Litmaps 2023: Refocus

In December 2022 Litmaps released a major new version, featuring our largest UI changes to date. This new version isn't just a design change, it symbolises a strategic shift for the whole company. What hasn't changed is our mission: to build useful and sustainable research tools that help accelerate research breakthroughs.

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A shift in focus…

Our previous goal for Litmaps was to become the “home base” for your research – a central repository for your articles and notes. The vision behind this was very compelling: the more “aware” of your research we are, the better services we can provide: not just for recommendations and visualisations, but for future avenues such as connecting potential collaborators.

We released a version of Litmaps in 2021 that was the starting point for this “home base” product direction. It introduced Workspaces, Notes, and promoted collaboration in order to encourage adoption as a central platform for lab groups and R&D teams. However, for the most part this didn't take off: researchers were using Litmaps, but we found that instead of building large workspaces full of maps, most were briefly dipping in to use Explore or to quickly visualise some connections. Litmaps was useful, but wasn't the “home base” we envisioned.

We hopped on the phone with some of you (thank you, so much ♥) and figured out that the only way we could become the home base for research was to replace reference managers. In hindsight this makes total sense – reference managers are the status quo for a researcher's home base, and no-one would want to maintain two in parallel while researching.

We quickly came to the conclusion that we did not want to compete with reference managers:

• We'd need to eclipse reference management functionality (e.g. plugins for text editors, online/offline access, PDF tools, ...)
• We'd be competing with a lot of well-established, high quality, and low/no cost offerings
• It's not what we do best

In 2023 we're focusing on what we do best: Visualisation, and Discovery.

And that's it. We're choosing to "go deep" on these as pillars of Litmaps, instead of trying to capture all of the tools required to be a "one stop shop" product. There's an awesome wave of new research tools out there and we're looking to nestle into what we believe our place is within this ecosystem.

… a shift in design

Next couple of weeks I’ll post about how our shift in focus has unfolded into the Litmaps you see today, as well as where we’re headed in the foreseeable future. I’d recommend following us on Twitter to stay up to date on when this is out, and for future announcements.

Finally, as always, our inboxes are wide open — it’s essential for us that we hear your opinions on what we’re doing… after all, we’re building these tools for you!

Share your research with the world

We’re looking to promote high-quality literature maps that can help other researchers, and the wider public, better-understand a broad range of research topics.

If you've been working on a research project, literature review, or have critical thoughts on the research process, we'd love to hear from you.

Tell us about your research