August 8, 2011
NRC Assesssment of Biological Programs
The National Academies of Science have released the report, Research-Doctorate Programs in the Biomedical Sciences: Selected Findings from the NRC Assessment. It is available as a pdf for free download (with registration), or you may read it at their site.
Fields for which data is presented:
Field Name (Number of Programs)
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology (157)
Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering (74)
Cell and Developmental Biology (120)
Genetics and Genomics (66)
Immunology and Infectious Disease (68)
Integrated Biological and Biomedical Sciences (113)
Neuroscience and Neurobiology (93)
Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Environmental Health (117)
Posted by florador at 10:26 AM
June 2, 2011
The National Academies Press Makes All PDF Books Free to Download
As of today all PDF versions of books published by the National Academies Press will be downloadable to anyone free of charge. This includes a current catalog of more than 4,000 books plus future reports produced by the Press. The mission of the National Academies Press (NAP) -- publisher for the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council -- is to disseminate the institutions' content as widely as possible while maintaining financial sustainability.
Among the recent books that may be of interest...
- Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition (2010)
- On Being a Scientist:A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research: Third Edition (2009)
- A New Biology for the 21st Century (2009)
- Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements (2006)
- Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version (2011)
- Status of Pollinators in North America (2007)
- The Value of Genetic and Genomic Technologies:Workshop Summary (2010)
Posted by florador at 9:48 AM
May 13, 2011
U.S. Expands List of Fields in Which Foreign Students May Extend Stay After Graduation
The Chronicle of Higher Education News Ticker is carrying a short article that will be of interest to many of our international students:
May 13, 2011
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has published an expanded list of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields that qualify foreign students for an extended stay in the United States after graduation. The program, known as Optional Practical Training, allows graduates on student visas to work after they receive their degrees. Most graduates are allowed to stay on for an additional 12 months, but students in specific STEM fields can stay for 17 months beyond that. In a press release, the White House said the expansion was made to deal with shortages of certain high-tech scientists and technology experts.
Read the list of STEM fields that qualify (additions are listed in BOLD):
STEM-Designated Degree Program List [pdf]
Posted by florador at 3:12 PM
NSF Announces Its Strategic Vision for Road Ahead
May 10, 2011
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released a strategic plan to guide the agency's priorities and investments for the next five years. Empowering the Nation Through Discovery and Innovation: NSF Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2011-2016 [pdf] sets the pathway for the agency's future, refining NSF's vision statement, refocusing its strategic goals and drawing upon new approaches and methods for assessing and evaluating the performance of NSF's investments in science and engineering research and education.
"NSF can play a significant role in helping the United States retain global leadership in discovery, in innovation, in advancing the frontiers of science and engineering, and in educating new generations of scientists and engineers," said NSF Director Subra Suresh. "Our new strategic plan provides a road map that guides us and keeps the agency on track to achieving these goals."
The new plan outlines three strategic goals that underpin all programs and activities during both the short term and over the long term: transform the frontiers, innovate for society, and perform as a model organization. The first two goals align with the two merit criteria that NSF applies in evaluating every research proposal the agency receives--intellectual merit and broader impacts. The third strategic goal emphasizes the importance of operational excellence to achieving NSF's vision, and it encourages experimentation in business processes in order to make the agency more efficient and effective. The plan sets performance targets to measure progress in achieving the strategic goals, and it lays out near-, mid- and long-term actions for the agency to take.
The strategic plan also commits NSF to innovation and experimentation in the assessment process itself. For example, through the STAR METRICS project (Science and Technology in America's Reinvestment - Measuring the Effect of Research and Innovation, Competitiveness, and Science), NSF is working with other federal science agencies and with research institutions to improve the tracking of outcomes from investments in science and engineering research and education.
"We're living in a time when complex problems demand new approaches that bring together and energize innovative collaborations among scientists, engineers and educators from across disciplinary boundaries," Suresh noted. "This strategic plan encourages us to do exactly that while ensuring that we remain good stewards of taxpayers' dollars and help the public understand the value of the investments we make."
The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 requires federal agencies to develop strategic plans and measure performance. The new strategic plan reflects extensive discussions among NSF staff, the agency's advisory committee members, the National Science Board, other government partners, and the greater research and education community. Although it's a five-year plan, this strategic plan will be revisited and updated for FY 2013, based on the new requirements of the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010.
Posted by florador at 10:30 AM
October 19, 2010
Former NIH Director Touts Benefits of Open Federal Science
Reposted from: http://www.ombwatch.org/node/11332
In the video, Varmus calls open access, or free online access to scientific papers, an "incredibly important development in the history of science." Open access, he says, "has changed science in a very beneficial way, saved money, and increased the quality of what we do."
Varmus currently serves as director of the National Cancer Institute, an institute of the NIH. He served as NIH director under President Clinton and formerly served as co-chair of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. For his pioneering cancer research, Varmus received the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
As NIH director, Varmus laid the foundation for PubMed Central, a free repository of medical research hosted by NIH's National Library of Medicine. Today, NIH funds $31 billion in medical research. In 2007, Congress required that NIH-funded scientists post papers resulting from NIH funding on PubMed Central for free public access.
The Federal Research Public Access Act, now pending in the House and Senate, would expand that mandate to all federally-funded research. Introducing the bill in 2009 with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said, "Our legislation would give the American people greater access to the important scientific research they help fund, which will accelerate scientific discovery and innovation, while also making sure that funding is being spent appropriately to ensure taxpayers are receiving a return on their research investments."(Gavin Baker 10/18/10)
Posted by florador at 2:04 PM
July 20, 2010
Public Access to Publicly Funded Research Bill Update
House committee to hold hearing on public access to publicly funded research
Support for public access expands in Congress
Washington, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives announced it will hold a hearing on the issue of public access to federally funded research on Thursday, July 29. The hearing will provide an opportunity for the Committee to hear the perspectives of a broad range of stakeholders on the potential impact of opening up access to the results of the United States’ more than $60 billion annual investment in scientific research.
The Subcommittee’s interest stems from the growing number of visible expressions of interest in the issue of public access that have surfaced in recent months, in both the Legislative and Executive branches of government. Notably, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy earlier this year hosted a Public Access Policy Forum on mechanisms that would leverage federal investments in scientific research and increase access to information.
Additionally, H.R. 5037, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), which was introduced into the House on April 15 by Rep. Mike Doyle (R-PA) and is supported by a growing bi-partisan host of cosponsors, was referred to the Committee. The bill, and its identical Senate counterpart (introduced by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX)), proposes to require those eleven federal agencies with extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to implement policies that deliver timely, free, online public access to the published results of the research they fund.
According to the notice:
“The hearing will examine the state of public access to federally-funded research in science, technology, and medicine. The hearing will assess and delineate the complex issues surrounding public access policies. The hearing will afford an opportunity for representatives from the areas of publishing, science and research, education and patient care to provide perspective on challenges, potential impact and opportunities regarding increased access.”
This open, public hearing will be held Thursday, July 29, at 2:00 PM in Rayburn House Office Building, room 2154.
“We are pleased that the Committee is creating this opportunity to shine a light on the issue of public access and examine the opportunities and implications it presents in an open, public forum,” said Heather Joseph, spokesperson for the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). “This is an issue of deep importance to a wide range of stakeholders – from scientists to students, entrepreneurs to educators, publishers and the public. We welcome this chance for a diverse array of viewpoints on the issue to be heard.”
The growing interest in exploring effective public access policies in the U.S. reflects a larger worldwide trend. Around the globe, national and non-profit funding agencies are recognizing the opportunity to increase the return on their research grants by requiring that findings be made freely accessible on the Internet.
For more information about the issue of public access to publicly funded research, the Federal Research Public Access Act, and other public access policies, visit http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) is a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing organizations that supports open public access to the results of federally funded research. The Alliance was formed in 2004 to urge that peer-reviewed articles stemming from taxpayer-funded research become fully accessible and available online at no extra cost to the American public. Details on the ATA may be found at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org.
Director of Programs & Operations
(202) 296-2296 x121
Fax: (202) 872-0884
Posted by florador at 4:24 PM
July 19, 2010
New NIH Policy: Use NCBI/PubMed's My Bibliography to Manage Your Professional Bibliography
If you are PD/PI on an NIH-funded project, or soon expect to be, there is an upcoming change to bibliography management that affects you.
Beginning July 23, 2010, NIH-funded PIs will need to use the NCBI/PubMed My Bibliography tool to track their publications, rather than entering them manually through eRA Commons. My Bibliography is part of the My NCBI toolbox in PubMed. Current eRA Commons users can link their eRA Commons account to My Bibliography.
Beginning October 22, 2010, eRA Commons will no longer display citations manually entered. By that date, all citations must be added to My Bilbliography so that they will continue to appear in eRA Commons.
If you save searches or create email alerts in PubMed, you already have a My NCBI account; use that log-in to assure that all your My NCBI activities are under one account.
The NIH offers a step by step guide to help you get started using My Bibliography. Additionally, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has created a tutorial on how you can use My Bibliogrpahy to check the Public Access compliance status of your papers.
To learn more about the NIH Public Access Mandate, please visit our Guide to the NIH Public Mandate: Creating your MyNCBI Bibliography.
Posted by florador at 4:13 PM
October 27, 2009
The Chemistry of Autumn Colors
Chemical of the Week has an informative article about where the fall color in trees and shrubs comes from, from a chemical standpoint. Written by University of Wisconsin-Madison Chemistry Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, The Chemistry of Autumn Colors reveals why in the fall leaves go from green to yellow and red.
Summarizing he says:
The range and intensity of autumn colors is greatly influenced by the weather. Low temperatures destroy chlorophyll, and if they stay above freezing, promote the formation of anthocyanins. Bright sunshine also destroys chlorophyll and enhances anthocyanin production. Dry weather, by increasing sugar concentration in sap, also increases the amount of anthocyanin. So the brightest autumn colors are produced when dry, sunny days are followed by cool, dry nights.
For the complete discussion, see:
http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/chemweek/fallcolr/fallcolr.html or the pdf version:
Posted by florador at 4:43 PM
June 26, 2009
Federal Research Public Access Act, 2009
Yesterday, Senators Lieberman (I-CT) and Cornyn (R-TX) (re-)introduced the Federal Research Public Access Act (S.1373), a bill that would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by eleven U.S. federal agencies. S.1373 would require those agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts stemming from such funding no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The bill gives individual agencies flexibility in choosing the location of the digital repository to house this content, as long as the repositories meet conditions for interoperability and public accessibility, and have provisions for long-term archiving.
The bill specifically covers unclassified research funded by agencies including:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of Education
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Transportation
Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Science Foundation
S. 1373 reflects the growing trend among funding agencies and college and university campuses to leverage their investment in the conduct of research by maximizing the dissemination of results. It follows the successful path forged by the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as by private funders like the Wellcome Trust, and universities such as Harvard and MIT.
The Library has requested that our Washington government relations liaison contact our representatives in support of this bill.
If you would like to voice your opinion on this bill to our representatives, an easy way to do so has been provided at the Alliance for Taxpayer Access website:
You may use one of their pre-written forms, or compose your own.
Detailed information about the Federal Research Public Access Act is available at http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/media/Release09-0625.html.
This memo was clipped from a longer message received from:
Spokesperson for the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and Executive Director of SPARC
Telephone: (202) 296-2296
Email: heather [at] arl [dot] org
Posted by florador at 12:08 PM
April 28, 2009
President Obama Addresses the National Academy of Science
On April 27th, 2009 President Obama addressed the assembled US National Academies members. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a 1863 congressional charter.
From the NAS Press Release:
"President Barack Obama announced new initiatives and investments in scientific research, innovation, and education, declaring once again to restore science to its rightful place. "The days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over," he said.
Calling science "more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, and our environment than it has ever been," Obama said he is going to make major investments -- 3 percent of the gross domestic product -- in research and innovation. This exceeds the amount invested in 1964 at the height of the space race. He emphasized the importance of using funds to encourage high-risk, high-return research and to support researchers at the beginning of their careers."
"The president committed to doubling the budgets of three key science agencies -- the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He also announced the launch of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a new Department of Energy organization modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. And Obama said he would triple the number of NSF graduate research fellowships."
Press Release from the NAS:
Posted by florador at 11:38 AM
February 12, 2009
NIH Public Access Mandate in Jeopardy!
An email from ARL (Association of Research Libraries) concerning a recently submitted bill, supported by some of our largest publishers, that would reverse the NIH Public Access mandate, and also make it impossible for other government agencies to start similar programs.
The basis theses of the NIH mandate is that research publications that were supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health -- we have many researchers on this campus who are so supported -- must be made freely available to all within year of publication. The thought is that the citizens paid for the research so they should have access to it!
The publishers are saying that this infringes on their copyrights, but the mandate requires the authors to make available THEIR version of their work; that is, the version before they hand over copyrights to the publishers (which we're encouraging them NOT to do, but that's another story!)
Read on for more information as well as a recommendation that we contact our congressmen about this proposed legislation.
U of Illinois Biotechnology Librarian
From: Jennifer McLennan
Subject: [SPARC-ADVOCACY] CALL TO ACTION: Ask your Representative to oppose the H.R. 801 The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act
Last week, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (Rep. John Conyers, D-MI) re-introduced a bill that would reverse the NIH Public Access Policy and make it impossible for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place. The legislation is H.R. 801: the “Fair Copyright in Research Works Act” ( http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.111hr801).
All supporters of public access – researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, and others – are asked to please contact your Representative no later than February 28, 2009 to express your support for public access to taxpayer-funded research and ask that he or she oppose H.R.801. Draft letter text is included below. As always, it’s important to let us know what action you’re able to take, via http://www.taxpayeraccess.org/action/log.html.
H.R. 801 is designed to amend current copyright law and create a new category of copyrighted works (Section 201, Title 17). In effect, it would:
1. Prohibit all U.S. federal agencies from conditioning funding agreements to require that works resulting from federal support be made publicly available if those works are either: a) funded in part by sources other than a U.S. agency, or b) the result of "meaningful added value" to the work from an entity that is not party to the agreement.
2. Prohibit U.S. agencies from obtaining a license to publicly distribute, perform, or display such work by, for example, placing it on the Internet.
3. Stifle access to a broad range of federally funded works, overturning the crucially important NIH Public Access Policy and preventing other agencies from implementing similar policies.
4. Because it is so broadly framed, the proposed bill would require an overhaul of the well-established procurement rules in effect for all federal agencies, and could disrupt day-to-day procurement practices across the federal government.
5. Repeal the longstanding "federal purpose" doctrine, under which all federal agencies that fund the creation of a copyrighted work reserve the "royalty-free, nonexclusive right to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the work" for any federal purpose. This will severely limit the ability of U.S. federal agencies to use works that they have funded to support and fulfill agency missions and to communicate with and educate the public.
Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information through the PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.
All supporters of public access -- researchers, libraries, campus administrators, patient advocates, publishers, and others -- are asked to contact their Representatives to let them know you support public access to federally funded research and oppose H.R. 801. Again, the proposed legislation would effectively reverse the NIH Public Access Policy, as well as make it impossible for other federal agencies to put similar policies into place.
Thank you for your support and continued persistence in supporting this policy. You know the difference constituent voices can make on Capitol Hill.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Heather or myself anytime.
Director of Communications
(The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition)
(202) 296-2296 ext 121
Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.
Draft letter text:
On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 801, “the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,” introduced to the House Judiciary Committee on February 3, 2009. This bill would amend the U.S. Copyright Code, prohibiting federal agencies from requiring as a condition of funding agreements public access to the products of the research they fund. This will significantly inhibit our ability to advance scientific discovery and to stimulate innovation in all scientific disciplines.
Most critically, H.R. 801 would reverse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing the results of the crucial biomedical research funded by their taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in life-saving research and scientific discovery.
Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information from the NIH’s PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R.801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.
H.R. 801 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research coming from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information on energy, the environment, climate change, and hundreds of other areas that directly impact the lives and well being of the public would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation.
[Why you support taxpayer access and the NIH policy].
The NIH and other agencies must be allowed to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please oppose H.R.801.
[END LETTER TEXT]
Posted by florador at 1:12 PM
December 3, 2008
HighWire Press: Over 2 Million Subscription-free Articles
Recently HighWire Press announced that they had reached the milestone of 5 million articles from scholarly societies and academic presses. Over two million of these are freely accessible to all.
Societies that contract with HighWire Press to provide online access to their journals are free to specify the terms of access to their journals, including the embargo period for their journals. An increasing number of societies, recognizing the scholarly mission of their society, have chosen to -- at their own expense -- have their complete back files digitized and made freely accessible. Often these free articles are available not only through the HighWire Press site, but are also being deposited into PubMed Central.
The HighWire Press home page provides the current statisitics for the number of articles and the number of openly-accessible articles -- as of this moment, 5,008,753 full text articles from over 140 scholarly publishers; 2,013,535 articles are freely accessible by all.
HighWire Press maintains a page where the embargo period for their journals is listed -- http://highwire.stanford.edu/lists/freeart.dtl. There are nearly 50 journals that are completely free. Of the over 1100 journals served through HighWire, it appears that at least 255 have some free access to their back files content. The embargo period for those that offer free back file access to their journals is usually 12 months, but can be as short as 2 months or as long as 5 years.
Posted by florador at 12:03 PM
May 20, 2008
Creationism Being Taught by 1 in 8 High School Biology Teachers
The Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) is reporting on a recent study that indicated a significant percentage of high school biology teachers are teaching some form of creationism. The study, "Evolution and Creationism in America's Classrooms: A National Portrait" was published in the prestigious open access journal, PLOS Biology, by Penn State researchers Michael B. Berkman, Julianna Sandell Pacheco, and Eric Plutzer.
From the CHE article (with local links added):
One in eight teachers said they taught creationism as a "valid scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species," reports a team led by Michael B. Berkman, a professor of political science at Pennsylvania State University at University Park.
The Penn State researchers surveyed 939 high-school biology teachers who were randomly selected from a list that includes most of the biology teachers in the country. They found that treatment of evolution varies widely: Some 38 percent of teachers devote more than 11 hours to the subject, while 11 percent provide less than 2 hours for the topic, if they cover it at all.
A quarter of teachers said they discussed creationism or intelligent design for at least an hour, but nearly half apparently bring it up to criticize it, say the survey authors. Some 40 percent of the teachers who raise the topic of creationism say that when they talk about it, they describe it as a valid religious perspective that is inappropriate for a science class.
The survey suggests that the personal beliefs of teachers and their training both make a big difference in how much time they devote to discussing evolution. Teachers were most likely to devote few hours to the topic if they held beliefs consistent with creationism. Those who spent the most class time on evolution had taken the most college-level credits in biology and had taken at least one class in evolutionary biology, according to the Penn State researchers.
Randy Moore, a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, has conducted his own surveys of high-school biology teachers and also of college students, to see what they learned in high-school biology classes. His findings and those of other researchers suggest that 15 percent to 30 percent of biology teachers are teaching creationism, which federal courts have deemed a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In a study, "Creationism in the Biology Classroom: What Do Teachers Teach & How Do They Teach It?" [U of I access] published in The American Biology Teacher [U of I access] in February, Mr. Moore found that 27 percent of the 1,465 college freshmen he surveyed had encountered creationism in a high-school biology class. A previous study found that 15 percent of biology teachers do not accept evolution as scientifically valid. The new survey, he said, is valuable because "it documents what many biologists would find astounding: that biology teachers are teaching creationism." Despite considerable evidence showing the persistence of creationism in American classrooms, he said, "college faculty don't believe this."
Posted by florador at 11:32 AM
December 10, 2007
NIH Looks to Revise Peer Review Process to Help Young Researchers
From the Chronicle of Higher Education (12.10.07) [U of I access link]
A committee studying ways to improve peer review and grant making at the National Institutes of Health called for major changes on Friday. They include slashing the length of grant applications and placing more weight in grant reviews on the scientific effects of the proposed research.
The working group, created by the advisory committee to NIH director Elias A. Zerhouni, also suggested providing more grants for young scientists who have never before received one. The agency should review grant proposals from such applicants separately from those of established, older investigators. The younger scientists make up a diminishing proportion of the agency's grantees, raising concerns about the future vigor of the biomedical-research work force.
In addition the working group proposed ways to improve the quality and efficiency of the NIH's peer review. One way was to require senior, established researchers to serve on the agency's review panels, which are made up largely of outside academics, as a condition of receiving certain grants. Those veterans are increasingly unwilling to volunteer because of the time commitment involved, but they possess the expertise and experience needed for quality reviews, the panel found....
One of the big changes would transform the peer-review committees of outside scientists who now review and rate applications for NIH grants, making them operate more like the editorial boards of scholarly journals. The committees, called study sections, would "outsource" grant applications to specialists in the discipline to review technical aspects. The study sections would be made up of generalists who would discuss the applications' scientific significance, broadly construed.
- Read the full article in the Chronicle.
- Review the NIH web site for more information about the "Enhancing Peer Review at the NIH" Working Group, including a Meeting Summary from the Oct 25th NIH Regional Consultation Meeting on Peer Review, held in San Francisco.
- Read news item in the 12-7-07 issue of Science A Radical Revamp of Peer Review?
- Videocast and PowerPoint presentation given by Larry Tabak at Peer Review Advisory Committee Meeting on 3 December
Posted by florador at 2:57 PM
October 29, 2007
Science Has a Serious Marketing Problem
The Scientist (Vol 21, Issue 10) ran an interesting article, "The Future of Public Engagement" about the need for scientists to "frame" their research for public consumption. They should not just "dumb down" their science, so "the public" can understand it. Rather
...scientists must learn to focus on presenting, or "framing," their messages in ways that connect with diverse audiences. This means remaining true to the underlying science, but drawing on research to tailor messages in ways that make them personally relevant and meaningful to different publics. For example, when scientists are speaking to a group of people who think about the world primarily in economic terms, they should emphasize the economic relevance of science - such as, in the case of embryonic stem cell research, pointing out that expanded government funding would make the United States, or a particular state, more economically competitive.
How framing works..
Frames simplify complex issues by lending greater importance to certain considerations and arguments over others. In the process, framing helps communicate why an issue might be a problem, who or what might be responsible, and what should be done. A typology of frames specific to science-related issues summarizes a common set of frames specific to science.
The article gives examples from research in successes in communicating stem cell research, plant biotechnology, and nanotechnology.
Some scientists already frame their communications. Consider, for example, E.O. Wilson's Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth. In his book, by recasting environmental stewardship as not only a scientific matter, but also one of personal and moral duty, Wilson has generated discussion among a religious audience that might not otherwise pay attention to popular science books.
Perhaps because I just read a similar idea in Alan Alda's book "Things I Overheard While Listening to Myself", this Scientist article resonated for me. In his book, Alda suggests that, along with all the science classes students take, perhaps they should also be taking communication classes!
We can't leave the popularization of science just to the science news writers. Their articles certainly help. But citizens need to hear about research from the scientists themselves. Last night I watched a wonderful program on Nature about colony collapse in honeybees, "Silence of the Bees". Two of our scientists from the U of I entomology department, May Berenbaum and Gene Robinson (together with other scientists) spoke eloquently of the catastrophe that will occur if honeybees continue to decline. One couldn't help but be drawn into the story and into the CSI-like research effort that's going on to solve this problem.
Posted by florador at 1:29 PM
September 18, 2007
Illinois Biotechnology Organization Formed
The Illinois Biotechnology Organization (IBO) was recently formed by several graduate students and post-docs for the purpose of "gathering together students, post-doc, professors etc. that are involved in the biotechnology area at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana."
At the IBO website one will find gathered together University links of significance to biotechnology as well as a page of links that point to information about biotechnology.
The IBO is planning its first event, a social hour, for Monday, October 29th from 7-9 PM. It will be held in Room 210 of the Illini Union. All are welcome to attend, but it is requested that you register by October 22nd by sending an email to:email@example.com.
The IBO social hour is being held in conjunction with the 2007 Biotechnology Job Fair, which is being held on Tuesday, October 30th, from 9-12 and 1-3:30, in the Illini Union. Deadline for registration for the Job Fair is October 1st.
Posted by florador at 11:14 AM
September 14, 2007
Lehigh University Offers Free Online BioScience Course
Lehigh University (Bethlehem PA) is offering a totally free online biology course, Bioscience in the 21st Century. It is described as:
A multidisciplinary survey course in which several theme-based topics in bioscience and their social/ethical considerations will be explored. ...
A major goal of the course will be to communicate the importance of a systems-driven, multidisciplinary approach in bioscience. Several contemporary issues (e.g., obesity, infectious diseases, cancer, stem cell biology, advances in cell biology and medicine, genome-based medicine, neurophysiology-related topics, bioinformatics, interfaces between organic chemistry and biology, advances in engineered biomedical systems, advances in bioimaging, social/ethical considerations) will be discussed.
Lectures will be presented by faculty from different disciplines in order to highlight cross-disciplinary perspectives on fundamental problems and potential solutions in bioscience. This course is envisioned as the initial tool for shaping an intellectual approach to bioscience that routinely values interconnections among disciplines and reduces/eliminates the tendency to compartmentalize learning “by subject.”
A second goal of the course is to provide scientific literacy for non-majors and the public. Students who are not formally registered for the course are encouraged to attend lectures based on their interests. Course materials including the syllabus, course materials, and all lectures are available on the web with full access for the entire Lehigh community and interested members of the public.
Lecturers will include Lehigh University professors from a variety of departments, as well as special guests. Check for weekly postings of lectures, and class resources.
This virtual classroom opportunity is funded through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The grant recognizes Lehigh’s innovative approach to preparing students to address emerging issues in modern biology and biomedical research.
Check out the
- Lecture PowerPoints
Posted by florador at 2:02 PM
September 12, 2007
Scientific Memoirs from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is making 150 years of American scientific history available by publishing its entire collection of Biographical Memoirs on the Internet. Biographical Memoirs are brief biographies of deceased NAS members written by those who knew them or their work.
Since 1877, NAS has published over 1,400 memoirs. Although the memoirs published since 1995 have been freely available on the Academy's Web site, over 900 memoirs were available previously only in print through archives and libraries.
Among the additional 500 memoirs published online are those of famed naturalist Louis Agassiz; Joseph Henry, the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; Thomas Edison; Alexander Graham Bell; noted anthropologist Margaret Mead; and psychologist and philosopher John Dewey. More memoirs will be published regularly until the entire collection is available online.
Posted by florador at 2:57 PM
August 23, 2007
SciVee: A YouTube for the Sciences
Thanks to if:book for word about SciVee, which could be a major innovation in science publishing. The National Science Foundation, the Public Library of Science and the San Diego Supercomputing Center have joined forces to launch SciVee, an experimental media sharing platform that allows scientists to synch short video lectures with paper outlines:
"SciVee, created for scientists, by scientists, moves science beyond the printed word and lecture theater taking advantage of the internet as a communication medium where scientists young and old have a place and a voice."
The site is in alpha and has only a handful of community submissions, but it's enough to give a sense of how useful it could become. Video entries can be navigated internally by topic segments, and are accompanied by a link to the full paper, jpegs of figures, tags, a reader rating system and a comment area.
Peer networking functions are supposedly also in the works, although this seems geared solely as a dissemination and access tool for already vetted papers, not a peer-to-peer review forum. It has the potential to grow into a resource not just for research but for teaching and open access curriculum building.
Hop on over to take a look at the pubcast and paper on the structural evolution of the protein kinase.
Posted by florador at 10:57 AM
August 9, 2007
Yale Drops It's Pre-Pay Membership to BioMed Central
As widely reported in the media, Yale University has dropped it's institutional membership in BioMed Central.
This isn't a reflection on lack of support on Yale's part for the idea of open access. In fact, membership was dropped because Yale authors are apparently flocking to publish their articles in the openly accessible BMC journals, which then made the cost to the library - which was picking up the publication fees for the papers -- soar out of hand! There were 41 BMC papers published by Yale authors in 2006; already in 2007 there have been 43. (Note: The corresponding author, whose institution pays the publication fee, was not necessarily a Yale author in all these cases.) By taking an institutional "pre-pay" membership in BMC, the Yale Library had opted to try to pay the BMC author publication fees (via the Institutional Membership program) and these fees just got to be too much for them to bear as more and more Yale authors opted for publishing in BMC titles.
To be sure, the article charges for publishing in BMC journals have been rising, too.
Yale authors can, of course, continue to publish in BMC journals, and it will be interesting to see how many still opt for this. They will have to pay the page charges out of their grant money, as over half of the BMC authors have been doing.
As David Stern, Yale's science librarian, reported in his posting:
The libraries’ BioMedCentral membership represented an opportunity to test the technical feasibility and the business model of this OA publisher. While the technology proved acceptable, the business model failed to provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options. Instead, BioMedCentral has asked libraries for larger and larger contributions to subsidize their activities. Starting with 2005, BioMed Central article charges cost the libraries $4,658, comparable to a single biomedicine journal subscription. The cost of article charges for 2006 then jumped to $31,625. The article charges have continued to soar in 2007 with the libraries charged $29,635 through June 2007, with $34,965 in potential additional article charges in submission.
He goes on to conclude...
"We believe in the widest possible access to scholarly research supported by workable business models and should BioMed Central develop a viable economic model which allows them to more equitably share costs across all interested stakeholders, we would consider renewing our financial support. "
BMC Publisher, Matthew Cockerill, has of course replied to the Yale news, pointing out that the article processing charges that BMC charges are still less than most commercial publishers. He goes on to suggest that libraries consider the future where instead of purchasing some subscriptions to journals it may be a role of the library to support open access publishing for the greater good. From his posting:
That is why BioMed Central introduced its institutional membership scheme, which allows institutions to centrally support the dissemination of open access research in the same way that they centrally support subscription journals, thereby creating a 'level playing field'.
In order to ensure that funding of open access publication is sustainable, we have encouraged institutions to set aside a small fraction of the indirect funding contribution that they receive from funders to create a central open access fund.
It should be noted that BMC's Institutional Membership program, whereby universities (usually the library) pre-pay all or most of the author's article fees is not the only way in which the institution can show it's support for the BMC flavor of open access. BMC also offers a "Supporting Membership" which is not tied to the number of articles submitted from an institution; it offers a modest (usually 15%) reduction in the article publication charge.
At this point, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is neither an Institutional nor Supporting member of BMC.
Posted by florador at 2:34 PM
July 12, 2007
Learn of New Literature Based on Its Taxa
If you're interested in keeping track of the literature for a particular species, read on to learn about a new service, uBioRSS, that harvests info from hundreds of publisher table of contents alerts!
If you set up searches using this service based on any level of taxa for any type of organism, you'll receive email alerts as new articles are published.
Matthew Cockerill, Track the latest open access research relating to your favorite taxon, BioMed Central blog, June 26, 2007. Excerpt:
uBioRSS is a nifty service from the MBLWHOI Library at Woods Hole, which harvests bibliographic information about new articles from publishers' RSS feeds, and then passes them through the uBio taxonomic classification system which identifies any species that are mentioned in the article, and classifies the article appropriately.
This makes it possible to browse the literature taxonomically, so that, for example you might view a list of all the latest articles on cetaceans far more easily than can be done using plain text search.
What's more, it is possible to filter articles by source, so you an easily taxonomically browse just BioMed Central's open access articles. The site also offers an alerting service, so you can choose to be notified of new articles which relate to your particular taxon of interest.
uBioRSS is a great example of the way in which semantic enrichment can add value to the literature, and shows how it is particularly effective when combined with open access, as this then allows the semantic enrichment to be applied not just to the text of the title and abstract, but to the entire full text. To see an example of this in action, check out the UBio taxonomically-enhanced PubMed Central full text search....
I tested this out to see if it had built-in feeds for the Honeybee, Apis mellifera, and it did! Click Here.
It pulled articles published during the last month in such journals as:
Journal of Medical Entomology
Australian Journal of Entomology
BMC Developmental Biology
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
The Southwestern Naturalist
Journal of Mammalogy
Insect Molecular Biology
So, you might want to sign up for this service from uBioRSS as an adjunct to the alerting emails that you are already receiving (I Hope!) from Web of Science, PubMed, Biological Abstracts, Scopus, Faculty of 1000, CAB Abstracts, and so on!
Please let me know if you'd like some help setting up alerts in your field!
Posted by florador at 11:32 AM
July 9, 2007
Do the Criteria for Tenure in the Sciences Need to Change?
The Scientist is currently running an open-comment survey on whether folks think that the criteria on which tenure is awarded in scientific disciplines needs to change.
Among the questions to consider:
- Do you believe reviewers of a scientist's achievements currently focus too heavily on citations?
- What metrics should we use to evaluate researchers in fields that tend to rack up fewer citations?
- Do you believe reviewers focus too heavily on grant funding when evaluating scientists?
- Is tenure a good idea to begin with? Does it support a lot of tenured scientists who don't contribute as much as those still working for tenure?
- Are tenure decisions getting off track? Are we evaluating scientists fairly?
- And once scientists become tenured, is there enough structure to ensure they continue to contribute significant science?
Source: The Scientist : Does tenure need to change?
Address : <http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/53370/>
Posted by florador at 12:44 PM
PLoS Hires ScienceBlogs Blogger to Encourage Interactivity
With thanks to Becky Smith for the heads up...
Bora Zivkovic, chief blogger at ScienceBlog's "A Blog Around the Clock", has been hired by the Public Library of Science to encourage readers to comment on the papers that are published by the various PLOS journals.
Each PLOS article provides a link whereby readers may "provide a response" to the article. Browsing through several issues of PLOS Biology indicates to me that so far this option has been underutilized so it appears Bora will have a big task ahead of himself.
It seems to me that such comments on articles could certainly add extra value to the original piece -- they could elaborate on related experiments, refute the findings, or comment on the significance of the article much as Faculty of 1000 Biology recommendations do.
Good luck, Bora!
Posted by florador at 11:24 AM
June 12, 2007
NPG launches Two New Websites: Nature Reports Climate Change and Nature Reports Stem Cells
From Knowledgespeak (June 12)
Scientific publisher Nature Publishing Group (NPG), UK, has announced the launch of two new websites - Nature Reports Climate Change and Nature Reports Stem Cells. The Nature Reports sites highlight topical science issues by providing thorough investigative reporting based on peer-reviewed, primary research.
The new websites will report ‘the science behind the news, the news behind the science,’ and explore the social, political and economic implications of the highlighted topic. Users of all levels of expertise, from scientists, journalists and students, to members of the general public, can access the content, a vast majority of which is freely available. Over the coming months, both Nature Reports: Stem Cells and Nature Reports Climate Change hope to develop further with increased community interactions, resources and media.
The topics for discussion in the Nature Reports series were chosen based on the most popular search terms run on Nature.com in 2006. The first in the series- Nature Reports Avian Flu- was launched in March 2007.
Nature news release (pdf).
Posted by florador at 1:18 PM
June 6, 2007
A Farmer's Perspective on Biotechnology
Art Brandli, who farms in Warroad, Minn., recently wrote an opinion piece in Ag Weekly about his impressions while attending the annual BIO conference, which was held in Boston this year. Some snippets from his report...
The BIO Conference was huge, over 20,000 people from 64 countries and the amount of information nearly overwhelming. One quickly learns how much biotechnology is already used in our everyday lives, and how food and production agriculture is just a small part of the biotech industry.
Michael J Fox was a keynote speaker, stressing the need for the biotechnology industry to continue to innovate and accelerate the translation of basic science into improved therapies for patients.
I had an opportunity to meet a number of people committed to working for greater acceptance of biotechnology in agriculture, including Dr. Clive James, an ag scientist from the UK and former deputy director general at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, where he worked with Dr. Norman Borlaug, “Father of the Green Revolution.” James now heads a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to alleviate hunger and poverty in developing countries. James cited FAO projections that world food-production needs to double by 2050, using less water and little more land than today, despite climate change, the increasing focus of cropland for biofuels, and the fact that one-third of the world’s population lacks food security now. He stressed that a successful strategy must have multiple approaches that include population stabilization, improved food distribution systems - and a technology component, a crop improvement strategy that integrates conventional and biotech crop approaches to optimize productivity and that can contribute to food, feed, fiber, and fuel security.
One approach in communicating with consumers, James suggests, is not to refer to “biotech” or “genetically-modified” crops, but simply “bio crops.”
Posted by florador at 9:58 AM
June 5, 2007
Broad Impact: Refreshing Your Statistics Knowledge
Have you discovered Faculty of 1000 Biology, yet? It's a great tool for discovering hidden gems and important papers in particular areas. I like to think of it as a really good student advisory committee that selects, recommends, and critiques the top "must read" articles in all areas of Biology!
Here's a news blurb from BioMed Central, the publisher of F1000:
Five Faculty of 1000 Biology members have recently singled out an Exceptional Broad Impact paper that is of high relevance to researchers in all fields of Biology, as it provides guidance to biologists for navigating the often tricky world of data representation -- in particular the use of error bars.
"This paper should be read by anyone who is trying to present experimental data graphically." comments David Stephens (University of Bristol, UK), Faculty of 1000 Biology member for Cell Biology.
Andy Groves (House Ear Institute, USA), a Faculty of 1000 Biology member for Developmental Biology goes on to say "This wonderful article clearly explains how experimental variation is measured and displayed, and describes how different kinds of error bars can mean very different things. This paper is a must read for every scientist who thinks that triplicate plates from a single experiment counts as n=3 !!!!!"
"Personally, I have filed the pdf in a safe place, and I plan to consult it every time I send a graph for publication." concludes Etienne Joly (CNRS, France), a Faculty of 1000 Biology Member for Immunology.
The Faculty of 1000 Biology structure makes it possible to identify papers of broad interest, irrespective of the journal in which they are published. Go to the Faculty of 1000 Biology website to see the full comments of all the evaluating Faculty Members on this Exceptional Broad Impact paper.
Posted by florador at 10:21 AM
March 27, 2007
Proposed: Federal Digital Data Respository
The March 22nd issue of Nature is reporting that an interdepartmental government group, the Interagency Working Group on Digital Data (IWGDD) has recommended that the government set up a freely accessible repository for the massive quantities of data that are generated by research sponsored by many government agencies. Currently such a repository exists for gene and protein data -- Genbank -- and for astronomers. But this proposal, which it is felt WILL HAPPEN, has a much broader reach. The IWGDD represents 22 agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services, and other government branches including the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
A draft strategic plan for this proposal will be drawn up by the Fall of 2007. According to the Nature article,
The group’s first step is to set up a robust public infrastructure so all researchers have a permanent home for their data. One option is to create a national network of online data repositories, funded by the government and staffed by dedicated computing and archiving professionals. It would extend to all communities a model similar to the Arabidopsis Information Resource, in which 20 staff serve 13,000 registered users and 5,000 labs. The IWGDD is considering making submission of well-documented data sets to archives a requirement of getting a grant.
Read the full Nature article.
Posted by florador at 12:01 PM
January 25, 2007
Publish Videos of Your Experiments Online - for Free
The Journal of Visualized Experiments (2006-) is truly living up to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. This online, open access journal is
publishing visualized (video-based) biological research studies. This publication aims to solve some of the most difficult problems in the contemporary life science research:
- low transparency and reproducibility of biological experiments
- time-consuming learning of experimental techniques
Each video-article will include step-by-step instructions on an experiment, a demonstration of equipment and reagents, and a short discussion by experts describing possible technical problems and modifications. Every scientist planning on a biological experiment will be able to access the database, find videos relevant to their work, and use them as protocols. High effectiveness of visualized instructions, as compared to currently used written protocols, will decrease failure rates for biological experiments, and, thus, facilitate significant savings in time and cost. It will also increase reproducibility of published experiments, one of the main problems in the current life science research.
There is no charge to authors to submit or have their protocols published. Each submission will be reviewed by members of an editorial board, but, at this time, will not be rigorously peer-reviewed (that will come later). The time lapse from the date of submission to the date of publication should be no longer than 7-14 days. At the present time, there are 17 videos available in JoVE.
Posted by florador at 10:14 AM
January 19, 2007
Editor of Open Access Scholarly Journal to Speak
Henry Hagedorn, editor of the open access journal, Journal of Insect Science, will present a talk entitled "Open Access: The revolution in academic publishing".
Monday, January 29th, 4:00 PM, Room B102, Chemical & Life Sciences Building, 601 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL.
In 2000 Hagedorn resigned as editor of the Archives of Insect Biochemistry & Physiology in order to launch the open access Journal of Insect Science. He recently retired from the University of Arizona, but continues to serve as editor of the Journal which is now supported in part by his new home base at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In an open letter published in the Journal of Insect Science, Hagedorn explains his motivation in starting the new journal in an open access mode.
Please note that the University of Illinois's Library Online Research Resources (ORR) lists three instances of the Journal of Insect Science: BioOne, from the Directory of Open Access Journals [DOAJ], and from PubMed Central. You may also access it by going directly to the Journal's home page, http://insectscience.org/.
The University also still has access to the journal from which Hagedorn resigned in protest, Archives of insect biochemistry and physiology, which is published by Wiley. It appears that both journals are publishing about the same number of articles / year.
Several University of Illinois entomology professors are associated with the Journal of Insect Science: May Berenbaum is on the Advisory Board while Hugh Robertson and Gene Robinson are serving on the Editorial Board.
Posted by florador at 1:08 PM
January 18, 2007
Statistics on the Planting of Genetically Modified Crops
Some interesting year-end statistics from CropBiotech showing the rapid spread of biotech crops across the globe as we progress into the second decade of biotech crops. CropBiotech is produced by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA):
In 2006, over 100 million hectares* (250 million acres) were planted in biotech crops. [KN: According to the FAO (2000), there are 1,397 million hectares of arable land, so that means that biotech crops are being planted on about 7% of the arable land.]
In 2006, biotech crops were grown by approximately 10.3 million farmers, up from 8.5 million farmers in 21 countries in 2005. Notably, 90%, or 9.3 million of the beneficiary farmers were small resource-poor farmers from developing countries.
In 2006, 22 countries grew biotech crops, 11 developing countries and 11 industrial countries. They were, in order of acerage: USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, China, Paraguay, South Africa, Uruguay, Philippines, Australia, Romania, Mexico, Spain, Colombia, France, Iran, Honduras, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany, and Slovakia.
Though the EU countries have traditionally been resistant to planting biotech crops, a quarter of the EU countries are planting biotech including Spain, France, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany, and Slovakia.
In 2006, biotech soybean continued to be the principal biotech crop in 2005, occupying 58.6 million hectares (57% of global biotech area), followed by maize (25.2 million hectares at 25%), cotton (13.4 million hectares at 13%) and canola (4.8 million hectares at 5% of global biotech crop area).
In 2006, herbicide tolerance in soybean, maize, canola, cotton and alfalfa continued to be the most dominant trait occupying 68% or 69.9 million hectares followed by Bt insect resistance at 19.0 million hectares (19%) and stacked traits, where more than one biotech trait has been breed into a crop, occupied 13.1 million hectares (13%).
Global accumulated impact of biotech crops for the decade 1996 to 2005, in terms of net economic benefits to biotech crop farmers, was $27 billion ($13 billion for developing countries and $14 billion for industrial countries). The accumulated reduction in pesticides from 1996 to 2005 was 224,300 MT of active ingredient, equivalent to a 15% reduction in the associated environmental impact of pesticide use on these crops.
*One hectare equals 2.47 acres.
Posted by florador at 10:36 AM
January 9, 2007
Open Access: the View from a Scholarly Society's Journal Editor
Starting with the January 2007 issue of the journal Plant Physiology, all articles published by members of the scholarly society that publishes the journal, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), are open access at no additional cost to the member. Of the 43 articles in the January issue, 25 are freely available to all scholars with no lag period. Some of these may have been authored by non-members who paid $1,000* in order to provide open access to their article, but I suspect not many. [*$1000 if the corresponding author's institution does not subscribe to Plant Physiology, if it does subscribe it is $500.]
The editor of the journal, Donald Ort of the University of Illinois, wrote an editorial for the ASPB News, "Real-Time Plant Physiology: My View of What’s in It for Authors, the Journal, and ASPB". Following several avenues of analysis, he concludes that open access articles are more highly read than non-open access articles, which in turn he feels will enhance the stature of the journal. He also presents an interesting table listing the top 10 plant research journals and their open access option. Most have a provision for open access if the author pays; Plant Physiology will be the only one that offers free open access publishing to it's member authors. Of course, another perk with offering free open access publishing to members might be a jump in the membership count.
Interestingly, the editorial that Ort wrote for the ASPB Newsletter was only available online to members until he deposited it in the University of Illinois' digitial repository, IDEALS, where it is now freely available to all. I would recommend it to the editors of other scholarly journals.
Posted by florador at 3:56 PM
November 20, 2006
Science Ph.D.’s Continue to Grow
From Inside Higher Ed:
A new report from the National Science Foundation finds that the number of science and engineering Ph.D.’s awarded by American universities in 2005 reached an all-time high of 27,974, surpassing the previous record of 27,273 from 1998.
Also peaking in 2005 were the number of doctorates granted to women, to Asian Americans and to members of underrepresented minority groups, and the number awarded in several of the so-called “STEM” fields.
But the sharpest growth of all occurred among non-U.S. citizens, who earned 13.4 percent more doctorates from American universities in 2005 than they had the year before, and who have seen their share of all doctorates grow since 2001. In 2005, foreign-born researchers earned 41 percent of the science and engineering Ph.D.’s awarded by American universities, up from 36 percent in 2001 and 39 percent in 2004.
Posted by florador at 12:16 PM
October 23, 2006
Instructions Available for Loading Research Papers into PubMed Central
PubMed Central is an example of a discipline-based open access journal archive, in this case for biomedical and life sciences journal literature.
Those who have received funding from the NIH are encouraged to deposit their post-prints into PMC.
Step-by-step instructions have been developed for the NIH Manuscript Submission System (NIHMS).
Besides author-submitted articles, PMC also comprises journals that deposit material in PMC on a routine basis and generally make all their published articles available here. The journal list is available.
Posted by florador at 10:47 AM
September 18, 2006
Nature's New Open Peer Review System
Scientific journal Nature is trialing an open peer-review system to review papers submitted for publication. Under the initiative, manuscripts will be uploaded to a pre-print server and made available online to members of the scientific community in a blog format. Take a look at the papers currently up for review.
Comments submitted are subject to review themselves prior to being published, and those commenting will be required to put their name and institution to their words. In addition to public review via the Peer Review Trial, manuscripts will continue to be sent to Nature's experts for a closed review. Also, authors can choose not to have their work reviewed in this manner, as there are some disadvantages associated with having an open peer-review. Although access is intended primarily for the scientific community, anyone can access the pre-published material.
However, the journal will discard any comments found to be irrelevant, intemperate or inappropriate. According to Nature's editors, both sets of comments -- the traditional peer-review opinions as well as the online remarks – will be taken into consideration while deciding whether or not to publish a study.
Interested readers can also visit the Nature web debate on Peer Review, and are invited to comment on the articles published there.
Posted by florador at 10:23 AM
September 12, 2006
American Society of Plant Biologists Members to Get Open Access for Free
It is with great pleasure that I note that the society I was associated with in a "former life", the American Society of Plant Biologists, is again venturing bravely into the arena of open access publishing! A year or so ago, they allowed their authors to make articles published in Plant Physiology or Plant Cell open access, for an additional fee of $1000. About 10% of the authors took them up on this offer. In a recent editorial the editor-in-chief of Plant Physiology announced that, as of the January 2007 issue, all articles published by ASPB members in Plant Physiology will have their articles made open access for no additional fee! This means that over 50% of the articles published in Plant Physiology in 2007 will be open access.
The reason for this change in policy? Don Ort, the editor-in-chief of Plant Physiology and UIUC Plant Biology professor, says that
there are strong reasons to believe that Open Access drives higher impact and citation by accelerating recognition and dissemination of research findings. A recent recent longitudinal bibliometric analysis of Open Access vs. non–Open Access papers published over a 6-month period in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supports this premise (Eysenbach, 2006). Even in a journal widely available in research libraries and one that publicly releases its full content after 6 months, Open Access articles were found to be twice as likely to be cited in the first 4 to 10 months compared to non–Open Access articles.
Additionally, they note that even during the short amount of time that ASPB has offered the open access option, the open access articles
have been accessed about 10% more often and downloaded approximately 20% more often than the non–Open Access articles published in the same volumes.
No word, yet, on whether Plant Cell will follow in the footsteps of it's sister publication, Plant Physiology. Both of these journals are highly regarded, with impact factors for 2005 of 11.088 and 6.114, respectively.
Posted by florador at 10:07 AM
September 8, 2006
Cellular Visions: The Inner Life of a Cell
Take a look at this beautiful, eight-minute movie showing the inner workings of a cell -- Cellular Visions: The Inner Life of a Cell. It was developed for use by Harvard biology students and illustrates unseen molecular mechanisms and the ones they trigger, specifically how white blood cells sense and respond to their surroundings and external stimuli.
(You'll need the Flash 8 Player, a free download available at the site).
Posted by florador at 12:40 PM
July 18, 2006
Barriers to Open Access in the Bio-pharmaceutical Field
FLOSS Methods in Biotechnology, by Andrea Glorioso
from First Monday, volume 11, number 7 (July 2006)
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2002) Key issues in biotechnology urged that knowledge created in the realm of biotechnology should remain in the open access arena. This discussion in First Monday is "limited to a specific subfield — namely, the bio–pharmaceutical field — and to a limited set of players, i.e. profit–maximizing firms, with the desire to understand what are the obstacles and the options for a firm in use a “FLOSS model” in its research, development and commercialization processes".
According to Wikipedia, FLOSS stands for Free/Libre/Open-Source Software.
Posted by florador at 10:24 AM
June 7, 2006
PLoS Open: an Open Access alternative to Science and Nature?
As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education's Blog, and Peter Suber's Open Access Blog, the Public Library of Science appears poised to start the publication of PLoS OPEN. It will be "a peer-reviewed publication that publishes all rigorously performed science, a vibrant online forum that encourages scientific dialogue and debate, and will offer a hassle-free process that gets your work online within weeks." It will "offer multidisciplinary scope, rapid turn-around, open review, and powerful personalization and discussion tools." Additional characteristics (from the PLoS site):
- Inclusive scope. The boundaries between different scientific fields are becoming increasingly blurred. At the same time, the bulk of the scientific literature is divided into journals covering ever more restrictive disciplines and subdisciplines. In contrast, PLoS ONE will be a venue for all rigorously performed science, making it easier to uncover connections and synergies across the research literature.
- Objective peer review. Peer reviewers are routinely asked to comment on whether papers are sufficiently novel or immediate to justify publication. Such subjective judgements can seriously delay the publication of good science. PLoS ONE will concentrate on identifying those papers that are rigorously and technically sound. Such work will be rapidly published and presented for open and continuous review so that the whole community can be involved in judging impact....
- Interactive papers. A paper in a traditional journal is a static marker in an ongoing process. Authors looking back on papers written 6 months or a year ago will see things that they might now have written differently. New data may have arisen to strengthen or alter some of the conclusions. We will provide authors with ways to make those changes and so acknowledge the evolution of their ideas. This doesn't alter the scientific record—the original paper is still the original paper—but authors and readers can build upon it.
- PLoS ONE will offer a new approach to the way that scientific research is communicated. Like all revolutions, this will take time, and the launch of PLoS ONE will only be the first step. New features and functionalities will be continually added to PLoS ONE while existing ones will be applied to an ever-increasing body of literature. We cannot do this alone and want to invite all members of the scientific community to help us shape the development of PLoS ONE and the future direction of scholarly publishing.
Take a look at the prototype and learn more about this new journal at: http://www.plosone.org/
Posted by florador at 11:14 AM
May 4, 2006
Editors Voice Concern About BMC Publishing Practices
Open access publisher BioMed Central, UK, is reportedly set to face a revolt from the editors of several of its 93 independent journals who have expressed discontent over the way the journals are being managed. According to media reports, the editors are contemplating shifting their journals to other publishers. The editors of BMC independent journals have full editorial control over the titles but the article production process is managed by BMC. The editors have voiced their dissatisfaction on BMC's execution of the open access model. Among other issues, editors are protesting recent increases in the article processing charge (APC), and reductions in the number of waivers that editors are permitted to offer to contributors who cannot afford the APC. Several editors have also complained that BMC is signing up new journals that compete with existing ones, leading to market cannibalism. BMC's publisher, Matthew Cockerill, has said that the company is working on the problems and insisted that the complaints are normal for any new company. Knowledgespeak Newsletter 5/3/06 See also the original report in The Scientist (registration may be required).
Posted by florador at 11:37 AM
April 11, 2006
BIO 2006 in Chicago
Many of you may be AT the BIO 2006 event, currently being held in Chicago! But if you're not, you may be interested in these links...
The conference site, BIO 2006: Biotechnology Industry Organization
List of exhibitors:
Plenary Speaker Schedule:
(Includes Pres. Clinton, today at noon!)
Breakout sessions - interesting to peruse the topics!
Statement from Gov. Blagojevich, welcoming the World to the "Olympics of Biotech", and outlining Illinois' initiatives and support of Biotechnology.
Posted by florador at 11:22 AM
March 17, 2006
New Master's Degree in Bioinformatics Offered at UIUC
GSLIS (the Graduate School of Library and Information Science) recently announced that two of their professors, Associate Professors Carole Palmer and Bryan Heidorn, had been awarded a $250,000 NSF grant to develop curriculum for a new master's degree specializing in the field of bioinformatics. Read the announcement or learn more about the GSLIS program.
This is part of a campus-wide program whereby students may obtain a MS in Bioinformatics from one of five departments, depending on their desired area of specialization. Students interested in this program must apply for admission to one of the participating departments/units:
- Department of Animal Sciences
- Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
- Department of Computer Science
- Department of Crop Sciences
- Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Posted by florador at 12:18 PM
December 19, 2005
InVitrogen Providing Free Access to Selected Current Protocols
While this is really cool news, I want to remind you that UIUC researchers have access to ALL the Current Protocols series!!!
So, please spread the word to all your colleagues who do not have full access to Current Currents about the Invitrogen deal.
But for your own research purposes, please use the UIUC subscription!
Speaking of which, these will be up for renewal soon, and while some of the titles are getting a lot of use (Molecular biology, Immunology, Bioinformatics) others are not. Please see the April 28th BIC news item for New Bio-Medical Resources for a hot-linked listing of all the Current Protocols.
Posted by florador at 10:51 AM
December 2, 2005
James Watson's Dissertation Available Online
From a colleague at Indiana University:
This note might be of use to those with an interest in the history of science. Dr. Watson did his Ph.D. work at Indiana University. The two copies of his dissertation that I know of are located in a "locked case" in the Life Sciences Library and in our rare book library. Our Digital Library Program just completed the digitization work. So, with Dr. Watson's permission, here is the digital version
Head, Life Sciences Library and
Jordan Hall A304
1001 E. Third
Bloomington, IN 47405-3700
Posted by florador at 3:34 PM
Reaping the Benefits of Genomic and Proteomic Research: Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation, and Public Health
Some of you may be interested in this new report published by the National Academy of Sciences, from the Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in Genomic and Protein Research and Innovation, National Research Council:
"Reaping the Benefits of Genomic and Proteomic Research: Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation, and Public Health" (2006)
Posted by florador at 3:07 PM
November 16, 2005
Science Online site Revamped
The journal Science has announced the launch of a new web site based on the merger of ScienceCareers.org and Science's Next Wave. The new site is projected as a comprehensive and freely accessible source to offer online support for science careers for scientists, career counselors, students, teachers and the public. The launch corresponds with an extensive revamp of the Science family of web sites (www.sciencemag.org) and the journal's plan to allow free access to newly published content on its ScienceNOWdaily new site.
The newly designed ScienceCareers.org features a grants directory, job listings, career advice, events and meeting schedules, a CV database, suggestions on cover letters and interviews, and information on funding opportunities. Special topic portals include the Minority Scientists Network and the Postdoc Network.
The redesign of the Science group of sites follows a string of surveys, focus groups and user testing. It was discovered that users were looking for ease in locating content on these sites and that they generally were overwhelmed by the volume of scientific information available today. The sites include the online edition of Science, ScienceNOW, Science's knowledge environments on signal transduction ("STKE") and ageing ("SAGE KE") and the new career site.
Post revamp, ScienceNOW's editors expect the site to draw teachers, students, policymakers and other members of the public, apart from the regular readership of working scientists, since no subscription is required. The Science web sites are published by AAAS, a US-based nonprofit science society.
Posted by florador at 9:37 AM
- Do you believe reviewers of a scientist's achievements currently focus too heavily on citations?