Ian Mulvany

Hi, I'm Ian - I work on academic publishing systems. You can find out more about me at mulvany.net. I'm always interested in engaging with folk on these topics, if you have made your way here don't hesitate to reach out if there is anything you want to share, discuss, or ask for help with!
June 3, 2024

I sat down to talk about how I think about GenAI in the context of BMJ

I think the video came out OK. I'm sure that my thinking is going to continue to evolve, but this is a fair snapshot circa mid 2024. https://bmj.wistia.com/medias/y4b9gfs9ae
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May 17, 2024

Interesting webinar next week on how to increase access to data

There is a compelling case that can be made that in many cases data is more important any research paper that is attached to the data, and certainly at governmental and state level, access to underlying data sets more important than written reports. For scholarly publishing, the role of data, and what should constitute a first-class ci...
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May 16, 2024

building product with LLMs - some advice from Will Larson

This blog post is outstanding - https://lethain.com/mental-model-for-how-to-use-llms-in-products/. I normally like to write a bit more when posting on this blog, but I can only highly recommend this read.
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May 14, 2024

We are in the business of attention.

What is it that publishers actually do? The job we do is to provide platforms to support the dissemination of verifiable claims about the world, but the business of what we do is about marshalling attention, from getting the attention of authors for them to submit their work, the attention of researchers to review that work, and the at...
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May 13, 2024

BMJ's response to the ICO commissioner's request about GenAI

The ICO in the UK recently asked for a request for comment on GenAI and data privacy. With my colleague Timothy Morgan - BMJ’s Data Protection Compliance Manager - we drafted a response from BMJ to this request. The below is our response. Do you agree with the analysis presented in **this document ? ** It’s a clearly written analysis, ...
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May 13, 2024

two view on future energy needs of LLMs

This interview in Vox paints a concerning picture about the future energy use of LLMs https://www.vox.com/climate/2024/3/28/24111721/ai-uses-a-lot-of-energy-experts-expect-it-to-double-in-just-a-few-years It points to this research: https://www.technologyreview.com/2023/12/01/1084189/making-an-image-with-generative-ai-uses-as-much-ener...
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May 12, 2024

What are we walking on?

We walk lightly on this earth, and when you live in a city like London you are stepping through history every day. I was at the Young Victoria and Albert museum today (my first time there since the big revamp), and these shoes took me on somewhat of a journey. They were owned by Lupino Lane, a Hackney performer from famous performing f...
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May 12, 2024

data to paper, and some reflections on LLMs

In February I had the great pleasure to participate in a small workshop at EMBO in Heidelberg to discuss the role LLMs may play in the future of single cell biological science. It was Chatham house rules, and in the two days we covered an extensive set of themes. We should be having a paper coming out soon with a structured write up. O...
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May 6, 2024

Measuring the impact of google on research

A fascinating paper looking at how google’s sudden departure from china affected research output. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13662716.2023.2298293 “show that the scientific productivity declines by about 28% in volume and 30% in terms of citations. ” This is a massive effect and it tells us that: • Ease of access to r...
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May 5, 2024

What is it that we do, as publishers?

“For me, the gloomiest part of the Critical Review is the finding that author behaviour has fundamentally not changed. Ninety per cent of the UK’s hybrid outputs are published by the top ten publishers, with the report stating “UK authors continue to choose traditional publishers to disseminate their research”” https://wonkhe.com/blogs...
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March 28, 2024

There is an upcoming STM integrity hub town hall

The link for this event is https://us06web.zoom.us/j/9862079621? and it will be on the 19th of April at 2pm BST, Joris from STM sent over the following: Join us for the second STM Integrity Hub Town Hall meeting! In this session, you will learn about: • Progress update on screening tools (now in use by 20 publishers) • First-hand exper...
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March 28, 2024

BMJ launches new clinical evidence product

We are launching a new product into market - BMJ Clinical Evidence - https://clinicalintelligence.bmj.com/. The team have been working incredibly hard over the last while to look at creating a medically relevant knowledge graph that underpins much of the clinical evidence that we publish. Our belief is that by making this kind of infor...
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March 27, 2024

The ICO have consolation out about GenAI

You can read about it here, it is relatively short, coherent, and worth reading over: https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/what-we-do/our-work-on-artificial-intelligence/generative-ai-second-call-for-evidence/ It sets out some positions for consideration around separating purposes of training from purposes of application building. I think ...
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March 25, 2024

interesting post on governance

This short post on the AI Act - https://joanna-bryson.blogspot.com/2024/02/2024-brief-overview-on-llm-foundation.html is worth a read. The author Joanna Bryson is brilliant. My main takeaways from the post are the following: • Framing the GDPR was a huge win for tech companies in the US • I softly disagree that these tools cannot be us...
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February 16, 2024

Silverchair AI lab

Silver hair have announced an AI lab - https://www.silverchair.com/news/ai-lab-launches/, this is good news, and the kinds capabilities they are exploring - RAG search, summarisation, chat, are in may ways the low hanging fruit in this sector (not easy by any means, but the obvious areas to apply the technology). I think capabilities r...
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February 16, 2024

Staying optimistic.

The post below is a really nice meditation on t# Staying optimistic. The post below is a really nice meditation on technology, change, and perspective. It also give a nice view on rough edges of products and gives a shoutout to the poem clock here. Overpromising and Stumbling Bambis This is a reflection (in part) of the broader culture...
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February 11, 2024

AI clock

Matt Webb has made an AI powered clock that tells the time by generating a new poem every minute. What an awesome idea, an idea that I’ve seen this idea evolve over the last year, and last week he launched it on Kickstarter. This is the kind of thing that couldn’t have existed a few years ago, and now it can. Even though this small thi...
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January 22, 2024

Links, and thoughts - week 3, 2024.

This is a delightful article about a physicist who collects interesting phenomena. It reminded me a little of the story of Richard Feynman getting back into physics after playing around with wobbling plates. Read the article here This is a shocking story about the normalisation of low level police corruption. I guess I’m linking to it ...
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January 12, 2024

Reading - 2024 - Book 1 - The System of the World.

I’m trying to do a bit of reading of a book every day in 2024. I’ve decided to give up on the piano for this year, and reduce my focus to reading, and getting fitter. The first book I completed in 2024 was a re-read of The System of the World, by Neil Stephenson. I read it a few years ago, and had re-read the other two volumes of the t...
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January 12, 2024

Interesting reads, and some thoughts, - week 2 - 2024

Linked Text: Interesting reads, and some thoughts, - week 2 - 2024 On the back of Matt Webb’s post - interconnected.org - I’ve started moving my reading over to RSS. As a result, I’m getting far more coverage of interesting things, at what feels far less effort than before. Here are a bunch of interesting things from the last week. Aff...
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January 12, 2024

Have we seen the end of growth for publishing hyper scalers?

About four years ago I started paying attention to MDPI on the back of starting to look at Walt Crawfords amazing annual Open Access reports. (https://waltcrawford.name/goaj.html). The rate of revenue growth was astonishing, and over the next few years it continues. I truly thought at the time that maybe the existing journal model was ...
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January 10, 2024

Here are a couple of useful reads to kick off 2024 with GenAI.

Ethan Mollick remains a key writer, giving perspective on what to expect in 2024: https://www.oneusefulthing.org/p/signs-and-portents • GenAI is already positively impacting work, with significant productivity gains (improvements of tens of percentage points). • Interestingly, many companies are either ignoring it or trying to use it a...
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January 7, 2024

Weekly Links, some thoughts - week 1 - 2024.

Here are some things that I read over the last few weeks that I found interesting, or that I learned something from. Benedict Evan’s latest newsletter: https://newsletters.feedbinusercontent.com/de8/de8e11d8b69e568a52963c89d86e8b3d3ed837c9.html](https://newsletters.feedbinusercontent.com/de8/de8e11d8b69e568a52963c89d86e8b3d3ed837c9.htm...
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January 2, 2024

We are going to need new architectures for the web.

From Simon Willison https://simonwillison.net/2023/Dec/19/facebook-is-being-overrun/ I picked up the link to this article: https://www.404media.co/facebook-is-being-overrun-with-stolen-ai-generated-images-that-people-think-are-real/ People are using image generation tools to farm the generation of 1000s of fake variants of mildly viral...
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January 2, 2024

Some great advice on working with LLMs

Cross posting this blog - https://towardsdatascience.com/classifying-source-code-using-llms-what-and-how-f04c7dbcba9b It’s chock full of great advice on using LLMs. The task they worked on was determining if some given code was malicious. Some key advice: - running an LLM is expensive, check if another method might work for you. - LLMs...
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December 25, 2023

My Climbing Year in Review - 2023

I had to wrap up my climbing year a bit early. On Thursday, just over a week ago, I injured my left ring finger’s FDP (long finger flexor tendon). It’s a moderate injury; recovery should take six to ten weeks, maybe less, but it’s serious enough for me to stop climbing ahead of our Christmas trip to go skiing. In spite of this setback ...
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December 23, 2023

Some interesting facts to close out 2023.

This is a great list of factoids. https://snippet.finance/52-snippets-from-2023/ Here are my favourites, and what I think about them. Global inequality is reducing. This goes against my intuition, which tells me I remain have strong biases about how the world works and the current state of the world 37% of the worlds population has nev...
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December 21, 2023

Interesting LLM Papers - December 2023

Some interesting LLM papers This is my take on papers from Davis Blaclock (https://dblalock.substack.com). This paper uses an LLM to rank response from a fine tuning run on a small model (7B parameters) to get it to perform in a more aligned way than a large model (70B) that has been fine tuned using RLHF. This is important because LLM...
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December 21, 2023

AI and scholarly publishing - language assistance

Anastasia Toynbee from the Royal Society of Chemistry gave a great presentation a few weeks ago on how RSC are using machine translation to help authors who have English as a second language. There is a huge language burden for ESL authors, and she covered some of the stark data in her talk. Remember, talent is evenly distributed in th...
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December 1, 2023

Decision making - some tips on how to get better at it.

This week our data and technology department had a workshop looking at how to be more decisive, led by the fantastic Claire Holmes. Going away from the meeting we have asked each team to pick two techniques to apply over the next 12 weeks, and then to report back on whether they were effective. It will be interesting to see where we la...
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