Dave Martinsen reviews ACS and Greasemonkey

Noel O’Boyle has highlighted a review by Dave Martinsen of the American Chemical Society. Dave has been very supportive of the new technologies and ideas that are emerging and has run sessions at the ACS meetings highlighting them. Here he reviews the last meeting (Chicago) and also adds a postscript about the Greasemonkey:

Yes, librarians are doing it too. To begin with, my Greasemonkey userscript for adding bloggers’ quotes to journal pages has just gotten an enthusiastic write up by Mark Rabnett, a hospital librarian and blogger.He learned of this userscript by reading a recent paper in ACS Chemical Biology by D.P. Martinsen, “Scholarly Communication 2.0: Evolution or Design?”. This was news to me, so I checked it up. It turns out that it’s pretty much a review of the Spring ACS sessions on Web 2.0. He begins by giving a good description of what the term Web 2.0 means, and why scientists should know about it. Then he goes on to discuss the presentations by Nick Day, Henzy Rzepa and Colin Batchelor among others (these are just the people I know or know of).
Then we come to the good bit. At the end of page 370 it says:

Two additional items, unrelated to the ACS meeting, are significant. Using Greasemonkey, a Firefox extension that allows anyone to write scripts that can change the way a web page looks, the Blue Obelisk group, a community of chemists who develop open source applications and databases in chemistry [ref to BO paper], has created several such scripts to enable chemistry-related features. One of these tools will insert links to blog stories about journal articles into the tables of contents of any ACS, RSC, Wiley, or NPG journal [ref to old BO wiki]. This enhancement to a journal’s table of contents is completely independent of the journal publisher.

That’s a pretty lucid summing up of the userscript and its significance. Somewhere I suspect PMR’s hand in this. 🙂
PMR: No hand in what Dave wrote, but we talked about the Greasemonkey and he sees the potential.
Just thinking about this we are close to having an overlay journal. That’s a journal where the editors create tables of contents for material that already exists, and adds some commentary. In fact I would call TotallySynthetic.com (and som other chemical blogs) overlay journals. The editor (TotSynth) select articles of note (almost always because of merit, though occasionally because of controversy) adds a top-class and engaging commentary and invites comments which are usually very much to the point (i.e. little wibble). I’d call that an overlay journal.
Crystaleye (created by Nick Day – above) is also close to an overlay journal. Currently it’s a comprehensive collection of all up-to-date crystal structures (esp. ASC, RSC, IUCr but necessarily without publishers who do not make the crystallographic material available). Here’s an example where making data (sic) Open leads to increased exposure.
We’ve been combining these ideas for Crystaleye, but that deserves a whole post to itself.
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