Partially Attended

an irregularly updated blog by Ian Mulvany

FuturePub - future of publishing event, hosted by NESTA and WriteLaTeX

Fri May 30, 2014

877 Words

This is the second #futurepub event that I’ve been to. I also attended the last one

The event was hosted by Nesta. Nesta have just launched the “new longitude” prize - which looks pretty interesting. There were six rapid fire talks, and I found the presentation format to be excellent. As with the previous event, this one was organised by the WriteLaTeX guys, and I’d just like to extend a big thanks to them for again putting on a great little event.

Shane from BlikBook

BlikBook have a service that helps students and teachers communicate. They aim to:

  • connect students and courses around the world
  • maximise how knowledge is shared within a classroom

Data coming out of behaviour is useful. (It looks a bit like a classroom version of a community hub, they also have some anonymous features). This started in London, they took their first round of investment in 2011. They are spread across a number of universities in the UK, with some penetration in the US. (would be interesting to understand how they compete/compare with ??, and how big that opportunity is). They have had no abuse of the use of the anonymous tool. It’s been useful where there are large cohorts of foreign students, who have a tendency to be shy in real life situation. Also in situations where there are large variations within the cohorts.

Jo Mcarthur - Open Access Button

The bottom line is that this is awesome. They are moving forward with the original idea. They now have about 20 people involved in helping to manage the project. They are working on - integration into wikipedia - monitoring compliance with OA policy - linking published research with research in repositories

One great idea that was hinted at via the Q&A was that if they see a specific paper being requested by a lot of people, they may try to encourage that author to deposit a version of their manuscript into an institutional repository, and then direct other users of the OA button to that version.

Lou Woodley - MySciCareer (with Eva Amson)

  • MySciCareer is a place where you can get stories about what people have ended up doing, who have come from a scientific background - including stories about people who have continued in the academic track.
  • Scientists become preoccupied by the research cycle
    • reading papers
    • writing grants
    • getting data
    • publishing
    • communicating
    • assessing/being assessed
  • but there is one other big thing that troubles researchers:
    • carrer decisions
      • 0.45% of people who start in research end up as a professor
      • from NIH less than 8% end up on tenure track
  • MySciCareer
    • collates stories from across the web about the paths that people have taken in their careers
    • you can also search the site by last scientific qualification or job type
  • they would like to:
    • expand the number of contributions on the site (if you have a story, do let them know). - Richard Smith

This allows you to follow the latest data and papers related to genes, and other entities. It’s a bit like “twitter” for genes.

There are > 1500 biological databases.

You follow the genes that you work on, or the processes that you are interested in. Does text mining on abstracts from pubmed. Sounds pretty interesting, and a bit of a low hanging fruit. (I later checked out the product, and it looks very nice).

There are a lot of questions that one could ask of this service. - are the feeds available as RSS
- how many users to they have
- what’s their traction & growth
- how much of pubmed have they
- do they have longitudinal information
- do they distinguish OS vs non OA
- do they look at citation based metrics
- what is their DB, what’s their stack
- can we feed a full text into this system?
- no yet, but sometime in the future?

Greg - full stack developer at sparrho

Greg gave a nice little talk.

  • greg mentions that the lab their CEO Vivian worked in had a personal curator - Steve - who would do a scan the journals that the group was interested in.
  • sparrho is the attempt to build a digital Steve.
  • sparrho creates a recommendations engine for people who want to read updated abstracts from the literature.

They have had researchers who have found those gems they would not have found via their normal search patterns. It looks like a good service, I’v been helping this team a little with advice on product development, and I wish them a lot of luck with what they are doing.

Altmetrics - Cat - who is doing the marcomms for alt-metrics

Cat is adamant that they are not saying that a paper is a good paper or a bad paper.

  • 300k doughnuts served a day
  • 3M API calls per day
  • 1 mention per second

Publishers are starting to integrating this data into marketing. Nature are doing a social selection page - online and in print. They are showing trending articles on their site.

Elsevier have created a virtual special issue around international archeology day.


So that was it, there were a few nice conversation after the talks, and it was well worth spending the evening attending.

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