Trip Database Blog

Liberating the literature



Subscriptions and geography

Below is a pie chart showing the country of origin of every personal subscriber to Trip.

The first 24 hours

Its been 24 hours since the new, Freemium, version of Trip went live.  A few things I’ve learnt:

  • People have not been openly hostile about us moving to the new business model, I was expecting some abuse. I got some mild complaints from Twitter – but if that’s the worst of it.
  • People seem happy to pay and we have a number of paying customers.  Before we went live I was trying to think what might be good, bad and terrible and couldn’t actually come up with anything sensible.  However, the response so far has been encouraging.  But, I do need to stop checking the payments system every hour.
  • Institutional interest has exceeded expectations and it’s been really interesting dealing with many of the queries.
  • Internet Explorer (version 8) is not liked by Stripe, our payment system.
  • The system to reset passwords was a bit naughty and refused to send out links to reset the passwords.  Fortunately, that is now fixed!
  • I’m beginning to better understand some of the background functionality that I’d been not really thinking about.
  • I really need to think about VAT when setting up a payments system.

I think the biggest realisation is that, to make this model work, will require significant hard work on my part!  Anyone out there with (a) good sales skills (b) spare time (c) will to work on payments by results??

The New Trip Database

The new version of the Trip Database is live and to help celebrate we’ve produced a beautiful infographic.

While to many the new site will not look massively different there have been some huge changes.  Perhaps the biggest has been the adoption of the Freemium business model.  What was previously freely available at Trip remains, largely, free but for those who want an enhanced service there is a Premium (paid for) service.  We have adopted this model based on the absolute need for financial security. 

So, what do those purchasing the Premium model get?

More content

  • Approximately an extra 100,000 systematic reviews (including systematic review type content such as HTAs), more than double available via the free Trip.
  • Millions of free full-text articles
  • Ongoing clinical trials database of over 175,000 clinical trials
  • Access to a large medical image database
  • Tens of thousands of clinical videos

More functionality

  • Export of records to reference management software
  • The ability to easily exclude certain content types (e.g. eTextbooks)
  • Trip educational credits
  • Article views, see which articles are most popular for your search

Other things

Another new feature is moving to a more secure site with a new password system (this is for both free and premium users).  This will require users to renew their login/password details but it’s a one-off – so hopefully not too traumatic.

Finally, and mentioned above, is the new Trip Evidence Service. Run by experienced and skilled information experts the Trip Evidence Service can provide various services: formal literature searches, horizon scanning and evidence reviews. Given the varied staff skills the service can also offer bespoke information services.

So, why delay, click here to upgrade to the new Premium Trip today (click here).  NOTE: Institutional subscriptions are available,

Coming soon

We’ve moved in to the final stages of testing for the new site.  If you’ve not seen it already, we posted a ‘taster’ around ten days ago. Assuming the testing goes well, we aim to go live over the weekend of the 16/17th May.

As well as the upgrades we’re moving to a new and more secure site.  The only thing you’ll notice is the need to change your login and password.  This is a necessary ‘discomfort’ as the old system was very old and not particularly secure, so there was a pressing need to upgrade!

This is a really important milestone for Trip.  Assuming it goes well and a reasonable number of users (and organisations) sign-up to we will be financially stable – the first time in years.  It should give us a solid foundation to base on next tranche of improvements – based on the work highlighted in this blog post.

The light at the end of the tunnel…

…is, I hope, not the light of an oncoming train. I’ve nabbed that line from my favourite band – Half Man Half Biscuit (HMHB) who wrote The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train) a good few years ago! My love for HMHB aside, I keep reflecting on how things seem to be going really well for Trip and I’m desperately hoping we’ve turned a corner.  So, why the optimism:

  • 2014 was pretty good.
  • We’re working on the new Freemium version of Trip.  What’s going to come out is going to be impressively good and some of the premium upgrades will be great.
  • We’re involved in the really interesting EU funded project which will be doing some really innovative things.  I’ll blog about that more when the final specifications are agreed, but we’ll be looking at making Trip more multi-lingual, we’re going to be improving the Trip Rapid Review system and loads of work around similarity which is useful for the next point.
  • Relatedness/similarity is looking very useful for what we want to do with regard developing our financial viability.  The measures we’re developing will allow us to do all sorts of interesting things, for instance we can highlight a new book that’s useful to a particular clinician, we can highlight a new trial that’s pertinent to an existing systematic review.  Many more uses on top of that, but I’ve got to keep some secrets.
  • I’m starting to realise the value in our clickstream data (helped by two separate teams and soon to be joined by a PhD student as part of the EU project).  You only have to look at most of this year’s blog posts to see I’m working hard on this.  This can help with the relatedness work but it can do other useful things, such as improving the search results and better predicting new articles that are of use to a Trip user.  If our mission is to ensure health professionals get the right evidence to support their care – using clickstream data will make it so much more effective.  The advantage of the clickstream data is that it’s Trip’s data to utilise, it’s our IP.  It’s at the heart of our future.  I actually think it’s this point that’s making me so happy/optimistic.
  • Lots of other nice bits and bobs e.g. I’ve just been invited to lecture in the USA in Autumn/Fall; I’m part of a large consortium bidding to be a support team for complex reviews; I’m presenting at the wonderful Evidence Live; I’m making headway in my new NHS job (I am lead for Knowledge Mobilisation for Public Health Wales); I’m waiting to hear about a large MRC grant (not optimistic but something to look forward to).

Long may this continue!

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