The Rice University-based
International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON), an international, multi-stakeholder
organization based at Rice University, has introduced an interactive feature
to its Virtual Journal of Nanotechnology Environment, Health and Safety (VJ-NanoEHS)
that allows users to post ratings and comments about technical papers archived
at the site.
The five-star rating system, which was developed with extensive input from
interested stakeholders, provides registered users an opportunity to acknowledge
the publications that best exemplify good research practice and effective communication.
A survey of potential contributors found that as the pace of nano-EHS publication
rapidly increases, some VJ followers believe a rating system would help the
highest-quality work to be identified. That will allow such work to serve as
a model to others moving into the field and to better inform the public dialogue
over nanotechnology's risks and benefits.
When viewing the abstract of a paper archived in the VJ-NanoEHS, users now
have an option to mark the paper with a rating from one to five stars as well
as post a comment explaining their rating. Among the factors to consider when
rating a paper are considerations of materials characterization, dose metrics
and clarity of explanation.
With the introduction of this new feature, ICON continues to extend the utility
of its comprehensive database on nano-safety. Other features include a customized
search function and an analysis tool that allows users to track research trends
The ICON Virtual Journal is freely available at icon.rice.edu/virtualjournal.cfm.