Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Put on a happy face

I recently discovered PubMed Faceoff - an application that assigns something called Chernoff Faces to different publications. Euan Adie on the Nature Network provided the link, and a much better explanation than I'm capable of, so go and check out the original post if you're interested in the details!



Screw the details, all I wanted to do was play with this fun new toy, so I searched for my own papers. The programme assigns facial features to various aspects of the publication - for example, the age of the face corresponds to the age of the paper, and bigger smiles mean more citations compared to the expected number. The gender and race are usually assigned randomly, as in the examples below, although you can standardise them so that the other features stand out more.



Here's my best paper (38 actual citations compared to 16 expected - it was in PNAS!)


And here's my worst (only cited 6 times when 13 citations were expected)



Hey, that last one reminds me of something. What could it possibly be?

Oh, now I remember.



(Explanation at Mad Hatter's place).

I wonder if we could use the same code to assign faces to our Euro 2008 pool results. Okham will be looking a little happier in today's version.

But not much.

14 comments:

  1. OK, now I know what Britney Spears must feel when she sees pictures of herself all over blogosphere... CAE, trying to increase blog readership by posting pics of handsome guys is so beneath yourself...

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  2. That's hilarious! It could only find three of my papers--two of them had smiley faces, and the other one looked like your worst paper. :-(

    No real correlation between citation and journal for me, though. My best and worst papers were in the same field-specific decent journal.

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  3. CAE, trying to increase blog readership by posting pics of handsome guys is so beneath yourself...

    Wait...which of the Chernoff faces did you think was handsome? :P

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  4. Wait...which of the Chernoff faces did you think was handsome? :P

    Hey, thinking like a true physicist I have to ask: are all virologists so mean ?

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  5. Well, you know, viruses are pretty resistant to insults and sarcasm, so we virologists have to really develop our skill in those areas in order to show those viruses who's in charge.

    Actually, you have an n = 2 here: CAE's also a virologist! :-)

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  6. You know, I am really beginning to like 'em viruses (virii ?)...

    Actually, you have an n = 2 here: CAE's also a virologist! :-)

    No comment (under gag order -- don't want to be scolded by other virologists). I shall only say that, if n=1 is already pretty good evidence, n=2 is almost definitive...

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  7. Okham, oh come on, once I saw what that sad Chernoff face looked like, I couldn't resist! And I wasn't really a proper virologist like MH, more of a molecular biologist studying non-infectious viruses! Did you know that 8% of your DNA is derived from retroviruses?

    Mad Hatter, my absolute worst paper (from my PhD days) didn't show up at all, it was probably too sad of a face for the computer to cope with...

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  8. I'm beginning to think that I need to learn more about this "football." Not so much for the sport, but because the trash talk is just too much fun.

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  9. Arduous--Trust me, you don't need to know much. And besides, knowing a lot about football doesn't necessarily correlate with success in the pool...as has been brilliantly demonstrated by Okham here! :-) [ducks for cover]

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  10. Arduous--Trust me, you don't need to know much.

    Arduous, I agree -- you need not know any football, you just need to be mean (or a virologist, whichever comes first)

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  11. The trash talk is way more important than the actual games!

    We seem to all have reverted back to the age of 10:

    "girls are mean!"
    "boys suck!"

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  12. BTW Okham, your photo has generated more comments (from mean girls, and Arduous) than Trevor Linden's.

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  13. BTW Okham, your photo has generated more comments (from mean girls, and Arduous) than Trevor Linden's.

    Hmmm... I am sorry, CAE, I am not getting your point here... do you find the above "surprising" ? I mean, if you had matched me up with, say, Fernando Pisani, or Dwayne Roloson, then I could get some competition but... Linden ? come on...

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  14. Dude, come over here and say that!

    I will adapt an old Alan Shearer / Newcastle joke for you.

    What's the fastest way to get to the Vancouver General Hospital?

    Walk into a bar on Granville Street and shout "Trevor Linden sucks!"

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