Posts Tagged blogs

Article-level metrics getting attention

The very interesting publication Article-Level Metrics and the Evolution of Scientific Impact Export by Cameron Neylon and Shirley Wu (PLoS Biol 2009(Nov); 7(11): e1000242 [Epub 2009(Nov 17)][PubMed Citation]) is receiving attention on FriendFeed [here] and Topsy [here] and has been bookmarked on Connotea [here].

There’s also a related blog post, A brief analysis of commenting at BMC, PLoS, and BMJ by Shirley Wu on her blog, I was lost but now I live here, November 18, 2009. Excerpt:

One of the many issues Cameron and I touched on was the problem of commenting. Most people probably aren’t aware of the problem; after all, commenting is alive and well on the internet in most places you look! But click over to PLoS or BioMed Central (BMC) and the comment sections are the digital equivalent of rolling tumbleweed.

Comment: A major long-term benefit of OA seems likely to be the development of a much more efficient and equitable system that will make full use of the potential of the Internet to facilitate the quality-filtration of new knowledge. The available set of relevant online resources continues to evolve rapidly.

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Whither blogging?

Two OA-related blogs that I’ve been following for quite a long time have recently undergone major changes. One is Caveat Lector, by Dorothea Salo, who has provided many credible (and readable) commentaries about repositories.This blog is no longer actively maintained. The reason? “It’s just too big” (excerpt from “Hanging up the keyboard“, June 23, 2009). She does continue to contribute to The Book of Trogool, where “an academic librarian confronts the way computers are changing academic research“.

Another major change is that Peter Suber, as of July 1, 2009, has curtailed his blogging on the Open Access News blog. Instead (among other activities) he’s tagging news items for the OA tracking project (OATP), via Connotea.

In addition to following the items tagged for the OATP, I’ve been paying attention to OA-related news items that are mentioned on Twitter and FriendFeed. See, for example, a search on Twitter for the hashtag #openaccess and a similar search on FriendFeed for #openaccess. These  searches can yield overlapping results, because posts from members of Twitter who are also members of FriendFeed will appear at both sites.

Because of Twitter and FriendFeed, the role of blogs may be evolving. For a relevant blog post, see: W(h)ither blogging and the library blogosphere?, by Meredith Farkas (July 22, 2009).  Excerpt:

With Twitter (and even more easily in FriendFeed) you can have the sort of discussion one might have in the comments of a blog post, nearly in real time. And it’s really cool, because you can feel much closer to the people you’re conversing with since the conversation is happening so quickly and in a single space that everyone is on equal footing in.

The comments about this blog post are also interesting. An example is Comment #17, posted by Walt Crawford. Excerpt:

Twitter et al (I really dislike the term “microblogging,” but can’t win that one) have, in a way, strengthened essay-length blogging while weakening short-form blogging (maybe)–and essays have always been harder to do than quick notes.

Meanwhile, a new OA journal has been announced: Journal of Scholarly and Research Communication. The International Editorial Board includes several people who have made pioneering contributions to the OA movement. An anecdote: I learned about the existence of this new journal via a FriendFeed entry from Bill Hooker (August 2, 2009). I then found that the same news was also available via a tweet from Shana Kimball (July 10, 2009) and a FriendFeed entry from Marin Dacos (July 20, 2009). Then, I noted that the new journal is mentioned by Peter Suber in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter of August 2, 2009. It’s also been bookmarked by Heather Morrison for the OATP (July 17, 2009). Unfortunately, at present, links to individual bookmarks in Connotea aren’t functioning properly. See: Update on recent and ongoing service problems for Connotea by Ian Mulvany (Nature Network, July 29, 2009).

Why the anecdote? I first became aware of the new journal via FriendFeed. This illustrates the advantage of short-form blogging as a means to disseminate news items.

Bora Zivkovic has compared Twitter and FriendFeed in PLoS ONE on Twitter and FriendFeed (March 30, 2009). Excerpt:

Despite online debates – which one is better: Twitter or FriendFeed, sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek – the fact is that these are two different ‘animals’ altogether. Asking one to make a choice between the two is like asking one to make a choice between e-mail and YouTube – those are two different services that do different things. Thus, they are to be used differently. …

Comment: From the perspective of the OA movement, these microblogging services provide novel opportunities for wider dissemination of  information about OA. I regard these services as useful supplements to journal articles, blogs and mailing lists.

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Interview with a Biology cyber-teacher

ScienceOnline’09: Interview with Stacy Baker, Coturnix [Bora Zivkovic], A Blog Around The Clock, July 9, 2009. [FriendFeed entry]. Excerpt:

The web makes current science accessible to my students. The Open Access movement and science blogs make it easy to connect my students with scientists and original research. The web is a great way to make science exciting again. My students get tired of learning about what’s already been done and it excites them to talk with scientists about what is currently being researched.

See also: Site Map for missbakersbiologyclass.com.

Comment: An inspiring example of a way in which the combination of the OA movement, Web 2.0 and social networking tools can be valuable, not only to current researchers, but also to researchers-to-be.

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Researchers and the blogosphere

This editorial: It’s good to blog, in Nature 2009(Feb 26); 457(7223): 1058, includes a link to a discussion site. The discussion site, at http://tinyurl.com/c6zoq6 (entitled: Science, journalism or public discourse? ), attracted many comments. These included such a substantial number of spam posts that the topic was locked by the forum moderators on March 1, 2009. Some posts included links to other related discussions, such as one in a post by Maxine Clarke (dated Feb 26, 2009), with a link to: Why do we blog and other important questions, answered by 34 science bloggers (Martin Fenner, Gobbledygook, November 30, 2008). Excerpt from the end of this summary of responses, by 34 bloggers, to a short questionnaire:

I think a meme like this would also work in preparation for a science blogging conference. Some other possible questions could be:

* What is the intended audience for your blog?
* What part of writing a blog post do you like the most/least?
* How do you find topics for your blog posts?
* Do you write about your own work?

Comment: My own answers, for this blog:

Intended audience: Anyone who is interested.
Least liked aspect: Typos.
How topics found: Many ways, including RSS feeds, Google Alerts, etc.
Write about own work?: Blogs = work.

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An experiment with Twitter

I joined Twitter in late December, 2008 (see: Twitter / jimtill). Until now, I’ve seldom provided updates, and my page currently has only two “followers”. However, as an experiment, I plan to post more frequently. The posts will be brief updates about topics of personal interest, including ones relevant to the two blogs that I currently edit (this one, and Cancer Stem Cell News). The individual updates will involve no more than 140 characters (because that’s the maximum allowed by Twitter), but related updates can be posted sequentially. My initial goal: to increase the number of “followers” of my Twitter page (and especially, to add “followers” who find the updates to be a useful adjunct to one or the other of the two blogs that I edit). The RSS feed url of updates to my Twitter page is: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/18376303.rss

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On enabling OA

A few thoughts on the heels of Berlin 6 by Cornelius Puschmann, CorpBlawg, November 15, 2008. Excerpts:

There is still the belief among many involved in financing, supporting and disseminating research that those who undertake it have both the ability and the motivation to “move to open access” by themselves. I don’t believe that this is true. Many junior researchers who might be in favor of OA cannot choose freely where they want to publish, because the wrong choice is a risk to their career. Many senior researchers who have the influence and standing in their discipline to drive a paradigm shift do not embrace OA because the formats, publishing channels and procedures involved are unfamiliar and appear unreliable to them. But at the core, neither of these issues is decisive.

The pivotal problem is that most researchers, regardless of where they stand on the career ladder, are not impacted personally by whether or not something is Open Access, and that their perspective as individuals, and not the common good, shapes their views.

…..

I believe that one very effective way of enabling OA in the long term is to push for entirely new forms of publishing, forms that are ‘OA by nature’, such as blogs and wikis. The entrenched forms are conceptually associated with the entrenched system and it will probably be harder to disassociate the one from the other than to popularize entirely new forms of science communication (i.e. ‘journal’ and ‘article’ are conceptually associated with ‘paper’, ‘commercial publisher’ and ’subscription’, while ‘blog’ and ‘wiki’ aren’t).

New forms of scholarly communication that have novel advantages over existing forms will be adopted not because they are open (because, as outlined above, by itself that hardly matters) but because they offer specific benefits to the individual scholar. Obviously they will exist side by side with established forms. But they could act as a catalyst that raises awareness among researchers for the benefits of Open Access, because the reach and openness of hypertext publishing is what makes it so attractive.

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