Thursday, November 08, 2007

What I don't like about BPR3

For those that have not heard about it before BPR3 stands for Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting. From their website:

"Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting strives to identify serious academic blog posts about peer-reviewed research by offering an icon and an aggregation site where others can look to find the best academic blogging on the Net."

It is all great except that it already exists and for a long time before BPR3. You can go to the papers section in Postgenomic and select papers by the date they were published, were blogged about, how many bloggers mentioned the paper or limit this search to a particular journal. I have even used this early this year to suggest that the number of citations increases with the number of blog posts mentioning the paper.

In this case I think that unless they really aim to develop something that is better that what Postgenomic already offers, the added competition will only fragment an already poor market. The value of a tracking site like Postgenomic, Techmeme or what BPR3 is proposing to create increases with user base in a non-linear way. This is what people usually refer to as network effects in social web applications. Increasing number of users make the sites more useful, reinforcing the importance of the social application. I suspect Postgenomic is not closed in any way to discussions. The code is even available here for re-use. So, why can't BPR3 and Postgenomic work this out and have a single tracking database and presentation. Let's say that BPR3 could be a mirror for the Postgenomics papers section (why re-invent the wheel).

I am not in favor of any particular site (sorry Euan :), what I think would be useful would be:
1 ) common standards for everyone (publishers, bloggers, etc) to carry information on published literature (number of times paper was read, ratings, comments, blog posts, e-notebook data, etc) attached to single identifier (DOI sounds fine)
2) one independent tracking site with enough users to gain hub status such that everyone gains from high exposure to the science crowd.