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Scientific communication

A new species of lab website?

5 Jul, 12 | by BMJ

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, is a great way to establish a personal brand.


BMJ Editorial Retreat 2012: Post publication peer review, Twitter Journal Club and the future of social networking

30 Mar, 12 | by BMJ

A host of journal editors and industry experts descended upon BMA House yesterday to discuss the latest techniques and developments in reader engagement. Highlights included a lively debate on post-publication peer review, an inspiring presentation by Twitter Journal Club founder Natalie Silvey (@silv24), encouraging advice on developing a comprehensive journal web presence by Karim Khan, and predictions for the future of social networking by Tad Campion, senior deputy editor and online editor of NEJM.

Given the central theme of social media throughout the day, perhaps the most fitting way to capture the event is by following the surrounding conversation on Twitter. According to TweetReach, the stream below reached in excess of 27,000 users – quite an achievement!

Total-Impact: tool for researchers combines traditional and alternative metrics

24 Feb, 12 | by BMJ

“As the volume of academic literature explodes, scholars rely on filters to select the most relevant and significant sources from the rest,” the altmetrics manifesto argues. “Unfortunately, scholarship’s three main filters for importance are failing.” Peer review “has served scholarship well” but has become slow and unwieldy and rewards conventional thinking. Citation-counting measures such as the h-index take too long to accumulate. And the impact factor of journals gets misapplied as a way to assess an individual researcher’s performance, which it wasn’t designed to do.

There are various tools that provide an easy interface for finding out readership metrics for a researcher. Until recently, none of these allowed users to choose what is included or enabled non-traditional artefacts to be combined with traditional ones. This is where Total-Impact, a new offering from the altmetric community, comes in. more…

FigShare: striving for greater efficiency in scientific research

17 Feb, 12 | by BMJ

Scientific publishing as it stands is an inefficient way to do science on a global scale. A lot of time and money is being wasted by groups around the world duplicating research that has already been carried out.

FigShare wants to change this. A data sharing platform where researchers can add figures that might otherwise go unpublished, FigShare has recently been relaunched following investment from Nature’s sister company, Digital Science. It allows researchers to publish all of their findings in an easily citable and discoverable manner.

“During my PhD I became very aware that a lot of my research data would never see the light of day outside my lab meetings. It made more sense to me to make all of my research data openly available,” said Mark Hahnel, founder of FigShare. As the first online repository for storing and sharing preliminary findings in the form of individual figures, datasets, media or filesets, users can post preprint figures to claim priority and receive feedback on findings prior to formal publication. In doing this, it is thought that other researchers will not duplicate the work, thus making research more efficient and releasing hidden, raw data. more…

Twimpact factors: can tweets really predict citations?

6 Jan, 12 | by BMJ

A new paper is kicking up a storm in the world of altmetrics (a community that seeks to incorporate social coverage in the assessment of scholarly impact). Analysing the relationship between social metrics and more traditional measures, the study by Gunther Eysenbach in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) concludes that highly tweeted papers are more likely to become highly cited.

Not surprisingly, the article, Can tweets predict citations? Metrics of social impact based on twitter and correlation with traditional metrics of scientific impact,” has been tweeted 575 times, and if Eysenbach’s findings prove true, should receive a fair number of citations.


Future knowledge containers and death of the Semantic Web? Innovative talk at STM seminar

9 Dec, 11 | by BMJ

At last week’s STM Innovations Seminar, thought leaders from a range of disciplines converged to discuss the latest developments in publishing.

The opening keynote speaker was Richard Padley, MD of Semantico, who announced to a surprised audience that the Semantic Web was in fact dead. Next up was Herbert Van de Sompel, who unveiled his work on recreating the web-based scholarly record as it was at a certain point in time; a plug-in called Memento. This allows the user to see resources as they existed in the past (including citations that point to archived copies of papers, if available). Anita de Waard, Disruptive Technologies Director for Elsevier, shared a number of recent projects that aim to accelerate the revolution in executable research. Of particular interest was the Claim-Evidence Network in Medicine, which will aggregate data to automatically update clinical decision support systems (CDS) using linked data. more…

Tracking scholarly impact on the social web: altmetrics

4 Nov, 11 | by BMJ

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…

QR Codes: useful professional tool or just a gimmick?

29 Jul, 11 | by BMJ

QR codes are becoming more and more prevalent in our daily lives. Now commonly used for digital boarding passes, interactive shop windows and advertisements in newspapers, magazines and billboards, they are appealing to our inherent desire to access further information as quickly as possible.

Notably, rather than remaining the domain of entertainment and retail marketing strategies, QR codes are increasingly used as a serious means of information recall in professional and scholarly circles. more…

Twitter Journal Club: yet another ‘revolution’ in scientific communication?

15 Jul, 11 | by BMJ

A junior doctor in the West Midlands and a medical student at Cambridge University have kicked off a new movement in the medical community by launching the first ever Twitter Journal Club. Heralded as a ‘revolution’ in scientific communication, it has enjoyed positive coverage from publishers and practitioners alike (e.g it was mentioned today at the ASME Annual Scientific Meeting). Now in its seventh week, the initiative has amassed over 950 followers on Twitter and last Sunday generated 448 tweets during a discussion of the following BMJ paper:  Effect of β blockers in treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a retrospective cohort study


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