Saturday, January 31, 2009

B - Google & the Future of Books

Darnton R. Google & the Future of Books. The New York Review of Books. 2009,56(2) February 12

This article is a valuable piece of history of culture pointing out at the power of Google that is now changing the way people approach to information all over the world. It considers the role of libraries, publishers and new technologies facing copyright issues from different points of view.
Google will continue to make books in the public domain available for users to read, download, and print, free of charge, but can we talk of a new monopoly?

Friday, January 30, 2009

N - Talking about older people

"The terminology used to describe older persons varies considerably, even in international documents," a United Nations report says. "It includes: 'older persons,' 'the aged,' 'the elderly,' 'the third age,' 'the ageing,' and, to denote persons more than 80 years of age, 'the fourth age.' The committee opted for 'older persons' (in French, personnes âgées; in Spanish, personas mayores), the term employed in General Assembly resolutions 47/5 and 48/98." In the United Nations' statistical services, these terms cover people older than 60. The statistical service of the European Union considers "older persons" to mean people aged 65 or above, because 65 is the most common age of retirement and the trend is towards later retirement still.
See United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The economic, social and cultural rights of older persons. Geneva: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1995 and BMJ 2007;334:316, doi:10.1136/bmj.39111.694884.94.
Thanks to Margaret Cooter

Thursday, January 29, 2009

B - Open access in 2008

Suber P. Open access in 2008. SPARC Open Access Newsletter. 2009

It is a very clear and complete review of the open access development in 2008 including Open access policies at funding agencies and universities; growth numbers, open access archving and opene access journals.It also considers books and humanities. It is vey rich in data,numbers, useful reflections and links

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

B - The “dos and don'ts” of writing a journal article

Kekale T, de Weerd-Nederhof P, Cervai S, Borelli M. The “dos and don'ts” of writing a journal article. Journal of Workplace Learning.2009 (21)1:71-80

The purpose of this piece is to give some guidelines on typical problems that lead to rejection, and how to avoid these. Following these guidelines the review process of articles will be smoother and the amount of rejects should diminish. Young researchers can find good suggestions about how to write a paper

DOI: 10.1108/13665620910924925

Monday, January 26, 2009

N - Societies investigate journals' future

The European Respiratory Society and the American Thoracic Society have been selected for a pilot to test the application of semantic web and Web 2.0 technologies to journal articles, from a large number of applications. The project will explore the potential of these tools to help society publishers increase reader and member engagement with the society and its publications. These two societies were selected because they publish “a significant proportion of high quality articles” in their field, and their content is highly structured. They hope that the experiment will help them better understand what the next generation of online journals might look like.
(UK Serials News, 23 Jan 2009,
Thanks to Margaret Cooter

Friday, January 16, 2009

B - Open science in e-science: contingency or policy?

Fry J,Schroeder R, den Besten M. Open science in e-science: contingency or policy?Journal of Documentation; 2009 65(1): 6-32

DOI: 10.1108/00220410910926103

The question of “openness” in e-Science is discussed. The study is based on 12 interviews with principal investigators, project managers and developers involved in UK e-Science projects, together with supporting documentary evidence from project web sites. The findings suggest that, although there is a widely shared ethos of openness in everyday research practice, there are many uncertainties and yet-to-be resolved issues, despite strong policy imperatives towards openly shared resources

B - Electronic journals and changes in scholarly article seeking and reading patterns

Tenopir C, King DW, Edwards S, Wu L. Electronic journals and changes in scholarly article seeking and reading patterns. Aslib Proceedings; 2009: 61(1)5-32

DOI: 10.1108/00012530910932267

By tracking the information-seeking and reading patterns of science, technology, medical and social science faculty members from 1977 to the present, this paper seeks to examine how faculty members locate, obtain, read, and use scholarly articles and how this has changed with the widespread availability of electronic journals and journal alternatives. The analysis was based on questionnaires. Results show that the average number of readings per year per science faculty member continues to increase, while the average time spent per reading is decreasing. Electronic articles now account for the majority of readings, though most readings are still printed on paper for final reading.

Friday, January 09, 2009

B - Journals aim to improve access for the blind

APS News. Journals aim to improve access for the blind APS News 2008 17(11)4, 7

APS journals are developing ways to improve the journals' accessibility to blind people and others with print disabilities while adding enriched content for all users. The journals currently use XML/MathML formatting for text and equations wirh figures in Postscript. They are now working on making equations and images in a universally acccessible format (DAISY, Digital Accessible Information SYstem). They hope to offer one of their journals with this option in 2010.

Posted for John Glen

N - They misunderestimated me!

To celebrate the end of George Bush's precidency of the United States, the Guardian newspaper has published online a random generator of Bushisms, his infamous gaffes. For such delights as "Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat," "You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror," and "I’ve been in the Bible every day since I’ve been the president" try
Pikestaff, the newsletter of the Plain Language Commission, also marks the change in US president by sending readers to The latest Pikestaff is at

B - Debating open access and arXiv

Fairlie D. Debating open access and arXiv. Physics World 2009;22(1):20

Letter suggesting that the enormous numbers of papers posted on arXiv indicates that too many papers are being published and that there is at present little motive for authors to publish their material in peer reviewed journals; arXiv should be regarded as more like a daily newspaper, not a place for final publication.

Posted for John Glen

B - Debating open access and arXiv

Prentice, J. Debating open access and arXiv. Physics World 2009;22(1):20

Letter pointing out that transferring the cost of publishing to the author may make whether to publish a management decision rather than a scientific one.

Posted for John Glen

B - Elsevier challenged over journal operations

Banks M. Elsevier challenged over journal operations. Physics World 2009;22(1):10

Reports concern about the Elsevier journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, whose editor-in-chief has published 334 papers since 1991, 290 of which appear in his own journal including 58 papers in the last year, 53 of which are in the journal itself, and whose papers have received 39540 citations, 35% of which were by himself.

Posted for John Glen

Thursday, January 08, 2009

B - No to Negative Data

Wiley S. No to Negative Data. Why I believe findings that disprove a hypothesis are largely not worth publishing. The Scientist 2208; 22(4):39

Some scientists have become so concerned about negative data that they have created journals dedicated to publishing negative results. According to the Author, negative results don't actually seem to advance science therefore negative results are not worth publishing. Science is a set of ideas that can be supported by observations. A negative result does not support any specific idea, but only tells you what isn't right. Negative results can also be biased and misleading in their own way, and are often the result of experimental errors, rather than true findings.

N - Geophysicists review colleagues' papers

Scientists at the Institute of Geophysics in Paris have been accused of reviewing papers by their colleagues at the institute. The papers were published from 1992 to 2008 in the Elsevier journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters while they were members of the editorial board, Nature reports. The scientists say that the editorial process is open and that the allegations are "ridiculous." The publisher maintains that reviewing papers from your own institution is unethical. One online response to the news story in Nature said, "This case exposes a general problem in French science: inbreeding, centralism, lack of transparency, and disregard for internationalism." (Nature 2009;457:140, doi:10.1038/457140a)
Thanks to Margaret Cooter

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

N - Australian journal restricts access

The Medical Journal of Australia ( is restricting online access to general content, excluding research papers, from January 2009 to subscribed users only. The online edition of the journal has been free since its inception in 2001. All previously published articles will remain open access. Research articles will be freely accessible online for two weeks following publication, after which a subscription will be required. Twelve months after publication, all articles will revert to open access. (, 6 Jan 2008, “Online edition of Medical Journal of Australia retreats from OA”)
Thanks to Emma Campbell

B - Antidepressants. An untold story?

Lenzer J, Brownlee S. Antidepressants. An untold story? BMJ 2008;336:532-534


This story about antidepressants highlights the ongoing problem of how study results are often distorted by a failure to access full datasets. In fact, the analysis of published and unpublished data from studies of antidepressants in adults shows that only a very small subset of patients seemed to benefit. The problem of publication bias is pointed out through the tendency tp publish only positive studies and file away negative studies. On the contrary, all data should be made available to guarantee both patients and researchers.

N - Weak pound hurts subscriptions

The fall in the value of the pound is damaging the budgets of UK university libraries. Costs of subscriptions to foreign research journals from Europe and the United States have risen due to changes in the exchange rate. Since July 2008, the value of the pound has fallen by about 25% against the US dollar and the euro. The increased cost is a problem because libraries at large institutions typically spend 75% of their acquisition budgets on journals. (, 05 Jan 2009, “Weak pound hurting journal subscriptions in UK, say associations”)
Thanks to Emma Campbell

Friday, January 02, 2009

B - Experts still needed. Be suspicious of metric-based research assessment.

Experts still needed. There are good reasons to be suspicious of metric-based research assessment. (Editorial) Nature 2009 (457):7-8

There are different kinds of metrics for research, but they do not always prove to give robust results. This is the case of the Research Assessment Evalutaion in UK, as described in this editorial. Expert review is far from a problem-free method of assessment, but policy-makers must recognize its indispensable and central role.