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BiomedExperts: An Alternative Way to Search The Literature

BiomedExperts: An Alternative Way to Search The Literature

If you have ever looked closely at Pubmed, you might have noticed that it’s not easy to search for all publications by a single author, to see everything that your collaborator has published or to see what the top people in your field are publishing.

Pubmed just isn’t set up to allow you to focus on individual authors. Try typing “Smith J[AU]” into Pubmed and you’ll see that! Publications from every John (or Jane or whatever) Smith are mashed together and it impossible to tell who’s who.

But BiomedExperts, a service set up by a German company called Celloxis, solves this problem and allows you to search the literature in a whole new way.

How BiomedExperts Works

The approach that Celoxis used to create BiomedExperts is simple (apart from the maths).  They used custom made algorithms to “mine” every article ever placed on Pubmed, pulling out authors, subject keywords and institutions. Then they put it all back together from the authors down to make a profile for every single author that lists all of their publications, their collaborators, the subject areas they work in and the places where they have worked.

And they use a very clever technology (another algorithm) that creates a “fingerprint” of each author’s keywords, places and years of work to tease apart individual authors who have the same name. So the John Smith who works on 14-3-3 proteins can be distinguished from the one who works in bioinformatics.

The Power of the Profile

The individual user profiles are invaluable if you want to comprehensively look at the work of one eminment scientist in your field (or someone you want to interview). The profile immediately lets you see the subject areas the person has worked in, all of their publications and the places in which they have worked. Good stuff.

As an example, below is a snapshot of the profile of Francis Crick… can’t quite remember what he worked on – something to do with DNA I think.

biomedexperts1

Making and Navigating Author Networks

But that is just the beginning because those individual profiles are then linked together into networks that gives the user endless ways to trawl through the literature. For example, clicking on DNA in Francis Crick’s profile gives a list of all authors who have the same keyword in their profile. Choosing the “collaborators” button shows everyone who Crick published with in his career and the “network view” (see image below) pulls up a diagram of all of Crick’s collaborators.

biomedexperts2

Clicking on an author name from any of these views pulls up the individual author profile, from which that author’s publications can be accessed. This makes Biomedexperts a very powerful alternative literature searching tool that allows you to get a comprehensive overview of the work done by individuals in specific fields, who the big hitters in a field are and who they are working with. I have been using it for the last few months and have found it very useful.

Your own profile

If you have published in Pubmed then your profile will probably (occassionally it makes mistakes) be on BiomedExperts waiting for you to claim it. You can sign up, verify that your publication list is correct and add your contact details so that others can get in touch.

7 Comments

  1. Sapinder on August 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    very helpful….gonna use it
    Thanks

  2. Michael on November 15, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    If authors do not appear in the list, which is true for several of my young colleagues, there is no way to correct. As an example, one of my coworkers has 9 PubMed authorships in 2009. Her first-authored papers even appear in “my” listing with her name, but not in the authors list – funny.
    There should be a field for adding authors or at least the possibility to request addition by e-mail.

  3. Labslink.com on October 27, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    BME site is wonderful. LabsLink also seeks to facilitate the exchange or collaboration of the research knowledge and technology among the world’s scientists to achieve individual and collective success on the world stage.

  4. CC on August 13, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Hi, Have you tried the author search in the advanced search of PubMed. It has a nifty auto-fill like feature. And if you couple this search with another limit such as author affiliation, you should be on the right track. It’s free, not perfect.

  5. Kurt on August 13, 2009 at 4:57 am

    A similar, but simpler algorithm is Author-ity:

    http://128.248.65.210/cgi-bin/arrowsmith_uic/author_rank.cgi

    It only looks at the content of the abstract

  6. JC on August 12, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    The BME website violates one of the cardinal rules of webdesign… you don’t make people register first just to test out the webpage! I’m disinclined to go through the pain of registering and waiting for the email confirmation just so I can test out someone’s site. Presumably BME is out to make money, which requires getting people to actually use their site. Forcing me to register makes me much less interested in bothering to check out whatever BME might be able to do for me.

    See #1: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/23/10-ui-design-patterns-you-should-be-paying-attention-to/

    • Nick on August 12, 2009 at 10:12 pm

      Hi JC

      I understand what you are saying. It is off-putting to have to sign up.

      I suppose it is a judgment call on BME’s behalf. They absolutely need people to sign up for their service as it adds a lot of value, and will help them make money as you mentioned, so they opt to force a signup before you test the goods. Wanting to make money is no bad thing as far as I see – they have presumably paid out a lot of money to develop a very useful service

      The downside for them is that the forced signup will put a great number of people off signing up at all, which is a shame.

      But if it helps, I heartily recommend making the effort to sign up. This is very useful stuff and I have not received a single piece of spam from them ever.

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