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.”

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