Performance of the websites hosted on Topaz has increased over the last two weeks with a variety of patches ported to the production servers. We still have an outstanding memory problem that requires a restart of the Topaz applications three times a day (these restarts usually occur around midnight, 8am and 4pm with a duration of less than 10 minutes). I feel that we’re close to diagnosing the memory problem which is the last performance hurdle.
Archives for March 2008
K.T. Vaughan, a Pharmacy Librarian from UNC and Harvard graduate, is the 1000th member of the PLoS Facebook group (we're up to 1007 members in about a year) and we're delighted to have her on board. I've been messaging her through the group to find out more about her daily life and why she supports PLoS.
Last week, Andrew Hyde and I were lucky enough to attend a discussion entitled, “Hold the front page: Science and the embargo," on the role and value of embargoes in science journalism, held by Stempra (The science, technology, engineering and medicine public relations association), an organisation which connects people from across the spectrum of science communication and runs a varied calendar of events.
The end of February saw the publication of a package of papers in PLoS ONE and PLoS Biology describing the findings of a Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UC San Diego research expedition to the remote Line Islands of the Central Pacific. The Academic Editor of the two PLoS ONE articles, Niyaz Ahmed, has posted comments on both papers but here is an extract from his commentary on one of the articles, Baselines and Degradation of Coral Reefs in the Northern Line Islands, and on the package as a whole.
A great example of a PLoS ONE paper, which has benefited from the post-publication features of the TOPAZ publishing platform, is the article, Small-Bodied Humans from Palau, Micronesia, in which Lee Berger and colleagues describe the fossils of small-bodied humans found in two rock caves on the Micronesian island of Palau.
Continuing the trend for a prominent PLoS press presence (my favourite new tongue-twister), PLoS ONE enjoyed yet another week of great news coverage last week, with four papers generating a large number of news articles and blog posts. It’s been another week of contrasts, from Antarctic fish to Arctic fires, and from memory in moths to cocktail chatter; and this is just a small selection of the 42 papers published last Wednesday. The only surprise was that not many journalists, apart from the Times of India, picked up the paper by Dale et al. in which the researchers used the Wiimote to measure participants’ arm movements in learning tasks.
Last week we had the interesting experience of watching how a PLoS Medicine meta-analysis of anti-depressant drug trials generated a furore in the media. It featured on the front page of four UK national newspapers (the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent and the Times), was the leading item on the BBC News and prompted stories in Time, the Wall Street Journal and the Economist.
The paper not only posed questions about the benefits of antidepressants, it revealed how many clinical trial results do not see the light of day. But whilst the issues relating to it continue to be debated – a discussion leads the Guardian Science Weekly Podcast this week– some of the headlines in the media maelstrom misrepresented the study.
We’re continuing to experience slowness and intermittent downtime for the websites hosted on Topaz. At this time, the priorities for the IT and Topaz teams are to improve stability of the Topaz applications and increase the performance of the web sites.
PLoS Medicine’s domination of the UK (and worldwide) media last week was always going to be a hard act to follow but a number of the papers published in PLoS ONE this week did rather well in the news and in the blogosphere. From coral to quarrels and from improv to instinct, as usual, PLoS ONE has published some great papers in a wide range of different fields.