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Scientific communication

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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How to engage with the diverse community that is Reddit

30 Aug, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

An article in The BMJ on muscular strength in male adolescents and premature death received over 55,000 page views in December 2012. On closer inspection, we discovered that 66% of visits to that particular article had come from Reddit, the social content sharing and news aggregator site. In fact, after tracking down the article on reddit.com, we found that the article had generated quite a flurry of conversation, with just under 300 comments.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this was a one off, especially given the relevance of the paper to the adolescent users of Reddit. However, another BMJ article seems to have provoked a similar reaction. This study focused on didgeridoo playing as an alternative treatment for sleep apnoea and received a significant 59% of its total traffic from reddit.com.

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eLife Lens: new article layout making the most of the Web

16 Aug, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

There is general consensus in the publishing community that online documents have too long been like yesterday’s paper—flat, lifeless, inactive. For many years, we have been trying to move away from ‘paper under glass’ and reconceptualise scholarly output using the technologies available now.

Elsevier have invested significant time in their Article of the Future project, many have experimented with semantic publishing, and services such as Utopia Docs have attempted to breathe new life into PDFs. Now the innovative open access journal, eLife, has released a new tool in the hope of making articles easier to read online for researchers, authors and editors alike: eLife Lens.

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Mozilla Science Lab: “use the open web to shape science’s future”

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

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The launch of Mozilla’s Science Lab last week is a departure from the kind of projects that the ‘open source‘ advocating organisation usually involves itself with. The initiative is designed to bridge the gap between the open web community and scientific researchers, so that they can share ideas, tools and best practices on how the web should be used to solve problems and improve research techniques.

Mozilla’s mission statement for the Science Lab puts forth the goal of increasing the adoption of the internet and related technologies within different branches of science.

Even though the web was invented by scientists, we still have not yet seen it change scientific practice to nearly the same extent as we’ve seen in other areas like media, education and business. For all of the incredible discoveries of the last century, science is still largely rooted in the ‘analog’ age. Credit systems in science are still largely based around “papers,” for example, and as a result researchers are often discouraged from sharing, learning, reusing, and adopting the type of open and collaborative learning that the web makes possible.

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Hack the BMJ on 6th & 7th July

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

Since 1840, BMJ has been a trusted voice in the development of improved healthcare. We are proud of our heritage but also believe in looking forward. Our objective remains to support medical professionals and organisations in continuously improving the delivery of quality healthcare. By sharing our information, analytical tools and technology during an upcoming hack day (6-7 July), BMJ seeks to help healthcare professionals and organisations improve the care they provide.

A crowd of people ready to start Hack the Government 2013 with Rewired State

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“Publishing articles without making the data available is scientific malpractice”

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

This week has seen a flurry of activity on Twitter owing to a series of separate but related events highlighting trends in scholarly communication and research data. The fun kicked off with Wednesday’s ‘Now and Future of Data Publishing’ event organised by the Jisc Managing Research Data programme. It was followed on Thursday by the  ORCID Outreach Meeting, Getting Credit for Your Work: A Symposium on Research Attribution (jointly organised by Dryad and ORCID) and concludes with today’s Dryad Membership Meeting.

An obvious but important message that underpinned discussions on all three days was the importance of sharing data.  On the first morning, Simon Hodson of Jisc quoted Geoffrey Boulton of the Royal Society (who have made sharing data a condition of publication): “Publishing articles without making the data available is scientific malpractice.” This is an extreme but not uncommon view.

Trish Groves, deputy editor of the BMJ, recently wrote a summary of recent and future developments around sharing clinical data. The big news our end is that we now require authors of drug and devices trials to deposit their anonymised patient level data—on reasonable request. However, our interest in data publication started back in 2009 when we first incorporated data sharing statements into all BMJ research papers. More recently, we have encouraged our authors to deposit their data in Dryad and the first article to link through to a Dryad dataset was published by BMJ Open in 2011. We now have just under 40 papers with links to datasets on Dryad. more…

Elsevier reveals new layout for Article of the Future

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

The Article of the Future project is Elsevier’s “never-ending quest to explore better ways to create and deliver the formal published record”.

In the latest phase of this ‘quest’, the project team have worked with more than 150 researchers, authors, publishers and editors to come up with multiple prototypes for a new article design, with each one tailored to a specific subject area.

Following previous changes to improve in-article navigation and readability, all ScienceDirect articles have now been transformed using an interactive HTML5 format. Click here to see one in action.

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Article-level metrics: which service to choose?

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

Article-level metrics (or ALMs) were a hot topic at this week’s HighWire publisher meeting in Washington. (Highwire hosts both the BMJ and its stable of 42 specialist journals). From SAGE to eLife, publishers seem sold on the benefits of displaying additional context to articles, thereby enabling readers to assess their impact. These statistics range from traditional indicators, such as usage statistics and citations, to alternative values (or altmetrics) like mentions on Twitter and in the mainstream media.

So, what services are available to bring this information together in one simple interface? There are quite a few contenders in this area, including Plum Analytics, PLoS Article-Level Metrics application, Science Card, CitedIn and ReaderMeter. One system in particular has received a good deal of attention in the past few weeks; ImpactStory, a relaunched version of total-impact. It’s a free, open-source webapp that’s been built with financial help from the Sloan Foundation (and others) “to help researchers uncover data-driven stories about their broader impacts”.

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Plum Analytics: a new player in the field of altmetrics?

28 Sep, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower

The “publish or perish” model of the academic world has followed a similar pattern since the middle of the last century. It generally takes around seven years from the conception of an idea, to the publishing of a paper, to the point where a critical mass of citations are formally gathered around it.

“Clearly the world moves much, much faster than that now,” argues Andrea Michalek, co-founder of startup Plum Analytics, with researchers posting slides online about their work even before it’s published, and tweets mentioning those discussions and linking back to the content. “All this data exhaust is happening in advance of researchers’ getting those cited-by counts,” she says, and once a paper is published, the opportunities for online references to it grow.

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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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