Science Intelligence and InfoPros

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Archive for June 2011

Pharma on the Web: pressures and failures

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An excellent article: pressure of Big Pharmas on FaceBook and globally, a failure of ads on the web.

The pharmaceutical industry is new to advertising (…) but it’s even farther behind when it comes to the Web. Despite people turning online in droves to find medical information, pharma marketers are hamstrung by federal regulations, and frustration is setting in. (…)

These sites claim that after convening on these issues in 2009, the FDA has been disturbingly silent on this issue, which has caused brands to resist embracing the medium. (…)

 “Pharma is online, but not to the extent it could be. The Internet is really a failure for pharma ads.” (…)

 But an even more pressing issue — … — is social media. According to the current federal standards, drug brands are obligated to respond to each and every comment a user makes about one of its products, whether within a community forum, along side an add on or a social site. And with so many content sites now infused with social functionality, the problem has become exacerbated, say industry veterans.

As a result, (…) some brands like Pfizer chose to disable comments on its Facebook page.

 This issue is of such importance that in the past two months executives from both Pfizer and Merck met with Facebook to explore whether those brands might be able to monitor comments before they are posted on the site — something Facebook officials are not crazy about, per sources.

 (…) The FDA had promised some sort of revised official guidelines on advertising in social media for pharma brands by Q1 of this year (…). But (it) still waiting. (…)

 Until those guidances are indeed issued, the industry has to do some guessing, … , which doesn’t exactly encourage big spending. (…)

 But the biggest drawback to pharma advertising is the social factor, which increasingly pops its head up everywhere, requiring brands to watch everything a user utters about their drug. (…)

 Some pharma brands just simply need to become more comfortable with risk (…)

 2011 is really a make or break year for pharma on the Web. Either sit out or take steps…

 Shields, Mike. Pharma’s stuck in Web’s waiting room. DIGIDAY, Online: Posted on 27th of June, 2011.

To confirm that FaceBook will not play the Big Pharma’s game:

“Facebook, the ubiquitous social media platform, recently announced that, as of August 15, 2011, pharmaceutical companies will be unable to disable the comment feature on their pages, and all pre-existing pages for pharmaceutical brand companies will be required to allow comments on their pages after August 15

Written by hbasset

June 29, 2011 at 8:01 pm

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Google Health is over!

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The official Google blog announces that they’re going to retire Google Health.

The goal was to create a service that would give people access to their personal health and wellness information.

“Now, with a few years of experience, we’ve observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would. There has been adoption among certain groups of users like tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and more recently fitness and wellness enthusiasts. But we haven’t found a way to translate that limited usage into widespread adoption in the daily health routines of millions of people. That’s why we’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue the Google Health service. We’ll continue to operate the Google Health site as usual through January 1, 2012, and we’ll provide an ongoing way for people to download their health data for an additional year beyond that, through January 1, 2013. Any data that remains in Google Health after that point will be permanently deleted”




Written by hbasset

June 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm

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Measure your Twitter impact

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Great idea to audit our own Twitter account to know exactly what is the ratio spent time / real impact…

Chris Brogan gives some tips:

Quick Twitter Audit

  1.  Look at your last 20 tweets. How many were @ replies? How many were retweets of other people’s work?
  2. Are the tweets you hope will be retweeted under 120 characters so people can retweet them?
  3. Of the people you follow, how many are “influential” in some way, how many are potentially good for referrals, how many are just celebrities?
  4. How often are you tweeting? Is less more? Is more more? Are you burying your good stuff?
  5. How are you feedingTwitter? What are you giving your audience to consume? Do you share interesting articles? Do you point out your lunch du jour? What’s the plan?
  6. Are you autotweeting your post titles? Is that bringing you lots of response?
  7. Have you checked the click-through stats on your short links? For instance, if you use, take the URL of anything you’ve posted, copy it to a browser bar, and add a +, like this: “” , and you’ll see the stats. How are you doing?
  8. How many folks are you gaining a day? Not that this matters greatly, but it sometimes gives you a sense of whether someone’s into what you’re saying.

Brogan, Chris. Take a Twitter audit, Online, posted on 15th of June 2011. 


Written by hbasset

June 22, 2011 at 7:38 pm

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Science blogs: good or bad?

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The Internet is saturated with blogs on any topic imaginable. Even within the narrower subset of science blogs the amount of information is vast, and for readers it can seem that there are too many blogs to keep track of. (…)
The casual and self-regulatory nature of blogging has benefits and pitfalls for the science world. Blogs are simple to start, and easy to publish, but in order to be successful they require much more. Blogs require that invaluable resource of time. Time to produce high quality material, time to interact with the readers, time to learn the technology and web design in order to make sure the blog is appealing. The question becomes, do the benefits outweigh the cost? (…)
The blogosphere is a large community; however, bloggers with similar interests and audience bases are often connected in multiple ways. Blogs create a space where connections can be made easily and instantly through hyperlinks. (…)
Blogs are a low-cost way for anyone to publish information and make it available to a global audience. Science blogs are an alternative way for people to explore and learn about the latest trends and research. However, the potential of science blogs is overshadowed by the numerous other blogs which disseminate false or misleading information. The reader must be able to judge on their own the reliability of the blogs they read. (…)
Blogging improves science outreach by allowing authors, from graduate students to tenured professionals, to more directly and more rapidly interact with their peers and the rest of the population. Increasing communication channels through tools such as blogs builds a knowledge base that allows world-wide collaboration and active participation by the scientists, and ensures continual, immediate criticism of science research by both readers and writers.

Laksamee Putnam. The changing role of blogs in science information dissemination. ISTL, Spring 2011.

Written by hbasset

June 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm

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Rapid growth for Open Access publishing

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The results show a very rapid growth of OA publishing during the period of 1993-2009.

In 2009 an estimated 191,000 articles were published in 4,769 OA journals.

Since the year 2000, the average annual growth rate has been 18 percent for the number of OA journals and 30 percent for the number of OA articles. This can be contrasted to the reported 3.5 percent yearly increase in the total number of peer reviewed journals. It was estimated that in 2009, articles in OA journals reached 7.7 percent of all peer reviewed journal articles.

Since the web emerged in the mid 1990s, scientists have dreamed of having the whole body of scientific peer reviewed literature freely accessible on it, openly available without any hindrance. Slowly but steadily OA to peer reviewed journal articles has increased.

This could be due to the emergence of over 6,000 OA journals; pressure from research funders such as the NIH; and a growing awareness among scholars of the advantages of publishing in OA journals. A number of specialised OA publishers such as the PLoS, BioMed Central and Hindawi have entered the market and more traditional publishers have also begun to offer OA alternatives.

The full article, “The Development of Open Access Journal Publishing from 1993 to 2009”, is available online at

Written by hbasset

June 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm

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Ebooks: Scientists prefer the PDF format

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Ebooks survey, Indiana University, departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 81 respondents, 2011.

Some findings:

  • E-books and print will coexist for a long time in the foreseeable future
  • The first reason to use ebook is availability 24/7
  • The first concern, the difficulty to read
  • Preferred format is PDF
  • Critical features: ability to print, full-text search
  • Preferred vendors: Wiley, Springer, Elsevier

Zhang, Y. & Beckman, R. E-book usage among Chemist, Biochemists and Biologists: Findings of a survey and Interviews. ISTL, Spring 2011. Online:

Written by hbasset

June 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm

STM Publishers: The economic crisis is away now

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The world’s largest pub-lishers have begun growing again after weathering the global recession over the past three years, with -Pearson once again emerging as top dog. (…)

Pearson leads the pack as the world’s largest book publisher..
The London-based group is hotly pursued on the list by professional and STM publishers Reed Elsevier, ThomsonReuters, and Wolters Kluwer, each of whom now has sales well above their 2008 levels. (…)

Among the 10 largest groups, professional and STM publishing is the largest sector, with 43% of the total revenues…

Written by hbasset

June 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm