10 years of CiteAb: How has our life science reagent search engine evolved?


Min Read

In this blog:

  • We reflect on how our reagent search engine has grown
  • What recent resources have we added to this life science research tool?
  • What do you want to see from our reagent platform in the next ten years?

How has the CiteAb reagent search engine changed since we launched as a company a decade ago? 

CiteAb started as a research antibody search engine. We have since evolved, using the same citation reagent database to power our data services for reagent suppliers, biotech/biopharma companies and finance and investment companies.

While we have developed, we have certainly not run out of ideas for ways to keep improving our core reagent search tool, and we are consistently expanding the data that powers our life science product platform.

In this blog, we reveal a little more about how our life science reagent search tool has grown and how you can use it to accelerate your research today.

Who remembers the original version? 

And what do you want to see in the future on our reagent search engine?

How has the CiteAb reagent search engine grown?

Whilst we were still a research project at the University of Bath, UK, we had one reagent type covered in our database.

CiteAb has since expanded to become a life science product finder and evaluation tool for multiple reagents. Our search engines now include the: 

  • Antibody search engine (including monoclonal antibodies, polyclonal antibodies and recombinants)
  • Biochemicals search engine (featuring popular peptides, amino acids, buffers, dyes, lipids, small molecule inhibitors and activators and more) 
  • Protein search engine (encompassing growth factors, enzymes, binding proteins like streptavidin and protein mixtures like bovine serum)
  • Cell line search engine (also capturing data on research models, including virus, bacteria and tissues and cell products)
  • Kits & assays search engine (from popular ELISA kits, to multiplex kits, flow cytometry kits and more) 

Just as we did ten years ago, we still rank products in our search engine by citations only meaning no supplier can pay to be at the top of the search results. This means you can independently assess if the reagent is right for your purposes.

Aside from growing our reagent coverage, we’ve also seen some pretty big changes in our data collection and user base:

  • We launched as a company with around 1 million antibodies. We now have data on ~14 million reagents.
  • In our first month as a company, we attracted around 5,000 visitors. We now have around 100K unique visitors each month.
  • Over 600k searches take place on our search engine each year.
  • We’ve seen nearly 30 million page views on the platform.

We have also added data and images to help assess reagents, and certainly changed our look!



Example CiteAb reagent search results for CD3

Recent developments to our life science search engine to help accelerate your work

Aside from increasing the amount of data and reagents included on the CiteAb search engine, we’ve also added new features and information. 

While the citations we collect are a great first step to help in life science product evaluation, we also recognised the importance of extra information to enhance the efficiency and depth of this evaluation. 

Here’s some features you may have seen launch recently: 

Published Images

In 2019, we launched our published image service. We understand the importance of visual reference points when evaluating products and planning experiments, and so as we collected these images we also began to display them on our search engine.

This means you can easily browse images for products of interest, which have been cropped to the panel of interest, to further investigate if the product is right for your purposes.

Environmental Impact Labels

Last year, we added environmental impact labels onto CiteAb product pages. These labels are published by My Green Lab, and independently audited to give an overview of the sustainability of life science research products and consumables.

If there is an ACT label available for a product on CiteAb, we will now link out to the My Green Lab site so that it is easier to assess the environmental impact of products when making reagent purchasing decisions on CiteAb.

You can read more about the linked ACT labels on the CiteAb search engine here.

Antibody validation data

We began to incorporate validation data into CiteAb several years ago, working towards providing a validated antibody database to help our researcher users run reproducible experiments.

There is a ‘Validations’ section on product pages, and we encourage suppliers to let us know if they’ve performed any validation we can add here!

We will also be adding YCharOS validation data into our platform very soon. YCharOS perform KO validation on a variety of important targets in three well used applications, and share this information openly for researchers to assess.

By providing links to these reports on product pages, we hope to make validation data more easily accessible for our users so that you can have more confidence in purchasing reagents that will work in your application, against your target, as you’d expect.

Subscription content and pre-prints

We have been really excited to begin working closely with publishers over the past several years. Our partnerships with Wiley, Springer Nature and Karger enable us to harness the power of their full text content, mining closed-access papers for valuable reagent information which is then made available on our search engine (and data products).

We also began to mine pre-prints for experimental information, to provide extra data to use in product evaluation on our platform.

New reagent types

We’re really excited to reveal that a new reagent type will be added to the CiteAb search engine very soon! Do keep an eye out for announcements around this…

How can you use the life science search tool? Stories from fellow researchers. 

Over the past year, we’ve been speaking with researchers from across the world who use the CiteAb search engine to find the right life science products for their work. It has been fantastic to learn more about their fascinating research, and how CiteAb has helped.

If you’re looking for proven and effective ways of harnessing the data in the search engine to help in your research, you can see more on how these scientists have utilised our reagent platform here: 

  • Dosh Whye, US: Assistant director of the Human Neuron Core at Boston Children’s Hospital, who uses CiteAb to identify the most validated antibodies in stem cell biology and neuroscience. 
  • Andrea Radtke, US: Associate Scientist at the NIAID/NIH with a focus on microscopy techniques, where she uses CiteAb to find the best antibody candidates for multiplexed tissue imaging studies. 
  • Harvinder Virk, UK: Co-lead of the Only Good Antibodies Community and Forum and NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer, who has used the CiteAb search engine to identify where antibodies have been used in the literature, feeding into validation studies.

Do you use the CiteAb search engine and want to be featured on our blog? – get in touch here.

We want to hear from you!

We are always looking at ways to keep improving our search tool. Are there any further resources you want to see on our platform, any data you think is important we include or any features or filters you want to see? We’d love to hear from you.

We also want to take a moment to thank our supplier partners, many of whom we have worked with since we launched a decade ago, that help ensure we have the high quality supplier provided information available on the search engine to help researchers.

And finally, the whole team wants to extend a massive thank you to all our search engine users for the past ten years. It really is fantastic to be able to keep growing the search engine and seeing the many ways it can help scientists from around the world. 

  • Skye and the CiteAb team
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