22 July 2014

Updating, updating, and updating some more

I’ve had four papers published in the last seven days.

I’m pretty sure this is a record for me. Three came out as part of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology symposium collection I co-organized with Kelly Weisnersmith (two papers open access), and the fourth is a short note about a crab that has been seen further south than ever before (full paper on DoctorZen.net!).

The publication of that last paper, however, robbed me of about half a day. Of course, I tweeted and posted about it. Until it came out yesterday, I did not know the publication details, like the volume, page numbers, and DOI. I started updating my information. That meant typing in information for...

  1. My CV.
  2. My own website, DoctorZen.net.
  3. ImpactStory.
  4. ORCID.
  5. Academia.edu
  6. ResearchGate.
  7. Mendeley.
  8. My institution’s “digital measures” website.
  9. Update: Doh! I forgot Google Scholar!

ImpactStory had far and away the simplest process: paste in a DOI. This, to me, is exactly how is should be. Because it is a unique identifier, a DOI should be everything needed to get information about a paper, like authors, the journal it was published in, etc.

I also learned that ImpactStory will automatically import projects listed in ORCID. Meanwhile, many publishers will be collecting ORCID information as part of the submission and publication process, presumably allowing profiles to be updated automatically when new papers come out.

The remaining websites all had many boxes and somewhat clunky interfaces. Academia.edu and ResearchGate require you to enter data over multiple screens.

By far the worst was – perhaps not surprisingly – my institution’s digital measures website. These sorts of “enterprise” software packages always seem to end up being barely functional, butt ugly to look at, and a pain in the butt to use. Instead of a single field (DOI), it has about 24 separate data fields. The exact number depends on how many authors you have to enter (click to enlarge). This makes me glad I don’t publish in large groups where the number of authors can run into double digits.

It asks for a lot of strange information, like institutional “themes” and “city of journal / publisher.”

And this one screen is only for publications! There are similar screens for our presentations, committee work, teaching, and so on. I have no doubt they are probably as complicated, if not more so.

Despite my whinging about the amount of duplication, I don’t think I can just walk away from these sorts of sites. I know I get people who find my stuff from those sites, so I think it is useful to have a presence on them.

Photo by Marcin Wichary on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.

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