Back in 2005, the two founders were doing postdoctoral research in computational neuroscience, and were looking for ways to get structured access to experimental data. Almost everything is published as text, but there are far too many research papers for any individual to read. Rather than expecting scientists to change their behaviour and create databases directly, they began investigating ways for authors to layer structured information on top of written text. After a number of iterations, this led to the first version of Annotate.co. With the benefit of extensive feedback from users, the focus gradually shifted from complex structured annotations to collaborative discussion around the text, as seen in the present version of Annotate.co. However, the ease of building up a structured index of notes across large numbers of documents reflects the software's origins in annotating scientific data and papers.
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