The American Chemical Society releases their ChemWorx research management tool

The American Chemical Society recently released a new online research management tool: ACSChemWorx Totally free, it allows you to upload your favorite pdf to the cloud and synch them between your devices. It also includes features to streamline publishing in ACS journals. The tool seems rather mature. Have a look at the features announced by ACS:

  • Import, manage and search your existing reference library
  • Store, markup and highlight PDF documents
  • Share your reference library and files with collaborators
  • Manage research activities via groups, projects, tasks, calendars, and events
  • Cite references without leaving MS Word or LaTeX
  • Track citations to any of your published articles

Old-school crowdsourcing: surveys for researchers made easy with socialsci

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 12.29.58 AM

Believe it or not, crowdsourcing in scientific research has been around for a while. Surveys, have been a great way for researchers to obtain large amounts of information about human behaviors. With the introduction of online surveys, researchers have never had easier access to participants for their surveys. But along with the anonymity of internet, comes risks of fake answers or repeated participation that can influence the studies’ outcome.

This might be changing with Socialsci, a startup located in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA), offering online survey services, tailors for researchers.  In addition to quite standard survey-generation services, Socialsci guaranties academic-adapted prices (=low?) and high-quality participants. High-quality participants are assured by an internal quality control, where the answers to over a thousand different questions given by participants are monitored for consistency. That way, users making up answers will see their rating downgraded and their participation in other surveys will be less likely.

Here’ s little video found on their website summarizing this way better that I did: I’ve added this in the “Using the crowd section” of the “Online tools for researchers” list.

Smart publication recommandations with Pushpin.

Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 11.43.00 PMWith over a million new publication every year, it can be hard to keep up. For example, one of the keyword I use for new publication alert is “mucus”. This search query can hit over a hundred new paper each week on pubmed!

So I have to go through every single hit, do a rapid scan of the title and judge if the whole paper is relevant to me or not. This is clearly un-optimized was to stay updated with the latest papers: it is time consuming, and who knows what may be hidden behind a seemingly uninteresting title. You can try to optimize of the search queries, but you then narrow down your result and still risk to miss out on important papers.

Now what if smart algorithm could understand what you are looking for, based on your publication and who you are working with? Pushpin is the result of a graduate work by Dr. Wolfgang Reinhardt. It includes a classic social network interface, with profiles, publication list and so on. But Pushpin also makes recommendations regarding who you should follow and what papers might be interesting to you.

Pushpin does these recommendations by carefully analyzing what your field of interest is. This is done based on keywords and publication rating you can enter in Pushpin, but also on the similarities between the full texts of your publications and the work of others.

This service has the potential to be a time-saver for researchers, filtering out irrelevant literature. A similar service was rolled out by google scholar last year. I have not tested the Pushpin service to it full extent, but it would be interesting to compare it with its google counterpart.