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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…

BMJ Open launches with innovative new features

25 Feb, 11 | by BMJ

This week saw the launch of BMJ Open, a new online journal from the BMJ Group. BMJ Open is fully open access and exists to publish research from across all medical disciplines. It offers authors the option to have their work peer reviewed thoroughly for appropriate methods and transparent reporting, but without judgement being applied about novelty or importance. If after peer review the article is deemed worthy of publication, it will be published and deposited in PubMed Central.

The open access is supported by levying an article processing charge (APC) of £1200 for any accepted article (although discounts and waivers are available).

Innovative features

Among BMJ Open’s firsts for BMJ Group journals is use of the Disqus commenting and rating system, as explained in a previous post. As of April we will be publishing article-level metrics to show article usage.

The journal is also the first in the group to publish reviewers’ comments for accepted articles. Reviewers’ comments and the previous versions of the article that those comments apply to are published alongside the final copy-edited and typeset HTML and PDF versions. This gives credit to reviewers, many of whom play a considerable role in improving papers, as well as providing a more transparent publication process.

Data sharing

How to store and share raw data is one of the hottest topics in publishing at the moment. We are currently working with data curation and publication experts to provide authors with a simple and efficient way of storing their data and linking to it from their article. In particular we are working with the Dryad UK project, part of the UK JISC’s Managing Research Data programme. Watch this space for further developments.

Sharing raw data helps bring the complete research record in to the open. Another way of doing this is through publication of research protocols. We encourage authors to submit their original research protocol with their article, but we will also be publishing protocols themselves, and two were published this week. We will also consider ‘pre-protocols’; innovative study designs yet to receive funding/approval.

To encourage this joined-up approach, authors can publish ‘two articles for the price of one’, by receiving a 50% discount on the APC when the protocol is published and a further 50% discount if they publish the resulting research in BMJ Open.

More information

Trish Groves, editor-in-chief of BMJ Open and deputy editor of the BMJ, explains more about the aims and scope of the journal and its place in the BMJ Group’s open access offerings here; the journal’s first published papers are here and you can submit here.

Naturally the journal has a presence in the blogosphere, on Twitter and on Facebook, so you can let us know what you think, comment on articles and spread the word about the journal or papers that catch your eye.

BMJ blog becomes fully open access

28 Jan, 11 | by BMJ

From the end of last year, BMJ blogs became fully open access using the creative commons license. They have always been free to access, and it is likely that most of our readers will not immediately notice any change, but there is a subtle difference.

The term “open access” implies much more than just “free”. According to the Wellcome Trust, articles to be listed as open access must be freely available immediately, and publishers must also allow for their free reuse. This means that articles can be copied, distributed, displayed, performed and modified into derivative works by any user.

So although readers have always been able to freely access our blogs, they can now reuse our blog content, as long as they credit the original BMJ blog in any derivative works they produce. It is also useful for our blog authors who can now post their own blogs elsewhere, for example on their institutional websites.

The hope is that this will increase the readership of our blogs, as they are highlighted elsewhere and bought to the attention of more people. It is also in keeping with the “social” aspect of blogging. We have found that using Twitter and Facebook to promote our blogs has had a huge impact on traffic to the site. Users like to share links and comment on blogs, and this encourages others to take a look at the site as well.

It is also fits in with the BMJ publishing model, as all our research articles are formally open access.

Have a look at the various BMJ blogs at

N.B. Please note that this change does not apply to the BMJ Journal blogs or those that do not contain the creative commons logo.

by Juliet Dobson, Assistant web editor and blogs editor for

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