Back in 2015, I created EvoDevo_Papers, an automated account that tweets the latest research papers in the field of evolutionary developmental biology (or evo-devo). I was inspired by the FlyPapers Experiment and the pioneers bots @fly_papers and @phy_papers. I wanted something similar for the evo-devo community to keep up with the literature and discover interesting works which would otherwise remain unnoticed.
Over the last seven years, @evodevo_papers gathered a solid community of 1.6k people interested in evo-devo. The social component of paper bots often enhances the experience of following your research field. The engagement from peers give additional context around a subject and expand the discussion about the paper in question. Moreover, you get to discover who’s interested in what, which is incredibly useful to connect and strengthen research communities. I believe that @evodevo_papers has been fulfilling its role.
Twitter, however, is no longer a safe home. The new owner’s policies are undermining science, human rights, and democracy, and helping the spread of misinformation and extreme-right content. M*sk is also suspending accounts for whatever reason. Not only independent journalists or human rights activists, but also paper bots. Recently, @fly_papers was permanently suspended without notice. And, well, I fear the same can happen to the @evodevo_papers at any time.
For this reason, I created EvoDevo Papers on Mastodon: @email@example.com. Science communities cannot thrive on shaky grounds. And Mastodon is not simply another social media website. Because of its open, non-profit, and federated nature, I believe that this migration will represent a major breakthrough for science communities. Come and help us (re) build over there :)
If you have ideas or suggestions on how to improve the bot, let me know! You can: