Friday, 28 February 2014

Vote now for Access to Understanding’s first ever People’s Choice Award

We are pleased to announce the launch of our first ever People’s Choice Award for the Access to Understanding science-writing competition! This award gives you - the public - the opportunity to read our shortlisted entries and have your say.

Our entrants rose to the difficult challenge of writing plain English summaries of research articles (all available from Europe PMC), which cover fascinating cutting-edge science including combining drug therapies to treat cancer, brain scanning to better understand specific function, a new way to assess effectiveness of arthritis treatments, and an analysis of malaria resistance around the world. The People’s Choice award gives a voice to those for whom the summaries have been written and allows us to reward the best.

Read and vote for the 10 shortlisted entries here. Our rigorous judging process has ensured the scientific accuracy of the accounts; what we really want to know is whether you like them!

Image Source: Shutterstock Copyright: bikeriderlondon
The competition will remain open until 12.00 on 24 March 2014, and the winner will be announced that evening at our awards ceremony. You can vote for as many articles as you like, once a day. We encourage you to share any and all comments at any time.

When you have finished reading and voting, don’t forget to tell your family, friends and colleagues. We know these exceptional pieces will be of interest to all!

By Anna Kinsey and Rebecca Withers

To stay up-to-date with Europe PMC news you can also follow us on Twitter @EuropePMC_news

Friday, 21 February 2014

Measuring up the competition

The Access to Understanding science-writing competition 2014 attracted over 260 entrants. As an international competition we were thrilled to receive entries from 14 different countries. This map pinpoints the different cities around the world from which we received entries.

Over 80% of our entrants were from the United Kingdom- with entries coming from as far north as Aberdeen. This map highlights the range of entrants from throughout the nation.

There were nearly 4 times as many PhD students (205) than post-doctoral researchers (57) who entered this year. This is an almost identical proportion to last year’s entrants.

Are women more interested in science communication? The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reported that in 2012/2013 there were nearly equal numbers of males and females who graduated with postgraduate science degrees across the UK (43,455 females and 45,150 males). Our entrants did not reflect this, nor the current issue around women in science positions, as we had more than double the number of female entrants relative to male entrants:

Our entrants also really liked leaving things to the last moment! We received 69% of our entries during the last 24 hours of the competition, and 20% of our entries in the final hour.

The Access to Understanding 2014 winner will be announced at the awards ceremony held at The British Library on 24 March 2014. Book your free ticket online here. Be sure to check back after the ceremony to access the competition programme which will feature the 10 shortlisted entries, our 3 prize winners, these statistics and more!

Stay tuned to the blog for an exciting update about our competition coming soon!

This post is by Rebecca Withers (Science Engagement Intern for Europe PMC).

To stay up-to-date with Europe PMC news you can also follow us on Twitter @EuropePMC_news

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Ever-widening resources at Europe PMC

Our External Links Service means that we link out to free resources that enrich our articles.

We started with links out to data (at Dryad), to full text articles not otherwise available from Europe PMC (at the Bielefeld University Institutional Repository) and to training courses for data resources (by Train online by EBI).

Since launching the service last July we've been joined by even more providers who have set-up links to an ever widening range of useful resources. You can now link directly to:
  • Press releases by the Wellcome Trust press office
  • Full text articles from the HAL-Inserm archive
  • RNA interference (RNAi) phenotypes from Genome RNAi
  • Plain English article summaries
If you're thinking of joining us, I can reassure you that the process is really quite simple. I've provided External Links to the Europe PMC blog so that the award-winning plain English summaries of research articles produced for our Access to Understanding science-writing competition are now linked directly from the articles about which they are written. I don't have any special computing skills beyond the usual day-to-day use of Office and internet and I followed the step-by-step instructions provided - I even felt quite smug about my technical know-how! It only took half-an-hour.

Image source: Shutterstock Copyright: Tonis Pan
Our recently launched new Advanced Search also makes it easier to identify articles with External Links - at the bottom of the page is a specific option to search for named External Links providers.

As always we welcome your feedback, and we would be delighted to hear from you if you want to get involved.

To stay up-to-date with Europe PMC news you can also follow us on Twitter @EuropePMC_news

Friday, 7 February 2014

Europe PMC moves into 3-dimensions

Europe PMC has added protein and chemical structures from Protein Data Bank (PDB) and ChEBI via the BioEntities tab.

There are some amazing examples in this paper, which was a collaboration between scientists in America, the Netherlands and UK:

'Supersite of immune vulnerability on the glycosylated face of HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120'

The paper investigates susceptible target regions on specific HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins, and the abillity to now view protein and chemical structures really helps to visalise this research. 

To have a look for yourself click on the BioEntities tab for the paper, scroll to 'protein structures', 'data citations' or 'chemicals' and then click on ‘View Structure’ link.

It's especially enlightening (and fun!) to rotate and zoom the PDB structures.

Let us know how you get on - as always we're happy to receive feedback so that we can make improvements.

To stay up-to-date with Europe PMC news you can also follow us on Twitter @EuropePMC_news