Faculty of 1000

Post-publication peer review

You can’t always get what you want

Posted by rpg on 18 October, 2009

I was at the Internet Librarian International on Thursday and Friday of last week. Not the sort of conference I’m used to attending but as we were sponsoring it we had a speaking slot, and I seemed the obvious choice!

Rather than talk about f1000 or give a ‘corporate’ presentation I talked about the Journal Impact Factor, about alternative metrics, about the difficulties in assessing the literature, discovering quality, and locating what’s important. (This is actually what we’re in the business of doing, but aside from the branding I only mentioned what we do in passing. This was appreciated by the audience and organizers, as it turns out: and we stood out from the crowd because of it!)

I may have mentioned ‘Web 3.0’ a couple of times. As I see it, Web 1 (which it was never known as) was typified by information coming from a more or less authoritative source to many consumers. Web 2.0 was where you got people producing and sharing the information on a more level playing field; between themselves, as I told the Research Information Network back in May:

rpg at RIN, May ’09

And yeah, the Web is not the internet, and ‘Web 2.0’ was happening off-Web as it were for years before anyone thought of the term: through bulletin boards, Usenet etc. The wonders of marketing.

Web 3, I think, is when we figure out how to use all this funky technology that enables peer-to-peer, all the tagging and RSS and search and everything, and actually start finding stuff. To be more precise: all the power of web 2.0 gets brought to us where we are in useful, digestible chunks. A guy can dream, can’t he?

That’s what we’re trying to achieve at f1000, in our small corner. To find the important literature (currently biology and medicine, although that might expand) and to bring what you’re interested to you, in the way you want to see it. We’re not there yet, and the new site won’t hit it straight off, but we have lots of ideas and times are beginning to look exciting.

Anyway, the talk seemed to be well-received (I got spontaneous applause!) and Tom was on hand to record it. I spent yesterday afternoon trimming the video and inserting (some of) my slides as cutaways. And then about four hours uploading them because the internets don’t seem to reach south of the river…

Here’s me from Thursday (in two parts):



3 Responses to “You can’t always get what you want”

  1. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated): Are College Students Techno Idiots?

    Brilliant. I need one of these automatic widgets on my own blog.

    RPG – very nice talk, well worth the 11 minutes or so of my morning. I’m thinking that I need to start incorporating more of my own photos in my talks, seeing how you’ve done it here. Nice demonstration of the “less is more” approach to text on your slides, too.

    That network analysis that you refer to is a very cool idea (the caveats you point out notwithstanding). I’d not even dreamed of aggregating all of that network/IP address information and using it to mine out patterns of user activity. I guess people in the know do this kind of thing all the time, but using it as one basis for “importance” of a particular publication is an interesting idea.

    Your comments regarding transparency of algorithms (e.g. ISI) are interesting too – I’m somewhat familiar (as are you I guess) with the “interestingness” measure used by Flickr… which is also of course completely opaque (a bit like Google PageRank now that I think of it). The expectation is that all of these things hand us the information that’s most relevant (“Techno Idiots”, anyone?) and this expectation is clearly wrong – some of the time w.r.t. Google, and maybe all of the time for Flickr (I’ll give ISI the benefit of the doubt and put them somewhere in the middle).

    I’d like to see a video of the Q&A and discussion, if such a thing exists. Can you post it here, or in a follow-on blog post?


    • rpg said

      I was hoping for a somewhat longer discussion!

      And it’s videoed, but the sound is poor (read: non-existant). Thanks for your comments, anyway. Most kind.

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