Now There’s a Great Idea!

Posted on: November 24th, 2023 by admin 3 Comments
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During the past week, one of the regular readers of these blogs brought to my attention a company called Litmaps. Dubbed “your personal literature navigator,” Litmaps has been designed to change how scientists discover relevant articles and perform their research. The traditional approach to conduct literature surveys is to access databases such as PubMed or Google Scholar, and to apply a keyword search. This generates many articles which require laborious sifting, whereas Litmaps uses citation patterns with a catalogue of more than 260 million papers to identify the most relevant literature.

The first time I tried it out, I said to myself: “Now there’s a great idea!” Since CapeRay has been a pioneer in developing a dual-modality system that combines full-field digital mammography and automated breast ultrasound, I entered our 2016 paper published in Clinical Imaging as the “seed.” This instantly generated the Seed Map (seen below), where the horizontal axis is the date while the vertical axis is the number of citations.

Where there is a line connecting two articles, this indicates citation, and by placing your cursor over a particular paper, the citation connections are highlighted by blue lines. So, for example, the paper by Wilczek (2016) cites Kelly (2010) and is, in turn, cited by Padia (2017), Schaefgen (2018) and Vaughan (2019). Then, by clicking on the Wilczek paper, Litmaps displays the full details of the article, including title, authors, abstract, and a link to the source. Once you have created a basic map, you can use the Discover tool to explore and “find the papers you didn’t know you needed.”

The person who introduced me to Litmaps is Dr Ralph Highnam of Wellington, New Zealand who has been a pioneer in the measurement of mammographic breast density. He shared with me his map (click here) that highlighted 50 years of measuring, validating, understanding, and clinical use of breast density.

Highnam (seen right) was inspired by his doctoral supervisor at Oxford, Professor Mike Brady, to utilise his mathematics and computing skills to “improve breast cancer screening and potentially affect millions of women around the world.” In 1999, Highnam and Brady published a ground-breaking book, Mammographic Image Analysis, and ten years later they founded Volpara Health Technologies, whose “AI-powered image analysis tools enable radiologists to quantify breast cancer with precision.” Highnam stepped down from his leadership role at Volpara two months ago, and now serves part-time as executive director at Litmaps. As he told me, “I liked the product so much …”

3 Responses

  1. Tessa Minter says:

    What a brilliant idea. Thanks for alerting us to it Kit and congratulations on the citations for your paper.

  2. johan walters says:

    Hi Kit
    …. agreed … that is a geat idea. Interesting to see where your publications have had influence.

  3. Nice blog with helpful information. Thank you for sharing.