Monday, September 21, 2009

Learning all the time

Benny ... in the immortal words of Benny Hill.

Already my postgraduate scientific writing project (PSWP) is throwing up new insights, some of which I can blog about, some of which I can only tell you face to face if you buy me some sort of beverage ;-)

The first insight is how strongly wedded most research scientists are to pdfs. They love 'em. Of course, I knew that already, but I've never thought deeply about how to adapt my strategy to incorporate this. I'm not keen on pdfs (neither is Josie ;-) but I'm going to have to work with researchers pdofilia.

This has practical implications beyond my decision to use email and MSWord for this project (which are generating a more enthusiastic response than any attempt to use an online project management site such as or a wiki). Although CiteULike handles pdfs perfectly well, reference managers which are perceived of as more pdf-based will certainly be more popular with researchers. Mendeley springs to mind, but the best example is Papers, which hits all the right buttons. With it's iTunes-like interface, it allows researchers to squirrel pdfs away and ablates any possibility of sharing. The winning stroke however it that while CiteULike and Mendeley are free - you have to pay for Papers. Scientists love that - "proves" it must be better.

New insight... into myself and my colleagues. Scientists are weird. I wonder if I still am one?