Thursday, 26 September 2013

Perspectives from the EMBO meeting

I was at the EMBO meeting in Amsterdam earlier this week, with a poster about Europe PMC.

Before I get onto that, three brief observations from the conference:

1. The plenary lecture was by Kai Simons, of lipid raft fame. Professor Simons gave a fascinating history of the development of this area of research. Having left the bench, I was interested to hear about new scientific advances at the conference, and particularly in this research area, as during my first post-doc job, I assisted a more senior colleague in preparing membrane fractions upon which to perform further research into amyloid-beta peptides involved in Alzheimer's disease.

2. The conference was very hi-tech and eco-friendly: conference books were not printed unless specifically requested. Instead there was a conference App, that helped you to navigate the conference and keep your notes in order!

3. There were some great freebies from the exhibitors: beautiful 3D apple-shaped notebooks, iPad cleaning cloths, stickers and tea bags! The Europe PMC pens were generally a popular, if unimaginative, choice. I had run out by the end of the conference although one scientist refused a pen and told me 'I don't use pens any more'. I will have to modernise the Europe PMC offerings!

The Europe PMC poster covered three broad themes:

1. An introduction to Europe PMC. In essence that a single search in Europe PMC covers all of PubMed, a further 500,000 materials science abstracts from Agricola, 5 million biological patents, and 2.6 million Europe PMC full text articles, among others.

2. That a single click takes you directly from a mention of a gene/protein, disease, Gene Ontology term, organism, Accession number or chemical in a reasearch article to the relevant database, be that UniProt, ENA, InerPro, PDB, IntAct, ChEMBL, ChEBI or ArrayExpress. Accession numbers are a special case as they represent specific data citations, in a similar vein to article citations within an article. You can now create RSS feeds to receive alerts of data citations. More is described in this earlier post on this blog.

3. That Europe PMC provides various programmatic routes to access all of the publications and related information in the database. These can all be accessed via the resources menu on Europe PMC and you can read more about some of them in posts from this blog: about the RESTful web service (articles), the SOAP web service, and the RESTful web service (grant data).

View of Amsterdam: Shutterstock 105440600

And to finish, since I appear to be writing in lists of three, what did I find to do in the evenings and after the conference finished in Amsterdam?!

1. A canal boat trip
2. The Anne Frank Museum
3. Het Grachtenhuis | The Museum of the Amsterdam Canals

Monday, 16 September 2013

How to weigh up claims about cures and treatments

Europe PMC is delighted to be involved with

"I've got nothing to lose by trying it"

- a guide by charity Sense about Science and partners that enables non-specialists to evaluate claims about treatments for medical conditions.

Online adverts and chat-room conversations testify to the ‘incredible’ benefits of new medicines and treatments selling the empty promise of curing the incurable. But the evidence for many treatment claims is unreliable and patients’ yearning for improvement is being exploited.

The second edition of this successful guide explains how to tell the beneficial from the bogus in the face of the miracle cure stories, new wonder-drugs and breakthrough therapies that are increasingly promoted - and points people to where they can find reliable information.

Check it out for yourself here!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Science Engagement Internship available

Science Engagement Intern – Europe PubMed Central
Salary is £16,049 per annum, pro rata for the duration of the internship
Full Time (36 hours per week over normal business hours)
Temporary Internship for up to 6 months
St Pancras, London
This is an exciting opportunity to help deliver a successful international science-writing competition.
We are seeking a keen biomedical sciences graduate to join the science team at The British Library as an Engagement Intern to support the delivery of the international science-writing competition, Access to Understanding. The competition is a joint venture between Europe PubMed Central and The British Library. The post will report directly to the Europe PMC Engagement Manager.
You will support the Engagement Manager in planning, development and delivery of key aspects of the competition. You will research and develop promotional materials for the competition including a programme booklet for the awards ceremony, and support a promotional campaign in print and online. You will manage administration of competition entries to enable accurate and meaningful reporting on competition outcomes. You will be involved in planning the competition awards ceremony, a prestigious event held in The British Library’s conference facility. You will also provide support to other events that the science team is involved in delivering.

 The judging panel at the awards ceremony for Access to Understanding 2013,
held in March at the British Library

The successful candidate will be proficient in the use of Microsoft Office, particularly Excel. You will have good interpersonal and communication skills and a demonstrated ability to take on, and effectively deliver, a wide range of tasks with an emphasis on attention to detail. Relevant experience in promoting public understanding of science with an appreciation of the challenges involved would be a distinct advantage.
Applicants should note that the internship is for up to the period specified and does not lead to a permanent position with The British Library. The internship cannot continue beyond 30th April 2014.
For further information and to apply, please visit quoting vacancy ref: COL00018
Closing Date: 15 September 2013
Interview date: 30 September 2013
Start Date: Ideally 4 November 2013