Since the public launch of PaperCritic was announced one and a half months ago, we have been working hard on making the basics of the app as solid as possible. In particular, with the help of some very valuable comments from our first users, we were able to identify and solve the majority of the low-level usability issues of our site, such as being able to access one’s Mendeley library, being able to easily access a list of own reviews, as well as edit and delete these.
As ever, we are not going to sit and wait for something to happen on its own and so will continue improving our app as best we can. Given the number of very encouraging and positive comments about PaperCritic that we received over the better part of the last two months, we would like to take this opportunity to ask our potential users:
Where to next? What features should we add to our site next in order to make it more attractive and usable for everyone?
The following is a list of the features that were already requested (in no particular order). Which of these do you think should be addressed as soon as possible (and which maybe put on hold for now)? Can you think of something essential that is seemingly missing from the list? Do let us know!
- Email subscriptions: Users should be able to subscribe to reviews on papers that interest them (this is already possible via RSS on a paper basis, though not cumulatively). In addition, let users auto-subscribe to the documents from their Mendeley library.
- Pre-publication review: Note that this is actually possible as Mendeley has an “Unpublished work” document type, but it might be useful if unpublished works and their reviews were more explicitly separated from post-publication reviews on the site.
- Trackback system: While we hope that users will take the time to come to PaperCritic to submit their reviews, we also want to be the hub for all mentions about a paper – allowing for bloggers and tweeters out there to send trackbacks to PaperCritic will allow us to aggregate all related content about a paper and become a central repository of public opinion in scientific publishing.
- API: This is probably the most common request for every app nowadays – there should be an API that would allow publication houses, bloggers and others to fetch every review on a given paper via its Mendeley UUID, DOI or similar identificator.
The list can be clearly extended quite a bit, but these seem to be the most relevant points for now. As mentioned above, if you agree/disagree or have alternative suggestions – do let us know! However, I would like to stress out that this post is intentionally only touching on technical features of the site – attracting users and increasing the impact of post-publication reviews will be discussed shortly.