URLs of wisdom (30th May 2015)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology. There’s been a bit of gap since the last post due to lots of work travel but things should pick up again from here 🙂

Social network analysis


  • Online discussion forums good for well-being – “Often we browse forums just hoping to find answers to our questions. In fact, as well as finding answers, our study showed users often discover that forums are a source of great support, especially those seeking information about more stigmatising conditions. Moreover, we found that users of both forum types who engaged more with other forum users showed a greater willingness to get involved in offline activities related to the forum, such as volunteering, donating or campaigning.”
  • Trust erodes over time in the online world – A look at the Couchsurfing website: The findings revealed, the researchers wrote, an interesting mechanism at the root of interpersonal trust: “The accumulation of ratings about users (whether guests or hosts) had a double-edged effect on trust and relationships: it made relationships easier to establish initially but it also weakened them after a certain threshold.”

Academia online 

Social media/networks/data sharing

  • A Facebook for science? Brett Buttliere describes how it might look: “I believe science would benefit from having one online platform for people to do basically all aspects of science in, including review. Such a system would probably involve: a user friendly profile, a feed of (science) stories based upon previous viewing behavior, the ability for users to like, comment, and interact with content (e.g., papers, datasets, materials) within the system, and some sort of impact metrics that quantify the individual’s contribution into the system; basically, something like a Facebook or Twitter for science.”
  • What should a modern scientific infrastructure look like? Bjoern Brembs describes his vision for the future: “As an author, I want my data to be taken care of by my institution: I want to install their client to make sure every piece of data I put on my ‘data’ drive will automatically be placed in a data repository with unique identifiers. The default setting for my repository may be open and a CC0 license, or set manually to any level of secrecy I’m allowed to or intend. The same ought to be a matter of course for the software we write. In today’s day and age, institutions should provide an infrastructure that makes version-controlled software development and publishing seamless and effortless.”
  • Citation boost or bad data? A closer look at a recent claim by Academia.edu that using the site causes a major boost in citations of papers uploaded there. – “Compared to a control group of papers, selected at random from the same journals and same years as the Academia.edu group, their analysis finds a positive association between free access and article citations that grows over time. This association should not be surprising, given a decade and a half of similarly reported results. What IS surprising about their findings was that having one’s paper freely available from other freely accessible locations only boosted a paper’s citations by just 3%.”
  • Which online tools do you use? A new survey to look at scientific workflows.
  • Maintaining relationships with readers as they cross affiliations“Researchers’ multiple and changing institutional affiliations create tangible challenges, both for the researchers themselves and for scholarly publishers as well. While an ideal solution may not be possible, it is worth contemplating a vision that would address these challenges.”

Outreach/public engagement


  • Does your online community feel like Twitter pre-2009? It should.  – “Six years ago, Twitter was a much more intimate place. In explaining it to people, I often used the “dinner party” analogy – “It’s like a dinner party – you go in and you may only know one person, but you talk to them and meet their friends, and your network begins to grow.”

Social media developments

  • Medium is not a publishing tool – Medium introduced shared highlights on posts. Interesting to see annotation as a kind of “social layer” on top of content (framed in this post as features that “create network value”).

Just for fun

Ask the emojis…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s