Microsoft is offering free software to researchers and scholars in an effort to assist them in sharing  and to collaborate on projects. In a press release from Microsoft it states:

Speaking to more than 400 faculty members from leading research institutions worldwide, Tony Hey, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s External Research Division, emphasized the role his group plays not only in supporting specific collaborative research projects, but also in improving the process of research and its role in the innovation ecosystem, including developing and supporting efforts in open access, open tools, open technology and interoperability. Toward that end, Hey announced a set of free software tools aimed at allowing researchers to seamlessly publish, preserve and share data throughout the entire scholarly communication life cycle. He also discussed collaborative initiatives intended to unlock the potential of multicore computing.

  • Article Authoring Add-in for Word 2007: captures metadata at the authoring stage to preserve document structure and semantic information throughout the publishing process (makes search, discovery, and analysis easier later on).
  • Creative Commons Add-in for Office 2007: allows authors to embed Creative Commons licenses directly into Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.
  • Microsoft e-Journal Service: provides a hosted solution that facilitates self-publishing of online-only journals.
  • Research Output Repository Platform: helps capture and leverage semantic relationships among academic objects to facilitate access to these items in new ways.
  • Research Information Centre: in close partnership with the British Library, this collaborative workspace will allow researchers to collaborate throughout the entire research project workflow by seeking research funding, searching and collecting information, and managing data, papers, and other research objects.

Anyone who is considering using any of these tools, should read the Terms Of Service. Be aware of the restrictions that Microsoft has in place for using the tools.

Comments welcome.

Microsoft Press Release