On a new publishing model

*UPDATE 2: We have a winner!*


Twitter, what is it good for? Hunh.

There’s been rather an interesting couple of posts over at the Scholarly Kitchen, recently. What am I saying? They’re all interesting. Anyway, Kent Anderson says that blogs are for fogies and David Crotty talks about ‘talking’ vs ‘doing’. Elsewhere on Nature Network we’re re-visiting the meme of why do we blog anyway (to which I’m not going to contribute, myself having decided to do rather than talk about). You can look up the links yourself if you can be bothered.

Anyway, in the middle of a rather long and involved conversation, someone made a throwaway comment on David Crotty’s post. Then I thought it might be fun to see if I could write a scientific paper in 140 characters.

"Clned gene _cancer_. KO in Ms. Ms dead. Cure cancer."

But why stop there? Here’s a challenge for you.

Your task is to re-write a scientific paper, a real, peer-reviewed and published one, in 140 characters. Twitter it with the hashtag #sci140 so we can track them (OK, so that’s 7 characters you’ve just lost but no one said it would be easy). You can do this as many times as you like, as many papers as you like, and it would be nice if they were your own, but they don’t have to be. I’ll see if I can get some f1000 swag for what I deem to be the best entry.

Go for it.

Crossposted at f1000.

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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33 Responses to On a new publishing model

  1. Richard Wintle says:

    Not published yet, but this is what I’ve been working on recently (131 including spaces, I don’t do hashtags or Twitter though, as you know):
    Used density clustering to estimate genomic copy number. Acceptable FDR on simulated data. Worked like a charm on real cohort data.

  2. Lou Woodley says:

    We need an anthology! And then we can play “guess the paper” at our pub meets…

  3. Richard P. Grant says:

    I think we might have to publish them at Solo10!

  4. Richard Wintle says:

    X-ray data, physical models consistent with two-stranded structure. Implications for biological replication. DNA’s a double helix!
    I’ll leave it up to the reader to guess this one.

  5. Stephen Curry says:

    to which I’m not going to contribute, myself having decided to do rather than talk about
    Ooh – hark at ‘im!
    I have decided to do wap, wap.
    Now, back to my paper…

  6. Richard P. Grant says:

    There was already a better one than that, Richard; sorry!
    Hello Stephen. I think you must have had a late night. Want an aspirin?

  7. Richard Wintle says:

    Heh. Reading Twitter gives me a headache, but I really liked this one:
    dabaum77: #sci140 Human genome busted up, pieces sequenced by many people, put back into order, and published in Nature. 1st draft book of life.

  8. Richard P. Grant says:

    That’s pretty neat!

  9. Eva Amsen says:

    It wasn’t throwaway. Rest of comment in e-mail for my own sake.

  10. Heather Etchevers says:

    This is fun. But sheesh, Richard, I sometimes have trouble getting a title into 132 characters.
    We’ll be (re)submitting this one this week: Islet-1 transcription factor is a major orchestrator of morphogenetic signalling pathways in the embryonic human heart.
    Do we need an action verb in there?
    And does that count as “already published data” now? (Yikes.)

  11. Richard P. Grant says:

    Hee. Maybe you should work on genes with sensible names?
    I was thinking more of describing the work rather than just the conclusion. But yeah, whatever works. It’s a fun exercise.

  12. Maxine Clarke says:

    Funny! As I mentioned over at Scholarly Kitchen, we journal editors have been doing this for long before Twitter was thought of – in our one-sentence summaries of the papers we publish on the tables of contents and email alerts. Just saying…. nothing new under the Sun, etc.

  13. Richard P. Grant says:

    hahah. No, exactly. But what I was trying to do was get people to summarize the work as well as the message.
    There’s some splendid ones there, and I’ll collate a batch of them tomorrow. My current faves are the Michelson–Morley and the Gallileo ones, but I won’t get time to sift through and find them until tomorrow. Although Richard W’s one (the first comment in this post) is pretty nifty for a ‘current’ science one.

  14. Richard Wintle says:

    Still trying…
    Donis-Keller and 37 co-authors made a map of the human genome, with restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Glad it wasn’t me.

  15. Richard P. Grant says:


  16. Nathaniel Marshall says:

    Reminds me of Harvard’s Improbable Research nano-lectures. 7 words or less.
    The best one I can remember off the top of my head is about the human genome project.
    “Bought the book. Hard to Read.”

  17. Bora Zivkovic says:

    OK, tweeted a bunch of my own… let’s analyze the patterns later. What do people stress, what do they omit? Does it work? For whom?

  18. Richard P. Grant says:

    ah, just responded to yours and @mcshanahan’s tweet. I’ll collate stuff tomorrow and then we can look at patterns. Perhaps we can write a paper… in 140 chars?

  19. Richard Wintle says:

    Glad you enjoyed that, Richard.
    @Nathaniel – I also like the “complete technical description in 24 seconds or less” part of those.

  20. Nathaniel Marshall says:

    Wintle- I beleive that’s the microlecture.
    Richard- I saw your doppelganger this morning near the University. In your case it should be doppelranger, though. Even had an akubra…
    Sorry. But I’ll not be attempting any scientific twitterature though.

  21. Richard P. Grant says:

    You saw William Shatner at USyd?

  22. Richard P. Grant says:

    All entries until 10.24 UTC Wednesday are at f1000. The competition will run until Monday.

  23. Richard Wintle says:

    Just curious – did you use some automated script/bot feature to dump all those tweets into your f1000 comments, or was it a painful cut’n paste job?

  24. Richard P. Grant says:

    I copied them all from the twitter search and then stripped out the unnecessaries, part crippled-regex (did I tell you how much I hate Windows?) part manually. So nowhere near as painful as you might imagine.

  25. Nathaniel Marshall says:

    Are you talking Shatner ca. 19670’s Star Trek TV series or Shatner ca. Boston Legal?
    Either way, you’re kidding yourself.

  26. Richard P. Grant says:

    The first, and SRSLY. Did you not see Facebook last week?

  27. Cath Ennis says:

    I finally thought of one (I liked the song titles one better).
    “Rang bell, fed dogs. Rang bell again, dogs drooled. NO FOOD FOR YOU! BAD DOG! (heh heh. Stoopid dogs).”

  28. Richard P. Grant says:

    You are Eddie Izzard and I claim my cat.

  29. Cath Ennis says:

    Huh? What? Was that from an Eddie Izzard sketch? I honestly haven’t seen that one… the idea came to me when I bought a tuna sandwich for lunch and soon afterwards found myself craving salt and vinegar crisps. “Must be some kind of Pavlovian response”, I thought, because I usually have salt and vinegar crisps with tuna sandwiches.
    I aint giving you one of my cats! Hands off!

  30. Richard P. Grant says:

    Mmm. Salt & vinegar crisps and tuna sandwiches. Combined with the pictures of rare steak my sister is posting on Facebook, I’m suddenly very hungry.

  31. Alejandro Correa says:

    What are the photos. Should not be working?

  32. Richard P. Grant says:

    No, AC. I’m having my tea, now.

  33. Richard P. Grant says:

    We have a winner!

Comments are closed.