Faculty of 1000

Post-publication peer review

Posts Tagged ‘stats’

On the run-04Feb10

Posted by rpg on 5 February, 2010

What was that? I think it was the sound of a week flashing past.

I keep saying things like “We’ve got a brand new website… but you can’t see it yet.” This must be quite frustrating. Truth is, the dev team are working very hard (and specs have changed and changed again—but let’s not go there now) and a lot of stuff has to come together all at once. There’s actually no point showing you what we have at the moment because it’d all “ignore that, we’re changing it” and “the design is going to be different than this” and “oh, yeah, we know about that bug”.

But I can tell you that the new search is very funky and we all like it, and that the new design is very spiffy (hang on, I did that already). On Monday we’re going to work out once and for all what we can deliver and work to that. So far, the ‘definite’ list contains the new design (both what it looks like and functionally), the improved search, comments on evaluated articles and RSS. There are a heap of other behind-the-scenes changes too. Then after we go live we can add on all the other things that are on the backlog, so you will see new things appear as we keep building and tweaking and rolling out new features.

I spent some more time on our journal rankings this week. The critical thing appears to be the timing: as I’ve said before, most of our evaluations are published quite quickly after the original article appears. We get around 90% of all evaluations within about three months of the publication date. So what we want to do, for yearly journal league tables, is capture as many as possible while making our stats as up-to-date and relevant as possible. The issue is that if we took April, say, as the cut-off for the previous year we’d end up giving the journals that publish more stuff towards the beginning of the year an unfair advantage. So we’re going to implement a rolling cut-off, with a provisional ‘current’ ranking and publish the official f1000 stats somewhere around May each year, which gives us four months to collect evaluations for each original article.

However, the big news this week is that we welcomed Sarah Greene into the office. This is part of the move to bring f1000 and The Scientist closer together: f1000 is going to start seeding The Scientist‘s scientific content, and use it to help build a community around the service.

As part of this, my own role is changing. I’m going to move away from web development (although I’ll still have input into the design and user experience), which will free me up to be more editorial/journalistic. I’ll still be running the Twitter feed and Facebook page and wittering about things that catch my eye in f1000 (perhaps even more so). There’ll also be the ‘special projects’, such as the rankings, federated comments and various research collaborations. I guess Eva will still be wanting me to make logos for her too.

And finally

The late pick-up of the disenchantment of a small number of researchers with the peer review process is still making waves this week. Cameron Neylon gives his own take on the matter at his blog. I’m not at all sure that I agree with his analysis, having had my own manuscripts subject to both what I might call ‘good’ and ‘bad’ review. I think that too many people view peer review as a stamp on the ‘rightness’ of the paper, rather than a technical check that the experiments and controls are done correctly and that the literature has been read.

Cameron has also been having a go at Nature Communications. The argument hinges on the Creative Commons licences they ask authors to choose. You can sign up and join the conversation at Nature Network.

With that, have a great weekend. And sorry, no cytoskeletal porn this week. Maybe next time.


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The invisible conference

Posted by stevepog on 26 October, 2009

It’s not easy for any large gathering of people to almost completely bypass the interweb these days but the conference I attended last Thursday seemed to have achieved the anonymity MI6 spies could only dream of.

Sure, there are thousands of conferences (in the real world and online) that go on daily in this city and others round the world but even the smallest and most insignificant seem to have a hashtag dedicated to them on Twitter, a Facebook page and at least 20 hits on an average Google search.

Unless the details being discussed are a matter of national security, in an age when even the BNP’s secret agendas are being retweeted, it did seem odd that an international biotech meeting (intelligently titled Biotech 09), attended by government and industry leaders, was virtually nonexistent on the web.

And yes, while it was very dry with only a few speakers who deigned to tell a joke (thank you, Sir Mark Walport, Wellcome Trust director) and way too many sales pitches disguised as serious industry updates, there were still some very interesting, newsworthy or at the least bloggable points being made.

Conference sponsor PepTcell’s CEO Gregory Stoloff tackled the UK government policy on pandemic flu, warning the audience of impending doom if New Labour didn’t approve his company’s flu drug for general consumption. While a bit theatrical (in the ‘Merchant of Venice’ rather than ‘Avenue Q’ sense), the stats quoted from the southern hemisphere’s winter experience of pandemic flu were thought-provoking and slightly scary: 1 in 3  down under caught the flu and 1 in 25 were hospitalised. If the numbers were converted for the UK population, at least 16,000 would need intensive care – a slight problem given there will only be 4000 intensive care beds in the UK by Christmas.

Sir Mark nicely alluded to the NHS’s current inability to contribute to the ‘future knowledge economy’, in his opinion owing to the masses of patient data the NHS collates but does not use to assist biotech development.

A Socttish accent and attitude can help to liven the atmosphere and Fergus McKenzie from ITI Life Sciences did an admirable job of making their £9.6 million stem cell technology program interesting enough to actually attract some rare audience questions.

At this point I’d try to post a link to another blog/news site with more informative discussion on the conference but, as you might have guessed,  there isn’t any I could find. Note to the organisers: invisibility doesn’t mean exclusivity and if no one is talking about you, it generally means they don’t find you interesting.

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Modern way

Posted by rpg on 7 August, 2009

You might have noticed that I’ve been tweeting random recent evaluations. I do this a couple of times a day (well, that’s the plan, at least), simply highlighting stuff that I find interesting, without having the time to write a proper post about the original articles. (This, by the way, is what I find to be one of the greatest things about Twitter. And with CoTweet I can go through my archive if ever I want to follow up on something that caught my attention.)

I try to mix stuff from the medicine and the biology sites, and squeeze in a little comment or teaser (plus a link to the paper itself or abstract on PubMed). I aim for evaluations of articles in ‘obscure’ journals, and recently-published work.

The Lovén reflex is “a reaction in which a local dilation of vessels accompanies a general vasoconstriction, e.g. when the central end of an afferent nerve to an organ is suitably stimulated, its efferent vasomotor fibers remaining intact, a general rise in blood pressure occurs together with a dilation of the vessels of the organ”

Just now, I saw something that I simply cannot do justice to in a tweet. It’s not a new paper—in fact it’s possibly the oldest paper on the site—but it is in a very obscure (to me) journal.

The paper, of which the English translation of the title is

On the vasodilation of arteries as a consequence of nerve stimulation

is written by one Christian Lovén, who died in 1904. It describes vasodilation and vasoconstriction in rabbits as a consequence of nervous stimulation. Faculty Member Wilfrid Jänig, at the Institute of Physiology, Kiel, selected the paper—143 years after it was published.

And that’s interesting because I’ve been re-writing the About pages for the website, and one of the things I was looking at this morning was how long it takes us to publish evaluations, compared with the original article publication dates (according to Hoyle PubMed). I’m going to talk about that a little next week, but I’d just like to say now that a datum at 52 thousand days really skews my stats.

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Posted in f1000, Literature | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »