How to Surface Science in Your Research

Research & Development | August 10, 2016

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Imagine that you are a researcher (some of you reading this probably are) and you are tasked with finding the next best biopharmaceutical development. There are millions of dollars resting on your research, not to mention humans who will ultimately benefit from your product. Your company is about to embark on an arduous, long and multi-year course to develop a new medicine, and it all starts with your research within the “discovery process.”

The Discovery Process

According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), “the discovery process includes the early phases of research, which are designed to identify an investigational drug and perform initial tests in the lab. This first stage (also known as basic research) of the discovery process takes approximately three to six years. By the end, researchers hope to identify a promising drug candidate to further study in the lab and in animal models, and then in people.

Basic research within the discovery process is the foundation for a solid drug development direction. So how, as a researcher, can you ensure you have the right information ingredients?

Start with Patents

It is no surprise in the biopharmaceutical industry that patent information is a priority. In a 2015 article entitled “The Importance of Patents to Innovation: Updated Cross-Industry Comparisons with Biopharmaceuticals,” authors Iain Cockburn & Genia Long dive into this idea citing “previous studies have assessed the importance of patents to R&D investment and innovative activity in the USA, finding variation across industries, with patents viewed as more critical to firms realizing the benefits of R&D investments in drug development.”

Having the ability to reference basic patent information is vital to research, but it also reduces the need of teams requesting IP’s help, saving time and pointing researchers toward a clearer direction in their research.

Add in STM Literature

Gathering as much evidence-based information as possible is critical to developing cohesive research during the discovery phase. Content types such as journal and magazine articles, conference proceedings and industry-focused reports expose teams to key information. In addition, access to STM literature helps researchers determine if prior art exists for their proposed medicine (you can read more about this topic). A centralized repository that includes STM literature gives R&D quick access to the right information.

Combine and Surface the Science

Finding a way to combine patent information and STM literature with an indexing layer allows for a user to search an entire patent record and connect the science found in patents to the science found in STM literature, ultimately surfacing the science. Integrating a product like EBSCO’s STM Source™ into Global Patents™ Reference Center can achieve this perfect combination of information.


  • Cockburn, I, & Long, G 2015, ‘The importance of patents to innovation: Updated cross-industry comparisons with biopharmaceuticals’, Expert Opinion On Therapeutic Patents, 25, 7, p. 739-742, Scopus®, EBSCOhost, viewed 19 July 2016.
  • Biopharmaceutical Research & Development: The Process Behind New Medicines. (2007, February 23). Retrieved July 19, 2016, from

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