Friday, December 21, 2012

Review of the year 2012

Nothing happened
The trendy thing this year seems to have been to do a blog advent calendar. As usual, I have no problem resisting the blandishments of fashion, so here is my personal all in one review of the year - well, the tip of the iceberg that I choose to write about publicly.

I'll start with the small scale personal stuff.
I gave ten talks in five countries, joined three national committees and achieved one major award. I started five MOOCs and completed two; the two I completed were useful but not flawless - the others less so. After a welcome break over the past few months I have two more MOOCs coming up soon - based purely on the content rather than exploring platforms.
My three main blogs (Science of the Invisible, MicrobiologyBytes and AoB Blog) all had their busiest years ever. I ticked past a million pageviews on MicrobiologyBytes, a million views on YouTube and two million views on Flickr. In mid August a started an intermittent fasting diet and since then I have lost a stone in weight, taking my BMI from 24.7 to 22.9. My trousers now fall down a lot. It feels like it's been a non-stop year.

Technical Award 2012
My technical award for for the most improved product goes to Google Scholar: "for continued improvement". Google has added a slew of new and important features to Scholar over the course of the year, mostly around citations, but also in terms of increasingly useful literature recommendations. I now oscillate between Scholar and PubMed as my first choice bibliometric tool.

Academic Publishing
The speed of change in academic publishing picked up a gear. I have written more about publishing than any other topic this year. eLife and PeerJ came online. The rise of the Megajournals is unstoppable. Early in the year I experimented with open peer review. I got some stick for that, and I'm currently not sure how to move this forward. Recently I have been looking at Figshare.

My most important personal insight of 2012
Dark social is working for me, but I think the term has been misinterpreted by others. I need to put a more positive spin on it for 2013. If it helps, stop thinking about dark social and think about "contextual". Forget about "push" and think about "just in time". Feel better now?

And 2013?
I'm rather looking forward to 2013. I have personal plans in addition to anticipating significant new institutional commitments. These include both widening and deepening my involvement with professional bodies, and substantial changes to some of my teaching delivery. More about that here early next year.

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