Tip of the week: ResearchBlogging and PubGet

A couple of years back the OpenHelix team attended the first ScienceOnline science blogging conference (and the subsequent ones too).  The repercussions of this continue to affect what we do today. We got tips on effective blogging, we got leads on great tools, and we became part of the science blogging community–a chatty and helpful network of people who really want to communicate science more broadly and effectively.

One of the tools we learned about back then we continue to use regularly is ResearchBlogging.  I thought today I’d introduce this utility because we’ve found ourselves in conversations with people who would like to have some kind of mechanism to discuss research in their fields, but weren’t aware of this opportunity.

The short story: ResearchBlogging is a blog post aggregator (and more). If you blog on peer-reviewed research papers, you can obtain a little bit of code from the ResearchBlogging citation generator.  You register your blog, and use this code, the RSS feed sweep from ResearchBlogging detects your post and brings it over to the main site.  It also distributes it to other sites that host the widget with recent posts.  If you hang out at ScienceBlogs you’ve probably seen the widget on the right when reading blogs over there.  ResearchBlogging also automatically tweets your entry via Twitter.  Every time we use this, we see increased traffic from both the main site, from the widget, and from Twitter.

The longer story: ResearchBlogging is a community of science communicators.  Some of them are in your field, some are in far dispersed fields.  But they want to talk science.  They offer substantive discussion on papers they’ve read. Sometimes this is praise for the work, sometimes not.  Sometimes it opens the discussion to new ideas. Sometimes it is a launching point for further discussion in other directions.  The posts vary, of course.  Sometimes they are like having a discussion around the water cooler about some paper a colleague read.  Other times they are more like a journal club.  There are guidelines that describe the goals in more detail, and there is a community forum for discussions about it.  There’s also an editor’s selection: if your post is selected by the editors for the quality, even more people will see your work.  They also recently held a competition for quality in science blogging, and recognized many science bloggers who are taking science out of the journals and on to the web.

We use this often to discuss new software papers we’ve seen.  As great as papers are, especially for software we find we want to give a bit of a movie about the software and how it is used–so for us the paper is usually a launching point for a software tip.

Recently ResearchBlogging has also teamed with the PubGet folks.  PubGet is a cool type of literature search that can be integrated into your local journal subscription set, and it’s a speedy way to get access to PDFs you might want.  But the bonus piece is that if a paper in PubGet has been blogged in the ResearchBlogging system, a little icon indicates this.  So you can go look at what the science blogger had to say about that paper as well.

So for this week’s tip of the week I demonstrate the mechanics of how to get that bit of code from ResearchBlogging, using the DOI or digital object identifier, where to put it back on your blog, and then show how PubGet can lead you to cool discussions of papers that you might be interested in.

For more details:

ResearchBlogging help: http://researchblogging.org/static/index/page/help

ResearchBlogging guidelines: http://researchblogging.org/news/?p=53

PubGet: http://pubget.com/

OpenHelix page of stuff we’ve done with ResearchBlogging: http://researchblogging.org/blog/home/id/154