Artificial Intelligence at the service of education: more access, research quality, and economy in the CAPES Journal Portal

- 01/03/2021

Innovation to make Brazilian research, education, and science possible, making verified information on different areas of knowledge more accessible. Now, the main national virtual library, a reference worldwide and the initiative of its type with the greatest reach on the planet, since it covers the entire national territory, has a technological solution that uses artificial intelligence. The collection in question is the CAPES Journal Portal (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education), and the technology used is cognitive computing, implemented by the National Education and Research Network (RNP), which simulates the human thought processes in a computerized model, using algorithms that recognize patterns and process information.

This is how it works: the Portal, a search engine based on artificial intelligence, the IBM Watson Explorer, "reads" the content present in the collection through a process of optical character and image recognition, captures the full text, organizes and indexes the main information, creates an index with the main topics of the content, and can also classify it by thematic area of the research. The tool is also compatible with files in various formats, such as PDF, DOC, AVI, MP3, and MP4. The technological solution provides improved accuracy in user searches, with a shorter response time, which in practice means readers can find the content they need in a more practice, agile and assertive way.

Currently, the solution is applied to papers and articles of editors such as Gale and Ciência Hoje. The first, part of the global company Cengage that specializes in educational solutions and is present in over 140 countries, has a rich collection of reference compendiums, such as Gale NewsVault, which provides a database of over 10 million scanned newspaper pages with historical data covering the last 400 years of information published in major international communication media. Ciência Hoje publishes the magazines Ciência Hoje and Ciência Hoje das Crianças, totaling 600 editions in a collection to be enjoyed by whoever wants to read about science in a didactic, relaxed, and fun way, consume verified information, and make way to disseminate the production of Brazilian researchers. 

But that is not all: at the moment, the team of specialists of RNP is working to ensure that the solution is applied to the whole Journal Portal. This means that the artificial intelligence technology will work to increase access to national and international journals that make up the best scientific production available for free, gathered, and made available to educational and research institutions in the country in a virtual library.

In addition to improving user experience and generating more traffic to the Portal, there are other expected impacts, as explains RNP's solutions manager responsible for implementing the technology, Claudio Fabricio Silva. He mentions: "We expect to have an increase in the volume of content, objects, papers, images, or any other item related to the topic of user search and, consequently, an improvement in the quality of research, since there will be greater precision in search and exploratory possibility, in the context of the search."

With more access to scientific content, another impact is the savings that can be generated. "As a result of the increased number of accesses to the Portal, the average spending amount, which is the single amount charged by the editor for downloading the content, may be reduced by up to 50%. This means an economy of approximately R$35 million per year. In up to five years, this should amount to R$175 million in public savings. These resources can be used to acquire new content for the Portal or even develop new search solutions," explains Claudio.

The partnership between RNP and the CAPES Journal Portal

Journal Portal, in its 20 years of existence, is a case of success from the partnership of over 10 years between RNP and CAPES, but this alliance also includes other initiatives, as emphasized by Andrea Vieira. "In general, throughout all the years of work between CAPES and RNP, many projects have been developed to benefit the academic-scientific community, such as the remote access service through the Federated Academic Community (CAFe); the Journal Portal application for IOS and Android; the development of a new interface and the improvement of search tools; the creation of a Journal Portal access management system; and many other solutions and services focused on the needs of CAPES, using information and communication technologies," recalls the coordinator of the Journal Portal.