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    Evidence and innovation in humanitarian assistance: ‘Conference without Borders’ to address Syrian conflict #MSFSci

Evidence and innovation in humanitarian assistance: ‘Conference without Borders’ to address Syrian conflict #MSFSci

The MSF Scientific Days are a round of conferences looking at how humanitarian action can be improved by scientific research and innovation. On behalf of the organisers, Sarah Venis presents an overview. This year will feature a strong focus on the effects of the Syrian conflict and the resultant refugee and migration crisis. Another theme will also look at how […]

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    Elsevier purchase SSRN: Social scientists face questions over whether centralised repository is in their interests.

Elsevier purchase SSRN: Social scientists face questions over whether centralised repository is in their interests.

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN), an online repository for uploading preprint articles and working papers, has been recently acquired by publishing giant Elsevier. Thomas Leeper looks at what this purchase, and for-profit academic services more generally, mean for the scholarly community. Many regular users may not be aware that SSRN has been run by a privately held corporation since its founding […]

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    What are the most-cited publications in the social sciences (according to Google Scholar)?

What are the most-cited publications in the social sciences (according to Google Scholar)?

Drawing on citation data that spans disciplines and time periods, Elliott Green has identified the most cited publications in the social sciences. Here he shares his findings on the 25 most cited books as well as the top ten journal articles. The sheer number of citations for these top cited publications is worth noting as is the fact that […]

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    Are the ‘gatekeepers’ becoming censors? On editorial processes and the interests of the scholarly community.

Are the ‘gatekeepers’ becoming censors? On editorial processes and the interests of the scholarly community.

Questions about the proper role of learned journals and of publishers are brought to the fore in a recent exchange over suggested edits to a book review. William St Clair shares his experience and the review in question and wonders whether some learned journals are becoming afraid to facilitate discussion of academic issues.

In 2015, I was invited by the […]

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    Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?

Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?

The Case Method is a teaching approach popular in business schools that aims to introduce students to a range of real-life scenarios and build decision-making skills. But little evolution has occurred in the style of Case Studies over the years. Tom Clark looks at innovation in the format and its delivery to teachers and students. In the age of digital learning, the route […]

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    How to deal with being “scooped”: The vast majority of science is a process of derivative, incremental advance.

How to deal with being “scooped”: The vast majority of science is a process of derivative, incremental advance.

Researchers are under increasing pressure to deliver novel research findings and as such, it can be incredibly disheartening when another team publishes ahead of you on a similar topic. But is this competitive mentality true to the scientific process? Chris Chambers argues there are several positive sides to being “scooped” and by focusing on these positives, researchers can overcome […]

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    How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.

How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.

Laura Czerniewicz presents an overview of findings from a study on the practices of university students accessing learning resources at a research-intensive university in South Africa. There is a grey zone in the access of resources that is now simply part of normal life in a new communication and information order. The students’ perspectives raise critical issues for new models of […]

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    Nine things you need to know about copyright: A good practice guide for administrators, librarians and academics.

Nine things you need to know about copyright: A good practice guide for administrators, librarians and academics.

It is impossible to work in a university and avoid coming into contact with copyright at some point, especially given the ease with which online content can be copied, pasted, streamed, downloaded and shared. Chris Morrison and Jane Secker provide a helpful explainer of copyright in universities and break down the complexity of how copyright works in practice.

The Association […]

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    Five Minutes with Timothy Gowers: “Academics can publish journals of the highest quality without a commercial entity”

Five Minutes with Timothy Gowers: “Academics can publish journals of the highest quality without a commercial entity”

Fields Medal-winning Cambridge mathematician Sir Timothy Gowers and a team of colleagues have recently launched a new editor-owned Open Access (OA) journal for mathematics. Discrete Analysis is an arXiv overlay journal, which means articles are submitted and hosted via the preprint server arXiv first. The journal coordinates peer-review and publishes via Scholastica with no cost to reader or author. Gowers reflects here […]

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Making space for the academic book of the future

Yesterday Steven Hill spoke at the University Press Redux conference in Liverpool on the role of policy in shaping the academic book of the future. This post is a summary of the argument of his talk. While there is much potential for innovation, the uptake seems slow. Even when we see the benefits of innovation, the change in process […]

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    The University Press Redux: Balancing traditional university values with a culture of digital innovation.

The University Press Redux: Balancing traditional university values with a culture of digital innovation.

This week the first UK conference on the state and future of university presses is taking place. The university press concept has regained strength in recent years and in the last 12 months alone a host of new presses have been launched in the UK. Anthony Cond, Director of Liverpool University Press shares his thoughts on the changing landscape of […]

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    Enabling authors to pay for open access – The Gold Open Access market and the role of an institutional central fund.

Enabling authors to pay for open access – The Gold Open Access market and the role of an institutional central fund.

Having tracked and analysed the usage data of one university’s central open access fund over an eight year period, Stephen Pinfield shares findings from a detailed case study of the paid-for Gold Open Access market. Mandates, particularly if accompanied by funding, have played a very important role in encouraging uptake of Gold OA. Communication was a crucial factor in making potential users of […]

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    Addicted to the brand: The hypocrisy of a publishing academic

Addicted to the brand: The hypocrisy of a publishing academic

Academics generally recognise that the scholarly publishing business model is flawed, the impact factor does not point to quality, and open access is a good idea. And yet, academics continue to submit their work to the same for-profit journals. Philip Moriarty looks at what is keeping academics from practicing what they preach. Despite many efforts to counter the perception, journal ‘branding’ […]

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    High prices to access scholarly research could drive developing country researchers to use pirate sites like SciHub.

High prices to access scholarly research could drive developing country researchers to use pirate sites like SciHub.

Developing countries are investing more in research and higher education and it should be no surprise that publishers are building commercial relationships to expand access and services. But prices are often still too high. Jonathan Harle argues now is a good time for the research community to reflect on what we can do to bring the cost of access down. If we […]

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    Breaking the traditional mould of peer review: Why we need a more transparent process of research evaluation.

Breaking the traditional mould of peer review: Why we need a more transparent process of research evaluation.

Jon Tennant takes a look at the transformations underway aimed at tackling the widespread dissatisfaction with the system of peer review. He provides further background on the platform ScienceOpen, which seeks to enable a process of transparent, self-regulating, peer review, where knowledge sharing is encouraged, valued, and rewarded. By adopting a more transparent process of research evaluation, we move one step […]

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    85% of Health Research is Wasted: How to do great research, get it published, and improve health outcomes.

85% of Health Research is Wasted: How to do great research, get it published, and improve health outcomes.

Trish Groves reflects on the scandal of waste, error, and misconduct in clinical and public health research and describes a new effort to tackle research and publication integrity from both ends. This challenge matters everywhere, but it’s specially urgent in low and middle income countries. The University of California, San Francisco and BMJ have teamed up to develop an eLearning programme for […]

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    Putting hypotheses to the test: We must hold ourselves accountable to decisions made before we see the data.

Putting hypotheses to the test: We must hold ourselves accountable to decisions made before we see the data.

In the daily practice of doing research, it is easy to confuse what is being done. There is often confusion over whether a study is exploratory (hypothesis-generating) research or confirmatory (hypothesis-testing) research. By defining how a hypothesis or research question will be tested at the outset of research, preregistration eliminates this ambiguity. David Mellor outlines the value of preregistration for […]

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    Libraries and Open Journal Systems: Hosting and facilitating the creation of Open Access scholarship

Libraries and Open Journal Systems: Hosting and facilitating the creation of Open Access scholarship

There is a growing availability of free tools and software for academic publishing. How might libraries leverage existing platforms? Anna R. Craft describes one experience of an academic library hosting locally-produced open access journals through Open Journals Systems (OJS). But even “free” software is not without costs in relation to time and expertise. Care should be taken in facilitating a […]

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    Are scientific findings exaggerated? Study finds steady increase of superlatives in PubMed abstracts.

Are scientific findings exaggerated? Study finds steady increase of superlatives in PubMed abstracts.

Are scientists using language aimed at convincing editors and reviewers to publish their work? Joeri Tijdink, Christiaan Vinkers and Wim Otte present findings which suggest a rise in potentially exaggerated language. Potentially conflicting with the core values of science, the pressure to publish in high impact publications may be contributing to a paradigm of over-interpretation, overstatement and misreporting of scientific results.

Our perception […]

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    How to write a blogpost from your journal article in eleven easy steps.

How to write a blogpost from your journal article in eleven easy steps.

You’ve just published a research article – why should you bother writing a blog post about it? Patrick Dunleavy argues that if you’ve devoted months to writing the paper, dealing with comments, doing rewrites and hacking through the publishing process, why would you not spend the extra couple of hours crafting an accessible blogpost? Here he breaks down in eleven easy […]

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