Saturday, November 25, 2006
Overview of what happened on the Open Access (OA) scene in the last two years. Facts and figures concerning publishers, funding organizations, charities, academic and research institutions as well as the authors' attidutes regarding citation patterns and self archiving practices in this ever changing publication arena. The paper contains a list of very useful links to the most up-dated documents and declarations on Open Access.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
This article is very interesting since it highlights an undoubtedly unusual issue: the origins of bibliometrics. In the field of scientometrics, based on statistics on science, bibliometrics is a subfield concerned with measuring the output side of science. According to most “histories”, in the 1950s the pioneers of bibliometrics were mainly D.J.D. Price and Eugene Garfield. However, in the early 1900s, psychologists began collecting statistics on their discipline so that the systematic counting of publications originated with psychologists. Publications came to be counted in addresses, reviews and histories of psychology for several decades. The aim was to contribute to the advancement of psychology. This is a pioneering work that shoud be taken into consideration.
The Science Resources Statistics Division of the National Science Foundation held a workshop to explore why the number of US science publications remained essentially flat from 1992 to 2002, leading to a drop in the US share of publications from 38% to 30%.
One of the reason is that the percentage of US publications is declining as other countries increase their output. Moreover, this is partly due to an increase in global collaborations and to a growing appreciation among non-US researchers for the value of publishing in English-language journals, making it more competitive for American scientists to get their work accepted.
Much of the new competition appears to be coming from China.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Elliott, K. C. 2006. An Ethics of Expertise Based on Informed Consent. Science and Engineering Ethics. 12(4):637-661.
Scientists are believed to serve society by the informing both the public and its political representatives, but the coupled with this is the moral responsibility to benefit society. This paper bases its theory on the notation that scientists must be responsible for providing information in a way that promotes autonomous decision-making. A theoretical framework is developed for an “ethics of expertise” (EOE). It is suggested that the concept of informed consent (developed in biomedical ethics) can help set guidelines to help all scientists fulfil their ethical responsibilities.
This article states that from the perspective of cost–benefit analysis the amount of reading of an article is an essential metric to compare with article and journal publishing costs. The myth that journal articles are read infrequently has been quashed by the advent of electronic publishing and ability to observe server counts of hits and downloads. The four main measures used to assess the amount of reading per article are; article citations, surveys of amount of reading divided by number of articles, electronic "hits and downloads" and surveys using Table-of-Contents, the later being the main study of this article. Results of this form analysis are complementary to other estimates of amount of reading, and are proposed to overcome their flaws.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Reported incidences of deceit and fraud in medical literature are alarming.
The problem ranges from gift authorship to wholesale fabrication of data. Among the potential factors which may have promoted fraud and deceit there are financial gain, personal fame and the competitive scientific environment Most cases may be dealt with at an institutional level; the principles of ethical behaviour should be developed in scientists curricula; the role of regulatory organisations such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) is pointed out.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Printed and electronic versions of publications are treated differently within the European Union as regards VAT rates: whereas books and periodicals are subject to a reduced
rate, electronic publications are charged with the full rate. These regulations have several consequences for European libraries and the market for scholarly publications in Europe. The report contains the results of a survey commissioned by the Frankfurt Group in order to show the impact of current VAT regulations on the resources available for libraries and the competitive position of EU publishing, education and research.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Using Thomson Scientific's ISI Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar, Science found dozens of citations of retracted papers in fields from physics to cancer research to plant biology. Efforts to correct scientific literature are often uneven and chaotic. Like ghosts riffling the pages of journals, retracted papers live on and continue to be cited; sometimes their citations are "negative", but scientists often do not know that the work they are citing has been retracted. The article gives many examples of retraction cases and comments of major editors and relevant scientists. [DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5770.38]
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Impact factor has become one of the most debated themes on research evaluation. In this article published in the official journal of the European Medical Writers Association (www.emwa.org), Cockerill exoplores the developments in citation tracking services since the pioneering work of Eugene Garfield who created what is now a de facto standard (impact factor). Among them: Google scholar, Scopus, CrossRef, CiteSeer and CiteBAse. Alternatives to IF (article-level citation information, downloads, etc.) are pointed out and critivally discussed.