Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

Posted in Research on June 28th, 2017 by steve

International“In 2011, Claudio Aspesi, a senior investment analyst at Bernstein Research in London, made a bet that the dominant firm in one of the most lucrative industries in the world was headed for a crash …” (more)

[Stephen Buranyi, Guardian, 27 June]


The University in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility

Posted in Research on June 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“To consider our epoch now of the university in the age of its technical reproducibility, this is an insightful article by Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility’ treats ultimately all of art, when reproduction and hence commodification has become the order of the day …” (more)

[Fionn Murtagh’s Blog, 25 June]

My wall of rejection and why it matters

Posted in Research on June 23rd, 2017 by steve

“If I had a magic wand and could change something about academia, I would make it commonplace for people to share their rejections – on blogs, by emailing colleagues, by running to their office neighbours, print-out in hand, saying ‘You won’t believe how awful the review I got this morning was! Come and laugh at it with me over coffee!’ …” (more)

[Nick Hopwood, 21 June]


Why we need to get rid of STEM

Posted in Research, Teaching on June 23rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“On the surface, ‘STEM’ is a harmless acronym, a handy and catchy way of promoting disciplines that, let’s face it, are pretty important in this technological age. But, to an engineer like me who has worked in a science faculty for my whole career, the idea of lumping science and engineering together, along with maths and ‘technology’, seems a bit … simplistic …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 23 June]

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Don’t let Europe’s open-science dream drift

Posted in Research on June 21st, 2017 by steve

“The European Commission has its critics, but no one can doubt it has ambitious plans. For example, by the year 2020, the commission says, all European researchers will be able to log in to an enormous virtual repository that will eventually provide access to the collective data from all publicly funded research …” (more)

[Nature, 20 June]


Academics fear the value of knowledge for its own sake is diminishing

Posted in Research on June 19th, 2017 by steve

“A climate of ‘anti-intellectualism’, faltering levels of trust in ‘experts’ and an era of ‘post-truth’ provides a rather dreary depiction of the state of academia today. Compound this with the reorganisation of higher education – where universities are run more like businesses – along with the politics of austerity, and it may be little surprise that the sector is said to be in crisis …” (more)

[Jennifer Chubb, The Conversation, 19 June]


Swipe right for science: Papr app is ‘Tinder for preprints’

Posted in Research on June 17th, 2017 by steve

International“Inspired by the dating app Tinder, which asks users to ‘swipe right’ across their screens to approve prospective matches, an app called Papr is inviting scientists to swipe to rate life-sciences preprints. And like other recommendation algorithms, Papr also promises to learn from researchers’ choices so that it can supply them with preprints they’ll like …” (more)

[Lindsay McKenzie, Nature News, 16 June]

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Biologists debate how to license preprints

Posted in Research on June 17th, 2017 by steve

International“Biology’s zeal for preprints — papers posted online before peer review — is opening up a thorny legal debate: should scientists license their manuscripts on open-access terms? Researchers have now shared more than 11,000 papers at the popular bioRxiv preprints site. But where some researchers allow their bioRxiv manuscripts to be freely redistributed and reused, others have chosen to lock them down with restrictive terms …” (more)

[Lindsay McKenzie, Nature News, 16 June]

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New beginning for Limerick as US biotech giant keeps on growing

Posted in Research on June 12th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“For Limerick native, Ivor Downey, professional life couldn’t have worked out better, being tempted home from Boston to head up human resources for US giant Regeneron in Ireland. The icing on the cake is that the New York-headquartered biopharmaceutical company invested not just in his home city of Limerick, but in Raheen — just 5km down the road from where he grew up …” (more)

[Pádraig Hoare, Irish Examiner, 12 June]

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USI to Hire New Manager for Mental Health Project, After Promise of Government Funding

Posted in Research on June 12th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is set to receive government funding to hire a mental health project manager who will lead a national research project into the mental health of students …” (more)

[Dominic McGrath, University Times, 12 June]

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The lifecycle of research citations

Posted in Research on June 10th, 2017 by steve

International“Researchers are evaluated using citation counts, often with a cut-off date. But this column shows that the lifecycle of citations differs between disciplines, with some subjects having earlier peaks or steeper declines in annual citations than others. These differences should be taken into account when evaluating researchers or institutions …” (more)

[Sebastian Galiani and Ramiro Gálvez, VOX, 10 June]


Brussels drive to ‘punish’ UK could end membership of EU research

Posted in Research on June 6th, 2017 by steve

“UK universities’ chances of staying in European Union research programmes will come down to whether senior figures in Brussels seek to ‘punish’ Britain in the Brexit negotiations, according to a German MEP …” (more)

[John Morgan, Times Higher Education, 5 June]

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What does the general election 2017 mean for scientific research?

Posted in Research on June 2nd, 2017 by steve

“Scientific research and technological development are rarely topics of discussion in election debates, and scientists are not normally known for being overtly political creatures. However, following government commitments to leave European funding and regulatory bodies, many scientists have turned to the Labour manifesto to look for alternatives …” (more)

[Ben Fernando, New Statesman, 1 June]


Formal recognition for peer review will propel research forward

Posted in Research on June 1st, 2017 by steve

“Academic research has been beset by a number of disturbing problems in recent years; from the reproducibility crisis and long publication delays, right through to article retractions and admissions of researcher misconduct. This has led to increasing public and media scepticism as to the quality and integrity of research …” (more)

[Andrew Preston and Tom Culley, Impact of Social Sciences, 1 June]

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Research and Development Funding

Posted in Research on May 26th, 2017 by steve

IrelandNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail): To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation her views on the latest findings by the EU’s research and innovation observatory (details supplied) which indicates that research and development funding here is largely focused on multinationals rather than SMEs and that research and development here is below that of average spends by firms in other EU nations; and if she will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 25 May]

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Minister Bruton and Minister Halligan welcome latest rolling review project for the Higher Education Sector

Posted in Research on May 23rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) are to commission a review of Intellectual Property (IP) policies and their implementation and the policies and procedures in the HEIs for the management of Conflicts of Interest in respect of the commercialisation of intellectual property …” (more)

[Department of Education and Skills, 22 May]

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Irish language sector needs to ‘continually reinvent itself,’ NUIG says

Posted in Research on May 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Opportunists who see the monetary value of the Irish language will do more to save it than experts engaged in a ‘discourse of despair’, an NUI Galway academic has said. If people see advantages to Irish they will continue to use it …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 19 May]

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Elsevier: embrace, extend …

Posted in Research on May 13th, 2017 by steve

“Those of us who are moderately tech-savvy and of a certain age will recall the open source community’s disdainful characterization of Microsoft’s standard modus operandi faced with open standards: embrace, extend, extinguish. This is not Elsevier’s only business strategy to be sure, but it does seem to characterize their current approach to open access …” (more)

[Gavia Libraria, 11 May]

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How long can it take to write a paragraph?

Posted in Research on May 7th, 2017 by steve

“Answer: in my case recently about three days, or — more accurately — about three days of repeatedly getting a few lines down on the screen, then either deleting them or transferring them to a separate document rather sweetly entitled ‘bits and pieces’ and starting all over again. Writing is a rum trade …” (more)

[A Don’s Life, 6 May]


TCD surging ahead of Dublin rivals UCD rivals on basic research

Posted in Research on May 5th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“UCD you’ve got a problem! I realised the extent of UCD’s problem after I put in a request this morning to the European Research Council (ERC) for a list of Irish holders of their coveted advanced grants …” (more)

[Sean Duke, Science Spinning, 5 May]