We’ve just made some fundamental changes to the way the F1000 site looks and works – basic improvements that we know you’ll notice – and we want to explain here what they are and why they matter.
F1000 becomes F1000 Prime
We’re changing the name of our core article recommendation service from F1000 to F1000 Prime. ‘F1000’ and ‘Faculty of 1000’ are moving up a generation to become our parent brands, and the freshly renamed F1000 Prime joins its siblings, F1000 Posters, F1000 Research and F1000 Trials (coming soon), at the child level.
The logic here may not really need explaining but here’s a brief clarification in case anyone is unconvinced: as we’ve expanded beyond the original F1000 service and launched new programs like F1000 Posters and F1000 Research that sit alongside it, it’s become clear that our family of complementary sites needs a family name, which of course must be Faculty of 1000, and all the component services need unique names of their own. So the F1000 brand is being moved up a level and F1000 Prime is our new name for our article recommendation service that began with F1000 Biology back in 2002.
And why ‘Prime’? Prime is an adjective that says “the best”, and that’s what F1000 Prime is about; it’s a service that brings subscribers the best articles in biology and medicine as selected by our Faculty of the best and biggest names in life-science research.
Article Rating Points become Stars
F1000 Prime has always used a points system to rate papers. In the original separate F1000 Biology and Medicine services, articles were awarded 3, 6 or 9 points. When we merged the services into a single site two years ago, we switched to 6, 8 and 10. The three ratings corresponded in each case to “recommended”, “must read”, and “exceptional” (with the lowest score corresponding to “recommended” and the highest to “exceptional”). Behind the scenes we ran an algorithm that calculated total points for articles that had been selected more than once. The algorithm rewarded articles more for initial than subsequent selection, our intention being to weight the total number of papers selected over the number of individual recommendations when it came to calculating journal rankings.
In July we stopped running our journal rankings and returned our focus to articles, which is – as many of you reminded us – where it should have remained in the first place. And since then the complexity of the algorithm and the arbitrary nature of the points system have seemed out of place. So we have replaced the 6-, 8- and 10-point ratings with a simple 1, 2 or 3 stars (familiar to those of you who know the Michelin Guide). Scores for papers selected more than once are simple additive totals (with averages also shown).
We chose to switch to stars from points because we believe it makes it clearer to our users that every article selected for F1000 Prime is a good one. Six points might be good or it might be bad, you have to understand the context and the system for the product it is applied to, but very few people will misread a rating of one or two stars, out of possible three stars, as a bad thing. A one-star Michelin restaurant may not be as good as a three-star restaurant but everyone knows it’s worth fighting for a reservation there.
As part of this upgrade we have also quit using the FFa (F1000 Article Factor). Again, it made sense when we had an FFj (F1000 Journal Factor) to pair it with, but in these more enlightened days there’s no need for it. Stars speak for themselves.
In many ways, both of these changes are cosmetic: the new name for F1000 Prime is just a rebranding that helps us define and organize our services, and switching from point ratings to stars for articles singled out by our Faculty as the best of the best is a long-overdue simplification rather than a fundamental change. However, we have plenty of other new and exciting developments in the pipeline at the moment – the launch version of F1000 Research, the new F1000 Trials, a suite of user tools for F1000 Prime… We will be announcing these and many more innovations over the coming months, so please watch this space for news.