Anyone who has tried to find their way around a new program using a set of instructions, or to explain in writing to someone else how to do so will appreciate the value of Bioscreencast. The service provides visual instructions on how to use computer programs in the life sciences. The library already contains a range of videos demonstrating among other things how to use some of the more advanced features of the NBCI databases, for example how to make search results on relevant subjects appear on a personalised Google homepage. Any user can upload their instruction video, there is even a screencast to show how to make you own, and the requests section means that scientists can ask their peers for help in using new programs. Like YouTube, the site uses tagging and RSS feeds keep users up to date on their areas of interest.
Archive for July, 2007
The number of science blogs is growing rapidly and it can be hard to keep track of all of those that are relevant. ScienceBlogs groups its blogs by discipline and displays the latest posts on the front page. Postgenomic tracks and displays popular posts according to links to them. It also offers statistics that are useful to publishers, such as finding out which books and papers are being discussed in the blogosphere. It also lists the publishers that are most popular: when I tried this Nature and Science predictably came out on top, but interestingly were followed by arXiv, the open access physics repository. For bloggers who would like to be included in Postgenomic, a good plugin is available from blogSci. Nascent noted some more interesting plugins for science blogs using wordpress.
BioMed Central has issued a challenge to find the discipline with the highest percentage of OA articles, offering a free t-shirt to the winner! HubMed also has a great tool which instantly gives the open access quotient for keyword search, which does seem to reveal enourmous differences between subject areas: for example, ‘heart disease’ scores almost 10% less than ‘infectious disease’. This should prompt some interesting discussion, although there may need to be a slightly clearer distinction made between a discipline and a keyword for meaningful comparisons to be made.
Friday 27 July is the deadline for AOP online publishing awards. With categories from podcasts to video as well as overall design and useability, the winners - who will be announced at a ceremony in London 3 October - are likely to encompass a wide range of enterprises. Innovation in online science was represented last year by Nature’s Avian Flu ‘mashup’ using Google Earth to track the spread of the disease (see our Monster Mashup article for more discussion of how scientists have been using Google Earth).
We covered some of the potential uses for social networking sites and virtual worlds in our article Virtual Private Networks. Some interesting potential uses for the medical profession are suggested in Science Roll. A good overview of the Royal Institution’s Science in Virtual Worlds is posted in Nascent and there is a list of suggestions for scientific activities in Second Life - including the creation of a virtual ecosystem called Terminus - on Nature Network London.
PNAS has launched a new section of the journal devoted to sustainability science and is calling for multi-disciplinary work on the interaction between humans and their environment and the use of such knowledge to advance sustainability goals. This seems to be part of a wider trend to take seriously the scientific implications of local environmental knowledge: as noted in their blog, the BioMed Central Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine has recently joined the list of journals to be indexed in Medline, while Science ran a feature on the discovery of the chemical properties of a plant indigenous to Ethiopia and the development of a method of drying using the sun. The Chemistry Central blog has more information on the collaboration that led to this project.
As noted in the O’Reilly Radar Elsevier recently announced that it is to allow Google Scholar to index ScienceDirect (SD), a compendium of scientific, technical, and medical (STM) literature. As these journals are thought to constitute around 25% of of the world’s science, technology and medicine full text and bibliographic information. this will represent a significant increase in Google Scholar’s coverage.
BioMed central also revealed a new custom buttom giving users of Firefox and Internet Explorer the option to search BMC direct from the Google taskbar. Downloading the add-on also allows users to search BMC’s new blog.