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Facebook News Feed: fewer memes and more high quality news content, please

13 Jan, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In December 2013, Facebook changed the algorithm that determines which “stories” are visible on the News Feed. It seems that the social network has begun to prioritise content from sources that users engage with most. Some fear that content from a  ‘liked’ Facebook page will therefore become negligible if it does not engage its readers.

In fact, a week or so after Facebook made its changes, one social media marketing agency, Ignite, analyzed 689 posts from 21 brand pages. Ignite found that in just one week, the number of people who saw posts from those brands declined by 44% on average, “with some pages seeing declines as high as 88%.” more…

Redefining impact – altmetrics now on journals from BMJ

21 Oct, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In growing numbers, scholars are moving their daily work to the Internet. Online reference managers, such as Zotero and Mendeley, have grown in popularity, the latter claiming to store over 470 million articles (substantially more than PubMed). In addition, as many as a third of scholars are on Twitter and a growing number cultivate scholarly blogs.

As a result of the increasing scholarly use of social tools like Twitter, Facebook and Mendeley, there is a need to track scholarly impact on the social web by creating new filters. The call for new metrics has been answered by a group of researchers who have dubbed the movement as  ‘altmetrics‘.

In support of this year’s theme for Open Access Week, ‘redefining impact’, BMJ has introduced the Altmetric widget across all articles published in BMJ’s portfolio of journals.*

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Flipboard: a help or hindrance to publishers?

17 May, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In the past month, almost 1 million new magazines have appeared on Apple’s iPad. Rather than heralding a long-awaited comeback from traditional publishers, nearly all of these collections of articles, photos and social-media updates are the handiwork of ‘armchair editors’, using a new tool from the social magazine app, Flipboard.

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How can publishers take advantage of Pinterest?

19 Apr, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

This week, Nature Publishing Group announced they had reached 35,000 followers on Pinterest. Given that they had just 127 followers at the end of 2012, this is phenomenal growth. How did they achieve it, I hear you ask? When asked the secret to their success on Twitter, @NatureBlogs replied: “best tip is to continuously update the boards with new images. We make daily (if we can) updates”.  So, given the effort and resource needed to maintain this level of engagement, what can publishers expect in return? Do follower numbers translate into traffic to journal websites?

NPG on Pinterest

Over a year ago, I wrote an introductory blog covering the basic mechanics of Pinterest and the impressive growth it had experienced:  it is still the fastest standalone website to surpass the 10 million mark. Now with more than 48 million users, Pinterest is one of the most popular social networks on the web. So, how can publishers get a slice of the action?

Add keywords

Pinterest is a popular site but it’s not nearly as saturated as Google search results. While it’s true that most people prefer to browse Pinterest than search it, there are a significant number who want to discover something that hasn’t already been repinned many times, and search is where they do it.

With every image you post, you should include a clear description that people will enjoy reading. The key seems to be mentioning a keyword that reveals few results in Pinterest but is likely to be searched for often. This can help get the exposure necessary to be repinned and therefore reach more people.

Similarly, you can also take advantage of Pinterest’s popularity to get your Pinterest page into Google. Link to your pinboard from your website, during online promotions and from established social media channels to improve the chances of it showing up in Google search results.

Repin others

In a similar vein to Twitter’s retweets, build awareness of your Pinterest account by repinning others. Use both the search function and categories to find other pins relevant to your boards. When you repin another’s pinned picture, they will receive an email notification. Hopefully, they will follow the links to your account and see where you pinned their picture, giving you an opportunity to have them look through your boards. The obvious need here is to have boards that interest your new visitor to the point that they consider following your links to the site you are promoting.

Comment on pins

When you hold your cursor over a pinned picture you see the “comment” tab, the “repin” tab, and the “like” tab. When you make a comment is stays with the picture, so whatever you say has the potential to catch people’s attention and drive traffic. You might even consider some kind of “call to action” (if it’s appropriate). Again, Pinterest will notify the person who pinned the picture that a comment has been made and give them a link to respond to your comment.

Check your stats

Pinterest introduced a web-based analytics tool in March, allowing site owners to track users’ engagement with their sites on the social network.

The free tool allows site owners to track the number of pinners and pins collecting material from their sites, and the number of repinners and repins those initial pins received. Site owners can also track total impressions and reach on the network, as well as referral traffic, both in clicks and unique visitors, sent back to their sites. This is key in understanding your audience’s likes/dislikes, which will feed into the future selection of content to add.

Publishers with successful Pinterest profiles

ResearchGate: an alternative to traditional publishing?

22 Aug, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

ResearchGate, a Q&A site that soon became known as ‘Facebook for scientists‘, has announced its intention to function as a publishing platform for scientific researchers and offer an alternative measure of reputation in that community.

Started in 2008 with few features, ResearchGate was reshaped with feedback from scientists and has attracted several million dollars in venture capital from some of the original investors of Twitter, eBay and Facebook. According to the website, more than 1.9 million scientists currently share papers, publish data and engage in discussions on its platform. Now an ‘RG Score’ has been designed to make those interactions visible and quantifiable.

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ReadCube: just another reference manager?

26 Jul, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Last month, ReadCube (a free, cross-platform reference manager) announced a host of new features in the form of  ‘enhanced PDFs’. Articles published by Nature, PLOS and Wiley can now be enhanced with active in-line references and automatic fetching of supplementary data.

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A new species of lab website?

5 Jul, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

In response to static, neglected lab websites that have become the norm, a Princeton scientist (Ethan O. Perlstein) has personally invested in the design of a site that will inspire fellow academics to openly share their research. In addition, with his academic appointment coming to an end, http://perlsteinlab.com/ is a great way to establish a personal brand.

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‘Rate this article’ now live on JNNP, STI and BJSM

3 Feb, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

User rating is a very common feature of websites, whether for films, books, washing machines or blog posts. What these user rating systems allow is a quick and easy survey of a community opinion. Despite the obvious advantages to busy readers trying to get to grips with a vast amount of literature, this simple system hasn’t been much applied to scholarly papers. PLoS notably introduced their rating five star system back in 2007, which has had a mixed response from the publishing community.

We launched a very simple thumbs up/down rating system at the side of articles on BMJ Case Reports last year, akin to that used on YouTube and a number of news sites. The response from users has been very positive, with our most rated article boasting 441 likes. This new feature, which gives readers the opportunity to quickly and easily share their opinion on the quality and impact of a particular article, has now been rolled out to three other journals: JNNP, Sexually Transmitted Infections and the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

How do I rate an article?

To rate an article, you do not need to be logged into the site but you will only be given one vote to cast (this is controlled by inserting a cookie onto your computer). The voting buttons are visible in the box to the right-hand side of each article and also at the bottom after references (see below). Once you’ve voted, you can click on the ‘Tell us why you like/don’t like this article’ link to provide further information in the form of an e-letter. Each journal has a feed of the most rated articles, which can be used to populate widgets on the homepage and at the side of papers.

As a supplement to the basic peer review, article-level ratings offer real-time feedback from readers, allowing them to contribute publicly in the scholarly journal discussion. Over time, as the article accrues feedback, the combined scores will become more and more meaningful as a metric to evaluate importance and quality.

Tracking scholarly impact on the social web: altmetrics

4 Nov, 11 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Tim Berners-Lee created the Web as a scholarly communication tool but some argue that the Web has revolutionised everything but scholarly communication. One of the major adherents of this view is Jason Priem, co-founder of the altmetrics project, whose website states:

In the 17th century, scholar-publishers created the first scientific journals, revolutionising the communication and practice of scholarship. Today, we’re at the beginning of a second revolution, as academia slowly awakens to the transformative potential of the Web.

In growing numbers, scholars are moving their daily work to the Internet. Online reference managers, such as Zotero and Mendeley, have grown in popularity, the latter claiming to store over 120 million articles (substantially more than PubMed). As many as a third of scholars are on Twitter and a growing number cultivate scholarly blogs. more…

Disqus comment system now available on all blogs

12 Aug, 10 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

Disqus, pronounced “discuss”, is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. As well as being used by The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and CNN, we have now installed Disqus on all BMJ blogs (including this one!). The Disqus comment system can be plugged into any website, blog, or application. Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community.

How does it work?

Disqus offers great opportunities for both bloggers and readers/commenters alike in that it expands the available functionality far above and beyond the traditional text-based commenting structures normally associated with blogs.

This includes the option to link to personal profiles elsewhere on the web, connect with friends and colleagues and ultimately retain far greater ownership over your comments as everything said is aggregated against a profile on the Disqus website. For a basic introduction to the service, have a look at the video below:

Network and community formation

One of the key outcomes of this framework is the opportunity for network development at both the blog level and the user level. This is because blogs and users are equally represented in the framework and can thus become nodes in their own right.

As part of the set-up process, each blog is given its own community area on the Disqus website. This blog’s forum is at the following location: http://disqus.com/comments/moderate/bmjwebdevblog/. Not only does this enable users to quickly view and respond to comments (which are tied back into the blog), the community area also displays statistical information regarding Top Commenters and Popular Threads. The increased focus on the individual in this framework means that readers are able to connect with one another – thus facilitating the development of networks and communities within and across blogs and sites. Effectively the users start to become hubs for the discussion as much as sites are.

Synchronised comments

Of critical significance for WordPress users is the fact that Disqus synchronises comments between your WordPress blog and the Disqus site. In the past, when you replaced the native WordPress commenting framework with Disqus, all comments were stored on the Disqus website and therefore carried with it a certain amount of risk. With comments stored on both Disqus and WordPress, if you decide to revert to the native comments  at some stage – or otherwise need to deactivate the plugin – you are not going to lose all the discussion that took place when Disqus was implemented.

There is a plethora of information available on the Disqus website so I encourage you to take a look if you’re interested, or take a look at the comment area of one of the BMJ blogs to see the framework in action (see below).

BMJ Journals Development blog homepage

BMJ Web Development Blog

Keep abreast of the technological developments being implemented on the BMJ journal websites.



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