Falk Library Fall Hours

Starting Monday, August 2, Falk Library has expanded our hours, with the Main Desk and Technology Desk available for library visitors.

Library hours:

  • Monday–Thursday: 7 a.m.–midnight
  • Friday: 7 a.m.–10 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11 a.m.–midnight

In addition, the library’s upper floor is fully reopened, providing additional seating and technology options. Research and instruction librarians are onsite to answer questions. HSLS classes will be offered online and in person, and fall classes will soon be listed on the Upcoming HSLS Classes and Events calendar. Continue reading

How Do Predatory Journals End Up in PubMed?

Many of us regularly utilize scholarly databases to locate articles and assume that the journals the content is published in are reputable. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Journals that may have reputability concerns are typically referred to as predatory journals. A 2019 Nature article defines predatory journals as “entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.”

One of the main ways that these journals end up in PubMed is through research funded by various agencies, including NIH. Research that is federally funded comes with certain requirements to make content available to the public. The NIH public access policy requires researchers to submit final peer-reviewed manuscripts to PubMed Central (PMC). However, NIH does not control where articles are published. This means that if federally funded research is published in a predatory journal, that journal will end up in PMC. Since PubMed contains citations from MEDLINE, PMC, and the NCBI Bookshelf, this content can then end up in PubMed itself. Continue reading

The New 2021 Journal Citation Reports

A new version of Journal Citation Reports (JCR) was recently released and includes a brand-new interface, updated Journal Impact Factors (JIF), and other additional content. JCR is a resource that contains different research metrics for journals indexed in the Web of Science, which can be used for evaluating and comparing a journal’s impact.

Search Journal Citation Reports from the homepage
The updated interface of JCR includes a search by journal name, ISSN, eISSN, category, or keyword.

One noteworthy addition to JCR is a new metric called the Journal Citation Indicator (JCI). Unlike the JIF, the JCI is field-normalized and takes into account the differences of citation patterns across all subjects. For example, you can now use the JCI to compare a genetics journal alongside a physics journal, whereas the JIF should still only be used to compare journals within the same subject area. The JCI is also easy to interpret: the baseline impact for all journals is 1. If the JCI for a journal is 2, that journal would be twice as impactful compared to all other journals. A score of below 1 would indicate that the journal is less impactful than other journals. Continue reading

Share Human Variant Data with New NCBI ClinVar API

Do you work with human genetic variants? Have you sought out relevant publications, clinically significant evidence, and/or publicly available data? Are you ready to contribute to the scientific and patient-care community by sharing your own research output?

You likely already know about and use ClinVar, the go-to resource for the clinical genetics community that aggregates information about genomic variation and its relationship to human health. ClinVar recently reached the significant milestone of including 1 million unique variants in its database. Over 1,800 organizations from 82 countries have submitted almost 1.5 million records in ClinVar, including more than 11,000 curated variants from 14 expert panels.

Now it is easier than ever to reciprocate and be a supportive community member by submitting your human genetic variant data using the new ClinVar Submission API. The workflow for submissions is fast and automated, thanks to a RESTful API—a particular architectural style for an application program interface (API) allowing two software programs to communicate with each other to access and use data. Continue reading

Featured Workshop: Graphic Design with Canva

Female executive working over laptop at her deskHSLS offers classes in a wide array of subjects—molecular biology, database searching, bibliographic management, and more! You can quickly view all Upcoming Classes and Events or sign up to receive the weekly Upcoming HSLS Classes and Workshops email.

This month’s featured workshop is Graphic Design with Canva. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, August 10, 2021, from 10-11 a.m.

Register for this virtual workshop*

In this workshop, attendees will be introduced to Canva, a free web-based graphic design platform. Participants will learn how to use Canva to craft attention-getting posters, presentations, social media graphics, and more. Attendees of this workshop will learn how to create an account; find free templates, graphics, and stock photos; upload original images; create graphs; and download or print the finished product. Basic elements of design will also be discussed. This class is perfect for those looking to create aesthetically pleasing graphics for presentations, posters, etc., but who have no formal training in graphic design. Continue reading

HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.

Names in bold are HSLS-affiliated


Members of Data Services are excited to be part of the successful Pitt SEED Grant team for the “Cultivating a Data Science Learning Community” project. This project will address the growing demand for informal data science training across disciplines at Pitt and build the foundation for a sustained learning community. The project will be led by co-PIs Matthew Burton (School of Computing and Information), Gesina Phillips (University Library System), and Melissa Ratajeski, Coordinator of Data Services (Health Sciences Library System), and will include team members from both library systems: Tyrica Terry Kapral and Dominic Bordelon (ULS) and Helenmary Sheridan, Data Services Librarian, and Carrie Iwema, Coordinator of Basic Science Services (HSLS).


Rebekah Miller, Research and Instruction Librarian:

Escobar-Viera CG, Melcher EM, Miller RS, Whitfield DL, Gordon JD, Jacobson DA, Ballard AJ, Rollman BL, Pagoto S. A systematic review of the engagement with social media–delivered interventions for improving health outcomes among sexual and gender minorities. Internet Interv. 2021 Sept;25(100428). doi: 10.1016/j.invent.2021.100428.