Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Three articles on impact factor in BMJ

Brown H. 2007. How impact factors changed medical publishing and science. BMJ. 334:561-564.

Journal rankings can be maximised by keeping the number of scholarly articles as small as possible, and boosting review content can make journals perform better. But minor manipulation of journal content is not the issue causing concern: ignorance persists about what impact factors can and cannot do, especially in regard to guiding decisions on researchfunding.

Williams G, Hobbs R. 2007. Should we ditch impact factors? BMJ 334:568-569.

Should we get rid of impact factors, or is refining them the answer? One argument is that they don't measure quality: every scientist knows that the vagaries of peer review can push a "not so good" paper into a "good" journal, and vice versa. Though bibliometric scoring will be driving theUK's research assessment exercise, we want journals to publish material that has been filtered to ensure it is reliable, interesting, relevant, or important - and that reading it results in some wider benefit.

Martyn C. 2007. Advice to a new editor. BMJ.334:586.
Tongue in cheek advice on, above all, maximising the (medical) journals impact factor. Although you'll probably produce a journal that is widely read and enjoyed, you'll never impress the sort of people who prefer a number to thinking for themselves.

posted for M. Cooter

Monday, March 19, 2007

The future of science is open (access).

Hooker B. 2007. The future of science is open (access). APS News 16(2)12

Article surveying open access issues from the perspective of a molecular biologist. Open access archives/repositories and also open access journals are discussed including questions of financing and the desirability of including metadata to develop "open science": Open (Access + Data + Source + Standards + Licensing) = Open Science.

posted for John Glen

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bid behavior of conference referees

Rodriguez MA, Bollen J, Van de Sompel H. 2007. Mapping the bid behavior of conference referees. Journal of Informetrics 1(1):68-82.
DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2006.09.006

The article analyses the possible factors influencing the bid behavior of conference referees. For instance, referee fatigue can be responsible for the quality of the peer review process: a valid study may be rejected or a fraudolent one may be accepted. Further studies and data on this issue are needed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gender Differences in Publication Output

Symonds MR, Gemmell NJ, Braisher TL, Gorringe KL, Elgar MA. 2006. Gender Differences in Publication Output: Towards an Unbiased Metric of Research Performance. PLoS ONE 1(1): e127. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000127

The article shows that male scientists publish more than women, bringing into question the fairness of academic selection processes that rely heavily on publication quantity to rank scientists. However, the study also found that, according to some measures, women's work was cited more than men's.

Computers learn chemistry

Van Noorden R. Computers learn chemistry. 2007. Chemistry World. 2 (4)

Chemists who trawl through the thousands of chemistry papers published every month must wish their computers could do the job for them and maybe one day they will: that's the ultimate goal of Project Prospect, an initiative unveiled this month by Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing, described in this article. From February 2007, electronic RSC journal papers will be written so their data can be read, indexed, and intelligently searched by machine. The aim of this project is to create a chemical version of the 'semantic web': where computers can understand the meaning (semantics) of information, rather than simply display data.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Research malpractice in Sweden

Schulz WG. 2007. Giving Proper Credit. Chemical & Engineering News 85(12)35-38.

Stockholm University has sanctioned an associate professor of chemistry, Armando Córdova, for research misconduct. In a number of cases, the investigation found that Córdova violated scientific ethics in his quest to publish research results in the emerging field of organocatalysis.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Debating the future of physics publishing

Harnad J et al. 2007. Debating the future of physics publishing Physics World 29(3)22

Letters relating to the debate on the future of publishing (ibid. 29(1)13-36).
John Harnad compares two different approaches to OA, gold OA where the journal charges nothing for reader access and green OA where the journal charges for subscriptions; he considers gold OA to be not in the interests of the research community. Richard Reeves calls for reviews of research papers to be made available to the general public. Basil Polychronopulos considers the end of written manuscripts and the dawning of e-mails not necessarily a bad thing. John Chubb comments that the rise of citation analysis as reported by Lokman I. Meho (ibid. 29(1)32-36) takes no account of the practical value of published work as industrial applications do not leads to citations. A reply by Meho is included in which he points out that up to 15% of citations are from the grey literature.

posted for John Glen