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Scientific research news for non-scientists
Thursday, 16th February 2012
Africa S. Hands
Covering science and technology, society and culture, health and medicine, and earth and environment, Futurity aggregates research news and presents it in an appealing lay person-friendly tone. Articles highlight recent scientific discoveries with most of the news articles linking to the original published study.
A Forbes article, written last year, recently resurfaced in my Twitter stream. Jennifer Hagy shared how to be more interesting in 10 easy steps. Suggestions include: go exploring, share what you discover, do something (anything!), leave your comfort zone to do something new, and the like.
The website Futurity pairs nicely with the suggestions to explore and share what you discover. Started in 2009, Futurity features “latest discoveries in all fields from scientists at the top universities in the US, UK, Canada and Australia”. Covering science and technology, society and culture, health and medicine, and earth and environment, Futurity aggregates research news and presents it in an appealing lay person-friendly tone.
The consortium of participating institutions includes several University of California campuses, Johns Hopkins University, Rutgers University, University of Southampton and University of Melbourne. Information professionals interested in the research activities of a particular university may search by school of choice with stories categorised by topic area. Instead of searching individual university and university-affiliated research centre websites, users can browse news stories on Futurity. The week’s most discussed stories are featured in a sidebar. Users may leave comments and share using various social media tools. In addition to the website, news stories are available via Twitter, Facebook, and an RSS feed. An eNews alert is also available.
Articles highlight recent scientific discoveries with most of the news articles linking to the original published study. Access to full text, of course, varies from publisher to publisher.
Those wanting to appear more interesting will find detailed accounts of scientific studies usually only available via journal subscriptions. Articles also are useful to information professionals charged with the task of finding funding sources as some of the studies indicate sponsoring organisations and grant sources. For example, a search for “National Science Foundation” results in numerous studies in a variety of disciplines supported by the agency.
Other resources for science news:
By Africa S. Hands
Africa S. Hands is an independent librarian with a focus on helping professionals understand and utilise social media and search engines through one-on-one tutorials and small group workshops. Africa tweets (@africahands) on resources of interest to information and higher education professionals. Her LinkedIn profile may be viewed at:
Africa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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