What we read this week (29 November)

Welcome to Things we read this week, a weekly post featuring articles from around the internet recommended by BMJ Labs.


Rupert Murdoch and try your hand at being a troll

  • The Sun King by David Dimbleby  is a fascinating listen that reveals how Murdoch built his empire. The series examines his war on the print unions, the phone-hacking scandal and his relationships with political leaders, from his lunch at Chequers with Margaret Thatcher in 1981 while he was trying to buy The Times, to the role of Fox News in the election of Donald Trump.
  • The Troll Factory is fun.Try your hand at growing your influence on social media — by whatever means necessary. How many people can you reel in?
  • Here’s what Russia’s 2020 disinformation operations look like, according to Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren, two experts on social media and propaganda in Rolling Stone.

Product Management

And finally…

What we read this week (6 September)

Welcome to Things we read this week, a weekly post featuring articles from around the internet recommended by BMJ Labs.


Peer review

  • Elsevier Connect has a write up of the  Elsevier’s Research Funders Summit in Combating bias, preserving research integrity – it’s all part of scientific review including the following comment from Dr. Sally Amero at NIH: “Some of the things we’re dealing with now include threats and bribes to reviewers or against reviewers … cabals and networks of people across the country who are looking out for each other’s welfare, embellished bio sketches, reciprocal and requested favors. Incomplete conflict of interest certifications is becoming more and more of a concern. Leaks of information before the meeting, inappropriate access to our secure review site, and applications being shared outside of our review meeting.”


Conferences and dissemination

And finally…

Great article about statistics in the New Yorker. It covers Shipman, statins, and aspirin:

“The dangers of making individual predictions from our collective characteristics were aptly demonstrated in a deal struck by the French lawyer André-François Raffray in 1965. He agreed to pay a ninety-year-old woman twenty-five hundred francs every month until her death, whereupon he would take possession of her apartment in Arles.

At the time, the average life expectancy of French women was 74.5 years, and Raffray, then forty-seven, no doubt thought he’d negotiated himself an auspicious contract. Unluckily for him, as Bill Bryson recounts in his new book, “The Body,” the woman was Jeanne Calment, who went on to become the oldest person on record. She survived for thirty-two years after their deal was signed, outliving Raffray, who died at seventy-seven. By then, he had paid more than twice the market value for an apartment he would never live in.”

What we read this week (19 October)

Welcome to Things we read this week, a weekly post featuring articles from around the internet recommended by BMJ’s Digital Group members.

  • Scribd Bundles New York Times With E-Books, Audio Books for $13 a Month. I guess the focus on Institutional subscriptions or society membership within academic publishing means that these kind of product bundles for personal subscribers are less common. Would students go for membership bundles which include a range of subscriptions and products such as a Grammerly (a phenomenon that has a number of university staff staying getting a sub to improve your essays is a must have)?
  •  asks if publishers will syndicate their content on Scholarly Kitchen? The comments are particularly interesting. I find it somewhat intriguing that STM publishers, particularly those that run advertising, haven’t gone down the route of creating a publisher alliance for access/data collection.
  • Elsevier Connect published the HEADT Centre article Combating image misuse in science: new Humboldt database provides “missing link” by Dr, Thorsten Beck. We’re sure that automated image checking will become routine within a few years, the real question is will there be an open solution or will all publishers need to purchase a service from Elsevier or one of the other big players to handle this?
  • Financial Times launches a new tool to help ‘knowledge-hungry’ subscribers track their reading  “The tool will track the articles that subscribers read, giving them an indication of the amount of information they have read on a topic, and suggesting further reads to them….”It’s about putting people in control of their knowledge-building process by allowing them to track progress on topics,” said Webb. Every article is worth a certain amount of points, displayed at the top of the page. When a reader gets to the bottom of the article, they will see four dots which flow into a progress bar, showing them how much they have now learned on that particular topic.”  It will be really interesting to see how many readers take advantage of this service and if the FT can really generate revenue from this service through increased usage.
  • Civil’s token sale closed without them hitting the $8 million minimum that they wanted to raise.  Using cryptoeconomics to create an open marketplace for journalists and citizens is an interesting business model. However, using the following helpful flowchart it’s less clear if blockchain technology is really needed for their newsroom platform.  (Does anyone know if this flowchart is really from the Department of Homeland security? We haven’t been able to find the original document). There are some really interesting STM applications being developed using blockchain technology such as Frankl, Blockchain for Peer Review, Orvium, etc. but we’re not convinced any of these really need to be built using blockchain tech.
  • The Journal of Informetrics has published a systematic comparison of Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus and found:
    “GS consistently found the largest percentage of citations across all areas (93%–96%), far ahead of Scopus (35%–77%) and WoS (27%–73%). GS found nearly all the WoS (95%) and Scopus (92%) citations. Most citations found only by GS were from non-journal sources (48%–65%), including theses, books, conference papers, and unpublished materials. Many were non-English (19%–38%), and they tended to be much less cited than citing sources that were also in Scopus or WoS.”

What we read this week (22 June 2018)

Welcome to Things we read this week, a weekly post featuring articles from around the internet recommended by BMJ’s Digital Group members.


As the Frankl token sale and the Scienceroot bounty program draw near Ian Mulvany has a thoughtful piece about blockchain technology in STEM. I’ve yet to see a killer application for blockchain, I can see how a blockchain based experimentation platform which uses smart contracts, something like breadboard, could be useful but it’s a fairly niche application. Perhaps The Remarkablz  team  can build a CryptoKitties style trading game where we can trade scientists and do strange breeding experiments to see what happens if you take Mary Anning (English paleontologist) and merge her with Zhang Heng (Chinese inventor and Astronomer)… or perhaps not! Continue reading “What we read this week (22 June 2018)”

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