Why we developed Science Surveyor

Science Surveyor grew out of a desire to address a major challenge facing science journalists: how to get context on deadline. Journalists reporting on embargoed, peer­reviewed studies are often, and of necessity, overly dependent on the authors of that study and on any accompanying press release. They may not know the field they are reporting on well enough to analyze whether the new finding is significant. As a consequence, and as has been well documented, the public can receive a mistaken view of science. Many people see science as a series of great new “discoveries”; few understand the incremental character of science, its complexity, or its nuance. Our goal was to develop algorithms that could quickly characterize a related subset of the rapidly growing scientific literature and display information in clear, elegant visualizations. This could help journalists find relevant sources and see related papers and the history of the field they are reporting on.