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I can now announce the first closed beta testing phase of an RSS reader intended for scientists. So far, we have something like a Feedly clone with a few extras built in, such as collecting the most tweeted articles of the last 24h, some rudimentary ability to sort/filter either feeds or groups of feeds. It’s not a whole lot, yet, so keep your expectations low 🙂 We’re just getting started.

One of the goals of the project is to make this feed reader modular, such that each user can write their own sort/filter/discover algorithm to be plugged into the reader anywhere.

Another goal is to use social technology to allow for following the reading habits of scientists working in relevant fields, à la “readers who have read this article, have also read this one”.

The functionalities we’re thinking of go beyond simple keyword filtering/sorting, however. A long-term goal is to have the reader learn from what we click on, save or recommend and suggest relevant literature from that. For instance,one could think of a selection of feeds from topically highly relevant journals (sel1) and another selection of journals with possibly relevant journal feeds (sel2). The reader would learn from what you click, save and recommend on in sel1, to pick likely relevant content out of sel2 for you.

Again, at the core of the reader is an open architecture that allows the reader to grow with its user base. Scientists are a highly trained and analytical bunch with, collectively, more than enough expertise to come up with a modern information system, that picks the most relevant articles from the roughly 2 million papers published every year. The exponential growth and spectacular success of R is testament to this potential.

So, if you’re interested in contributing to this project by joining a group of about 25 closed beta testers, please email me at bjoern@brembs.net and I will send you instructions on how to join the test. Obviously, if you’d like to contribute by coding, by all means do also let me know!

Posted on  at 14:17