Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting is working on a post aggregation system.

The idea is that you add a icon to your literature review posts and have them show up in a directory of literature posts. Being a clicque-ish but rather non-techy group, the bloggers at are no doubt going to jump all over this, but have they really thought about how it’s going to scale?

It’s important when designing a system like this to show that you’ve considered how your system will interface with existing aggregation systems, such as Technorati tags or Scintilla. It’s just like writing a paper. You have to discuss relevant existing work in the introduction so that people know you’re a part of the research community and have done due diligence to ensure that you aren’t making claims that have been previously refuted and so that you can address contemporary questions in the field. If you’re a newcomer to an area, you wouldn’t publish an answer to some problem without putting your work in context of work done by other members in the field, would you?

I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea. On the contrary, I think it’s a fantastic idea, but I just don’t have any information about the the people involved, and as far as I can tell from their blog, they just assumed no existing solutions were available and decided to do something themselves.

Further evidence that this isn’t a fully-baked solution is that there’s no mention of utilizing metadata such as COinS to describe citations.

It seems to me like it would be easier to just tag your post with “BPR3” or something sufficiently unique and let Technorati aggregate it, but I can’t say for sure because there’s no explanation of exactly how their aggregation system works. Since they require you to hotlink to the badges on their site(which, unfortunately, was down for around an hour today), I’m assuming that they’re just filtering their referrer logs.

I imagine this will just end up as yet another aggregator of posts, which is of some value, no matter how well it’s done, if only it filters out all the political blather from the likes of PZ, Mike, and Nick.

7 thoughts on “Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting is working on a post aggregation system.

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  3. I’ve nothing against political activism, and in fact I think your organized and connected way of doing things really helps. It’s just that, well, you’re always going to have political dicussions in any forum, be it a bulletin board, blog, or bar, because everyone has an opinion about politics, but I feel that too much politics dilutes the voice of a blog. You’re a notable exception, because you’ve been about politics from the start, but PZ hasn’t, and neither has Mike, yet they’ve completely gone almost completely political at the expense of science, and I think that’s kinda unfortunate.

    I also have a tendency to go off on a political tangent, and the way I deal with it is to keep it on its own blog.

  4. Tricky this, because there isn’t a way to say whether an embedded COinS element is for the current page or the page being reviewed.

    One easy way to add semantics to a review is to link to the paper like normal and add rev=”review” to the attributes of the ‘a’ element. Postgenomic uses this to identify reviews of papers:

    There doesn’t yet seem to be anything uniquely machine-readable about the BPR3 marks, so I can’t see a way to aggregate them so far.

  5. Thanks for the comments, Alf. I pointed them towards scintilla as soon as I heard about their project, in the hopes they would talk to you and hear from one of the experts on the pitfalls associated with what they were doing.

    I should remember to identify my literature review posts as you indicated above. I knew you had written about this in the past, I just couldn’t find it when I went looking.

    What they told me they’re going to be doing(they haven’t started yet, so that’s why you don’t see anything), in the email they sent me, is parsing the COinS tags out of RSS feeds. They’ll be providing a COinS generator form and apparently expect people to fill out the generator form and then paste the tags for reviewed articles in their posts. This means that both COinS for the current post and COinS for reviewed articles will both be picked up, but AFAIK they aren’t expecting to find COinS referencing anything but reviewed articles, and for 90% of the blogs in their system this probably will be true. They’ll just have to make an exception for those of use not on I kinda like being an edge case, anyways.

    I’m guessing the idea here is just to get sciencebloggers, even the ones who’ve never typed an angle bracket in their whole life, to start including machine readable citation data in their posts. There are more extensible ways of doing this, and I think they’re aware of those, but are just trying to hack together something relatively novice-friendly that writers at will be able to use and that can help readers cut through the chatter a little.

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