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 over time.
The ICON Virtual Journal is freely available at icon.rice.edu/virtualjournal.cfm.