Characterization of an open access medical news platform readership during the COVID-19 pandemic

Abstract:  Background:

There now exists many alternatives to direct journal access, such as podcasts, blogs, and news sites for physicians and the general public to stay up-to-date with medical literature. Currently however, there is a scarcity of literature that investigates these readership characteristics of open access medical news sites and how they may have shifted with coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19).

Objective:

The current study aimed to employ readership and survey data to characterize open access medical news readership trends in relation to COVID-19 in addition to overall readership trends regarding pandemic related information delivery.

Methods:

Anonymous aggregate readership data was obtained from 2 Minute Medicine® (www.2minutemedicine.com), an open-access, physician-run medical news organization that has published over 8000 original physician-written text and visual summaries of new medical research since 2013. In this retrospective observational study, the average article views, actions (defined as the sum of views, shares, and outbound link clicks), read times, and bounce rate (probability to leave a page in <30s) were compared between COVID-19 articles published between January 1 to May 31, 2020 (N = 40) to non-COVID-19 articles (N = 145) published in the same time period. A voluntary survey was also sent to subscribed 2 Minute Medicine readers to further characterize readership demographics and preferences scored by Likert Scale.

Results:

COVID-19 articles had significantly more median views than non-COVID-19 articles (296 vs. 110, U = 748.5, P < 0.001). There were no differences in average read times or bounce rate. Non-COVID-19 had more median actions than COVID-19 articles (2.9 vs. 2.5, U = 2070.5, P < 0.05). On a Likert scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree), survey data revealed that 66% (78/119) of readers Agreed or Strongly Agreed that they preferred staying up to date with emerging literature surrounding COVID-19 using sources such as 2 Minute Medicine versus direct journal access. A greater proportion of survey takers also indicated open access news sources to be one of their primary means of staying informed (71.7%) than direct journal article access (50.8%). A lesser proportion of readers indicated reading one or less full length medical study following introduction to 2 Minute Medicine compared to prior (16.9% vs. 31.8%, P < 0.05).

Conclusions:

There is a significantly increased readership in one open-access medical literature platform during the pandemic, reinforcing that open-access physician-written sources of medical news represent an important alternative to direct journal access for readers to stay up to date with medical literature.

CRL and East View Release Open Access Imperial Russian Newspapers | CRL

“CRL and East View Information Services have opened the first release of content for Imperial Russian Newspapers

(link is external), the fourth Open Access collection of titles digitized under the Global Press Archive (GPA) CRL Charter Alliance. This collection adds to the growing body of Open Access material available in the Global Press Archive by virtue of support from CRL members and other participating institutions.

The Imperial Russian Newspapers(link is external) collection, with a preliminary release of 230,000 pages, spans the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries and will include core titles from Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as regional newspapers across the vast Russian Empire. Central and regional “gubernskie vedomosti” will be complemented by a selection of private newspapers emerging after the Crimean War in 1855, a number of which grew to be influential….”

CRL and East View Release Open Access Imperial Russian Newspapers | CRL

“CRL and East View Information Services have opened the first release of content for Imperial Russian Newspapers

(link is external), the fourth Open Access collection of titles digitized under the Global Press Archive (GPA) CRL Charter Alliance. This collection adds to the growing body of Open Access material available in the Global Press Archive by virtue of support from CRL members and other participating institutions.

The Imperial Russian Newspapers(link is external) collection, with a preliminary release of 230,000 pages, spans the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries and will include core titles from Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as regional newspapers across the vast Russian Empire. Central and regional “gubernskie vedomosti” will be complemented by a selection of private newspapers emerging after the Crimean War in 1855, a number of which grew to be influential….”

Paywalls, Newsletters, and the New Echo Chamber | WIRED

If the paywall sites are going to attract more consumers, and provide them safe harbor from the free-news vortex, then Radcliffe says they’ll need to make a better case for why it’s worth the money. That means letting people know the actual cost of producing journalism, and what’s at risk if you don’t financially support it. Otherwise, big publications will only serve a minority of the population, small publications will struggle to survive, and people who have grown accustomed to free news will continue to seek it out, even if it ends up not really being news at all.

MLA 2021 Session on “Towards Sustainability for Digital Archives and Projects” | SHARP

[This is the abstract for just one of seven presentations.]

Abstract:  Over the last decade, the digital humanities community has become increasingly concerned with the ongoing sustainability of digital projects. This anxiety stems in part from the realization that not all digital humanities projects have identical expectations of longevity. Several prominent works in the literature, such as Bethany Nowviskie and Dot Porter’s “Graceful Degradation Survey Findings: How Do We Manage Digital Humanities Projects through Times of Transition and Decline?” (2010) and Geoffrey Rockwell et al.’s “Burying Dead Projects: Depositing the Globalization Compendium” (2014), have been central to this intellectual exchange about the benefits of creating sustainability plans for projects that do not necessarily assume a default permanence, but that instead proactively consider each project’s most suitable longevity strategy.

 

With this realization has come a concomitant expectation: each digital humanities project must create its own customized sustainability plan, designed with its particular requirements in mind. And yet, few digital humanists have access to direct training on the process of creating and implementing professional-grade digital preservation and sustainability practices for their own work. To support the process of designing and implementing digital sustainability plans for this work, a team of scholars housed in the Visual Media Workshop at the University of Pittsburgh has created the Socio-Technical Sustainability Roadmap (STSR; http://sustainingdh.net). The STSR is a structured, process-oriented workshop, inspired by design thinking and collaborative learning approaches. This workshop, which may be implemented in a variety of institutional contexts, guides project stakeholders through the practice of creating effective, iterative, ongoing digital sustainability strategies that address the needs of both social and technological infrastructures. It is founded on the fundamental assumption that, for sustainability practices to be successful, project leaders must keep the changing, socially-contingent nature of both their project and their working environment(s) consistently in mind as they initiate, maintain, and support their own work. For this panel, we contextualize and describe the STSR, and provide reflections based on our experiences facilitating Sustaining DH: An NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities.

FOSS wins again: Free and Open Source Communities comes through on 19th Century Newspapers (and Books and Periodicals…) – Internet Archive Blogs

“I have never been more encouraged and thankful to Free and Open Source communities. Three months ago I posted a request for help with OCR’ing and processing 19th Century Newspapers and we got soooo many offers to help.  Thank you, that was heart warming and concretely helpful– already based on these suggestions we are changing over our OCR and PDF software completely to FOSS, making big improvements, and building partnerships with FOSS developers in companies, universities, and as individuals that will propel the Internet Archive to have much better digitized texts.  I am so grateful, thank you.   So encouraging.

I posted a plea for help on the Internet Archive blog: Can You Help us Make the 19th Century Searchable? and we got many social media offers and over 50 comments the post– maybe a record response rate.   

We are already changing over our OCR to Tesseract/OCRopus and leveraging many PDF libraries to create compressed, accessible, and archival PDFs….”

Ideas for a Extending Open Review to the Use of Scientific Literature in News Media | Generation Research

“The authors of the following preprint ‘Open Science Saves Lives’ will hold a ‘Ask me anything’ #AMA session on Reddit next week – 08:00 am Eastern Time (GMT-4:00) on the 11th November.

Open pad for asking questions on the topic of extending review to news media to help use of science in news.

The paper raises the question that preprints are misused by the news media. In response to this question this document is to collect questions around the idea of extending open peer review to the use of science in news media in general….”

Humtank Prize 2020 to the Royal Library – Humtank

From Google’s English:  “Society needs humanistic knowledge. The humanities need to reach out to society. Therefore, for the sixth year in a row, the think tank Humtank awards the Humtank Prize to academics or institutions that have made a meritorious contribution to important humanities perspectives in society. This year’s winner is the Royal Library, and this is the motivation:

 

The Royal Library (KB) has, by opening up its entire digitized newspaper archive on the internet during the corona pandemic, paved the way into the future. In a time marked by copyright and commercial tunnel events, KB gave everyone the opportunity to explore almost 400 years of Swedish news reporting and history – regardless of where they are in the country. A temporary copyright agreement meant that the entire archive could only be accessed freely for a few months, but through the initiative, the library has opened a wide window, which no researcher or good citizen wants to see closed anymore. In a far-sighted and meritorious way, KB has thus shown a genuinely digitized future, where history is free and accessible for everyone to explore.”

Isle of Man online newspaper archive to remain free permanently – BBC News

“A subscription service to view the items, which date from 1792 to 1960, was temporarily suspended by Manx National Heritage (MNH) during the Covid-19 lockdown in April.

More than 30,000 pages were viewed that month.

A recent survey showed strong support for access to remain free.

The collection, which can be accessed through the iMuseum, contains more than 400,000 pages of newsprint….

Gaynor Haxby of MNH, said the digital collection had been “exceptionally popular” with people from “across the world”, including America, South Africa and Australia.

There were more than 10,600 visits to the website in April, up from 766 in March, she added.

There are now plans to digitise more contemporary newspapers, subject to fundraising for the £270,000 project….”

 

The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free ? Current Affairs

“But let us also notice something: the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New Republic, New York, Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and the London Times all have paywalls. Breitbart, Fox News, the Daily Wire, the Federalist, the Washington Examiner, InfoWars: free! …”