Wednesday, May 30, 2007

B - Women and interdisciplinary research

Rhoten D, Pfirman S. 2007. Women in interdisciplinary science: Exploring preferences and consequences. Research Policy 36(1):56-75

The authors report three studies aimed to investigate gendering and other factors (race, ethnicity) in interdisciplinarity. Particularly, as regards women, the limited data suggest that, overall, women tend to be more interdisciplinary than men and this is probably due to "different gender-based ways of knowing". Further, the "Matilda Effect" (coined by M.W. Rossiter) in science is cited, as a corollary to the "Matthew Effect" (by R. K. Merton), to underline that women tend to receive less credit for their scientific work than their male colleagues even when they deserve more recognition.

Friday, May 25, 2007

W - Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography

Now available The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography, by Charles W. Bailey, Jr. Version 67: 4/11/2007

An international bibliography on academic electronic publishing: over selected 2500 books, articles from 1990 to surf and try to understand the changing system of academic scientific communiation.

B - A model to evaluate scientific merit

Soler JM. 2007. A rational indicator of scientific creativity. Journal of Informetrics 1(2):123-30
DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2006.10.004

An index is developed to measure scientific creativity, in terms of creating new and useful knowledge, and therefore to evaluate the scientific merit.

B - A natural way of acquiring a language

Joshi Y. 2007. A systematic approach to improving writing skills. Current Science 92: 1343–4

Suggests a kind of action plan for those ESL (English as secondlanguage) researchers who wish to improve their writing skills.
In the manner of an old-fashioned general practitioner, the suggested prescription is a ‘mixture’ comprising (a) extensive reading, (b) a modest amount of progressively difficult writing assignments, (c) revising one’s writing, and (d) developing a concern for readers.
It is possible, simply through massive exposure, to absorb typical patterns of English sentences and to string words together in those patterns without any formal study of grammar.

B - Good and bad medical journalism

Cassels A. 2007. The media-medicine mix: quality concerns in medical reporting. Open Medicine (1) 1: 52-54

Many people hear about medical discoveries for the first time through popular media. (Newspapers, magazines, television and the Internet). Good medical journalism provides accurate, balanced reports and important contextual information, helps to set appropriate expectations on the part of consumers, informs the larger medical community, and thus arguably provides a vital public service. By the same token, poor medical journalism can exaggerate or oversimplify an issue, unnecessarily inflating expectations of patients and providers and putting increasing strain on the physician–patient relationship.
A major and sustained improvement in reporting standards needs to start with improving the education of journalists and the public on what qualities to look for in news reports about new treatments. Read the article to find more critical suggestions and useful links.

B - Peer review in open access scientific journals

Falagas ME, 2007. Peer review in open access scientific journals. Open Medicine. 1 (1): 49-51

The peer review process is not without flaws. The birth of the open access publication model and the rise of a more open science presents an ideal opportunity to re-evaluate the transparency of editorial and peer review practices. Many suggestions and hints are given to critically evalute open peer review process.

W - Open Medicine, a new peer reviewed open access journal

Open Medicine, vol 1, n. 1 2007

The mission of Open Medicine is to facilitate the equitable dissemination of high-quality health research; to promote international dialogue and collaboration on health issues; to improve clinical practice; and to expand and deepen the understanding of health and health care.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

W - International Science Media Fair

FEST (Fiera Editoria Scientifica Trieste), the first International Science Media Fair, held in Trieste (Italy) from the 17th to the 20th of May.

Fest wants to launch a new way of communicating science through narration, but also through interaction and dialogue: from the pages of books to the voices of scientists, from the latest generation of multimedia products to the experience of professionals in this field.
FEST focuses on all publishing products: from books to audiobooks, from newspapers to digital magazines, from television to the Internet. A wide range of meetings, conferences, and performances of various kinds enable the public to discover and develop the most diverse aspects of the scientific world.

B - Subtleties of Scientific Style

Stevens M. 2007. Subtleties of Scientific Style. Science Scape Editing

About this book the author says: "this book is aimed at hands-on scientific editors, those who work with the nuts and bolts of the text—from spelling, punctuation and grammar (copyediting) to meaning and logic (substantive editing). Copyeditors (subeditors) and journal editors will also find something of interest in it. I decided to write this book when I recognised that the assortment of books on my shelves either don’t mention some faults of scientific writing that I regularly encounter, or mention them only in passing. The book collects together many subtle, recurring errors that I’ve come to recognise in my more than 20 years of editing. It also incorporates a few essays I’ve written or lectures I’ve given on things that annoy
me about scientific writing..."
The full text of the book is free online

Sunday, May 20, 2007

B - Exploring the possibilities of titles

Hartley J, 2007. There's more to the title than meets the eye: Exploring the possibilities. Journal of Technical Writing & Communication 37(2): 95-101.
The author distinguishes between twelve types of title for academic articles, and suggests that these should be discussed with student writers. Before and afrer examples are provided to show how titles can be improved.

Posted for James Hartley

Thursday, May 17, 2007

B - Research productivity and the journal system

Rowlands I, Olivieri R. 2007. Research productivity and the journals system: a study of immunology and microbiology. Research Evaluation 16(1):23-34.
DOI: 10.3152/095820207X196759

This article focuses on two aspects: research productivity and the journal system. A survey, related to these issues, was carried out involving a select group of biomedical scientists. Among the relevant results that are pointed out, the main problems on research productivity concern funding issues; while accessing to the journal articles is not considered to be an obstacle to the scientific work (issue ranked 12 of 16). Scientists, librarians, universities and funding bodies should constructively dialogue, by examining "the complete R&D value-chain, from research proposal through citation to exploitation", and possibly contribute to the scientific and economic progress.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

B - To evaluate a journal with criteria "impact factor-free"

Coleman A. Assessing the value of a journal beyond the impact factor. 2007. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Published Online (early view): 18 Apr 2007.
DOI: 10.1002/asi.20599

With the current rapid evolution of scientific communication in its different facets, the author considers citations (and, consequently, impact factor) not completely representative of a journal value, and proposes other criteria to evaluate a journal such as: journal attraction power, author associativity and journal consumption power.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Factors influencing publication choice: why faculty choose open access.

Warlick SE, Vaughan KTL. 2007. Factors influencing publication choice: why faculty choose open access. Biomedical Digital Libraries. 4:1-12

This paper describes the results of a number of interviews with scholarly biomedical faculty members at two US universities. Participants were chosen based on their recent publication record in OA journals and interviews conducted to establish why they chose OA journals, what factors influenced those decisions and their general attitude to open access. The authors conclude that although free access and visibility are incentives to OA publication, it is publication quality that is the most important factor influencing the faculty members’ decisions.

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

The embargo should go

Kiernan V. 2007. The embargo should go APS News 16(3)8

Article discussing the arguments for and against the embargo system under which science journals provide journalists with advance copies of newsworthy articles, but set strict timelines on when that information can be shared. He concludes that the system does more harm than good in the reporting in newspapers of science advances. The article is adapted from the author's book Embargoed Science © 2006 by Vincent Kiernan (see

Posted for John Glen

Editors' Suggestions

Physical Review Letters launches new feature to improve accessibility. 2007. APS News 16(3)7

Physical Review Letters launched a new feature in January. Each weekly issue has several papers designated as "Editors' Suggestions". These are intended to be papers that are well written and of interest to a wide range of physicists. How they are selected is described. The announcement about the new feature can be found at

Posted for John Glen

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Peer Review and Manuscript Management in Scientific Journals

Hames I. 2007. Peer Review and Manuscript Management in Scientific Journals. Blackwell Publishing Malden, MA, Oxford, and Carlton, Vic. in association with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, xii, 293 p.

ISBN 1 4051 3159 4 or 978 1 4051 3159 9

This is a handbook on how the process of peer reviewing and manuscript management should be carried out. After an Introduction its chapter headings are: The peer-review process - how to get going. Manuscript submission and initial checks on completeness and suitability. The full review process. The decision-making process for reviewed manuscripts. Moving to on-line submission and review. Reviewers - a precious resource. The obligations and responsibilities of the people involved in peer review. Misconduct in scientific research and publishing - what it is and how to deal with it.

Posted for John Glen