ProQuest’s powerful collaboration and document management tool Flow™ is now accessible free for researchers — including those in institutions that don’t subscribe to the service. Flow leverages a decade of experience with the RefWorks® suite of tools, resulting in a unique service that manages researcher workflows while integrating document management and sharing with citation data. This enables users to discover and manage content, store and organize documents, and through integration with Microsoft® Word, write papers, supported with instant bibliographies and annotation. Plus, Flow’s social capabilities allow simple document sharing.
Like RefWorks, Flow is designed to keep libraries at the hub of university research. Subscribing libraries can tap into usage data, revealing patterns that help them understand what their users are researching and which resources are most useful to them. Broadening access to Flow via free individual accounts is expected to yield richer analytics and content usage data.
“The ways in which researchers are managing materials and collaborating has changed. Flow recognizes and supports those new routines intuitively. But it also takes the next step by generating data that libraries can rely on to improve their service, hone their collections and plot trends that help them anticipate future needs,” said Sharon Lubrano, ProQuest Vice-President, Research Solutions.
Flow was introduced in mid-2013 and has been embraced for its intuitive, fluid approach to supporting researchers’ workflow. Its integration of text documents and references enables researchers and scholars to easily organize their research. Sharing capabilities support team collaboration, providing a platform for study groups to work together from multiple locations and for instructors to make class readings accessible within the student workflow.
Users can save web page content and metadata, create collections to organize documents and citations, and upload PDF and Office documents. Plus, Flow has built-in recognition of documents and citations so users don’t have to enter metadata manually. Once saved to the cloud, these documents can be read, highlighted, and annotated.
In addition to providing usage statistics, institutional subscriptions enable libraries to offer a premium service to their users, including a remarkable 10GB of storage per user (free accounts have 2GB storage), unlimited collaborators (free accounts can have up to 10 collaborators per project), training options that improve skills in using the service and personal support.