Frequently asked questions

What is Sparrho?

Sparrho combines artificial intelligence and human experts to democratise science. Our platform helps researchers, clinicians, students, analysts, investors, journalists, patients and more to stay on top of the science that matters to them.

Sparrho checks 45,000+ journals and repositories hourly to provide easy-to-skim feeds for you to browse at your convenience. And there are thousands of expert-curated Pinboards that summarise the latest, most important research to give you a view into their specific areas of interest.

Unsubscribe from all those journal eTOCs, clogging up your inbox, and keep your article discovery contextual by grouping keywords, journals and authors into custom Followed Searches—set up takes just seconds.

Because Sparrho has been specifically designed to cater to the needs of scientists, we will always have all articles published on the journal website,—including figures and graphical abstracts where available—instead of having to rely on incomplete and slow-to-update RSS feeds.

Save articles on the go and organise ideas by ‘pinning’ in private or shared pinboards—ideal for journal clubs and collaborating with colleagues.

Is Sparrho free to use?

Yes! Sparrho will always be free to use.

What content does Sparrho have?

Sparrho checks 45,000+ top scientific journals daily to bring you the latest content. This means we are more up to date than RSS feeds and faster than many journal eTOC emails. Our content has been chosen by our users and we aim to keep growing by always adding all sources that are useful to you. If you think there is something we’re missing tell us why it’s important to you at ask@sparrho.com.

Why do only some articles have figures and graphical abstracts?

We rely on what information the publishers make available to us. Our aim is to be as accurate as the journal page—let us know at ask@sparrho.com if you notice any discrepancies.

What is a “Followed Search”?

A Followed Search is a custom feed that you create to discover the latest relevant papers for you. You can create as many Followed Searches as you like using “New Search” button in your dashboard, or simply clicking “Follow Search” after using the top search bar. You can sort the results by relevance or reverse chronological order.

How do I customise a Followed Search?

Type in a keyword, journal or author, and press ENTER to confirm. You can add as many keyword phrases as you need. Separate items in a list with a comma if you want to enter multiple criteria in one go.

What is “Search precision” in the advanced options for my Followed Searches?

Selecting one of the 5 options in the “Search Precision” dropdown changes the proportion of your selected keywords that must be found in the article or title.

You can change your desired source in the advanced search option dropdown: the default is to search “Anywhere in the article”, but you can choose to restrict to “Only in the title”.

Selecting the “Very Precise” option will direct the search function to return only results that contain all keywords, whilst selecting “Very Broad” will return a larger results set that takes many other factors into account when executing the search.

How do I rename / delete a Followed Search?

When a Followed Search is selected, click on “Edit Title” to rename, and “Delete Followed Search” to delete.

Can I get email alerts for updates in my Followed Searches and Pinboards?

Yes, you can set daily or weekly email alerts in the ‘My Profile’ area, which you can access by clicking on the menu named “Settings” or your first name at the top right corner of your screen. All alerts are sent at 8am GMT and weekly alerts are sent on Tuesdays.

Can I search for keywords in my Followed Searches?

Yes, you can filter your Followed Searches by as many keywords as you like.

What is a Pinboard?

Pinboards are the best way to keep track of interesting articles you find. You can also share your Pinboards with colleagues and collaborators. They work great as a public portfolio or collaborative journal club, or you can keep them as a private place to organise your ideas.

How can I create a Pinboard?

Scroll down to the “Your pinboards” section on Your Dashboard (i.e. the Sparrho homepage, once you’ve logged in), then click “Create new pinboard”:

When prompted, fill in the details and click “Save changes” to start your Pinboard.

How can I pin content to my Pinboard?

On your pinboard find the ‘Items pinned’ area. Here you can choose to:

  • “Search for articles to pin” – from the Sparrho database
  • “Pin an external link” – to add an article or news story from an external source
  • “Pin some text content” – to some extra text that would sit in the same grid as pinned articles

To pin research papers or patents to your board, click on “Search for articles to pin&rsdquo;. This opens up a quick search modal – Enter your search term here.

Select the research paper or patent you want to pin from the search results by clicking on the title of the item, and then clicking “Pin”. This opens up a list of your Pinboards where you can pick which Pinboard to pin to, or pin to a new Pinboard.

When using desktop, you can pin directly from the search results by clicking on “Pin”.

How can I share a Pinboard?

Simply click the “Invite” button, enter your recipient’s email, and press ENTER or “Send Invite”

You’re all done when you can see your recipient’s email in your followers list as “Pending”—hooray!

What permissions can I give to members of my Pinboard?

You can change permissions of Pinboard members by clicking on their profile picture to:

  • Owner/admin—Can view, edit and delete pins and comments; can add and remove members; can edit and delete the Pinboard.
  • Pin & Comment—Can view and comment on any article in Pinboard; can delete own comments and pins; cannot change board settings.
  • View Only—Can view Pinboard; cannot add or delete pins, comments or members; cannot change board settings.

How I can change the look of my Pinboards?

Create a Pinboard, pin one or more items, and then click “Edit Board” to access the following advanced curation tools:

  • Custom article ordering on Pinboards
  • Custom text for Pinboard description and Curator biography
  • Custom article, Pinboard, and Curator image upload if you prefer your own

Can I share my Pinboards with a simple URL?

All new Pinboards are ‘public’ by default, which means that whoever you share your Pinboard URL with can see your Pinboard without having to log in to Sparrho.

How can I follow a Pinboard?

Simply click the “Follow” button and it will appear in your list of Pinboards.

Why are some Pinboard members shown as “pending”?

People who have been invited to Pinboards, but haven’t yet activated their accounts will be shown as “pending” until they signup for Sparrho.

How do I rename / delete a Pinboard?

When a Pinboard is selected, click on “Edit Board” and then the pencil icon by the title to rename.

Important: Deleted pinboards cannot be restored.

Is there a Sparrho app?

There are currently no Sparrho mobile apps, but the site is fully functional on mobile devices using post-2011 browsers.

Is Sparrho fully mobile-optimised?

Yes, we’ve worked hard to ensure Sparrho is fully optimised in all post-2011 browsers. If you experience any problems on mobile, please let us know at ask@sparrho.com.

I’m having trouble logging in, what should I do?

Try resetting your password here using the email address you used to sign up. If you’re still having issues, get in touch at ask@sparrho.com. Remember, if you created your Sparrho account before 1st March 2016 you will have to sign up again, but you can use the same details.

How do I delete my account?

If you’d like to delete your account, just let us know at ask@sparrho.com. We’d be sad to see you go though, and we’d really appreciate if you would let us know how we could have improved your experience.

I have great ideas for Sparrho, where can I tell you about them?

Great, we love feedback! Drop us a line, any time at ask@sparrho.com, or message us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

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