PubMed Faceoff

PostGenomic’s PubMed Faceoff is the first 3rd Party PubMed/MEDLINE Tool I’ve looked at that really made me chuckle.

This site applies a simple, photorealistic variant of the Chernoff Faces visualization technique to impact factor data for papers in the PubMed database of biomedical literature.

Basically it allows you to search PubMed and have the results represented as a set of human faces.

Each paper is represented as a face. The ethnicity and gender of the face is selected at random for visual interest – you can turn this feature off if you so choose.

The age of a face correlates with the publication date of the paper. Younger faces are more recent papers.

A smile means that the paper has been cited more times than expected (based on its age). Larger smiles mean more citations.

A frown means that the paper has been cited far less than you might expect.

The raised eyebrows correlate with the impact factor (sort of – actually the Eigenfactor) of the journal in which the paper was published.

Some example search results:

I absolutely appreciate the concept (potentially being able to estimate several properties of an article at a glance)- it’s just that some of the facial expressions crack me up.

4 thoughts on “PubMed Faceoff

  1. This is so good for me, I’m a fully visual person (and I hate to look for IF – so at least the Eigenfactor gives me hints where it is worthwhile). Great thing.