A Database for Japanese Science, in Japanese

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Dennis Normile
2009-03-27 06:04
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TOKYO—With the Internet awash in scientific information, does the world need another database of publications and researchers? The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) thinks so—if it's in Japanese. Its new J-GLOBAL database was unveiled here today and will go live on 30 March at noon Japan time (3 a.m. coordinated universal time). "The digital infrastructure here is weaker than it is in the U.S. and Europe," says Osamu Kato, the JST official leading development of the database and its Web portal. 

The governmental JST has systematically been assembling bibliographies of scientific information and academic papers published in Japanese, databases of researchers and their work, dictionaries of scientific terms, and information on Japanese patents. J-GLOBAL will be a one-stop portal connecting all this information with appropriate links to other sites. Kato said links will eventually extend to English-language journals, though those details are still being worked out. 

Makoto Ibuka, an engineer who heads Tama-TLO, a consulting firm that links academic researchers and industrial partners, looks forward to J-GLOBAL, saying, "The connection between academic papers and patent information could be particularly valuable, particularly for smaller companies."

Kato said JST intends to continually upgrade the beta-version portal that goes online 30 March. The agency is particularly intent on refining the algorithm linking search terms and results based on user feedback. The database is intended to primarily benefit the Japanese scientific community, but within several years they hope to develop a parallel English site. 

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