Job Opportunity: ContentMine Operations Manager


ContentMine was founded in 2016 as a UK non-profit company limited by guarantee. Our mission is to establish content mining for research and for education as widespread philosophy and practice through:

  • creating computer programs, protocols, practises, standards and educational materials that enable content mining,
  • training researchers and others in content mining,
  • encouraging research institutions and funders of research to support establishing freedom for anyone to engage in computational analysis of books, journals, databases and other knowledge sources for the purposes of education and research.

We develop open source software for mining the scientific literature and engage directly in supporting researchers to use mining, saving valuable time and opening up new research avenues.

For information, please visit


We are seeking an Operations Manager to take overall operational responsibility for ContentMine’s development and execution of its mission, reporting to the Board of Directors and working closely with the ContentMine Founder, Dr Peter Murray-Rust. The successful candidate will develop deep knowledge of our core focus, operations, and business development opportunities and manage the transition of the organisation from a project to a sustainable non-profit with oversight of all major business areas from fundraising to communications and HR.


£40-45k pro rata, negotiable.

Time and Location

4 days per week, fixed term contract for four months in the first instance, with renewal subject to funding. The candidate should be a UK or EU national, remote working possible but candidates in easy travelling distance of Cambridge are preferred.


Leadership and Management:

  • Ensure ongoing excellence in delivery of the ContentMine mission, including program evaluation, and consistent quality of finance and administration, Manage fundraising, communications, and systems; recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve the strategic goals.
  • Actively engage and energize ContentMine board members, contractors, collaborators, Fellows, volunteers and funders.
  • Ensure effective systems to track progress, evaluate program components and report to the Board and funders.

Fundraising and Communications:

  • Expand revenue generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations and planned developments.
  • Oversee and refine all aspects of communications—from web presence to external relations, with the goal of creating a stronger brand based on a recent graphical design exercise.
  • Use external presence and relationships to garner new opportunities.

Planning and New Business:

  • Build partnerships with research-oriented organisations including groups and institutes, scholarly societies and NGOs.
  • Establish relationships with potential collaborators and philanthropic funders.
  • Write grant applications and tender for client contracts.
  • Manage relationships and work allocations with partner organisations and contractors who bring new skills and capabilities to projects.

Person Specification

The Operations Manager will be thoroughly committed to ContentMine’s mission. All candidates should have proven leadership and relationship management experience. Concrete demonstrable experience and other qualifications include:

  • At least 5 years of management experience; track record of effectively leading an outcomes-based organization.
  • Ability to point to specific examples of having developed and actioned strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth.
  • Commitment to delivering quality programs and data-driven program evaluation.
  • Excellence in organisational management including developing high-performance teams, setting and achieving strategic objectives, and managing a budget.
  • Fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders, partiuclarly in the academic, non-profit, research and publishing sectors.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills.
  • Action-oriented, entrepreneurial, adaptable approach to business planning.
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people.
  • Passion, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven and self-directed focus are all desirable.

To apply

Please submit a cover letter and CV to by 2 Dec 2016. Interviews will be held by the 9 Dec. Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr Peter Murray-Rust (


ContentMine featured in Horizon magazine article “Copyright shift would put Europe ahead in ‘future of research’ data mining”

Horizon magazine featured an article on text and data mining and specifically the European Commission proposal for a copyright exception, currently covering “public or private organisations that are carrying out scientific research in the public interest”.

Read the full article >>

Dr Peter Murray-Rust is director of ContentMine, a not-for-profit organisation which has developed software that enables researchers to search through scientific papers on a particular subject. He gives the example of the Zika outbreak as an area where TDM can help to enhance knowledge.

‘We’re going to need to know a lot more about Zika, and much of it may already be in the scientific literature that’s been published but that we don’t read. We don’t read it because there’s so much, so we’ve built a machine, ContentMine, that will liberate the facts from the literature.’

Barriers to content mining: fake article webpages

Two ContentMine team members featured in Nature News this week reporting difficulties they have faced in text mining Wiley publications due to ‘Trap’ URLs, designed to catch people using automated downloading.

Full article: ‘Publisher under fire for fake article webpages

Richard Smith-Unna, lead developer of ContentMine’s getpapers and quickscrape tools, encountered the issue while undertaking research that is fully supported by the UK copyright exception for text and data mining and where his University librarians had been informed. Ross Mounce, lead researcher on the ContentMine-supported PLUTo project has encountered similar issues before and states:

“I’m worried we’re seeing the beginning of an evolutionary arms race between legacy publishers and researchers.”

The methods employed were criticised as heavy-handed and unsophisticated by several commentators, with one librarian stating that they find the behaviour concerning “Because it demonstrates that supporting research is not the chief priority of these publishers.”

ContentMine continues to support the rights of researchers to build on our collective scientific knowledge through mining the academic literature and to call out barriers to that mission.

ContentMine Case Study: mining the tree of life

Scientists represent the relationships between different organisms as branching ‘phylogenetic trees’. These diagrams tell us a lot about how close different species are to each other and the length of the branches can even tell us how long ago they shared a common ancestor. While we typically imagine these trees stretching back over millions of years, sometimes they can be be quite short, for example in tracing back to the origins of disease outbreaks like Ebola or Zika virus.

These trees contain lots of useful information and they take a long time to calculate. Even with powerful computers, large trees can take hours and days. If enough is known about the analysis and the data many trees can be remixed into ‘supertrees’, potentially saving a lot of time and resources and enabling new analyses.

Unfortunately most trees are presented in scientific papers only as images and information from images cannot easily be extracted in a form that is ready for analysis. Disappointingly, only 4-25% of data from trees is made available in a reusable way, for the remaining 75-96% the only way to create a dataset is painstakingly with a ruler (either digital or physical!) and transcribing labels for species and gene names. This takes a lot of researcher time that could be more usefully spent thinking, analysing and explaining – the parts of research where humans excel!

ContentMine founder Dr Peter Murray-Rust and Dr Ross Mounce set out to automate the tedious data extraction process as far as possible, thus enabling more data to be extracted from the many thousands of trees that are published each year. BBSRC funded the development of PLUTo: Phyloinformatic Literature Unlocking Tools and together Peter and Ross made software to extract relationships and branch length from tree diagrams and turn them into NeXML – a format that can be stored in structured databases online and analysed directly by computers.

They applied this to creating a supertree of bacteria (Fig 1) – synthesising 924 separate trees featuring 2269 taxa! As well as liberating a lot of data that could be useful for a number of analyses, the process uncovered many instances where species has been misspelled, meaning that this approach could help correct errors in the scientific record as well as enriching data resources.

Figure 1: The final output tree from PLUTo – 2269 bacterial taxa!


ContentMine is a non-profit with a mission to bring content mining tools and open ‘facts’ to researchers . We believe that mining improves the efficiency and quality of research though:

  • increasing the breadth and depth of scientific information that can be surveyed
  • saving time, freeing researchers up for the bits they’re best at (like thinking and analysing results!)
  • liberating open data for analysis

If you think our experienced team can help with your research, get in touch!