Sometimes you can do things for others that you can’t do for yourself.

A bit of a strange one today.

I received an email just before instructing me that my subscription to a complimentary service has expired. Apparently I had received a two week free trial to DiabetesPro; a free service to health professionals who “need to keep current with what’s happening”. Needless to say I’d never heard of it.

So I trawled back through my emails and it turns out the American Diabetes Association have developed a mobile app to keep you up to date with the latest going on in Diabetes. I assume it’s for medics, but I signed up regardless. Why wouldn’t I?..

“So, you cares?” I hear you asking.

I don’t know, why did you follow the link here in the first place. Don’t hold accountable for your actions!

Oh, wait, I guess I should as I invited you. The point of this was to write about how often I actually use these services. So as well as DiabetesPro, I get updates from the Endocrine, Biochemical and Physiological Societies, PracticeUpdate, Diabetes UK and for some reason the latest in Stem Cell Research and Immunology from Bio-Techne.

I am also on the mailing list for the Lipids MAPS conference, so I receive updates about their conferences, and Keystone Symposia.

A quick look through my Twitter tells me that I follow over 20 accounts dedicated to updating me (and others I assume…) about the latest developments in various topics. That doesn’t even include journals that I follow, or scientists that I know constantly post their latest papers.

A post from Nature summarised some data about whether or not Twitter buzz leads to more citations, and it doesn’t! Interestingly sharing on Mendeley is apparently closer, and as you know, I love me some Mendeley. Apparently, it’s because sharing and analysing things amongst scientists is better than letting the general public have a go at it. Which makes sense really, considering how little some chumps know.

Somewhat crazily in 2012, 20% of biomedical articles were tweeted at least once, and that’s going up, so I assume by the time I get my babies out, I’ll be falling behind if I don’t post it. Who am I kidding, I’ll be posting my Ryan et als like they’re going out of fashion!

Which they might well possibly be considering no-one cares about phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate.

Which brings me onto my next thing. I get updated from Google Scholar every time one of my papers get cited. Unfortunately, as I’ve recently changed my research area (for the second time) I don’t have much to do with the inositol lipids anymore, I tend not to even read those papers. Rude I know.

Similarly, Researchgate lets me know when my papers have been cited, but more importantly it lets me know when people I follow publish more papers. This is useful as I follow my collaborators, competitors and friends a distant third.

I guess there’s also LinkedIn. Look how well I kept a straight face. Get over yourself LinkedIn, you’re dumb.

So, do I use any of these? The Endocrine Society’s “Daily Briefing” is great. The biggest benefit is that it often links to a simply written article. If you want to read the actual papers it clearly supplies references, but other than that a few paragraphs summing up the study is ideal.

Similarly, PracticeUpdate sums up a lot of studies. You know those people who constantly have multiple tabs open on multiple web browsers? Yeah that’s me. And it’s almost definitely PracticeUpdate’s fault. I open at least a tab a day, aiming to read them later, but I rarely get it done.

I have never cited a paper I’ve found on Twitter. I think it’s because when I’m trying to write a paper I don’t generally check Twitter. (I’m a Facebook nerd, not just a better person than you.) I also tend to read papers I find interesting, and not necessarily for their science. Show me a paper about a bunch of nonsense and I’ll probably read that and share it. Even if my friend shares one of their papers I don’t think I’ve ever shared it.

“Why wouldn’t you help your friends?” you scream, somewhat obtusely. Firstly, I’ve just told you it doesn’t help, but I will from now on though! Especially on Mendeley.


Today’s quote is from A.M. Homes.


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