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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bora and PLoS ONE Need Your Help

Bora Zivkovik recently sent out this request after starting his position as Online Community Coordinator at PLoS ONE. The fact that he actually got this job from recommendations on comments in his blog should be a wake-up call to people who still think social software is about teenage diaries.

See if you can help him out:

So, my #1 goal is to dramatically increase the number of comments and
annotations on the PLoS ONE papers, without compromising their quality.
I have many ideas how to go about it, but I am always interested in hearing others.

Scientists are generally shy about posting stuff online, but a growing number of science bloggers shows that it is possible for them to change their habits! Please help me in that difficult task ;-)

While my CV and the cover letter were fine, what really got me the job were my
blog commenters! They demonstrated my ability to build an online community
better than any Resume can reveal.

- take a look at the visual/psychological effect of the changes I made to the site and give me feedback about it
- test a new application I introduced on the site and let me know how it works and how it can be improved
- post a comment or annotation yourself
- ask the readers of your blog/website/newsgroup/mailing-list to do
some of the above.

In order for you to be able to do this, i.e., to be able to compare the before' and 'after', I'd like you (and your readers and friends/colleagues) to go over the next few days and familiarize yourself with PLoS ONE, its look and feel:

http://www.plosone.org/home.action

Also, you may want to get more familiar with PLoS as a whole:

http://www.plos.org/index.php

...with all of its journals:

http://www.plos.org/journals/index.html

...and with the principle of Open Access:

http://www.plos.org/oa/index.html

It will also be helpful if you register for the site, subscribe to RSS
feeds of journals, and to e-mail notifications of new articles:

http://www.plos.org/connect.html

You can also help me if you use
some of these ready-made PR materials:

http://www.plos.org/downloads/index.html

...and here are some
other ideas of the ways you can help:

http://www.plos.org/support/index.html

You can join the PLoS group and PLoS cause on Facebook and invite all
your 'friends' to join:

http://facebook.com/group.php?gid=2401713690

http://apps.facebook.com/causes/view_cause/5612?recruiter_id=990

One of the first things I am going to do is try to breathe new life into the PLoS Blog and make it a pretty central (and frequently updated) spot on the site. This may also require some re-design:

http://www.plos.org/cms/blog

So it is not a bad idea for you to subscribe to its feed and to check in regularly and post comments. Linking to its posts or placing them on services like digg, delicious and redditt will also be appreciated.

Oh, almost forgot - think about publishing your papers in PLoS-ONE. As long as it is good science and well written, it is acceptable. It does not need to be Earth-shaking, revolutionary stuff that goes to Science or Nature (though that is certainly acceptable!). It does not need to be of 'general interest' either - a very specialized paper is fine.

The pre-publication peer-review is fast and simple - the papers are evaluated on 'correctness' of methodology and writing. Once a paper is accepted and all the editing and modifications (if suggested by reviewers) is done, the average time between the date of acceptance and the date of publication is 19 days. No other journal can beat that!

Then, and this is where I hope you will help me, the post-publication peer-review kicks in. The community at large, over a span of time, decides if the paper is 'Earth-shaking' or not. Thus, unlike on a blog where only the latest posts are commented on, on PLoS ONE papers, comments may appear, with validity, months and years later as new information on a topic comes to life.

Finally, a study by PNAS last year showed that papers published in Open Access are substantially more likely to get cited, than similar papers hidden behind the pay-walls of subscription-only journals.

Also, while currently most of the papers in PLoS ONE are in the biology/genetics/medicine areas, the journal takes anything from math and astronomy to archaeology and anthropology, so please help us become more diverse!

1 Comments:

  • Hello, Do you have a link or DOI for the PNAS study you mentioned?

    By Blogger Kevin Z, at 9:05 AM  

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