Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Full-text on Trip

Last year we released our full-text link out feature.  It's a simple concept, instead of linking from Trip to the article abstract on PubMed we link directly to the full-text article that your institution has subscribed to.

It's free and really simple to set-up.  All we need is your institutions link-resolver/base URL.  Knowledge of this is likely to be the preserve of library-folk, so all you need to do is contact the library and ask if they have one. Send it to me ( and we can set you up.  You then need to edit your profile on Trip (easy to do) to let us know you belong to the institution, and when you search you'll see a link to full-text under each primary research article.

So, if you want to make easy access to full-text, contact your library today and join over 330 organisations around the world:

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Evidence-based tweeting

Or possibly more appropriately, evidence-based dissemination of research evidence.

For a while now we have been tweeting new research added to Trip in 8 topic areas, those being:
For each account, we send a topic specific tweet with the title and the corresponding URL of an article recently added to Trip. They have been really successful with over 2,500 followers since the start of the year (with little publicity) and tens of thousands of clicks (on links to the articles).  

In the last month we've been monitoring the activity quite closely to better understand usage.  We have typically been tweeting articles throughout the day at fairly even time intervals and seeing how many clicks we're getting.  Doing so has allowed us to graph the most popular time for people clicking on links, which we have graphed below (click on graph to expand).  The data is based on hour time-periods when we have received more than ten clicks in that hour.

So, there's a clear pattern with the evening (UK time) being the most popular. 

We have used this information to see if we can better focus the tweets we send to coincide with the greater likelihood of being clicked on.  So, this means the following:
  • Weekdays - a tweet between 9-10am then some tweets after 6pm, with a concentration between 8-11pm.
  • Weekends - a tweet around 11am then some tweets after 3pm, with a concentration between 9-11pm.
We've uploaded the tweets for the next 6 days and I will report back to see if this 'evidence-based' targeted tweeting makes any difference!

Thursday, April 03, 2014


We have a manual system for handling synonyms in our search.  This means that if someone searches for IBS we automatically search for irritable bowel syndrome.  I'm currently undertaking a review of these synonyms, a long-winded and problematic process - but well worth doing.  However, I'm stuck and would like people's views (email me via  Currently, we have three separate 'collections' of synonyms:

paediatric, paediatrics, pediatric, pediatrics, infant, children, infants, infancy, child, childhood, kid, kids, preschoolers, childrens, children’s

infant, babies, baby, child

newborn, neonatal, neonate, neonates, newborns, neonatology

There is clear overlap.  But there is a precise answer and a pragmatic one.  In other words, you need to put yourself in the shoes of a searcher.  So, if they search for children and cough is it reasonable to drop in the synonym paediatric ie also search for paediatric and cough?  I think it is.

But, and this gets a bit harder - where is the overlap between newborn with infant and with children?

The easiest solution is to lump the top two 'collections' together and leave the third 'as is'. 

But I'd welcome opinions!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Trip and CPD/CME

I've posted before about Trip's educational merits.  But, in a nutshell, using Trip to help answer clinical questions is undoubtedly educational.

Many health professionals around the globe are required to demonstrate that they are keeping up to date with the latest evidence and the requirements vary widely from country to country.  Trip is very keen to help support this and to date we have two main ways:
  • The timeline, this records all activity on Trip (search terms used, articles viewed) and can be exported for inclusion in educational portfolios
  • Reflective toolbar.  This is little used but allows a user to open a document and answer reflective questions about it.  This is recorded and is exportable.
But, we want to improve our educational support but require help from our users - hence this post.  It has been prompted by me seeing, for a UK-based educational activity, a company offering 1 CPD credit.  The notion is that if an activity takes an hour they get 1 CPD credit.

Might such an approach be useful in Trip?

For every article read do we assign a CPD credit?  Do we also allow, via the timeline, the ability to reflect on an article to gain extra CPD credit?  So, you might read an article and gain 0.5 CPD credits and if you then record your reflections it goes up to 1 CPD.

So, if the above impacts on your professional life please let me know what you think (via  If we get it right it'll be a huge benefit.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Colours and Trip

I have recently received an email from a librarian in Sweden asking about the use of colours in Trip.  Hopefully this post will answer her questions and also prove useful to others.

A small bit of background first: when someone is presented with a list of results the mind attempts to make rapid sense of them; to better understand them.  The mind uses heuristics to minimise the cognitive load, the lighter the load the better for the user.

It is for that reason I introduced a colour coding system in Trip.  While everyone might know that Cochrane, NICE and AHRQ are likely to be higher quality (using secondary review methods) what about other, smaller, lesser known publishers that we include in Trip?  For instance, a user might not have heard of BestBETs and therefore - falsely - relegate the 'worth' of that article.  Similarly, many users might feel that preeminent journals such as NEJM and The Lancet must be high-quality.  However, within Trip we only count these as medium quality as they have only gone through peer-review (itself a highly flawed quality control system).

In other words there is a hierarchy, based on likely quality of article/publisher, within Trip.  Quality is perhaps an over-simplification, it's more robustness and transparency of method (but the two are closely linked).  This hierarchy features heavily in our search algorithm (the technique we use to decide on the order of articles on the results page), which favours higher-quality, secondary review type evidence

In Trip we use the colour system to reflect the quality hierarchy.

In the image above (click to enlarge) you can see two areas where we use colour:
  • On the right-hand side, associated with the refine/filtering system. As you can see next to Evidence-based Synopses, Systematic reviews there are green 'flashes' and as you move down the quality hierarchy the colours change.  At the bottom we have the yellow for eTextbooks.
  • On the left-hand side, associated with each result is a colour flash.  In the top result, it's an AHRQ publication, which has a green flash - indicating that it's likely to be high quality.  Under that are articles from the journals Breast cancer and Anticancer research, both of which are primary research journals.  They have orange flashes as they are controlled trials.
So, the two sides of colours are linked and should help users quickly locate the content that best suits their needs.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Primary research only search in Trip

I thought I would share this tip.

Via twitter I was asked by @AliceMBuchan if it was possible to restrict the results to all the primary research articles.  Currently, we have four separate primary research 'sections':
For secondary research we have a filter that allows a user to select 'All Secondary Evidence' but nothing similar for primary research.  While I'm not sure there is demand for an 'All Primary Research' button I've been able to create a hack.

If you follow this link it shows such a search for prostate cancer.  Simply remove the term prostate cancer from the search and add the search term(s) of interest.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The impact of Trip in 2013

In 2010 I attempted to estimate the impact of Trip, the results can be seen here, but the important point was an estimate that 40.77% of searches improve patient care.  Within that post I discussed why the 40.77% might be too high and why it might be too low - there are good reasons on both sides.

In 2013 Trip was searched 4 millions times.  So, 40.77% = 1,630,800.

Bottom line: in 2013 Trip helped improve patient care over 1.6 million times.

Oh yes, we were also mentioned in over 350 systematic reviews and/or articles (see here).