ScienceOnline 2013 news

The ScienceSeeker team loved meeting so many of you at ScienceOnline 2013! Quite a few of you came up to our booth, attended our blitz session, or had lunch with us. We got some great feedback for what is important to you in future features, and we really appreciated everyone’s kind words about how useful ScienceSeeker is to you.

For those of you who weren’t there, our big news is our first contest. The grand prize winner will receive $1000 and a guaranteed spot at Scio14. The guaranteed spot garnered more enthusiasm from attendees than the cash:


The most-requested features were:

  • People want to be able to load older blog posts in to the site. Right now, the site only reads posts that are still in your feed. We will look into finding ways to load up older ones!
  • People would like to be able to group together similar blogs, forming pseudo-networks on ScienceSeeker. This would be a way to have a single feed for multiple blogs. This is something we’ve already been thinking about, but we’ll move it up the priority list.
  • People want to be able to more easily search by post-level tags: “I want to see all the posts which are tagged ‘genetics.’” This is doable now, but there isn’t an easy user interface for it. We’ll work on that soon, too.

Let us know if we missed any requests.

It was great meeting so many of you face to face. See you next year!

Mathblogging.org launches using the ScienceSeeker Codebase

Our friends at Mathblogging.org have upgraded their site with a fantastic array of new features. We can say that with some knowledge because they are using SubjectSeeker, the same open-source codebase used to run ScienceSeeker!

We believe that the SubjectSeeker code can be used to collect news and discussion on almost any topic, and this is just the first example.

We have been working for several months with Mathblogging to help them move to the new platform, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. Here’s an excerpt from their official announcement:

To celebrate ScienceOnline 2013, we’re very happy to announce the launch of the new and improved mathblogging.org!

Among our new features are:

  • Our editors! A group of dedicated bloggers who regularly share their favorite pieces, right on the front page — it’s like our Weekly Picks, only better!
  • A user system – register an account & claim your blog today, add comments to posts just like our editors do and have them tweeted right away.  And you can look forward to more features in the near future!
  • An easy way to add sites: just paste the link and we’ll do the rest.
  • better search — easy to get to, easy to work with, easy to find stuff.
  • robust API — to build personalized searches, feeds and whatever you can think of (with more in the making).
  • Moar social media!!11!eleventy!! — three new twitter accounts will give you the Editor Picks, the Notes and the firehose feed, with more to come in the future. Google+ and other platforms soon to follow.

Congratulations to Mathblogging.org! We look forward to working with them — and many other sites — in the future!

ScienceSeeker updated with new features

The ScienceSeeker site was updated today with some great new features. Users can now set up their own profiles with photos and descriptions. Users can tag any post with the topic of their choice, and users can create and follow groups based on their interests. In the future we plan on expanding these features to help users find other users and groups with similar interests to their own…and we’ll have a big announcement on Friday which will depend heavily on this new functionality!

Details on the new features (from our help page):

Using Tags

ScienceSeeker organizes information in two different ways. Topics are the general subject areas that each source site uses. Each site can have two topics. For example, the Bipolar Beat blog is categorized under “Psychology.”

Tags are used to categorize individual posts. For example, Bipolar Beat usually makes posts that are more specific than just the general topic of “Psychology”, and ScienceSeeker captures all the tags that the blogger used to categorize the post. Click on the “…” icon next to any post on our site to see the post profile page, and you will see a list of all the tags the author added to the post. For this post, the authors also tagged it with “Career,” “disability”, “bipolar disorder”, “social security disability” and “ticket to work.” Click on any of those tags to see a list of all posts from every source on ScienceSeeker using that tag.

Note: Any tag that starts with a Capital Letter is actually a Topic, and will bring up all posts from sources using that topic in addition to individual posts using the tag.

You can also add your own tags to a post.

  • Log in to ScienceSeeker
  • Click on the icon for the post you want to tag
  • Click the “+ Add Tag” button.
  • Add the tag you would like in the dialog that appears.
  • Choose “Public” if you want everyone to see the tag, and “Private” if the tag is just for your personal use.

Using Groups

Groups are a powerful tool for following and sharing posts about topics that interest you most. You can create, follow, and edit groups, and soon we will add even more ways to interact through groups.

  • To see the most recently-formed groups, click on the Groups tab at the top of the ScienceSeeker home page
  • Clicking on a group name will show you the most recent items from that group, let you know who manages the group, and shows you the tags that apply to the group. For example, the group “Some big bang posts” tracks posts with the tag “big bang.”
  • If you are logged in to your ScienceSeeker account, you can recommend, comment on, or follow the group by clicking on the appropriate link at the top of the group page.
  • To create your own group, Login and hover over your user name to bring up a menu. Click on the “My Groups” link.
  • Type the name of your group and a description.
  • Click on “Create Group”.
  • Add the tags you would like this group to track. You can use tags you create, or official ScienceSeeker topics. When you type in a topic name it will appear capitalized, and will bring up both individual posts with that tag and all posts for sources categorized with that topic.
  • Optionally you can upload an image to serve as the header for the group. Important: The image must be at least 1000 x 125 pixels. You can crop larger images to correct size, but smaller images will not work.
  • To modify or delete a group, click on the “+” sign next to the group name in your list under “my groups”.

Jason Goldman named Associate Editor

I’m pleased to announce the addition of Jason Goldman to ScienceSeeker’s management team as Associate Editor. In the coming months, Jason will work with ScienceSeeker on a number of projects, from coordinating our content editors to a super-secret, super-exciting project that will be announced at ScienceOnline 2013 at the end of the month.

Jason is is a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. For several years now, he has been a dynamo in the world of science online. His blog The Thoughtful Animal never fails to engage readers and has received numerous honors. His writing has appeared in Scientific American, BBC Future, The Guardian, The Best Science Writing Online 2012, and elsewhere. He edited the 2010 edition of The Open Laboratory.

Jason has also been a content editor here at ScienceSeeker and at ResearchBlogging.org, sifting through hundreds of posts on psychology and neuroscience to highlight the most interesting and innovative research and discussion.

Jason’s own research focuses on the evolution and architecture of the mind, and how early experiences affect innate knowledge systems.

Please join me in welcoming Jason to the ScienceSeeker team!

ScienceSeeker launches massive upgrade powered by NASW grant

Today we launch the most significant update to ScienceSeeker ever. Instead of just following the 1200+ sources in our database, now you can easily search them to find reliable discussion of today’s most vexing scientific issues.

Search is front and center

The prominent search bar at the top of the site is your entry to a whole world of science you may not have even known you are missing. Since we now index over 150,000 articles, typing almost any scientific term into the search bar reveals dozens, even hundreds of posts. And unlike searches in traditional search engines, these searches find only articles from sources that our editors have approved, which means they are much more likely to be high-quality science, giving you discussion and answers based on scientific research, often written by the experts themselves.

As before, you can filter posts by our pre-selected list of topics, but our new post-profile page allows you to do more. Click on the icon next to any post to bring up the post profile page. There, you’ll see topics chosen by the post author. You can click on any of them to see other posts with the same topic — there are already several thousand topics in our database!

All of this was enabled by a $35,000 Idea Grant to ScienceSeeker by the National Association of Science Writers (NASW). It’s among the largest Idea Grants the NASW has ever awarded, and the money will enable us to add even more functionality to the site in the coming months. Next on the agenda is additional integration with social media sites. We’d like to tabulate mentions on Twitter and Facebook and incorporate that into how articles are recommended. We also plan to allow you to convert any search into a feed, so you can track mentions of a particular article or topic without having to visit ScienceSeeker.

Here’s a detailed rundown of all the new features on ScienceSeeker.org.

  • Site redesigned from the bottom up. We have moved from a WordPress codebase to our own hand-coded system, which streamlines the site and makes everything much faster. The visual look of the site has also been enhanced, so users can easily see where the most important information is, and find details when they need them.
  • New Search tool allows users to find scientific discussion on nearly any topic. In addition to the search bar found on every page, users can search source sites (blogs, news sites, and so on) and posts, and create feeds based on topics they are interested in.
  • Streamlined login and user profiles. New users can register using their Twitter accounts, and the login interface now remembers your page to make your interaction with the site seamless. You can also upload profile photos and edit your user profile.
  • Post profile page. Each post now has a profile page that lists post-level topics specified by the author (using categories or tags when they write the post). The topics are clickable, so you can easily find other posts with the same topics.
  • Notifications. Authors can choose to be notified by email whenever one of their posts is chosen as an Editor’s Pick. (If you’d like to activate this feature, just check the appropriate box on your Settings page).
  • Post Profile badge. We’ve created a new badge that can be placed in any post, linking back to the ScienceSeeker profile of that post. The badge is automatically updated when ScienceSeeker identifies a citation on your post, or when it is chosen as an Editor’s Pick.
  • Pubmed and ArXiv support. Our citation generator now searches three databases to locate research articles. If you are an author and would like to add a citation of peer-reviewed research, just click the “Create Citation” link, enter a few words from the title of the article you’d like to cite, and our system will find any references to those words from the CrossRef, PubMed, and arXiv databases, covering nearly all peer-reviewed scientific publications. If your source isn’t found, there is now an option to manually enter the citation to create a properly-formatted reference in the industry-standard COinS format, recognizable by ScienceSeeker, but also by other resources such as Mendeley, Zotero, and ResearchBlogging.org

You’ll find dozens of other enhancements in this release; there are simply too many to enumerate. Even this blog has gotten a facelift! We encourage you to poke around the site, click on links, recommend your favorite posts, and make notes to share with others.

And don’t forget to follow our four Twitter feeds (@SciSeeker, @SciSeekEds, @SciSeekNotes, and @SciSeekFeed), our Facebook page, and check out our Google+ page, which you can access via plus.scienceseeker.org.

If there are other features you’d like to see on ScienceSeeker, let us know — either via social media, our contact page, or in the comments section below.

Introducing ScienceSeeker’s newest editors: Raphael Ndem and Jordan Gaines

We’re pleased to announce that two new editors have joined ScienceSeeker to help us share images and improve our presence on social media.

Jordan Gaines is our Social Media Editor. She is responsible for updating our Facebook page and managing our Twitter accounts (@SciSeeker, @SciSeekEds, @SciSeekNotes, and @SciSeekFeed). Look for our Facebook page in particular to get more active now that Jordan is in charge!

Jordan is a science writer, journal reviewer, and Ph.D. candidate at Penn State College of Medicine, where she studies sleep (in humans!). She blogs at Gaines, on Brains which explores current neuroscience research, translated into lay terms. Her writing has been featured on Scientific American, Psychology Today, Brain Blogger, LabSpaces, and Scientopia. In her “free time,” Jordan enjoys reading, rowing, playing clarinet, and volunteering at her local Humane Society. Follow on Twitter @GainesOnBrains.

Raphael Ndem is our Photo Editor. He has already begun improving the quality and frequency of updates to the photos featured on the ScienceSeeker home page. He is also taking charge of our Google+ page, which you can access via plus.scienceseeker.org.

Raphael is a tech enthusiast who appreciates the wonders of computers & gadgets. Completing a BSc and MSc in Biomedical Science at a young age furthered his interests in the field of biology, and degree projects involved the use of bioinformatics tools for predicting the secondary structures, and trans-membrane regions of proteins, which allowed him to apply his passion for technology in biomedicine.

When not managing the audio or lighting for amatuer theatre productions, he regularly shares ideas and posts related to his interests on Google+.

Introducing our new slate of editors

Here’s the slate of editors that will be offering their expert recommendations, selecting the best posts in their favorite fields of study. Each editor will choose 4 to 5 posts a week from among the hundreds we collect each day, making it easier for you to find the best posts on ScienceSeeker. You can also follow their picks on Twitter.

Sarah Chow
When not busy in the lab measuring the thermodynamic properties of the reaction between a molecule called cAMP and the Pacemaker protein, Sarah Chow spends a lot of her nights tweeting, blogging and—her newest endeavor—podcasting for Experimental Podcast and video blogging on her website. On Saturday nights, you can find Sarah putting girl guides and boy scouts to sleep as the leader in charge of the sleep over program at Science World British Columbia.

To keep her sanity, she runs for miles in the beautiful trails of Vancouver. She will be making her picks in anthropology, biology, chemistry, ecology / conservation, health, medicine, and philosophy.

Matthew Francis
Matthew Francis is a science writer and speaker specializing in physics, astronomy, and related fields. He is a former college professor, ex-planetarium director, occasional musician, and frequent wearer of jaunty hats. He blogs about science and science communication at Galileo’s Pendulum; he is also the physics and math editor at Double X Science and freelance physics/astronomy writer for Ars Technica. His writing has appeared at Wired Science, the Scientific American Guest Blog, Culture of Science, and the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast. Matthew will be making his picks in astronomy and physics.

Cristy Gelling
Cristy Gelling is a postdoctoral cell biologist at the University of Pittsburgh working on the human genetic disease alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency using her favorite domesticated organism, bakers’ yeast. She writes articles for Bitesize Bio that she hopes are useful for other lab rats, she blogs about science and her last days in the lab at The Blobologist, and when she’s feeling motivated she harasses her friends in Pittsburgh into writing about science at Steel City Science. She’s either from Australia or from New Zealand, depending on who’s asking the question. She will be selecting posts on biology, chemistry, and academic life.

Jason Goldman
Jason Goldman is a doctoral student and avid blogger and editor. He blogs at Thoughtful Animal, has served as Psychology and Neuroscience Editor for Research Blogging, and was editor of The Open Laboratory 2010. He will be selecting posts on psychology and neuroscience.

Mark Hahnel
Mark Hahnel is a stem cell biologist and geneticist who is the force behind Science 3.0. He’s currently helping with the development of ScienceSeeker, and he is Project Manager for Figshare. He’ll be making his editor’s picks in biology and genetics.

Peter Krautzberger
Peter Krautzberger studied mathematics in Munich and Berlin and recently spent two years at the University of Michigan as a DFG postdoctoral fellow. He founded mathblogging.org, the math copy-cat of scienceblogging.org, as well boolesrings.org, a network of academic homepages using wordpress. He will be making his picks in the field of mathematics.

Andrew Watt
Andrew Watt is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne where he is investigating diagnostic measures for Alzheimer’s disease, and a few other neurodegenerative conditions. He has a background in genetics and psychology and has even dabbled in documentary film-making, although that was quite some time ago now.

For many years Andrew has had a, some would say unhealthy, fascination with the human brain. And in an effort to share his fascination he created A Hippo on Campus, a blog where he investigates contemporary research from the fields of neuropsychology, neurobiology, and beyond. He’ll be making his editor’s picks in medicine, neuroscience, and psychology.

Allie Wilkinson
Allie Wilkinson is a freelance science writer and multimedia specialist with a background in environmental studies and conservation biology. She also founded This Is What A Scientist Looks Like, an ongoing community photo project to challenge the stereotypical perception of a scientist. You can follow her on her blog Oh, For the Love of Science! and Twitter. Allie will be making her editor’s picks on biology, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, evolution, marine biology, and geosciences.

Introducing… New features and new editors!

Today ScienceSeeker is launching a fleet of new features that we think will make ScienceSeeker your go-to site for everything about science online.

To see all the new features, you may need to clear the cache on your browser. Here’s what you’ll see:

Expert Recommendations. Most importantly, we have seven new editors who will be helping you find the very best items from the hundreds collected by ScienceSeeker every day. You can check out the most recent Editor’s Picks in the right sidebar of the main page, and by checking the “Editor’s Picks” box in our new Filters section, you can see only the posts that have been recommended by our editors.

Flexible Filters. Speaking of filters, the new Filters feature in the left sidebar will help you narrow down the massive list of items in our feed. If you only want to see posts about Physics, or citing peer-reviewed sources, here’s the place to look. More importantly, you can combine the filters, and generate your own RSS feed. Maybe you just want to see Editor’s Picks on Biology, Astrophysics, and Medicine. Now you can, and you can view them on-screen or have them delivered to your preferred RSS reader.

Make your Own Suggestions. Our editors will be selecting fantastic items from the ScienceSeeker feed, but you don’t have to listen to just them. You can add your own voice to the mix with your own recommendations. Registered users can login, then click on the star next to any entry to recommend it. You can leave a note explaining why you like the post, and soon we’ll have a way for your notes to be automatically posted to social media sites.

Better Photos. ScienceSeeker now not only collects entries and articles from scientists and science writers, it also displays photos picked by our editors. A new slide show on our main page shows the week’s best images in science.

Cite your Sources. If you’re a writer or a blogger, you can now use our “Generate Citation” tool to create references to peer-reviewed journal articles. The code created by our site can be pasted into your blog and is recognized by ScienceSeeker, ResearchBlogging, Zotero, EndNote, and many other services. If you already have an account at ResearchBlogging, you can create a citation here and have it recognized by both ResearchBlogging and ScienceSeeker (And as before, we’ll continue to recognize citations created in ResearchBlogging).

We’d love to hear what you think of these new features—as well as your ideas for new ones. Let us know in the comments section below!

ScienceSeeker Seeks Science-Savvy Editors

ScienceSeeker is now one year old, and we’ve made some great strides in the past year. But in the next year, we’re planning even more. We’re about to get a whole lot more interactive, and we need people manage all that interactivity.

With over 900 blogs and hundreds of posts indexed each day, ScienceSeeker can sometimes be rather overwhelming. To help visitors sort through all that information, we’ll be relying both on our readers and specialized volunteer editors. We expect this new functionality to be ready within a few weeks, so to prepare for it, we need to sign up editors now.

The primary job of the new editors will be to share their favorite ScienceSeeker posts. They’ll select five posts a week from blogs covering their areas of expertise, and readers will be able to view those posts on our site or subscribe to a feed of just the recommended posts. We expect this to take just a few minutes each day.

Qualifications:

  • An active online presence on a blog and / or social networking sites like Twitter, Google+, and FaceBook
  • We don’t require that our editors have PhDs, but the candidates we select will have demonstrated expertise via their blogging or other publication record.
  • Enthusiasm for science

If you’re interested in the job, please email dsmunger@gmail.com with a paragraph or two about why you would like to be an editor, and provide a link to 2 or 3 of your own online posts about science that you feel are especially good. Link your social media feeds and other relevant sites, if any. You may attach or link to a curriculum vitae.

Editors will be permanently listed on ScienceSeeker.org, so this position will make a great addition to your CV. We will select the new editors by February 1, 2012.

18 Jan 2012: Updated to indicate the editorships are volunteer positions.

Share ScienceSeeker with our new badges

If you like ScienceSeeker, I hope you’ll add one of these badges to your blog. It’s a great way to let your readers know about ScienceSeeker, which, in turn, should point more readers your way. To use the badges, just copy the code beneath the badge you like best and paste it into your blog’s sidebar (for most blogs, using a “text” widget will work fine).

I'm on ScienceSeeker-DNA

<a href="http://scienceseeker.org/"><img src="http://scienceseeker.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/sciseekdna.gif" alt="I&#039;m on ScienceSeeker-DNA" title="sciseekdna" width="146" height="44" /></a>

I'm on ScienceSeeker-Microscope

<a href="http://scienceseeker.org/"><img src="http://scienceseeker.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/sciseekmicro.gif" alt="I&#039;m on ScienceSeeker-Microscope" title="sciseekmicro" width="146" height="44" /></a>

I'm on ScienceSeeker-Telescope

<a href="http://scienceseeker.org"><img src="http://scienceseeker.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/sciseekscope.gif" alt="I&#039;m on ScienceSeeker-Telescope" title="sciseekscope" width="146" height="44" /></a>

If you have any other ideas for badges, or other ways you’d like to share ScienceSeeker with your readers, let us know in the comments.