcase archival collections, making use of powerful search and presentation tools. Quartex can be used to create engaging websites and digital exhibitions that give patrons access to collections in new and innovative ways.
Martha Sedgwick, SAGE Publishing
We know that when we use the right technology it makes our lives easier. Through this portfolio of individual businesses, we want to give you the freedom to choose from a selection of pioneering services that are responding to our transforming world to deliver technology that improves the quality and impact of education and research for the long-term.