What we read this week (19 July)

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


  • Although the terminology is awkward (many publishers use syndication, aggregation, etc in a slightly different way) Diverting Leakage to the Library Subscription Channel is worth a read for a librarian perspective on Springer Nature’s approach to ResearchGate. As Mark Johnson comments: “If you want your content to be read as widely as possible, put the content where the readers are”.
  • Tables 8 and 9 in Do Download Reports Reliably Measure Journal Usage? Trusting the Fox to Count Your Hens? contain some interesting publisher platform comparison data which could be used as a measure effectiveness. BMJ, like many publishers, switched from taking Institutional users to an abstract page by default to automatically taking them to a full-text page a couple of years ago – whilst this does have the effect of triggering an HTML download it also greatly improves user experience and has proved popular with readers. The new COUNTER 5 standard probably addresses main concern of this paper.
  • Interesting perspective on the history of peer review in Managing the Growth of Peer Review at the Royal Society Journals, 1865-1965 “Our findings reveal interesting parallels with current concerns about the scale and distribution of peer review work and suggest the strategic importance of the management of the editorial process to achieve a creative mix of community commitment and professional responsibility that is essential in contemporary journals.”
  • Also on the theme of peer review Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke (using the principles of poker to make decisions) has an interesting section on peer review. When peer reviewers were asked to make a monetary bet on whether the research could be replicated they were far more accurate then when asked if they thought the research would replicate – unfortunately the audio book doesn’t have links to the original research on this.
  • Figshare have put together a useful webinar, led by Iain Hrynaszkiewicz from Springer Nature,  on ensuring your data policies are up to date and cover the FAIR principles .
  • How Faculty Demonstrate Impact: A Multi-Institutional Study of Faculty Understandings, Perceptions, and Strategies Regarding Impact Metrics  looks at what researchers think about research impact measures across disciplines and institutions. Be interesting to find out how location-specific this kind of research is.

Product development and innovation

And finally…

For those insanely hot summer afternoons when focusing on work is simple too much why not try Netflix Hangouts, a Chrome extension that disguises Netflix as a fake four-person conference call. During the “call,” your show of choice will appear in the bottom right grid, while three fake coworkers will appear in the other feeds.[H/T: Product Hunt]

What we read this week (15 February)

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


In Postcards from a Collective Ecosystem Article 3 Heather Staines and Lisa Hinchliffe discuss if publishers really need platforms or a common infrastructure? I’m always slightly surprised at people’s surprise that large commercial publishers collaborate together given the increasing, number of standards and initiatives that publishers participate in and support. See, for example, the OA Switchboard, a new collaboration designed to enable publishers, academic institutions, and research funders to seamlessly communicate information about open access publications.

Two fairly similar visions of the future were proposed this week including Stern and O’Shea’s “publish first, curate second approach” for the life sciences and Jon Tennant’s vision of how he would like scholarly publishing to develop, which includes the oft discussed question of why can’t you build a journal using GitHub ans Stack Exchange?

Publishing is a complex system and like most complex systems nothing much seems to change until suddenly it does. The shift from curated bundles of subscription journal content towards open access articles is going to shake up academic publishing. Hopefully we wont end up with an all powerful commercial aggregator that calls the shots and mediates what people – see Ben Thompson’s discussion in The Cost of Apple News.

Outside of academic publishing technology is rapidly advancing, Azeem Azhar has a good summary of fuss around OpenAI’s service GPT2, an AI text generator, which the group reckoned was too dangerous to be released publicly. Scroll down to the section called Dept of artificial intelligence. How long will it be before someone submits a journal article written this way and gets it accepted in order to highlight flaws in current publishing systems?

Other links:

Health Tech

The Topol Review on Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future is an interesting glimpse into the near future. Excellent thread on Twitter about the launch event from Andrew Davies.

What we read this week (3 August 2018)

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



Product Management & innovation

And finally…

  • The creative team at JSTOR have come up with some downloadable colouring pages to celebrate #NationalColoringBookDay #awesome !!!


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