Home 2017-05-29T12:09:08+00:00


Here you can find the projects and publications of the Sciplore research group.

Our current projects:

If you are interested in working with us, e.g. during a student project or for compiling a thesis, please see our dedicated page at the University of Konstanz for project proposals.

Watch a video about our MindMapping software for researchers:


1207, 2011

Lots of great news: Beta 16 ready for release, Cooperation with Freeplane team, Docear receives funding, …

By | July 12th, 2011|Categories: Uncategorized|12 Comments

There is lots of great news.

Beta 16 is about to be released (Preview for Blog readers available now)

The last Beta was released in March, quite a while ago. We were really busy with preparing the

relaunch of SciPlore MindMapping as Docear. However, we also had time to finish Beta 16 with two really nice new features and lots of improvements and bug fixes. This will be the last version of SciPlore MindMapping. The next release will be a Beta version of the all-new Docear. Before releasing Beta 16, we would like to ask you – our Blog readers – to test it. If you should find bugs during the next two days, we will fix them before releasing Beta 16 officially. All bugs discovered after that deadline will be fixed in the first Docear Beta scheduled for September.

Here is the change log:

  • New: Bookmarks and comments in PDFs are renamed when the linking node in a mind map is renamed
  • New: PDF can now be opened on the page where the bookmark is (only Acrobat)
  • Improved: Recommendations are now also based on selection in incoming window
  • Improved: Recommendations can be deactivated
  • Improved: Smart Update is default update mechanism now, instead of Thorough Update
  • Improved: Import Highlighted text is selected by default
  • Improved: Zotero and Mendeley BibTeX file support should work now more reliably, also under Linux
  • Improved: Layout of recommendations changed
  • Fixed: Under some circumstances CPU load of the software was 100% even if nothing was done Fixed: Null pointer exception when last opened mind map was closed
  • Fixed: Some users could not open PDF links out of a mind map
  • Fixed: Mind Maps were destroyed in some cases when the user was using a proxy server
  • Fixed: Exception under MacOS when monitoring folder was updated
  • Fixed: Monitoring did not work for some users

Download Beta 16 Preview here, and report problems as soon as possible in our new forum for bug reports. Also, feel free to tell us your ideas for new features we can integrate in Docear

Cooperation with Freeplane

This weekend, the entire Docear team went to Munich to meet Dimitry Polivaev and Volker Börchers from the Freeplane team. As

announced earlier, it was clear that Docear and Freeplane wanted to cooperate but it wasn’t sure in which way. This weekend we met to figure out the details and I have to say that I really enjoyed the meeting. Dimitry and Volker are two amazing software developers who created a really great piece of software that is just perfect for our purposes. In addition, it was a real pleasure to meet with them and discuss our ideas for the future of Freeplane and Docear.

Working together with the Freeplane team

The outcome in short: Docear will be developed as a independent Add-On for Freeplane. That means you will be able to download the complete package (Freeplane+Docear) from our website but you can also install Freeplane updates whenever you like (until now, you had to wait for us, integrating a new version of FreeMind to our own code). Also, the Docear team will closely work together with the Freeplane team to assure that developments of Freeplane will not contradict the interests of our users. And, the Docear team will also engage in the development of basic Freeplane features such as an enhanced search function. We also will use a common repository for our code.

Originally we planned on working together on Saturday and Sunday, but the meeting went so well that we discussed all the points on our agenda on Saturday already. This meant, we had plenty of time left to visit Munich and its pubs 🙂

The Freeplane and Docear teams having a beer in "Löwenbräu". From left to right: Dimitry (Freeplane), Stefan (Docear), Volker (Freeplane), Christoph (Docear Volunteer), Marcel (Docear), Joeran (Docear)

Docear team receives funding for one year (100,000€)

During the last years only a few hours a month could be spend on the development of SciPlore MindMapping because we had lots of other work to do. This has changed since July 1, 2011. We (that is Stefan Langer, Marcel Genzmehr, and I – Joeran Beel) got a scholarship from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology for one year, worth 100,000€ (~143,000 US$), to work full-time on the development of Docear. Our goal is, to develop Docear into an academic literature suite helping you in all aspects of literature management, i.e. literature search, literature organization and literature creation. I would like to stress, that we are extremely happy to have this scholarship as there are no strings attached. It’s not a loan we would have to pay back, and it’s not an investment from some investors expecting a huge return on investment. It’s almost like winning in a lottery because we can just focus on developing a great product during the next year and we will have enough money to pay our rent and food. After the year, we hope we will be able to continue the development of Docear in a similar way as Zotero is doing it, with research grants and funding from non-commercial organizations.

We plan to release Docear’s first public Beta and new website in September 2011. However, feel free to use already now our new forum for bug reports, general questions and submit your ideas to our idea tracker. More information will come soon :-).

2004, 2011

Be a Guinea Pig: Take Part in a User Study and Help Improving SciPlore MindMapping

By | April 20th, 2011|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

We – that is the SciPlore team and Hilah Geer (Head librarian at the Oslo School of Management) – need your help!

Hilah is a fan of SciPlore and for her research she wants to perform a user study (interviews) with some users of SciPlore MindMapping to understand how academics are using SciPlore MindMapping. The results will help us to understand how you are using the software and how we can improve it. Therefore, please, if you are an active academic user of Sciplore MindMapping, help us understanding how you work with SciPlore MindMapping. Participate in the 30minutes interviews and read on what Hilah has to tell you about the interviews:

Introductory Letter:

I am a seasoned academic librarian doing research in the field of Science & Technology Studies (STS).  And I need your help. I have chosen SciPlore as my research object because of its brilliant combination of functionalities for academics.  However, according to STS theory, it is not brilliant functionality that changes society; functionality cannot even really be brilliant on its own.  It is brilliant use of functionality that counts.

I think the people at SciPlore would agree.  Perhaps their secret is that they are not really concerned with creating software at all.  They are concerned with facilitating your brilliant uses for evolving functionalities.  That means that for me to understand SciPlore I need to understand how you are using it.  Data on downloads and clicks, luckily enough for us humans, is not enough.

Academic institutions allow researchers enormous freedom in managing their personal libraries. Okay, perhaps there is a little neglect mixed in with the freedom, but either way you have undoubtedly fostered a rich information ecology on your personal computer.  And you use SciPlore, which offers practical and logical functionality for managing and wrestling with ideas and texts in a digital environment.  Much of this meaningful work is hidden, black boxed, while you work independently at your personal computer. It would be a great privilege for me and I believe of benefit for SciPlore to be able to conduct telephone interviews with active SciPlore users.  Look under the proverbial hood so to speak.  Who knows, it may even help you clarify some things for yourself.

Hilah Geer


Details about the study

About me:

I am been a librarian since the early 90s.  I have worked at MIT, Harvard Business School, and a consulting firm in Berkeley, California among other places.  Most recently I have moved to Norway and am the head librarian at the Oslo School of Management.  I am exploring the field of Science & Technology Studies as a means of getting a better grasp on the role technology plays in my work.  I would very much appreciate your help!

About the interviews:

Who will be interviewed: Anyone who is working in an academic/research environment who uses SciPlore to any extent with any regularity is valuable to my research.  I will be interviewing as many of you as possible.

How will they be conducted: I personally will be conducting all of the interviews.  They will be done either on Skype or via telephone.  They will take 30 minutes.  I will be more than willing to go more in depth if the interviewee is interested.  Otherwise, I will protect your time and stick to 30 minutes.

What will they include:  first I will want to gather standardized information:  demographics, field of study, institution(s), hardware, software, and networked resources.  Then I will have a series of questions to steer a discussion of how you use SciPlore and why.

When: The main interview period will be between May 2. and June 24 (There is a degree of flexibility as regards dates).  I will be available for interviews on weekends but weekdays are preferable.

Conditions: Of course the results of the interviews will be made entirely anonymous.  Upon arrangement of the interviews you will be given a signed terms of agreement that you can choose to alter if you wish.  All processed anonymous data will be shared with SciPlore, unless requested otherwise.


Send an email to survey@sciplore.org to arrange an interview or ask a question about them. And Thanks!




1004, 2011

The new name of SciPlore MindMapping is… “Docear”

By | April 10th, 2011|Categories: sciplore mindmapping, software|1 Comment

One month ago we asked our users to send us suggestions for a

new name for SciPlore MindMapping. We got a few dozens of ideas and would like to thank all the participants very very much for their great and creative ideas! In our team, we had lots of discussion about the pros and cons of all the names. Eventually, we decided that “Docear” was the best idea. Why? Well, it`s short (six letters/two syllables), the first letter lies quite early in the alphabet, “Docear” is easy to type on a keyboard, we believe the name is quite easy to remember, and, most importantly, we like the meaning: “Docear” pronounces the same way as “Dog-ear” which means kind of a “bookmark” (in German: Eselsohr) and includes the abbreviation for document (doc) which both represents what the software is all about (managing documents). Also, “docear” is the is the first person, singular, present subjunctive, passive from the Latin “docere” meaning “to teach”, which is also not too bad as a meaning for the software.

What do you think about that name?

More information about the new Docear will come soon (a month or two). Meanwhile, if you like, help us creating a logo and web design. Just Send us your drafts to “feedback @sciplore .org”.

2803, 2011

SciPlore MindMapping now provides literature recommendations (Beta 15)

By | March 28th, 2011|Categories: sciplore mindmapping, software|Tags: , |2 Comments

Beta 15 of SciPlore MindMapping is out. The major new feature is the literature recommendation module. Based on your mind maps SciPlore MindMapping provides you with literature recommendations that can be downloaded immediately and for free. For this feature we use our upcoming new service Mr. DLib which has several millions of articles indexed from the Web. I have to admit, recommendations are not really good right now because we use a very simple algorithm. However, recommendations will become much better in near future, promised :-).

And there are more enhancements. The monitoring directory works with relative paths, BibTeX files from Mendeley with multiple links can be read, and several bug fixes were made. Here is the complete list:

  • New: Literature recommendations with free full-text link in incoming window
  • New: Automatic Web Service check (message if an old version is used)
  • New: Logging of recommendations, usage data, and incoming window status
  • New: “Import Annotations from PDFs” is now valid globally (not only for drag and drop but, e.g. for monitoring directory)
  • New: Monitoring node works with relative path, too
  • New: Overview mind map on first start
  • Improved: Identification of comments in PDF files improved
  • Improved: Behaviour of icons in incoming window
  • Improved: BibTeX files from Mendeley with multiple files can now be read
  • Fixed: Cancelling monitoring update did not work on all computers (continued in background)
  • Fixed: Renaming imported bookmarks did not work before saving a mind map
  • Fixed: Licence was not shown when selected in menu
  • Fixed: Ref key sometimes wasn`t assigned to imported comments (bookmarks worked)

Let us know what you think of the new version and make a comment here in the Blog.

2803, 2011

Off Topic: Which email provider do scientists and students like most? Answer: Gmail

By | March 28th, 2011|Categories: Off Topic|0 Comments

I just wondered which email provider students and scientists prefer. To find out I wrote a little script which analyzed the domain names of SciPlore MindMapping`s newsletter subscribers (there are 1375 of them). And, the answer is: Gmail (Google Mail) is the most preferred email provider. 42% of all subscribers had a Gmail (or Googlemail) address. The next most popular email provider was Yahoo! with only 8.9%.  This little graphic shows the complete  results. Of course this is not representative for all scientists but anyway, I thought I share the results with you. Maybe there is someone finding them interesting.



303, 2011

Help us finding a new name for “SciPlore MindMapping”

By | March 3rd, 2011|Categories: sciplore mindmapping, software|0 Comments

Over a year ago we started the development of SciPlore MindMapping. So far the response in the academic community was overwhelming. We get almost daily emails from users telling us how much they like the software and download counts are steadily increasing. Now, I am very pleased to announce that in the near future we will continue the development of SciPlore MindMapping as an independent tool from SciPlore. The focus of “SciPlore MindMapping” differs just too much from the goal of “SciPlore” and despite, the name “SciPlore MindMapping” is just too long anyway.

So, what we do need is a new name for SciPlore MindMapping and we want you help finding it!

There are few (but tricky) demands to the new name: (more…)

102, 2011

Good by FreeMind, welcome FreePlane

By | February 1st, 2011|Categories: sciplore mindmapping|Tags: , , |22 Comments

When we started the development of SciPlore MindMapping about a year ago we decided to use FreeMind as code base. That means we used FreeMind`s source code, modified it slightly, and added some new features. It was a straight forward decision: for many years, FreeMind was bascially the standard choice if you wanted a free open source mind mapping software and it was written in Java, our preferred programing language. However, time is changing and FreeMind unfortunately is not. Since a long time, the FreeMind team is releasing new versions very slowly, not to say the development of FreeMind almost pauses.

Therefore we decided to switch to Freeplane as code base in near future (around July 2011). (more…)