Connecting Evidence to Action. The next wave of PubTrawlr improvements

Spread the science

This morning, we added three new features to our quick search. But first, let’s talk about why we did it.

Premise One

We want to make science more approachable. To do so, we must remove as many roadblocks to interacting with the primary articles in which the discoveries are reported. Part of PubTrawlr’s goal is to encourage future exploration.

I mean seriously, the titular Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is Wikipedia.

This inspirational part is super important to me. I have memories as a child of just flipping through an encyclopedia page by page skimming and reading. The best volume was Sp-Sz (though the Space Exploration articles got out of date really fast).

Fast forward a few decades, and I think we’re all family with the Wikipedia wormhole. This is where you click from article to article, following interesting thoughts as they occur. It’s a great way to explore a topic.

We’re not Wikipedia, but recognize Wikipedia as one of the great gifts to 21st-century civilization. So, what we’ve done is engineered direct descriptions of Wikipedia text as an introductory section for your search term.

So, for a search on climate change, you get this description back from Wikipedia’s metadata.

Excerpt from our search on climate change.

This block of text won’t appear all of the time. Complex searches don’t translate well to direct articles (but we’re working on it), but it will help you set the stage for what you’re about to read.

Premise Two

People need to know what to do with the information. Basically, the now what? There are a few evidence-based repositories out there and we are going to start to incorporate these more into the results, where appropriate.

So, we’re built upon the work of our friends at Community Commons to bring together a bunch of vetted, community-based resources on a number of problems. Not everything is going to show up here, but a surprisingly large number of topics will. You’ll be able to follow up with a curated list of resources that may guide you to specific actions and strategies.

Premise Three

Maybe this is the most or least important? We’ve recently been more and more influenced by the Open Science movement. It clearly aligns with our goals and our mission.

So, all of our quick searches are now under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

What this means is that you can use and remix the results from PubTrawlr. Do you want to put these figures in a report or in a grant application, or share them on social media, or cut and paste and send them to a loved one?

You can and should. And we’ll have plenty to say about open science in the coming weeks and months.

And one more thing!

Don’t forget our 101 Days of Science Project! We can litter give you hours back in your life? Feel like going for a run? Or baking a cake with your kids? Or heading to the nursery to get some new flowers for the spring.

We can give you that time while keeping you current with the literature. Check out our post on 101 Days of Equity below, and let us know what you want to see us roll up next!

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