Monthly Archives: October 2010

Findings increasingly novel, scientists say…

…was the tongue-in-cheek title of an image that I posted to Twitpic this week. It shows the usage of the word “novel” in PubMed article titles over time. As someone correctly pointed out at FriendFeed, it needs to be corrected for total publications per year.

It was inspired by a couple of items that caught my attention. First, a question at BioStar with the self-explanatory title Locations of plots of quantities of publicly available biological data. Second, an item at FriendFeed musing on the (over?) use of the word “insight” in scientific publications.

I’m sure that quite recently, I’ve read a letter to a journal which analysed the use of phrases such as “novel insights” in articles over time, but it’s currently eluding my search skills. So here’s my simple roll-your-own approach, using a little Ruby and R.
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BioStar users update: using mechanize to fetch user IP addresses

In my previous post I outlined a clumsy, manual method to retrieve user IP addresses from BioStar, using Javascript. Jukka left a helpful comment, explaining how to send an authentication cookie to a website. So, we’re now in a position to automate the fetching of user IP addresses.
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