Travels of the Blue Obelisk Greasemonkey

While researching about Open Access I visited the TOC for Nature's MSB. (In passing, none of the articles are flagged in the TOC as Open Access, though they all actually carry a CC-licence and the journal masthead announces that this is an OA journal.) But that's not the point of this story. Here is what I actually saw:


What are the Pg and Cb all over the TOC. When you bring up the page they aren't there! What's happened? Well the chemical blogosphere has posted about several articles here and mentioned their DOIs. The Blue Obelisk has developed a Gresemonkey script (which is a Firefox plugin) which reads the TOC and sees if any DOIs have been mentioned in the Chemical Blogosphere. And, in this case, three articles have been. If you mouse over them you will see the first few lines of the blog post (blue box). And clicking on the links takes you to the blog post. So if you want to see what the world thinks of your paper (and that is so much more immediate than the citation system) install the greasemonkey - it's easy. (It's at your own rsik - Greasemonky used to have a security hole,  but that has been fixed).

Cb is Chemical Blogspace. Pg is Postgenomic.

And whenever I see these icons I get a sense of the Blue Obelisk community.

This is yet another example of how the blogosphere is generating new forms of scientific reporting, criticism and review. The greasemonkey will help to change the way we report science.

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9 Responses to Travels of the Blue Obelisk Greasemonkey

  1. Much better would be to convince the publishers to implement this on the server side. I suspect it is coming and this hopefully helps to speed it up. The story behind the script, that you have covered before, I think is also a very good example of the power of blogs. Several people loosely connected online build on each others ideas to create a useful product and I would guess mostly from spare cycles.

  2. pm286 says:

    (1) I don't understand. The whole point of the BOGM is that it is client-side. It is under the control of the community - not the publishers. The community can point to whatever they like - including highly critical material. Many publishers would not include such material on their own site and would act as censors. The community has raised questions of possible misreporting, hinted at removal of embarrassing material by publishers, etc.

  3. Don't get me wrong I really like the script (hey I even made the first simple version of it:), and I really like how Noel has improved it so. The client side script can always be used to increase the amount of information and to link to things that the publisher will not. Unfortunately how many scientists will be aware and curious enough to try out the scripts?
    If the publishers would show trackbacks to blog posts server-side it would be a huge incentive to bloggers and a clear signal that this mode of publishing can taken serious. This would in turn help mature blogging (or related) as a platform for scientific discussions, interchange of data/ideas, etc.

  4. pm286 says:

    (4) I know you made the script - and many thanks.
    However I don't think the publisher will have any interest in linking to blog posts - especially some of mine. The power of the blog - and it is increasing - is that we can do what we like without being beholden to the publisher. That's very important.

  5. I am not so sure they have no interest in linking to blog posts. As you say, the power of blogs (not just in science) is growing. Interesting posting is rewarded with attention and this ability to direct attention is very useful to the publishers. There is a clear reward for those publishers that are willing to stimulate a better integration with science blogs. They will be more likely the target of that directed attention. There are currently far more comments about science publications in blogs than on the publishers side. The main possible disadvantage would be spam but if publishers use only the trackbacks from Chemical Blogspace and Postgenomic (instead of Technorati) the trackbacks will be much safer.

  6. pm286 says:

    (6) I have no objection if publishers want to link to this blog from their site. Since I have a good deal to say that they may not want to expose to normal readers I would not be surprised if they were not completely or partially selective. My concern is that we should continue to develop the greasemonkey independently as it gives us far more rapid movement. I shall shortly announce the Blue-eyed Crystal Greasemonkey...

  7. Pingback: Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge - petermr’s blog » Blog Archive » blogging peer-reviewed articles - icons and greasemonkey

  8. Pingback: Science in the Open » Blog Archive » Sourceforge for science

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