Friday, February 27, 2009

N - Do blogs break embargoes?

Scientists are uncertain if blogging is part of science, journalism, or public discourse, says an editorial in Nature (2009 Feb 26;457:1058, doi:10.1038/4571058a). Embargoes rest on the principle that work should be peer reviewed and published before being covered by the press. To promote scientific communication, however, work can be presented at scientific conferences ahead of publication, and its authors can answer journalists' questions -- so long as they don't actively promote media coverage. The same considerations apply in disseminating new scientific results in the blogosphere. Nature adds that researchers would do well to blog more than they do: societal debates have much to gain from the uncensored voices of researchers.
Thanks to Margaret Cooter

Monday, February 23, 2009

B - Multilingual scholars

Uzuner S. Multilingual scholars’ participation in core/global academic communities: A literature review. Journal of English for academic purposes. 2008; 7:250-263

This paper presents a review of 39 empirical studies that investigated multilingual scholars’ participation in core/global academic communities through article and research publication. These studies were analyzed in terms of multilingual scholars’ reasons for publishing in English, the obstacles that stand in their way of international publication, theoretical assumptions about their socialization and/or participation in core disciplinary communities, and suggested conditions for helping them contribute more to the global intellectual voice. The paper also sets out the conditions under which novice multilingual scholars (graduate students) may best be inducted into the mainstream disciplinary culture and suggests avenues for future research.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

W - Scientists: wake up and communicate

Corfied V. Scientists: wake up and communicate. Science and Development Network.
12 feb 2009

Researchers in developing countries must become "communicating scientists" sharing their knowledge beyond academia. Scientists must become proactive, and form a network of contacts beyond their own academic brotherhood. And they should recognise the value of science intermediaries, such as science centres and funding agencies' research translation offices. They must establish a lobby group to make institutions and government recognise the value of sharing research in accessible language.

Thanks to Françoise Salager-Meyer

Thursday, February 12, 2009

B - Backstage solidarity in Spanish- and English-written medical research papers

Salager-Meyer F, Alcaraz Ariza MA, Pabón Berbesí M. Backstage solidarity in Spanish- and English-written medical research papers: Publication context and the acknowledgment paratext. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 2009 (60)2:307-317.
DOI 10.1002/asi.20981

This article analyzes the acknowledgment (ACK) paratext of medical research articles written in English and Spanish in three geographical contexts: Venezuela, Spain, and the United States of America. 150 research articles from leading medical journals in each country were randomly selected. The frequency and length of ACKs, the number of named and unnamed acknowledgees, the reasons why they were acknowledged, the number of grants received, and the sources of funding were recorded. Results show that ACKs from the English-language corpus are significantly more frequent and longer than those from both the Spanish and Venezuelan samples. The number of persons acknowledged and the number of grants received also were significantly greater in the U.S. sample than they were in the two Spanish-language corpora. Technical/instrumental assistance was more frequently acknowledged than was peers' ideational input. Inconclusion, ACK practice differs from one context to another, and the communicative and sociocultural conventions of academic contributorship are not only discipline-dependent but also language- and context-dependent.

Thanksto F. Salager-Meyer

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

B - Scientific publishing in developing countries: Challenges for the future

Salager-Meyer F. Scientific publishing in developing countries: Challenges for the future. Journal of English for Academic Purposes.2008(7)2:121-132


The center-periphery dichotomy in terms of scientific output is addressed placing emphasis upon the relation that exists between science and technology development, on the one hand, and social and economic development, on the other. The main problems faced by most peripheral journals are outlined as well as the role nation states play in scientific activities in developing countries. Suggestions are given on the ways that could help scientists in periphery countries become fully integrated members of the worldwide network of science and would also contribute to the promotion of scientific multilingualism, a means for science to be truly universal, as it should be.

Friday, February 06, 2009

B - The impact of EU-funded research networks on knowledge diffusion at the regional level

Cassi L, Corrocher N , Malerba F; Vonortas N. The impact of EU-funded research networks on knowledge diffusion at the regional level. Research Evaluation 2008 (17) 4 :283-293

DOI: 10.3152/095820208X364535

Research networks foster the dissemination of innovation-related knowledge. The structure of collaborative networks and of knowledge transfer between research, innovation and deployment activities isevaluated in the field of information and communication technology for the European Union as a whole and for several European regions. Results show that research networks complement diffusion networks by increasing the number of links and organisations involved in exchanging knowledge. Two types of actors are key players in these networks: hubs maintain the bulk of ties in the networks also helping the smaller and more isolated members remain connected; gatekeepers bridge research and diffusion networks.

B - Testing the validity of the Hirsch-index for research assessment purposes

van Leeuwen T. Testing the validity of the Hirsch-index for research assessment purposes. Research Evaluation 2008(17) 2: 157-160

DOI: 10.3152/095820208X319166

This paper describes the results of a recent bibliometric study conducted in the Netherlands focusing on the level of the individual researcher, in relation to an academic reward system. Hirsch-Index is compared with various bibliometric indicators and other characteristics of researchers, and its usefulness in particularly research assessment procedures is tested. Results show a strong bias towards the research field(s) in which a researcher is active, thereby limiting the validity of this indicator for the specific interest of evaluation practices.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

B- BMJ pico — a window into the future?

Jefferson T, De Fiore L. BMJ pico—a window into the future? (letter) BMJ 2009; 338:b392

Pico is a test publication format (sort of extended abstract)proposed by BMJ and reducing the paper research content while retaining the full electronic version of papers. This allows to publish more articles and increase acceptance.One of the foreseeable effects of pico and the publishing of more research would be to decrease the BMJ’s impact factor by increasing the denominator. This may or may not be compensated by an increase in readership, circulation, and citation (the impact factor numerator).

W - Unnecessary quotes

A silly but amusing blog of unnecessary quotation marks.
Thanks to Margaret Cooter

N - Birmingham abandons apostrophes

Road signs and street names in Birmingham will no longer include apostrophes. The city council has decided that the areas such as “Kings Heath” and “Druids Heath” should be apostrophe-free, citing a need to avoid confusion and prevent emergency services from getting lost. In the Birmingham Mail, the councillor Len Gregory said, “I don’t see the point of them.” But the Apostrophe Protection Society said that the decision was “absolute defeatism” and sets a bad example. John Richards, founder of the society, said, “Teachers are trying to teach children correct grammar and punctuation. Now children will go around Birmingham and see utter chaos.”

(, 30 Jan 2009, “Battle to save Birmingham’s apostrophes”.)

See also