• Science Online Conference, Day 2

    Here is my post on Day 1. The conference is focused on themes of communicating science/scientific research.

    First session I attended today was “Using altmetrics tools to track the online impact of your research.” This was an interesting session on the development of tools to track the impact of research, whether peer reviewed or otherwise (like working papers, or even blog posts). First off, is a white paper on this movement: altmetrics: a manifesto. I pass this on having only skimmed it, but will circle back…there is a great deal of discussion in the sessions about the tracking of different types of output: peer review, working papers, slides decks from talks, blog posts. It starts with a statement that peer review has served us well but is showing its age (past posts on peer review here and here).

    A few sites that are put forth as tracking tools:

    These are tools that aim to provide a more subtle measure of impact of research as compared to traditional citation reports. They are each customizable and allow for the tracking of different types of outputs. I have not messed around with these…hearing about them for the first time.

    This is Public Library of Science, that describes itself as follows “We are a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization. Our mission is to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. Everything that we publish is open-access – freely available online for anyone to use. Sharing research encourages progress, from protecting the biodiversity of our planet to finding more effective treatments for diseases such as cancer.”

    A great deal of discussion about the impact of twitter, and a general question/disagreement about whether it reports the dissemination of science or creates it (discussion of research that highly tweeted papers later become highly cited and whether twitter traffic is a proxy for quality or a popularity contest).

    There are some very interesting and powerful tools that are emerging to track impact of published (peer review and otherwise for some tools) research.

    Update: Austin and I both had difficulties getting these tools to work easily. The authors say they are Alpha, not even Beta and they are seeking money to bring them about in a more user friendly manner. I saw several of these tools set up on the laptops of folks, and when set up, they are incredibly powerful tools, but not so user friendly at first glance.

    Update 2: Heather Piwowar (@researchremix) is part of the team developing the tool, total-impact. She produced a quick run of my name on my peer review papers here. There are some papers missing, but name is a nightmare for search engines because it is common and has a Jr. (Donald H. Taylor, Jr.). Also, I am unsure of why there are large citation differences between pubmed citations and tools like google scholar. For example, The first paper on smoking cessation (Taylor, Hasselblad, etc. in that list shows 31 cites by pubmed but google scholar says 231 cites. I think this is a pubmed v. google scholar issue, but not sure. I will keep messing around with this and some of the other tools and report back later. Another tool about which I am just learning is Mendeley, that is a tool with which to manage research papers of interest and share them with others.

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