Deepak Singh
Peering into PLoS One comment stats -
I have to like it if I'm mentioned as a commenter in the third paragraph, lol :-) - Björn Brembs
Hard to miss your presence in the commenting stats :) - Deepak Singh
Now, having read the whole article, it reinforces the view that the social components of PLoS One need to be improved, i.e. reputation of commenters/raters and the visibility of contributions/contributors have to be increased. Could FF and NN yield some ideas for that? - Björn Brembs
Lowering friction is important. The key is to understand how and why people get there. Once that happens, the way options are presented to them becomes critical. It has to become part of the flow. I am not sure if it is about the reputation, or the flip part. People think that commenting somehow hurts their rep - Deepak Singh
What I'd be interested to know is what percentage of traffic to PLoS One goes 1) hit article page 2) click "Download Article PDF" 3) bye. Because if that's the majority of the workflow (which would be my guess), that means the reader's workflow doesn't include any of the social net tools, since they're reading in Acrobat Reader. Maybe we need to socialise Acrobat? UPDATE: And Mac Preview, etc. - Richard Akerman
My workflow involves the Mac application Papers. The PDF is downloaded automatically and I never browse to the website. - Martin Fenner
Richard. Likewise. I am sure they have those numbers, but not what I saw. - Deepak Singh
Richard, I think that you are spot on! Here is my workflow: PLoS ONE abstracts come into Google Reader, I go and download PDFs of the ones that seem relevant to me, put them in a directory together with PDFs from other journals that I need to read. Several days, I read these PDFs and archive them. To comment on a paper, I would thus have to actively track down the web page on PLoS ONE again, which is work. I generally try to avoid work ;-) - Lars Juhl Jensen
PDF is not the best social medium is it. It's controlled by one company, is not "web friendly", etc, but this gives rise to another idea. Blog post to follow - Deepak Singh
Good point about numbers versus people who actually engage. What I found interesting (once I was looking at the right stats) was that there seem to be more comments than ratings despite the fact that ratings should involve less 'friction' - Cameron Neylon
So maybe discussion as part of workflow would fit better in the (current) bookmarking/ref management space (Connotea, Zotero, Mendeley et al.)? (Or in some kind of PDF extension to bridge to same?) - Richard Akerman
I think I remain in a very small minority of people that only view papers online in html form - but I am pretty bad at rating and commenting because I'm usually not logged into the system - so when I think to do it it doesn't work so I don't bother... - Cameron Neylon
Well the thought being, maybe PLoS should think about becoming a platform, which drives commentary elsewhere. In other words, does a publisher have to be a destination site? - Deepak Singh
I comment way more than I rate, because if there is something negative I have to say about a paper, I have the option of trying to word it in a way that isn't offensive (after all, I'm not tenured). With ratings, this isn't possible (at least not without a long-winded comment on the rating, which defeats the purpose of rating), so basically, the few ratings I've produced are all good. Maybe more people think like that? - Björn Brembs
@Deepak that's along the lines of what I'm thinking - probably the publisher should just try ways to 1) Enable discussion to take place in the reader's workflow of choice 2) Aggregate those discussions back for display along side the article. In a way that's similar to the direction that PostGenomic and other tools point - discussion that is DOI/URI centric, not hosted in any one particular location. - Richard Akerman
FYI I left a couple of comments on both Deepak and Cameron's posts. Pete Binfield (Managing Editor, PLoS ONE) - Peter Binfield
Also, Cameron regarding your reading habits (and PDF in general) - this is an interesting one as many publishers still ONLY provide PDFs for their articles (outside the leading STM journals, and also in places like Social Sciences, 'PDF only' is quite common). Pete Binfield (Managing Editor, PLoS ONE) - Peter Binfield
I have a question for this group. Our data shows that approx 23% of all articles have some form of text comment left on them by users. When comparing this to the BMC data that Euan analysed (which showed more like 2%), this sounds high. Is it? If it is high, why is it high? How can it be made higher still? - Peter Binfield
Two quick comments: Richard's insight about workflow is brilliant -- we need a pdf reader that remains connected and can be social -- and @Peter, in re: "why is it high"?, two words: Bora Zivkovic. :-) - Bill Hooker
It's relatively high, yes - but nobody knows what the upper limit is (could this be estimated somehow?). My guess is that it is higher than BMC because the research published in One gets more attention. At least in my field, I only very rarely come across a paper in a BMC journal... - Björn Brembs
I am an html person as well, but I think the kind of stuff Richard is talking about is where the real value lies. We are on the web, so we should be thinking differently. PLoS One already took steps in that direction, but why stop - Deepak Singh
Agree with Richard/Deepak that the journal is probably the wrong place to be doing the commenting, Kind of what I was getting at with questions re: bookmarking and whether rating per se makes sense at all in my post. - Cameron Neylon
@Peter - well I don't read those journals :-) And second Bill's comment - Bora is a whirlwind like force that can be very hard to resist. I think a lot of the rise is down to his efforts. - Cameron Neylon
"whirlwind like force" - can I put that on my CV? ;-) - Bora Zivkovic
only if you hyphenate it properly :-) - Cameron Neylon
wrt pdf-reading, there's now Quosa and ScienceDirect is coming out with an easy tool to download piles of pdfs... but i'm not sure how much/what impact these will have on recommender features and social features... - Christina Pikas
@Graham - although it is nice to see the Google News stats :) to be fair to BMC's titlesm they probably don't have press releases that say "as reported in The BioMedCentral Journal X" - they probably just say "As reported in Journal X". For us, PLoS is part of the journal's name. - Peter Binfield
wrt to the discussion about where to collect comments. The historical position of publishers has always been that all discussion about an article should happen on the article. In the real world, of course, commenters comment in a multitude of places. However, as a reader you want to read the canonical article and then read all associated discussions without having to leave the article to do a variety of other searches. Question then is how to aggregate everything back to the paper comprehensively & easily? - Peter Binfield
To which end, aggregating discussions using the DOI as the unique identifier is suggested above. Great, of course - and I would love to see that day. But again reality impinges - the DOI is rarely used by anyone when commenting or indexing a paper. For example, Connotea and CiteULike dont have a search field for DOI. 'Big Media' will rarely even mention the full title of the paper, let alone the DOI or a trackback. It will be interesting to see if indexes and searches against DOI. - Peter Binfield
I coming to this subject from FF and haven't heard of it before Cameron and Deepak blogged it. Will PLoS One (or someone else) provide links to all these reviews? - Jere
Jere ... watch Bora's blog. I am sure he will assemble everything - Deepak Singh
I will assemble them. Here is another post about it: - Bora Zivkovic
@Peter We're not too far away - have you seen Alf's "Conversations" app ? The tools are all here. Admittedly tracking mentions in big media is a problem, but in theory publishers could be tracking that info with clipping services and then make it available to aggregators by adding metadata to the paper. - Euan
... or MSM articles could be matched to papers automatically, given the right tools (something like Scintilla could potentially do that). Especially if the tool also had access to publisher press releases. - Euan
I would say one important issue with 'discussions around a paper' (which happen in a broader universe than just Commenting ON The Paper) are that if a reader of the paper is never made aware of the prior discussions and the (hopefully) insightful thoughts, then those thoughts are, to some extent, wasted effort. Each article should of course be the jumping off point to find all comments about it, wherever they are located (and preferably should aggregate those comments to itself). - Peter Binfield