Science Publishing

This will be my last post on Bench Marks as I am leaving CSHL Press for a new opportunity at Oxford University Press. I’ve had a good 10 year run at Cold Spring Harbor and leave with warm memories and a much greater understanding of the world of publishing.

Bench Marks will live on though, and there are plans to do all sorts of interesting things with the blog, so stay tuned. Maria Smit will now be taking over as the managing editor of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols and will be continuing to keep this blog updated with news of new techniques and interesting articles.

Thanks to all who have read this blog and the readers and authors who have made Cold Spring Harbor Protocols into such a huge success. I’ll still be around at my other blogging gig at The Scholarly Kitchen so look for me there.

If you’ve visited Cold Spring Harbor Protocols in the last 12 hours or so, you may have noticed that things look a little different. Welcome to Phase 1 of our re-design.

CSH Protocols was originally designed as a database, but over time, our readers and authors made it clear to us that their needs would be better served if it became more journal-like. For an author, publishing a peer-reviewed, PubMed indexed paper offers better rewards than contributing to a database. For readers who are used to digging information out of the published literature, a journal offers better findability. And so, we’ve redesigned the site to bring it into line with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press’ other journal offerings.

The site still offers the same functionality, but now the navigation is greatly improved. The new design also allows us to start experimenting with widgets, adding further functionality. The next step will be migrating to our host, Highwire Press’ new H2O platform, which will allow for even further functionality to be built in (coming in the near future).

So take a look around, maybe you’ll find some things you haven’t found before. And stay tuned for future developments.

The other blog where I write, The Scholarly Kitchen, has been nominated for a Webby, a fairly prestigious award in the online world. Since the winner is determined by the voting public, and since we’re up against some seriously stiff competition (including the NY Times and Wall Street Journal), your help would be greatly appreciated. You can vote for us here. Voting does require you to complete a short registration process. You can only vote once per email address. Voting ends April 29th, and results will be announced May 4th (a visual tutorial on how to vote can be found here).
From the Society for Scholarly Publishing:

On behalf of the SSP leadership, we are very proud that our community has generated a vehicle as widely recognized and effective as the Scholarly Kitchen. Now, we have an opportunity to increase the awareness of the SSP, the Scholarly Kitchen, and scholarly publishing in general.

Thanks in advance for your help!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has informed us that Cold Spring Harbor Protocols has been selected to be indexed and included in MEDLINE, and that our articles will now be included and searchable using PubMed. We’re very pleased to share this announcement as it should make it easier for readers to find the high quality protocols our authors have contributed since the journal’s inception. I’m not sure how long the indexing process takes, but look for us to start turning up in your search results in the near future.

Inclusion in PubMed is another great reason to publish your methods papers with us. As a reminder to all, CSH Protocols is a peer-reviewed journal with no page charges, and we offer authors a royalty based on the usage of their articles. A high level of editorial support is available for authors and we’re happy to work with you to turn your innovative laboratory procedures into a useful community resource. Instructions for authors can be found here.

I’ve recently written two pieces on scientists and social networks over at my other blogging gig, and thought they might be of interest to readers here:

Scientists Still Not Joining Social Networks


NIH Funds a Social Network for Scientists–Is It Likely to Succeed?

Time to catch up on some interesting links:

The End Of Free
Last week’s posting at the Scholarly Kitchen, discussing the idea of using free content as a marketing tool, and how some uses are reaching the end of their usefulness. I have a new blog entry there that will be out on Monday discussing Microsoft’s Bing and Google’s Wave.

Teen Practices

Very interesting set of observations of how teenagers use technology. Twitter and e-mail are boring things that old people use. Once again proving the idea that different tools are appropriate at different stages of one’s life and social development. This study backs it up with more numbers.

Landmark study: DRM truly does make pirates out of us all

A few weeks back, I wrote about the Kindle’s DRM:

By providing a product that suffers the limitations of lock-in and prevents users from doing the things they’re used to doing with books, Amazon is encouraging potentially honest customers to become copyright infringers.

This study offers further evidence for such behavior, and argues against DRM.

If Research Papers Had A Comments Section
A cautionary tale, in cartoon form.

Another Blogger Leaves the Seed Blogs
Some dissension in the ranks over at ScienceBlogs. Like we’re seeing at the Nature Networks, these clubhouses are hitting some rough waters.

For Wired, a Revival Lacks Ads
Interesting article on Wired Magazine’s struggles. It notes that Chris Anderson of “Long Tail” fame seems to make around $35-50,000 per lecture he gives to businesses. Ironic in that the concepts he champions seem to be failing at the actual business he runs.

And it wouldn’t be right to end one of these without some Web 2.0 cynicism/snark. So I’ll offer up Conan O’Brien’s painfully accurate Twitter Tracker, and this lovely Social Media Venn Diagram t-shirt.

More interesting articles from the last week or so……

The Comment Is King

A look at comments left on articles in The Washington Post and Slate, which does not bode well for those of us interested in creating commenting systems for science articles.

Will Wolfram make bioinformatics obsolete?
Interesting piece on the potential for Wolfram Alpha to be used as a much easier interface for bioinformatics questions.

Clay Shirky Debunks the WSJ’s “Bloggers For Hire” Feature
The increasingly ubiquitous Clay Shirky does a detailed analysis of Mark Penn’s Wall Street Journal article claiming that there are hordes of people who make their living blogging. Shirky’s pretty much shreds the poorly researched nonsense to pieces.

Too much free
Seth Godin notes that giving away your book or e-book (or whatever) for free is losing its novelty value as a marketing technique.

Wikipedia hoax points to limits of journalists’ research

Two good points made here. 1) Wikipedia is completely untrustworthy, and 2) newspapers continue to hasten their own doom by lowering the quality of journalism they perform.

Kindle wrap-up
New Kindle was announced this week, bigger, even more absurdly expensive, still black and white (which makes it a non-starter for textbooks). Hard to understand why students who are pretty much required to have laptops these days would want an extra big bulky device to lug around as well.
The Kindle Lets Amazon Make a Lot From the Few
Speculation on the Kindle’s business model. Steve Jobs was right, not enough people read to make lots of money selling a device, but Amazon thinks that small group of people will buy lots and lots of e-books, which is where the profit lies.
Publishers Nurture Rivals to Kindle
Meanwhile, publishers are unhappy with Amazon, looking to avoid turning control of their industry over to one company and repeating the mistake the music industry made in ceding control to Apple.

Google book settlement has librarians worried
Librarians weigh in on the increasingly problematic Google Book Settlement.

The Extreme Google Brain
Google’s lead designer left the company recently, and caused a stir with his revelations of how anti-design the company seems to be. This analysis looks at the extreme personality types that thrive in places like Google, and I couldn’t resist this vicious and hilarious description:

My impression of “Googlers,” which I concede is based on little direct knowledge and is prejudicial on its face, is one of undersocialized, uncultured, pampered, arrogant faux-savants who have cultivated an arrested adolescence that the Google working environment further nurtures. Their computer-programming skills, the sole skills valued by the company, camouflage the flaws of their neuroanatomy. Their brains are beautifully suited to the genteel eugenics program that is the Google hiring process but are broken for real-world use.

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