THE Webinar on altmetrics for librarians was yesterday…

#lcwebinar on twitter & is on Elsevier’s Library Connect website. You can see the slides or register for Brighttalk and see the whole presentation.

I enjoyed  my co-presenters’ sessions, from Mike Taylor and Kristi Holmes. Mike gave a great overview of what altmetrics actually are (and are not!) and Kristi put them in the context of considering academic impact and of storing such information about research and researchers.

I am very glad to have been one of the presenters. Yes, it was nerve wracking, especially knowing that it was likely to be the biggest webinar of the Library Connect webinar series, so far. Apparently, over 1700 people registered! And you could watch the number of people logging in increasing, throughout the webinar…it reached 1200, although I confess that I blocked that part of my screen when presenting. Too distracting!

Anyway, even though I was nervous, I was well prepared and I felt very much supported by the Elsevier staff who organised it all (especially Colleen DeLory who chaired the session) and indeed by my fellow speakers. We had previously held a rehearsal in the Brighttalk environment, which helped settle any worries about unfamiliar technology. It was actually a lot easier (and I think better) than presenting at a conference.

Both the rehearsal and an earlier telephone conference call helped to make us presenters feel comfortable with each other and to develop our presentations along complementary though not overlapping lines. I believe that it could not have been co-ordinated better: any more effort would have been too much of a time commitment, and any less would have made it (at the very least) a more stressful experience!

Credit to Elsevier’s Library Connect team: it was a well organised, well promoted event. Very many thanks for inviting me to speak, and for supporting us so well. If you are invited to talk at one of their seminars then don’t be daunted: it’s a very positive experience!

Crowdsourcing in academia and information science

On 29th Oct ’13 I went to a talk on citizen science and crowdsourcing in science and industry at the Humboldt University. A rough translation of the title is “achieve more together”, and it was delivered by Elisa Herrmann, in German. It’s one of the BBK series of seminars on information science themes at Humboldt’s department for information science (some are in German, some in English).

I love the German word “Schwarmintelligenz” for wisdom of the crowd, especially in the context of the German mosquito mapping site that Herrmann gave as an example of a citizen science project!

I’ve been rather remiss in not blogging about this talk sooner, but I believe it’s “better late than never”, and I can point here to some other things on the theme of crowdsourcing that I’ve noticed since then.

Such as…there was a conference on Crowdfunding in the University sector in London on 17th Jan. I wasn’t there, but I notice that it included themes of:

– attitudes to crowdfunding among business angels and venture capitalists;
– which universities have successfully used crowdfunding and for what reasons;
– which platforms are offering turnkey solutions that foster universities with crowdfunding;
– how crowdfunding is being used by organisations like the University of Edinburgh and the RSA
– what crowdfunding has done for student entrepreneurs at universities like Plymouth, Bristol and Bournemouth

The Times Higher Education reported on this event, and some names worth googling from the programme are : Professor Alan Barrell of the University of Cambridge; the UK Crowdfunding Association; CrowdMission; Crowdcure; Microryza; Syndicate Room; Crowdcube; Sponsorcraft; Seedrs; Crowdshed; the UK Business Angels Association; Joe Cox of the University of Portsmouth; and Midven.

Back to the talk at Humboldt, which was not really about crowd funding but focussed more on the citizen science model. Elisa Herrmann explained that the benefits of crowdsourcing can include:

  • a source of investment in terms of cash, expertise or resource,
  • engaging with the public (which would include the alumni mentioned by the crowdfunding conference page)

Herrmann talked through Rose Holley’s tips for crowdsourcing, from D-Lib in 2010:

  • Have a clear goal (the thing)
  • Make the contribution easy & fun, reliable and quick (the system)
  • Know your target group. Acknowledge and reward the contributors. Trust them (the crowd)
  • Offer interesting and new content, in large volume (the content)

Your target group might have their own goals to achieve with your content: can you help them to achieve those, whilst they help you to achieve yours?

Citizen science projects often build a community: making this rich and meaningful will help people to remain engaged with your project.

Howe’s crowdsourcing rules from 2009 were summarised thus:

  • Pick the right model
  • Pick the right crowd
  • Offer the right incentives
  • The community is always right
  • Ask what you can do for the crowd (not only/primarily what they can do for you)

A number of interesting sounding projects were described:

  • (Mosquito atlas of Germany) – citizens become mosquito hunters by collecting culicid mosquitoes, freezing and then sending them to research institutions.
  • ARTigo – play a game to describe images of works of art: score points when your tags match those of others!
  • – where over a million volunteers take part in various science projects.
  • SETI@home – contribute your computer’s power to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, through the analysis of radio telescope data.

All in all, a very interesting talk that made me think more about the potential of this way of working, for academic research.

Webinar on Altmetrics

I’m very pleased to be one of the presenters for the Library Connect Webinar on Altmetrics. We’ve had our first planning meeting and I’m keen to hear the other speakers’ presentations!

It’s on Feb 20th at the end of the European working day, and you can register for free online.