What we read this week (13 September)

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


Research space

  • Lizzie Gadd describes how seeing research evaluation as a food chain where participants are both the evaluators and the evaluated may help us understand, and solve, some of the problems inherent within in The research evaluation food chain and how to disrupt it.
  • Daniela Duca, Product Manager at SAGE Ocean asks Who’s disrupting transcription in academia? and covers a range of tools and services used by researchers.
  • In Comment, reply, repeat: Engaging students with social annotation Alice Fleerackers, Juan Pablo Alperin, Esteban Morales, and Remi Kalir share a sneak peek of their study of student annotation using Hypothesis  on the ScholCommLab blog:students reported that annotating with hypothesis helped them learn (bar chart)
  • We came across two newish image based search engines this week,  GrepMed is an image based medical reference search engine which aims to democratize professional medical reference information through clinically relevant crowd-sourced inforgraphics and Grafiti, a search engine to discover and share charts from top publishers.

Innovation and product development

  • Jim Bilton uses data from the Media Futures benchmarking project to look at media’s biggest obstacle to innovation – technology.
  • Evidence-based profiles of roles across the translational workforce are now available through CTS-Personas, a project of the CTSA Program National Center for Data to Health (CD2H), led by Sara Gonzales at Northwestern University. Each profile details key responsibilities, motivators, goals, software use, pain points, and professional development needs. The Persona profiles cover the spectrum of the translational ecosystem, from basic science to clinical research to community implementation. Personas can be integrated locally to help inform local resources, training opportunities, and communication strategies.
  • Point Nine Capital partner Christoph Janz suggests three questions that companies should ask themselves before they choose to launch a freemium SaaS product:
    1. Does your paid plan have a gross margin of 80—90%?
    2. Does your free plan attract the right audience?
    3. Is your product inherently viral?

    Interesting read about the pros and cons and freemium business models.

And finally…

Love this Kanban cartoon and the HIPPO fast track section:

What we read this week (5 July)

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


Open Science


  • The bloxberg infrastructure, a secure global blockchain established by a consortium of leading research organizations to provide scientists with decentralized services worldwide, has launched. “The bloxberg Consortium aims to fosters collaboration among the global scientific community, empowering researchers with robust, autonomous services that transcend institutional boundaries. For example, with consented transactions on the bloxberg infrastructure, research claims need not be limited to one institution alone, but can be confirmed by the whole trusted network.”
  • BMJ’s Helen King has an excellent round-up of publishing related blockchain projects,  Blockchain in Publishing and Open Science, What’s the state of play?
  •  The Blockchain for Peer Review initiative and Publons are organizing a seminar to discuss the following:
    • Can we develop common standards in order to improve the transparency, efficiency, recognition and transportability of the peer review process?
    • What is the ideal technology and infrastructure to achieve that, and how can we prevent the duplication of effort? Is blockchain the preferred solution, or would we prefer centralized services? Or perhaps a combination of the two?

And finally…

John shares his take on what makes the difference between success and failure: “Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs, are a simple goal-setting system and they work for organizations, they work for teams, they even work for individuals. The objectives are what you want to have accomplished. The key results are how I’m going to get that done. Objectives. Key results. What and how. But here’s the truth: many of us are setting goals wrong, and most of us are not setting goals at all. A lot of organizations set objectives and meet them. They ship their sales, they introduce their new products, they make their numbers, but they lack a sense of purpose to inspire their teams.”

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