Data sharing is catching on with sites like Swivel and ManyEyes making it possible to display, remix, and compare a wide range of data. As the practise of sharing biodata in online banks becomes more common, what are the implications for intellectual property and patient confidentiality?
Archive for May, 2007
In his blog, Declan Butler has pointed out that the UK National Institute for Environmental Sciences recently organized a scientific workshop at
New technology may allow the effectiveness of traditional billboards to be monitored like virtual onesMonday, May 14th, 2007
Xuuk Inc. has unveiled an eye-counting video camera that could enable the highly successful virtual ad-counting techniques, employed by Google online, to be extended to brick-and-mortar advertisers.
With Eyebox, traditional advertisers can determine which billboards or products people are looking at in mall corridors or on store shelves, and count them in the same manner that Google counts clicks for online ads.
The Eyebox consists of a palm-sized video camera surrounded by infrared light-emitting diodes and a USB interface. Software running on an attached computer can determine whether someone is looking at the camera by recognizing the “red eye” spot, which only appears when a viewer is looking directly at the camera.
Because the light is infrared, users are unaware of being observed. Xuuk emphasizes that no data on the identity of the user is collected. Instead, the device simply counts how many people per day have looked at an ad or product. By using a separate Eyebox for each billboard or product on a shelf, advertisers can be charged on a “per-look” basis.
A number of blogs, inlcuding this one, have mis-reported an association between Google and this technology. In fact, Google is uninvolved with the Eyebox, though their ad-counting technology could be incorporated into tracking advertising effectiveness with the Eyebox.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. have announced that it has finalized the acquisition of the outstanding shares of Blackwell Publishing (Holdings) Ltd., one of the world’s foremost academic and professional publishers.
Blackwell’s publishing program is being merged with Wiley’s global scientific, technical, and medical business. Wiley and Blackwell are two of the world’s most respected global publishers. Together, the two companies will publish approximately 1,250 scholarly peer-reviewed journals (over 1 million pages) and an extensive collection of books with global appeal.
Annette Thomas, the Nature Publishing Group’s Managing Director, has been awarded the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for women in publishing in the UK. The prize honours the life and career of Kim Scott Walwyn, a Publishing Director at Oxford University Press. The judges look for the qualities that marked Kim’s own career and the careers of those she encouraged - intellectual rigour, excellence and the ability to form and lead creative and innovative publishing teams.
Thomas beat Rebecca Carter, editor-at-large at Random House, and Oxford University Press’s head of marketing, Susanna Lob, to take the £3,000 prize. It honours a career that includes 14 years at Nature Publishing Group, where Thomas rose from the role of assistant editor to her current position as managing director, and her appointment in 2000 to an executive director’s position at Macmillan Publishers.
Both virtual worlds released updates early this year: Google Earth 4 and World Wind 1.4 offer enhanced 3D imaging and extra tools including the ability to annotate Google Earth using built-in drawing tools and to set the angle of the sun in World Wind. Like Google Maps the virtual worlds are also keen to allow users to incorporate and map external data. World Wind 1.4 includes a ‘web map server (WMS)’ to include maps provided by external servers as ‘layers’ using xml. Google Earth continues to develop its kml format.
These overtures are being responded to as repositories of primary data make use of the range of ‘virtual’ earths to expand the range of visualisation tools available to users of their data sets. For example, the Global Diversity Information Facility provide data in the kml format.
A recent article has compared average citation counts, in several different fields, for a sample of articles in a sample of OA journals. In their article The Research Impact of Open Access Journal Articles, in Proceedings ELPUB 2007, the 11th International Conference on Electronic Publishing: Focusing on challenges for the digital spectrum, Tonta et al concluded that OA impact research varies across fields in their article in .
However, no comparison was made with non-OA journals in the same fields, and it is therefore impossible to say whether any differences observe directly reflect OA journals. In his blog Open Access Archivangelism, Stephen Harnad pointed out that fields no doubt differ in their average number of citations. Journals no doubt differ too, in subject matter, quality, and citation impact, hence must be equated: It is not clear whether the OA journals in each field are the top, medium or bottom journals, relative to the non-OA journals.
As no real, meaningful results can be drawn from this study, Harnad encouraged authors to expand the study, performing the necessary controls.
The Nature Publishing Group has recently released a new supplement to the Nature Insight series: Glycochemistry and Glycobiology.
Carbohydrates in biological processes are molecules of extreme importance. Armed with new tools for studying complex sugars, understanding of these biomolecules is rapidly improving. This knowledge is also yielding promising candidates for carbohydrate-based diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. This supplement, sponsored by Vastox and Dextra Laboratories, contains editorials and reviews regarding the current state of knowledge in glycochemistry and blycobiology.
If the collaborative wiki process works for compiling an encyclopedia, couldn’t the same approach work for classifying all the diseases and injuries that afflict humankind? The World Health Organization thinks it can.It is embarking on one of its periodic updates of a system of medical coding called the International Classification of Diseases, or ICD, and it wants the world’s help doing it.
While work on previous versions has been the domain of hand-picked experts, this time the Geneva-based global health agency is throwing open its portal to anyone who wants to weigh in on the revision.
The new, more open approach to updating the disease classifications won’t be entirely wiki-esque. That process, with its anyone-can-edit approach, builds a degree of vulnerability into the end product, with some contributors deliberately planting false information.
With the ICD, people can propose changes and argue for them on a WHO-sponsored blog. But groups of subject matter experts will weigh and synthesize the suggestions. Furthermore, it is not anticipated that the ICD rewrite will be a major target for internet vandals.