A lot of bad information exists in the world of internet research. For this reason, academia has been reluctant to accept internet sources as legitimate in intellectual discussion. As a result, students have been forced to use antiquated and difficult methods of finding relevant information online.
To solve this problem, Los Angeles startup Papermache (site will soon be here) will combine a social network with a digital portfolio, allowing university students to legally share their graded research papers with a peer community. Users will read, up/downvote, discuss, and cite the findings and perspectives of their peers in a safe and collaborative environment. It could become the go-to destination for finding and using amazing, relevant information by harboring an active community of research and researchers.
Founder Benjamin Fenigsohn said, “I was wondering what problems students had writing research papers which I thought was a universal assignment. I found myself talking to my roommate who was a different major than me: we both had papers to write, but could easily find common ground and brain storm off of each other. My goal was to extend this conversation online where students could get help in the form of ideas and citations all in one place.”
Benjamin found Papermache.cc, Inc. a year ago and has been working on a prototype ever since. His beta launch, coming soon to honors students on the campuses of California State University, Los Angeles and California Institute of Technology, is currently under a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the final push.
“I want my users to breath a sigh of relief when assigned a research paper knowing that Papermache will be with them every step of the way. From idea formation to new information, to powerful citation capabilities, all content will be self contained on one website.
In addition to producing and consuming awesome content, students will be able to reach out to like-minded peers for future collaboration. This will make better informed students and better written papers, raising the collective awareness of its users.
A first for undergraduate academic publishing, Papermache will utilize Creative Commons licensing (denoted by the “.cc” in Papermache.cc) to its users who upload content. Adding intellectual property rights to work establishes ownership and gives legal protection to combat cheating. “On Papermache,” said Benjamin, “we want to make it easier to not cheat than to cheat, since convenience is a main cause of plagarism. Therefore, we created built in citation capabilities that – in a highlight and two clicks – gives credit to original authors and keeps content consumers legal.”
Getting students interested in the subjects they study by answering a critical problem they have is a significant step in making them more engaged. So far, Papermache.cc has received amazing feedback and support from faculty, who see it as a way to get students teaching each other about important topics.
Papermache is pre-seed and currently undergoing a $5,000 crowdfunding campaign to push it’s final 36 development hours before beta launch. The team is Founder Benjamin Fenigsohn, an entrepreneurship student at California State University, Los Angeles, CTO and developer Todd Zebert, and Chief Marketing Officer Randall Warlick.