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London Tech Week

German startup Morressier snaps $16.5M Series B funding to transform scholarly communications

Morressier team
Morressier team. Image credits; Morressier

Academics and scientists are supposed to be the best of us. They spend years, not only learning their chosen area of study, but also the scientific process, incorporating logic, accuracy, and honesty into every aspect of their work, while filtering out biases, emotion, and assumption. Because of this, we are inclined to trust them, and any new information, studies, and revelations that come from their hard and thorough efforts.

However, we often forget that these people are human and can make mistakes, and sometimes be influenced by internal motivations or external forces. Peer-reviews help to limit false or erroneous academic publications before they are published, but some do slip through, either by chance, failure, or by subversion. These instances can be mildly irritating, for example, fuelling inconsequential conspiracy theories on social media, or can prove substantial, damaging investors and businesses, and potentially even costing lives in extreme cases.

Morressier, the Berlin-based startup fortifying the integrity of scholarly communications, has successfully closed a Series B funding round, raising $16.5 million. The round was led by Molten Ventures and saw participation from existing investors, including Redalpine, Owl Ventures, and Cherry Ventures. Morressier’s latest investment comes on the heels of its $16 million (€15 million) Series A round announced in May 2021, with plans to allocate additional funds for strategic acquisitions.

Morressier is dedicated to providing societies and publishers with transformative workflows for scholarly communications. Headquartered in Berlin, with offices in London and Washington DC, Morressier envisions a world where all scientific outputs are traceable and trustworthy. The company serves as a crucial ally for academic societies, institutions, and publishers in their pursuit of research integrity.

Supporting research integrity

Morressier is positioned to become a market leader in providing workflow solutions that empower academic societies and publishers to safeguard research integrity, ensuring scholarly content is published with confidence. The company boasts prominent names in the scientific ecosystem among its clients, including IOP Publishing, AAAS, ASCE, APS, and Mayo Clinic.

The Series B funding will be instrumental in advancing product innovation, expanding go-to-market activities, especially in the institutional and corporate sectors, and fostering collaborations with leading research integrity vendors. Morressier aims to tackle the growing challenges posed by research integrity threats and contribute to addressing the integrity crisis in the scientific community.

Sami Benchekroun, Co-founder and CEO of Morressier, expressed gratitude for the strong support from investors, “Attracting such strong support from investors in this climate is the ultimate validation that Morressier is doing critical work. Science is experiencing an integrity crisis, and this investment will help us to double down on our efforts to support academic societies, institutions and publishers in this fight.”

Acknowledgment from investors

Christoph Hornung, Partner at Molten Ventures, highlighted the substantial need for a new infrastructure in the science world and expressed confidence in Morressier’s ability to shape the industry’s new structure. Investors recognise Morressier’s significance in providing essential tools and solutions for maintaining integrity across the scholarly publishing landscape.

Advancements in research integrity tools

Morressier recently introduced the Integrity Manager, designed to safeguard research integrity throughout the publishing journey. The Integrity Manager complements Morressier’s existing suite of pre-submission checks, ensuring submission completeness, quality, and compliance with industry standards. The company is also incorporating integrity tools into Journal Manager, a cutting-edge journal submission system currently under development, with IOP Publishing as the first major client.

Addressing a growing challenge

Research integrity threats continue to evolve, with studies indicating concerning trends. In 2020, 34% of neuroscience papers were likely fabricated or plagiarised, and one in five articles may contain faked data produced by “paper mills.” Paper mills are used to provide faked or plagiarised data, or academic papers. Paper mills may be commissioned for monetary gain, to increase status or gain influence, or for political reasons.

Othman Altalib, Morressier Chief Growth Officer, emphasised the core role of partnerships in Morressier’s growth, “Deepening our partnerships across the scholarly publishing industry is core to Morressier’s growth. It ensures that we remain aligned with and supportive of stakeholder needs. This latest investment is going to be of huge benefit to our customers and the broader scholarly publishing community, as we up the ante in the research integrity arms race on their behalf.”

Miriam Maus, Chief Publishing Officer at IOP Publishing, welcomed the news of Morressier’s latest investment, “We see our partnership with Morressier as a real opportunity to reimagine the publishing experience for our authors and reviewers. By building a new submission and peer review system around the needs of the research community, we can optimise our workflows in ways that will make a real difference. As we work to enhance the publishing process, the validity of the science we publish is always front of mind and so we welcome the news of this latest investment in Morressier. It will strengthen their game in rising to the evolving challenges of research integrity.”

Strengthening team and future outlook

Following the investment, Morressier has been actively reinforcing its team, and appointing experienced professionals to key executive roles and across the organisation. The company’s ongoing recruitment processes underscore its commitment to enhancing its capabilities and addressing the complex landscape of research integrity.

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