What’s with Faculty of 1000?

Faculty of 1000 is a paid subscription service that attempts to curate the vast scientific literature by having experts (presumably 1000 of them?) write blurbs for papers they think are noteworthy. I’ve used it a few time when trying to find a journal club paper. I can see its utility for getting a sense of what’s interesting outside your own field.

I was wondering if having a paper listed on F1000 is seen as a plus. I’ve seen it on others’ CVs, so I put it on mine as well. Is that douchey? No idea. Pretty much everything about self-promotion feels douchey and triggers Impostor Syndrome for me, so it’s hard to tell.

I was also wondering if F1000 helps with the visibility of a paper, so I looked at the page view / downloads by day for the one paper of mine listed on F1000.

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So, judging from this, pretty much everyone who had even a passing interest in the paper probably saw it before F1000 recommended it, and F1000 did not give it any additional boost. Maybe there is a delayed/prolonged effect to F1000. Or maybe if someone who already read it saw it again on F1000, they would be subtly manipulated into raising their opinion of it. I have no idea. The takeaway in my specific case is that F1000, though it may be useful for those browsing the literature (its primary purpose), isn’t that much of a value-add from an author’s perspective of reaching a wider audience.

So putting it on your CV basically is saying “one person who F1000 deemed a leader in their field thought that this was interesting.” Kinda faint praise. From my perspective, I was happy it was listed by someone outside my immediate field, which means it was interesting to at least one person who does not do exactly what I do. During the review process, the one reviewer who was clearly outside my sub-field thought the paper was shit and said so at great length and in terms bordering on the personal. Based on this, I was anxious that the attitude from the broader field would be dismissive. So n=2 and a split decision, at least.

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One Comment on “What’s with Faculty of 1000?”

  1. funkdoctorx says:

    I recently had the opportunity to add a line to my CV by becoming an “associate F1000 member”. If you don’t publish an evaluation about every month or so, the F1000 editors hound you until you do. Even if you haven’t found a paper deemed to be truly worthy of an F1000 evaluation, something less stellar will get written up so the editors stop hounding you. That doesn’t mean you evaluate rubbish, but that something marginally cool that you had the chance to read in the last month will likely be sufficient…

    This isn’t to say your paper wasn’t earth shattering, just that, overall, there are some serious flaws with using F1000 evaluations as a marker for hot shiznit…


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