Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nature launches another OA resource

Nature has launched Scintilla.  From its about page:

Scintilla collects data from hundreds of news outlets, scientific blogs, journals and databases and then makes it easy for you to organise, share and discover exactly the type of information that you're interested in.

For example, you can keep track of life science podcasts, or the latest papers on schizophrenia, DNA methylation or immunology. Interested in physics blogs? Scintilla can help.

You can rate items and recommend them to any colleagues who've also signed up to the site. You can also create or join groups centered around particular areas of interest (like bioinformatics or open science).

A short tutorial is available if you'd like a little help with getting started....

From the page for content producers:

Scintilla is a new information filtering and personalisation site for scientists. To provide readers with useful, interesting and stimulating information we're including freely-accessible content from as many of the best science bloggers and news sources as possible.

To do this we're aggregating content from RSS/Atom feeds. We would like to assure you that items shown on Scintilla will always be credited to the original site, there'll always be a link back to the item on the original site and if you ever want us to remove your content from our servers then we'll be happy to oblige, though we hope you'll be pleased by the increased readership....

In case anyone's worried about losing advertising revenue, there's a solution to that too (more details will be available soon). In your user profile on Scintilla, you can claim a blog as your own and enter an Google AdSense ID. From then on, whenever an item from your site is displayed on Scintilla, AdSense ads displayed alongside the item will use your AdSense ID, so click-throughs will be credited to your account, just as if they were displayed on your own site....

From Alf Eaton's post about it on Nature's Nascent blog:

Scintilla is an aggregator —of science weblogs, news stories and publication databases— but it works in a slightly different way from the existing online RSS readers that cover the whole internet. For a start, the sources are manually selected, and only related to science, so there shouldn't be any trouble with spam when searching for stories. Also there's no 'unread items' count, so you don't have to feel like you have lots of reading to catch up on. Browse the site, add sources to your collection, and visit your 'Read' page on Scintilla whenever you're looking for some juicy science stories to read.

The other important feature of Scintilla is ratings and recommendations....These ratings will be analysed alongside everyone else's and used to recommend stories that you might like....

You can also manually recommend stories to other people: either to individual members of your social network, or to groups that you've joined....[I]f your speciality isn't covered then feel free to start up a group and invite your colleagues to join....

A quick note: we sent emails about Scintilla to a selection of bloggers, but it's hard to find contact details for 600 or so weblogs. For everyone we didn't manage to contact directly, please join the mailing list/discussion group and/or send feedback to