What we read this week (20 September)

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


  • Yvonne Campfens asks what does AcademicTech success look like and has created the following hypothetical model. This is version: version 1.0:
    No alt text provided for this imageThe article reminded me of Joseph Esposito’s piece on When Is a Feature a Product, and a Product a Business? on Scholarly Kitchen. My impression is that most front-end feature/service development within academic publishing is created by start-ups and then adopted by Publishers. Publishers/platform providers are innovating but it tends to be more behind the scenes and involve workflow efficiencies.
  • Having said that, Atypon are launching a new personalized content discovery, targeted content promotion and discovery tool for researchers and publishers. Filling a gap in their portfolio of services and joining services like SpringerNature’s Recommended, and Elsevier’s Mendely Suggest tools and other (currently) publisher independent tools like Researcher.
  • Hindawi introduce Phenom Review, an Open Source Scholarly Infrastructure solution, in this post. “This month, a second Hindawi journal will move onto the Phenom Review system, our new peer review platform built entirely open source. Phenom Review is part of Hindawi’s collaboration with Coko utilizing their open source PubSweet framework. This is a significant milestone because while creating a peer review system and workflow for a single journal is relatively straightforward, making it flexible enough to accommodate multiple journals is much more complex. Once we can use it effectively and efficiently for two journals, it is easy to expand to more. The migration of our remaining 230 journals is expected to be completed early in the new year.”
  • Martin Paul Eve has an excellent ‘thinking things through’ post on The Problems of Unit Costs Per Article. Also see comments on twitter. In her post, Yvonne Campfens, pointed out that although the path to success appears to be linear the reality it is very messy. Switching from subscription models to APCs is going to be messy and some more thinking around what else might happen in the ecosystem is needed. Although it’s hard to argue against transparency as a value, transparency can work both ways. One of the potential unintended consequences of APC could be that the same data is turned around to measure the unit cost/value of authors.

Medicine and research Impact

  • The Knowledge Nudge focuses on all things knowledge translation (KT) such as the science of KT, patient engagement, and media & dissemination and including this one on Knowledge brokers — often the ‘doers’ of knowledge translation — are increasingly used to close the gap between research and practice, and facilitate the development of relationships that are critical to effective knowledge translation. 
  • The Research Impact online summit is back on 21-22 October. If even this isn’t your area it’s a really interesting way to hear about researcher concerns and motivations.
  • Based On Science from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine aims to answer common, everyday questions that people have about science and human health. It uses the community of experts to provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based information about science and health questions that affect the decisions we make each day.
  • We came across Hippomedics at a conference this week. They create easy to understand medical physiology animations/videos. We liked this one about What happens when humans drink seawater?

Innovation and product management

  • All kinds of interesting innovation ‘things’ with voice tech and storytelling in the talks from ONA19.
  • Erik Starck writes about King for a Day vs Internal Hackathons. I heard Kevin Hale talk about King for a Day in another talk and it seems like a really good idea. “They pick a person at random from the employees and make her or him “King/Queen for a Day”. That person then get to decide what features to work on during the King for a Day-hackathon. The entire company gets behind the feature, from marketing to sales and R&D. At Wufoo, this lead to a boost in company morale. Everyone felt they worked on something meaningful to the product.”
  • Stuck for a way to test your idea? Steve Glaveski has come up with 12 Types of Prototypes to Test Your Idea
  • Steve Blank on AgileFall in real life and what to do about it.

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