May 27, 2022

Lens, an Open Source Tool to Make Reading Articles Online Easier Will Be Piloted By Six Additional Publishers on HighWire Platform

From Highwire Press:

Lens, an open-source tool introduced by eLife to make reading articles online easier, is being piloted in journals from six publishers on the HighWire platform.

The Journal of Biological Chemistry, The Plant Cell, Journal of Lipid Research, and mBio are among the journals introducing the Lens viewing experience to readers this fall. First introduced by eLife in 2013, Lens makes reading scientific articles on-screen easier by making it possible to explore figures, figure descriptions, references, and more – without losing your place in the article text.


Publishers taking part in the pilot currently include: American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), American Society for Microbiology (ASM), American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), and European Respiratory Society (ERS), all of which use the HighWire Open Platform to host their content. In the next several weeks, the American Physiological Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will join the pilot.

Building partnerships which help our publisher clients serve their readers more effectively is at the heart of the HighWire mission,” added John Sack, Founding Director of HighWire Press. “Early comments from readers indicate they prefer the Lens reading experience to using PDFs; image-intensive reading is much faster and improved.”

The pilot is expected to run for three months. If successful, the Lens viewer will be made available as an option to all publishers on the HighWire platform in 2015.  eLife continues to explore potential uses and to develop the Lens code base 

eLife Lens is available at

Previews of Lens with Articles on Highwire Platform

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology:

American Society for Microbiology:

American Society of Plant Biologists:

European Respiratory Society:

See Also: Article: “eLife Lens: A novel way of seeing content” (via ELifeScience)
Includes link to video demo.

eLife Lens provides a novel way of looking at content on the web (see introduction post). It is designed to make life easier for researchers, reviewers, authors and readers. For example, have you tried to look at a figure in an online article, while simultaneously trying to see what the author says about the figure? You end up jumping all around the article, losing track of what you were looking for in the first place. The reason for this is that most online research articles are published in a fixed digital version of the original paper. With eLife Lens, we take full advantage of the dynamic nature of HTML combined with javascript.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.