Community-driven open source: evolving software development

I’m showing my age here, but having observed the evolution of web development since it’s early days, it’s fascinating to look at how it’s become increasingly open to contributions from an ever-increasing set of participants. From the mid-90s when internet technologies were literally built in isolation in a garage through to the birth of user-centered design and agile, there has been steady growth in the attempts to bring the voices of those who will actually use the technology into the process.

Continue reading “Community-driven open source: evolving software development”

Where are the rising stars of research working? Towards a momentum-based look at research excellence

Traditional university rankings and leaderboards are largely an indicator of past performance of academic staff, some of whom conducted the research for which they are most famous elsewhere. Paul X. McCarthy has analysed bibliometric data to see which research institutions are accelerating fastest in terms of output and impact. The same data also offers a glimpse into the future, helping […]

OS Bazaar – Berlin 2017

On October 23rd 2017 in Berlin, we held a one day FORCE pre-meeting open source bazaar in partnership with Hypothesis.  The day opened with a discussion on about replacing our currently siloed scholarly communications platforms and tools with a new ecosystem of open source technologies. This is the only way to transform the sector at scale, which is a job too large for any one organization or company.

Kristen opened the day with the key themes:

John Chodacki kept the day moving as the MC and we saw demos and presentations from an incredible lineup of projects:

Oh and don’t forget, we also had a celebration and product showcase during lunch from groups across the annotation community: SciLite, Hypothesis/SciBot, Pundit, Xpansa, PaperHive, eLife, Profeza) and others.  All in one day!

The tweets are all at #osbazaar. One tweet captured the essence of the day

Kristen summarized the day at a session at FORCE with this presentation:

Was the inaugural OS bazaar a rousing success? Was a good time had by all? Yes and yes. Any opportunity to come together and hear updates from the community about the incredible projects under development. We’re already looking forward to OS Bazaar #2!

Believe the Hype: The Most Buzz-Worthy Trends of 2017

In the 20 years I’ve covered the great digital transition, empty buzzwords and phony trends have been the rule, not the exception. Bullshit is not a byproduct of a startup economy of building scale before substance; it is actually a doctrine.

And yet, in this past year there have been some trends that almost certainly will have a deep impact on the survivability of media businesses into the future. Here I explore some of these trends and try to cast a little insight as to why they matter, and how they might continue to shakeup the landscape as we look ahead to 2018. Continue reading “Believe the Hype: The Most Buzz-Worthy Trends of 2017”

Academic journals with a presence on Twitter are more widely disseminated and receive a higher number of citations

Previous research has shown that researchers’ active participation on Twitter can be a powerful way of promoting and disseminating academic outputs and improving the prospects of increased citations. But does the same hold true for the presence of academic journals on Twitter? José Luis Ortega examined the role of 350 scholarly journals, analysing how their articles were tweeted and cited. Findings reveal that articles from those journals that have their own individual Twitter handle are more tweeted about than articles from journals whose only Twitter presence is through a scientific society or publisher account. Articles published in journals with any sort of Twitter presence also receive more citations than those published in journals with no Twitter presence.

LSE’s “request a copy” service: widening access to research both within and beyond academia

The 2016 introduction of HEFCE’s open access research policy and specifically its “deposit on acceptance” message has led to a large volume of restricted-access items being placed in institutional repositories. Dimity Flanagan reports on how LSE Library’s “request a copy service” has offered would-be readers a way to overcome this obstacle to research, and how the data the service provides […]

Book Review: Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology by Karen Head

In Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology, Karen Head draws on a “view from inside” of developing and teaching a first-year writing massive open online course (MOOC) to critically interrogate the claim that such technology will fundamentally “disrupt” educational structures. This is an eloquent and intricate analysis that shows how personal experience and practice can add nuance to questions regarding the egalitarian […]

Where’s the evidence? Obstacles to impact-gathering and how researchers might be better supported in future

Despite the increased importance of demonstrating impact, it remains a concept many academics feel ill-equipped to measure or evidence. Clare Wilkinson reveals how researchers from a broad range of disciplines think about evidencing impact, what obstacles might stand in their way, and how they might be further supported in future. Knowledge around research impact continues to exist in siloes, with […]

Increasingly collaborative researcher behaviour is the real threat to the resilient academic publishing sector

Traditional academic publishing has been rumoured to be imperilled for decades now. Despite continued criticism over pricing and a growing open access movement, a number of recent reports point to the sector’s resilience. Francis Dodds suggests this is partly attributable to the adaptability of academic publishers but also highlights attitudes of researchers surprisingly committed to the status quo as another […]

A closer look at the Sci-Hub corpus: what is being downloaded and from where?

Sci-Hub remains among the most common sites via which readers circumvent article paywalls and access scholarly literature. But where exactly are its download requests coming from? And just what is being downloaded? Bastian Greshake has analysed the full Sci-Hub corpus and its request data, and found that articles are being downloaded from all over the world, more recently published papers are among the most requested, and there is a marked overrepresentation of requested articles from journals publishing on chemistry.

Introducing Canary Haz: discovering article PDFs with one click

Access to PDFs of research papers is too often overly complicated and restricted. Canary Haz, a free browser plugin that helps researchers access the PDFs they need with just one click, has been released in response to this frustration. Peter Vincent, one of the co-founders, explains a little more about how Canary Haz works, while also encouraging feedback from the wider research community.

Minor, substantial or wholesale amendments: it’s time to rethink changes to published articles and avoid unnecessary stigma

The present system of labelling changes made to published articles is confusing, inconsistently applied, and out of step with digital publishing. It carries negative connotations for authors, editors, and publishers. Is there a way to efficiently and neutrally flag a change to a published article in a way that says what happened that is separated from why it happened? Virginia Barbour, Theodora Bloom, Jennifer Lin and Elizabeth Moylan propose a new system for dealing with post-publication changes that focuses on moving away from the current, confusing, stigmatising terms, differentiating the scale of changes, and differentiating versions of articles. While some hold the view that post-publication corrections must be tied to punishment of “offenders”, the role of journals is to be neutral, to maintain the integrity of the literature and not to punish researchers.

Lifestyle Audiences Live on Facebook, Technology Readers Still Want Google Search

In 2016, on average, 40% of external referrers to the network of sites found the content via Facebook, 35% came from Google search, and the duopoly left the rest of the internet (including Google News) with a mere 25% of traffic referrals.

The quick and dominant rise of Facebook to media distribution powerhouse has been the focus of urgent and in-depth research from The Tow Center, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and Pew Research Center.

Our most recent data analysis shows, however, that if you use Facebook news feeds alone to judge what types of news people consume, you’ll end up with a distorted picture. When on Facebook, you’ll see readers especially engaged with articles on entertainment, lifestyle, local events, and politics. Articles on business, world economics, and sports also attract readers, but mostly through Google and other long-tail referrers.

What the data says about how audiences find different topics online

For our latest Authority Report, we wanted to move past aggregate platform trends. How does the audience referral network change according to article topic? To answer this question, we examined 10 million articles published in the network during 2016, categorized by topic.

In the 14 topics we examined, external traffic makeup varied significantly. Articles included in the “lifestyle” topic receive 87 percent of their external traffic from Facebook, whereas Google search generates 60 percent for articles in “technology.” Traffic from Twitter can make up from below 1 percent to 10 percent depending on the the topic.


Download the full report, with a breakdown of each topic.

Topics More Popular from Google Search

The leading category of Google Search referral goes to Job Postings, with 84.4% of external traffic referrals, though this category also accounted for the least amount of total posts.

Technology articles, Sports, and Business and Finance articles all performed above the Google Search average, at 61 percent, 50 percent and 47 percent respectively. Posts on the World Economy brought in 43 percent of the referrals from Google.

Sports articles also had the highest volume in any post topic category we examined.

Outside the Duopoly: Where Are Audiences Coming from?

The full report breaks down each topic, but shows a wide variety in sources outside the two monoliths.
For sports articles, Twitter makes up over 10 percent of the outside traffic referrals, while lifestyle articles receive less than 2 percent of their traffic from Twitter. Bleacher Report drives 5 percent of sports articles, while LinkedIn sends almost 5 percent of Business & Finance audiences. Drudge Report sends over 5 percent of traffic to articles about National Security, but less than 2 percent for articles about U.S. Presidential Politics.

Why does this data matter?

Finding the best audience for your work makes the most of the effort you and your team put into creating it. Understanding the nuances in audiences ensures that you consider the potential distribution while creating strategies and content, instead of waiting to find out how it does later.

See all of the data in the full Authority Report, and tweet #AuthorityReport to let us know how your audience compares! Fill out the form below to receive the full report.

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