On the run-04Feb10

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.

Richard

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