Swipe right for science: Papr app is ‘Tinder for preprints’

Source: Nature

Inspired by the dating app Tinder, which asks users to ‘swipe right’ across their screens to approve prospective matches, an app called Papr is inviting scientists to swipe to rate life-sciences preprints. And like other recommendation algorithms, Papr also promises to learn from researchers’ choices so that it can supply them with preprints they’ll like.

“It’s relatively simple, but it seems to work pretty well,” says Nick Strayer, a PhD student in biostatistics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He and fellow Vanderbilt biostatistician Lucy D’Agostino McGowan added the swipe function and the recommender engine to Papr after a simpler version of the app was launched in October 2016 by Jeff Leek, a biostatistician at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.

The swipe functionality makes Papr “way more interesting”, says Leek in a blogpost. Users see abstracts from bioRxiv preprints, and can swipe their screens in four directions to rate them: right if the manuscript seems ‘exciting and probable’; up for ‘exciting and questionable’, down for ‘boring and probable’ and left for ‘boring and questionable’. (On a desktop, users drag with their mouse.)



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