bims:eLife sprint 2019
Progress in science depends on researchers being aware of new research results. Nowadays, researchers, each person on her own, are searching PubMed. I have created a tool "bims: Biomed News". It aims to innovate in two ways: (1) replacing searching with learning and (2) disseminating the results. The basic system is aimed at users who are subject experts. They monitor the appearance of new papers in PubMed on their topic of interest every week. Over time, they maintain a report on their topic. We help selectors by sophisticated use of machine learning. Over a few weeks of learning, our users find that our selections are more flexible and more precise than PubMed searches. They do a better current awareness job. However, it's important to note that the benefits of learning are not yet apparent when you start a report. At that point, there is nothing yet to learn from. This explains the slow growth in uptake of Bims.
The system lives at My project director and I have a small but dedicated group of expert selectors. It's rare for a selector to leave. All data we produce is fully open. We don't yet have an email dissemination to notify report readers. We are waiting for a sponsor to start that. At this time, the report issues are only sent to selectors by email. We aim for a full expertise sharing system.
When there is wide dissemination, we can see three benefits.
(1) Bims will be a step forward to democratise access to knowledge. Even today, most people can get access to papers even when they are behind a paywall, just by writing to the authors. But many people do not know what papers to get.
(2) Bims will be a step forward for the emerging preprint efforts in the biomedical arena. Preprints have the disadvantage that they are not classified by topic-specific journals.
(3) Bims can help in the fight against fake science. It is harder to dupe an expert.
Your skills and experience
python, (1 year), XSLT (12 years), SVM text machine learning (15 years), Perl (25 years), full linux system administration, including email (25 years), academic publishing (25 years). I run my own web site at rather than relying on commercial tools such as Twitter, Github and/or LinkedIn.
I am interested in participating in the Innovation Sprint because…
Since I am not a life scientist, I have been working on this in comparative isolation in Siberia without dedicated resources. The meeting would be an important networking opportunity. Bims is not just free to use. It is an open tool in the sense that it exports the results in bulk. Therefore its results can be built into the work of other projects.
Tell us about something you have created that you are proud of:
I am a veteran open-access activist. In April 1993, when I was a lecturer in economics, I published the first online academic paper in economics. This was the start of my WoPEc collection of economics working papers. In 1997, I morphed WoPEc into the RePEc digital library, see I continue to coordinate RePEc. RePEc has kept the economics working papers alive. Computer science is the other discipline that used to have working papers. There, the use of working papers has essentially disappeared, depriving the community from an self-organized open access scholarly communications layer.
Have you been or are you currently involved with eLife?
I was on the community call on 2018‒10‒24. I submitted feedback on this on 2018‒10‒25. I registered for the 2019‒06‒24 call.
What gender do you identify as?
How do you identify your ethnicity?
Where would you expect to be travelling from in September 2019?
Please estimate your travel costs (including currency)
Which nights would you require accommodation for?
   - Tuesday, September 3rd
   - Wednesday, September 4th
   - Thursday, September 5th