Nature Publishing to Close Bookmark Site Connotea

February 7, 2013 | Volume 4, Number 4

The proliferation of innovative social media tools for scientists and researchers has prompted Boston-based Nature Publishing Group (NPG) to close Connotea, one of the pioneering services in this space.

“When we launched Connotea back in 2004, there were no social media tools for scientists, and social bookmarking was a fairly nascent service. Fast-forward to 2013, and scientists now have a wealth of choices for social bookmarking,” NPG’s head of corporate communications, Grace Baynes, wrote in a blog post.

Baynes wrote that Connotea, like many social media services, has suffered growing problems with spam, and associated service outages.

“This isn’t the level of service and reliability that we wish to provide for our users, and we have concluded that the research community is better served by dedicated social bookmarking services,” she wrote.

Scientific content is widely bookmarked on Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit as well as mainstream social media destinations such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. There are also multiple tools designed specifically for researchers and scientists, including ReadCube, CiteULike and Papers.

Labtiva, the company behind ReadCube, is a Digital Science portfolio company (NPG and Digital Science are both part of Macmillan Science and Education). ReadCube is a free service and offers storage, annotation and sharing tools for scientific documents.

In November, NPG and Labtiva opened to the public a pilot of the ReadCube Access program for single-click purchases and two-day rentals of journal articles.

“We wanted to make research in all journals readily accessible, which meant finding a practical way to reduce the price,” says Labtiva founder Robert McGrath. “ReadCube Access evolved as a way to read those articles immediately and inexpensively.”

Articles read by clicking the ReadCube Access icon on pages cost between $5 and $11, compared to the $32 pay-per-view fee. A 48-hour rental costs between $3 and $5.

Connotea will close on March 13, 2013. Users are being prompted to export their bookmarks to an alternative service. NPG is providing a Connotea Export Tool to help users with the transition. ■

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