A 17-year loss
PubTrawlr has been led by Dr. Jonathan Scaccia, an internationally recognized community researcher and implementation scientist, ever since he founded it in 2020. For over a decade, he has seen and studied the cost of poor access to scientific findings. PubTrawlr aims to reduce a decades-long gap in the uptake of science by leveraging the skills of a diverse team of experts from public health, sustainable investing and computer science.
Research into the medical and social sciences indicates that it can take up to 17 years before a scientific finding makes its way into regular practice,,,. This is a major issue. Tens of thousands of academic journals are filled with literally millions of great ideas and notable findings. If these articles are not read, however, then their findings go unseen. Only 14% of published articles filter down to the people who can benefit from them. This puts industries at a competitive and moral disadvantage. So why are the methods we need not being used?
The reality is that approaching any research question or literature search can be intimidating and frustrating. It takes time, expertise and skill to make sense of large numbers of articles. This barrier keeps many great ideas from reaching common practice. Thus, people in the social services can’t use the best strategies and don’t know the most current knowledge. How do we remove barriers to accessing primary sources and make science more usable?
PubTrawlr addresses this by offering a more effective synthesis step between published research and a wide range of scientific literature consumers. PubTrawlr is a publicly available software interface to help people search and understand scientific results more effectively and efficiently than current databases. The interface collects all articles on a specific topic, then organizes and summarizes them so users have a head start in search efforts. PubTrawlr implements cutting-edge natural language processing algorithms to quickly process vast amounts of text-based data and yield actionable results.
PubTrawlr is currently being used by public health professionals in organizations across the nation, including Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, RISE and Alvernia University. It is also beginning to integrate with existing library systems and is rapidly developing additional services and content areas.
Open search: This service is offered in both “quick” and “premium” versions: people can search as often as they like for topics of interest. Users enter keywords of their choice in an open text box. PubTrawlr pulls all articles with those keywords, computes several relevant descriptive statistics and visualizations, then recommends specific articles for further reading.
The quick version is free. Upon registering an account, users can save their search results for future references. This premium version returns thousands more articles and runs more sophisticated algorithms. It is funded through a monthly subscription model for both individuals and organizations. A monthly account is currently $14.99 per month.
101 Days of Science: Staying current with published research is exceptionally difficult for people in many professions, as noted in our customer interviews. 101 Days of Science are regular updates on specific topics like substance abuse treatment and implementation science to help researchers and practitioners stay current with emerging trends. This e-zine is automatically distributed to subscribers every 101 days under a yearly subscription, which currently costs $24.99 per content area.
Database integration: PubTrawlr can take advantage of existing licenses and subscriptions, like those maintained by libraries and hospital systems. PubTrawlr sits on top of those systems and leverages their catalogs to perform our syntheses. It also operates at scale. Pricing is variable depending on the number of users.
Special projects: We use the underlying PubTrawlr algorithm to perform targeted consulting projects for individual and organizational customers.
PubTrawlr was founded by Dr. Jonathan Scaccia, a community psychologist and evaluator with over 20 years of experience working in community-based settings. He began as a substance abuse counselor in North Philadelphia, where he was heavily involved in taking treatment outside of the office and into the community. As a result, he pursued graduate studies at the University of South Carolina, which has fueled a lengthy and varied profession. He has since been assisting individuals and organizations in working toward community-wide health and wellness.
Whether in schools, coalitions, or military bases, Jon encountered the desire to rely on scientific findings. People wanted to use best practices, but were unable to do so. It was simply too difficult to keep up with everything. He created PubTrawlr to solve this part of the implementation gap by making it more straightforward, accessible and fun.
Dr. Scaccia also founded the innovative evaluation firm The Dawn Chorus Group, which specializes in the application of organizational and community readiness. He serves as the Chair of the Board of Conexio Care and Coras Wellness in Delaware, USA.
The Advisory Board
PubTrawlr works with a wide range of internationally recognized experts who have equity, advancement, and social good at the top of their agenda.
Dr. Victoria Scott
Dr. Scott is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina: Charlotte. Her work focuses on system-level capacity development and organizational creation, with an emphasis on multidisciplinary methods for promoting individual and collective wellbeing. Dr. Scott works primarily with healthcare systems and community-based organizations. She is particularly interested in a) supporting breastfeeding through community, healthcare system, and workplace interventions; b) building organizational readiness in non-profit and for-profit organizations; c) the science and art of implementation science and quality improvement.
In 2015, Dr. Scott received the Society for Community Research and Action Early Career Award in honor of her commitment to developing and promoting the field of community psychology. She also received the Don Klein Publication Award to Advance Community Psychology Practice for her co-edited book: Community Psychology: Foundations for Practice.
Dr. Scott helps PubTrawlr to maintain a focus on accessibility and community psychology values: inclusiveness, evidence, and a desire for social good. She also helps with the scientific dissemination of PubTrawlr’s active research portfolio, including in the high-impact journal Implementation Science.
Mr. Zimmerman advises PubTrawlr on its technical architecture and functional improvements. He has closely worked with Dr. Scaccia since the earlier pilot days of PubTrawlr in 2020 around its system architecture, functional design, and deployment of the underlying algorithms.
Dr. Somava Saha
Dr. Saha, MD, MS, serves as Founder and Executive Lead of Well-being and Equity in the World (WE in the World), as well as Executive Lead of the Well Being In the Nation (WIN) Network, which work together to advance inter-generational well-being and equity. Dr. Saha founded and led the 100 Million Healthier Lives (100MLives) initiative, which brought together 1850+ partners in 30+ countries reaching more than 500 million people to improve health, wellbeing, and equity.
Previously, Dr. Saha served as Vice President of Patient-Centered Medical Home Development at Cambridge Health Alliance, where she co-led a transformation that improved health outcomes for a safety net population above the national 90th percentile, improved joy and meaning of work for the workforce, and reduced medical expense by 10%. She served as the founding Medical Director of the CHA Revere Family Health Center and the Whidden Hospitalist Service, leading to substantial improvements in access, experience, quality, and cost for safety-net patients.
In 2012, Dr. Saha was recognized as one of ten inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Young Leaders for her contributions to improving the health of the nation. She has consulted with leaders across the world, including Guyana, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Tunisia, Denmark, and Brazil. She has appeared on a panel with the Dalai Lama, keynoted conferences around the world, and had her work featured on Sanjay Gupta, the Katie Couric Show, PBS, and CNN. In 2016 she was elected as a Leading Causes of Life Global Fellow.
Dr. Saha helps PubTrawlr to have an equity-focused mission and to ensure that our activities are designed to make the evidence more accessible to front-line researchers, practitioners, and everyday people around the world.
Mr. Osborn is the founder and managing officer of Envest Asset Management, an innovative investment firm focused on bringing in ESG/SRI practices to individuals, families, businesses, and non-profits.
Mr. Osborn has worked with TD Securities and TD Bank on clean energy project financing loans. He began his financial career as an investment banker at UBS Securities, where he placed municipal bonds for state and local governments and other municipalities. He holds an MBA from the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester and a BSE in Chemical Engineering from Villanova.
Mr. Osborn advises PubTrawlr on its progress toward B-lab certification, sustainable practice (both environmentally and financially), and employee management.
Dr. Rohit Ramaswamy, Ph.D., MPH, Grad Dipl. (Bios) is a professor on implementation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He was previously a Clinical Associate Professor in the Public Health Leadership and Maternal and Child Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the co-director of the UNC/RTI Consortium for Implementation Science and the Associate Director for Global Practice at the Gillings Global Gateway. Dr. Ramaswamy previously directed the Center for Global Learning, whose mission is to advance the research and practice of using the internet and mobile technologies to build the public health management skills of health and development workers around the world.
Dr. Ramaswamy’s area of expertise is Applied Implementation Science, which is the development and evaluation of systematic methods and tools to sustainably implement complex interventions in low-resource settings. His work blends the tools of design thinking, implementation science, and continuous quality improvement to build local capacity. His global projects include the improvement of clinical and operational processes in tertiary maternity hospitals in Ghana, developing the quality improvement capability of district-level government staff in Kenya, and integrating mental health service delivery into the district primary health care system in India.
Prior to joining UNC, Dr. Ramaswamy was the president of Service Design Solutions, a consulting company focusing on developing quality improvement strategies for large global corporations. He is the author of two books: Design and Management of Service Processes, and Improving Testing: Applying Process Tools and Techniques to Assure Quality.
Dr. Ramaswamy is the author of two books on developing quality improvement strategies for large global corporations: Design and Management of Service Processes and Improving Testing: Applying Process Tools and Techniques to Assure Quality.
Dr. Ramaswamy has Ph.D. and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MPH degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Graduate Diploma in Biostatistics from the University of Sydney.
Dr. Ramaswamy advises PubTrawlr on scientific rigor, design principles, and global applications.
When written, PubTrawlr is a single word with both Pub and Trawlr using uppercase initial letters. It is always written as PubTrawlr, never as Pubtrawlr, nor Pub Trawlr.
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We talked to Technical.ly about goals and mission.
Did you know it takes, on average, 17 years for ideas to get from scientific publication to actual real-world use? Dr. Jonathan Scaccia started out as one of those psychologists who sits in a chair and talks to people. Now he sits in a chair and thinks about how to bring science and experience closer together. Join us as we traverse the vast systems-level landscape of program evaluation and implementation science…and find out how evidence-based psychology practices and the iPhone aren’t so different, after all.
Posted on April 29, 2022
A recent episode on the TecBridge podcast from Fall 2021