Are you listening to podcasts? A lot of people and organisations are making them and many of the have little or no value for you.

The Scholarly Kitchen has begun to make them. Yesterday they had an interesting discussion with Carol Tenopir, an information scientist at University of Tennesee, Knoswille. If I remember correctly she has visited our school; The Swedish School of Library and Information Science.

She is talking about what scholarly reading is about, what kind of material there is and what has happened with the time used to read. Time which is used for work related reading has gone up but the time used to read traditional articles has gone down. She says that it is other types of scholarly texts that are read, such as blogs.

To do this kind of research the term reading must be defined. The research gourp defines reading as something else as just reading the title and abstract. After that the depth of reading can be discussed. Also the context of why something is read effects how researchers read.

Something else she discussed how turst canbe established and maintained because the research is changing and there is a need to be able to form an opinion of the quality of the texts.

What is interesting is that the younger researchers are more conservative as authors but that might be because they are still building their research career. As readers, the younger researchers are more liberal.

Carol Tenopirs podcast “Time, value and Trust in Scholarly Communication”.

Other podcasts from The Scholarly Kitchen.

Pieta Eklund

About open peer review

Peer review is central to the research process and especially for the publishing process. It is not a transparent process: reviewing is done by anonymous reviewers and comments are not available to the readers. There are problems with the review process which can take a long time and it might be seen by the author as the reviewers’ way to tyrannize by demanding more experiments or more interviews. There are cases where more experiments support the made arguments but just as often it leads to extra costs.

Therefore it is interesting to read a in BioMed Central blog about how open review could work. Biology Direct started to experiment with open reviewing for 7 years ago. They made the reviewers names and comments available together with the published article. The editors mean that these comments have created a forum for constructive and open discussions concerning new results and ideas. Also, the quality of publications has improved; articles are well cited and read. They have also noticed that open review is more attractive to those who do non-experimental research. This makes me wonder how well would open review work for e.g. Humanities and Social Sciences?

Another thing that might also facilitate and shorten the review-process and improve article quality is what we wrote here before about letting the methodological discussions take more space in the articles.

What works for one area might not work at all in another area. University of Borås has researchers doing artistic research with exhibitions and shows which are considered publications in this area. They are also discussing peer review and what it means for them. There are at least two ways for peer review in artistic research: 1) to be invited to exhibit one’s work or 2) be accepted among other potential exhibitors. The latter process reminds of the process researchers within other areas are subjected to. How would open review work in this area or is it maybe so that it already is transparent? Could it be even more transparent?

Text: Pieta Eklund

Falsifying research data

I follow the blog Retraction Watch.Blogposts are about publications which are for one reason or another retracted, often due to problems with research data or plagiarism. A while back they hade a post on “what is plagiarism” which was an interesting read. The blog post led to a discussion on what is ethically and morally correct. The question in the blog was about whether nor not you can use someone else’s unpublished text and base your own article on that.

Right now a speciall issue on scientific misconduct in publising is being planned by mdpi.com, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.It is a platform where a number of open access journals are published and many of them have been publishing for a long time. They write in call for papers that a the number of publications being retracted due to research data misconduct or plagiarism is rising. The special issue will deal with questions such as if retractions are a valid proxy for research misconduct, about research data and research ethics and how research misconduct could be measured objectively. Last day to submit manuscript is February 28 2014. Call for papers lists also guidelines for authors. It will be an interesting number!

Pieta Eklund

Special issue on altmetrics

Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ) Summer 2013 Volume 25, no. 2 is a speciall number on Altmetrics.

Altmetrics uses the social web: tweets. Facebook-likes, social bookmarks and other social media to follow the discussions surrounding a research article and other scientific material. Altmetrics studies a specific article’s impact; article-leverl-metrics in other words. The term altmetrics was coined in 2010 and Martin Fenner, editor of the special issues, writes that altmetrics have grown up. Focus has moved from whether it is possible to reliably collect altmetrics (this can of course still be debated) and what is the value of this date and can it be used together with statistics and citation as a complement to presenting best practices and how altmetrics could help us to understand how research impacts the society. There are many areas to study, e.g. to counteract missuse and gaming altmetrics.

Altmetrics is an interesting area and these metrics consider the specific article and discussions which have followed but these number can also be gamed which could make them unusefull. You can game these number same you can buy journal impact factor, number of citations etc. Danger is that the same organisation and people which are tarnishing open access publishing will (if they are not alreadly) abuse this. Read Scholarly Kitchen’s blog post on how easy it is to game Google Scholar citations.

Pieta Eklund