Tuesday, October 28, 2008

B - A fifth force farce

Krauss L M. A fifth force farce. Physics Today 2008;61(10):53-55

Reports how the author, after worrying that Physical Review Letters had published a paper (Physica; Review Letters 56, 3, 1986) based on reanalysis of data published nearly a century before by Eýtvýs, had himself submitted a spoof paper entitled "On evidence for a third foce in the two new sciences: a reanalysis of experiments by Galilei and Salviati" and how the editors had responded to him by sending six devastating referee reports which nevertheless all eventually recommended publication, which were "clearly done in-house but typed on different typewriters and [which] were a brilliant and self-effacing parody on PRL's reputation for using its three requirements to make it difficult for reasonable papers to get published there and also on the common experience of getting referees' reports that are inconsistent with each other but nevertheless come to the same conclusions", and with a covering letter saying that the Editors "in their usual arbitrary and capricious manner, do not come to this conclusion".

Posted for John Glen

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

B - Using medical knowledge sources on handheld computers

Axelson C, Wardh I, Strender L E, Nilsson G. Using medical knowledge sources on handheld computers - A qualitative study among junior doctors. Medical Teacher 2007;29:661-618

The emergence of mobile computing could have an impact on how junior doctors learn. Interviews with five Swedish junior doctors showed that users were satisfied with access to handheld medical knowledge sources, but there was concern about contents, reliability and device dependency. Their experiences of using medical knowledge sources on handheld computers revealed the need to decrease uncertainty about clinical decisions during medical internship, and to find ways to influence the level of self-confidence in the junior doctor's process of decision-making.

B - Better reporting of randomized trials in biomedical journal and conference abstracts

Hopewell S, Eisinga A, Clarke M. Better reporting of randomized trials in biomedical journal and conference abstracts. Journal of Information Science 2008;34(2):162-173
DOI: 10.1177/0165551507080415

This article provides an overview of research evidence underpinning the need for better reporting of abstracts reported in conference proceedings and abstracts of journal articles; with a particular focus in the area of health care, as there is growing concern about the reliability and quality of information published in these reports. Authors We seek to identify current initiatives aimed at improving the reporting of these reports and recommend the development of an extension of the CONSORT Statement, CONSORT for Abstracts.


B - Rethinking doctoral publication practices

Kamler B. Rethinking doctoral publication practices: writing from and beyond the thesis. Studies in Higher Education 2008;33(3):283-294

This article is focused on the importance of giving greater pedagogical attention to writing for publication in higher education. Results of a case study of graduates in science and education show how the different disciplinary and pedagogic practices of each discourse community affect student publication. The author argues that co-authorship with supervisors is a significant pedagogic practice that can enhance the know-how of emergent scholars as well as their publication output. Rethinking co-authorship more explicitly as a pedagogic practice is however needed.

B - What makes an article influential?

Haslam N, Ban L, Kaufmann L, Loughnan S, Peters K, Whelan J, Wilson S. What makes an article influential? Predicting impact in social and personality psychology. Scientometrics 2008;76(1):169-185
Doi: 10.1007/s11192-007-1892-8

Factors contributing to citation impact in social-personality psychology were examined in a bibliometric study of articles published in the field’s three major journals. Impact was operationalized as citations accrued over 10 years by 308 articles published in 1996, and predictors were assessed using multiple databases and trained coders. Multivariate analyses demonstrated several strong predictors of impact. Many other variables did not predict impact.

Monday, October 13, 2008

B - Revising and Polishing a Structured Abstract

Hartley J,Betts L. Revising and Polishing a Structured Abstract:Is it Worth the Time and Effort? JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 59(12):1870–1877, 2008

DOI: 10.1002/asi.20909

Many writers of structured abstracts spend a good dealbof time revising and polishing their texts, but do readers really notice the difference? Three studies of readers using rating scales to judge the clarity of an original and a revised abstract, are reported. Results indicate that the revised abstract as a whole, as
well as certain specific components of it, were judged significantly clearer than the original one. In short,readers can and
do perceive differences between original and revised
texts and that therefore efforts are
worth the time.

B - The economics of post-doc publishing.

Cheung, William L. The economics of post-doc publishing. Ethics in Science & Environmental Politics 2008;8:41-44.


This individual case history in a series on 'The use and misuse of bibliometric indices in evaluating scholarly performance' ruefully tells of how - to gain recognition and increase his job prospects - the author changed his name from Wai Lung to William, and adopted a policy of publishing short pieces on 'hot' topics in high-impact journals with fast reviewing times... This article is part of a
series of 14 articles in the same volume showing a range of views on the value or otherwise of impact factors and other like measures.

Posted for James Hartley

Friday, October 10, 2008

B - Awareness of long-term digital preservation

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers ALPSP has undertaken a survey of its members to enhance awareness of long-term digital preservation issues and to establish the nature and extent of strategies that they have planned. 90% of ALPSP publisher members believe long-term preservation to be a critical issue, but there is some confusion surrounding the nature and extent of publisher participation in long-term preservation schemes.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

B - From Flowers to Fruits

Schussler E E. From Flowers to Fruits: How children's books represent plant reproduction. International Journal of Science Education 2008;30(12):1677-1696

Children's books about science may be playing an increasing role in science instruction. However, the potential effects on student learning are unknown. To investigate whether a subset of books would be appropriate for classroom instruction about plant reproduction, a selection of children's books about plants was analysed to identify how plant reproduction was portrayed and whether the book could generate misconceptions about the topic. As inaccuracies were found the books, authors suggest that content experts should analyse children's books in their area of specialty and provide teachers with recommendations about the use of the books in classrooms.

B - A Plea for a Common Citation Format in Scientific Serials

Leslie D M, Hamilton M J. A Plea for a Common Citation Format in Scientific Serials. Serials Review 2007;33(1):1-3

The article focus on the alarming issue of the time researchers spend correcting reference sections. The time spent by authors and editors conforming to a particular style in reference sections, the total time invested in preparing reference sections among serials in a single year and the person-hours spent on the preparation and editing of reference sections among just the fourteen serials were estimated. From the results obtained emerges a need for uniformity among scientific serials, to redirect energy on science and syntax rather than frivolity that robs scientific pursuit and discovery.


B - Why Current Publication Practices May Distort Science

Young NS, Ioannidis JPA, Al-Ubaydli O (2008) Why Current Publication Practices May Distort Science. PLoS Med 5(10): e201


This study is based on the assumption that scientific information is an economic commodity, and that scientific journals are a medium for its dissemination and exchange. Authors state that the current system of publication in biomedical research provides a distorted view of the reality of scientific data that are generated in the laboratory and clinic. This system can be studied by applying principles from the field of economics. While this exchange system differs from a conventional market in many senses, it shares the goal of transferring the commodity (knowledge) from its producers (scientists) to its consumers (other scientists, administrators, physicians, patients, and funding agencies). The function of this system has major consequences. As auhtors state, idealists may be offended that research be compared to widgets, but realists will acknowledge that journals generate revenue; publications are critical in drug development and marketing and to attract venture capital; and publishing defines successful scientific careers. Economic modelling of science may yield important insights

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

B - A longer paper gathers more citations

Ball P. A longer paper gathers more citations. Nature 2008;455:274-275
Doi: doi:10.1038/455274a

In an analysis of 30,027 peer-reviewed papers published between 2000 and 2004 in top astronomy journals, astronomer Krzysztof Stanek of Ohio State University in Columbus found that the median number of citations increases with the length of the paper, with the only limit that citations start to tail off when papers reach lengths of 80 pages or so. The study highlights some important questions. One is whether, in the face of new dissemination channels, it is realistic to regard citations as an accurate measure of achievement, the other is how long a paper ought to be, if length really does matter.


B - Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship

Evans J A. Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship. Science 2008;321(5887):395-399
DOI: 10.1126/science.1150473

Electronically available journals may portend an ironic change for science. As more journal issues came online, the articles referenced tend to be more recent, fewer journals and articles are cited, and more of the citations were to fewer journals and articles. Searching online is more efficient and following hyperlinks quickly puts researchers in touch with prevailing opinion, but this may accelerate consensus and narrow the range of findings and ideas built upon.


B - Applying the author affiliation index to library and information science journals

Cronin B, Meho Lokman I. Applying the author affiliation index to library and information science journals. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 2008;59(11):1861-1865
Doi: 10.1002/asi.20895

The authors use a novel method - the Author Affiliation Index (AAI) - to determine whether faculty at the top-10 North American library and information science (LIS) programs have a disproportionate presence in the premier journals of the field. The study finds that LIS may be both too small and too interdisciplinary a domain for the AAI to provide reliable results.


B - Conference proceedings as a source of scientific information

Lisée C, Larivière V, Archambault É. Conference proceedings as a source of scientific information: A bibliometric analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 2008;59(11):1776-1784
Doi: 10.1002/asi.20888

This article examines the scientific impact and aging of conference proceedings compared to those of scientific literature in general. Results show that the relative importance of proceedings is diminishing over time, and that the scientific impact of proceedings is losing ground to other types of scientific literature in nearly all fields. Thus proceedings have a relatively limited scientific impact, their relative importance is shrinking, and they become obsolete faster than the scientific literature in general.


B - What Does it Take for a Canadian Political Scientist to be Cited?

Montpetit É, Blais A, Foucault M. What Does it Take for a Canadian Political Scientist to be Cited? Social Science Quarterly 2008;89(3):802 - 816
Doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2008.00561.x

The article examines the factors that influence the frequency whereby scholarly articles published by Canadian political scientists are cited. 1,860 journal articles published between 1985 and 2005 by 758 Canadian political scientists have been collected. Results showed that an article is more likely to be widely cited if it is published in a prestigious journal, if it is written by several authors, if it applies quantitative methods, if it compares countries, and if it deals with administration and public policy or elections and political parties. Faculty members who belong to larger departments and those who are women are more cited.


B - Cyberabstracts

Pinto M. Cyberabstracts: a portal on the subject of abstracting designed to improve information literacy skills. Journal of Information Science, 2008;34(5):667-679
DOI: 10.1177/0165551507086262

An academic portal specifically centred on abstracts and abstracting resources is proposed with the aim of mproving the information literacy skills of librarianship and information science students. The research to design it mainly consists of the selection, assessment and web-display of the most relevant abstracts on knowledge management, information representation, natural language processing, abstract/abstracting, modelling the scientific document, information retrieval and information evaluation. The result is the Cyberabstracts portal.


B - Amusing titles in scientific journals and article citation

Sagi I. Amusing titles in scientific journals and article citation. Journal of Information Science, 2008;34(5):680-687
DOI: 10.1177/0165551507086261

The present study examines whether the use of humor in scientific article titles is associated with the number of citations an article receives. The association between the levels of amusement and pleasantness and the article's monthly citation average has been assessed in articles published over 10 years in two of the most prestigious journals in psychology, Psychological Bulletin and Psychological Review. The results show that the pleasantness rating was weakly associated with the number of citations, while articles with highly amusing titles received fewer citations.


Monday, October 06, 2008

N - Where are the negative results?

"In their own way, academic journals are exactly as selective as the tabloid health pages," claims the doctor and journalist Ben Goldacre in the Guardian newspaper on 20 September (http://tinyurl.com/4lyrq2). He writes that only 5.9% of industry sponsored trials on cancer treatment get published and that 75% had positive results. Doctors and academics need all data, positive and negative, to make fully informed decisions about treatment and the direction in which research should go. A comparison of all cancer trials registered in clinicaltrials.gov and published and indexed in PubMed found that only 17.6% of 2028 trials were published, 64.5% with positive results.

Friday, October 03, 2008

B - Don't release other people's data without their consent

Frank DN. Don't release other people's data without their consent. Nature


Letter commenting on Nature's report that data photographed during a
conference publication were later published without the presenter's
consent. The issue is whether the data are released in a fair and
representative manner. Biology operates under the implicit, ofd often
explicit, ethic that data presented at meetings are personal
communications - publication of which requires formal approval by the
originating researchers. Anyway, what is the purpose of reporting
incompletely vetted and possibly erroneous experimental results?

Thanks to Margaret Cooter

B - Science journals have been slow to make themselves audible

Achten WMJ. Science journals have been slow to make themselves audible.
Nature 2008;455:590.


Podcasting holds huge potential for visually impaired people and others;
listening to scientific articles read aloud could increase readers'
concentration and absorption of information. Several newspapers and
magazines are offered in podcast form, but the scientific press is lagging

Thanks to Margaret Cooter

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

B - Better reporting of randomized trials

Sally Hopewell, Anne Eisinga, Mike Clarke, Better reporting of randomized trials in biomedical journal and conference abstracts, Journal of Information Science, XX (X) 2007, pp. 1-12

Well reported research published in conference and journal abstracts is important considering that individuals often base their initial assessment of a study on the information reported in abstracts. This article refers specifically to abstracts reporting randomized trials and seek to identify current initiatives aimed at improving the reporting of these reports, like an extention of the CONSORT Statement that could be developed (CONSORT for Abstracts).