Blogs selected for Week February 6 to February 12, 2017 -

1. The importance of being REF-able: academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting

Writing is crucial to an academic’s role of producing, shaping and distributing knowledge. However, academic writing itself is increasingly being shaped by the contemporary university's managerial practices and evaluation frameworks. Sharon McCulloch, in her post in The Impact Blog, describes how her research on academics' writing practices has revealed tensions around the ways in which managerial practices interact with academics' individual career goals, disciplinary values and sense of scholarly identity.

The blog post says (quote): Non-traditional genres of academic writing were not perceived to meet the criteria departments have in mind when they stipulate that, for career progression, an academic needs a track record of 'good publications'. Understanding of what counts as writing worth doing does not stretch to emerging online genres, despite the increased attention paid by universities to public engagement and dissemination of research findings to a wider, non-academic audience. The picture that emerges is one in which academics are positioned as managed professionals whose personal goals are expected to be closely aligned with the university's objectives to perform well in the REF, move up the league tables, attract students and secure income. In a neoliberal culture of measuring outputs, the range of forms of knowledge creation that are valued appears to be narrowing. High-prestige journal articles are seen as essential to career success, and should be ranked at three or four-star to secure rewards such as promotion or time for writing.............(Unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

2. Providing Context for Research and the Ever-Evolving Field of Altmetrics

Research always has context - the experience of the researcher, the institutional setting, the funding body, the publishing organ, the way it is interpreted and by whom. Trust is encoded in all of these complex contextual relationships. ScienceOpen tries to open up the context of research as much as possible to support search and discovery of trusted / trustable research. With its transparent aggregation of online mentions, Altmetric provides a window into a key part of this web of context, notes John Tennant, in his post in the Altmetric Blog.

The blog post says (quote): At the article level, altmetrics can be used to create enhanced discovery tools for researchers. The rising sea of metrics is matched only by a completely overwhelming number of newly published research articles. Estimates are around 2-2.5 million new research papers now published every year. The real question for researchers these days is how do we discover research that is relevant, and across all the existing publishing platforms? Sorting articles by their Altmetric score is one efficient way of filtering research, much like they do on other platforms like Amazon or Reddit where they sort by popularity or ratings. Researchers can get a quick overview of the papers in their field getting the most online attention and use this to prioritise which articles to spend time reading and re-using.............(Unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

3. A Call to Punish Tardy Journal Editors

Editors of academic journals should be investigated for "professional negligence" if peer review at their publications takes too long. Despite many editors being unpaid or poorly remunerated for their work, plant scientist Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva believes they "should be held accountable" if authors are made to wait for an "excessive or unreasonable amount of time" before a decision is made on their research. Jack Grove, in his post in the Inside Higher ED, discusses a paper, written with Judit Dobranszki from Hungary’s University of Debrecen, titled, "Excessively long editorial decisions and excessively long publication times by journals: causes, risks, consequences and proposed solutions."

The blog post says (quote): Studies show that peer review had taken as long as three years, while, in some extreme cases, authors had waited up to eight years after their manuscripts were accepted to see their work published, the paper says. Peer review involving original research should take no longer than five to eight months and initial proposals to editors should be answered within two weeks, suggest the two scholars. Journals should clearly state when authors should expect feedback and publishers should pressure "peers to respect deadlines … and blacklist those peers who … exceed deadlines." In the case of "exceptional delays," unless "formal and sincere apologies" are offered to the authors, editors should be "removed from the editor board or even [face] an ethical inquiry at the editor’s research institute," they recommend.............(Unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

4. How Many Grains of Salt Must We Take When Looking at Metrics?

In the quest to measure everything, authors are now presented with all kinds of metrics. In her post in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog, Angela Cochran reviews common sources for citation, attention, and usage metrics. Not all the tools are up for the job leaving authors wondering how to quantify the impact of their work.

The blog post says (quote): Citation information from Crossref is fast and relatively accurate but dependent on publishers depositing XML references with their Crossref deposit. How it works is that participating publishers deposit their tagged and parsed references for each paper/chapter/etc. to Crossref. If the references are complete and properly formatted, Crossref tallies the citations from that reference list. Questions remain about completeness of the literature - really old papers for which there are no Crossref records will not be deposited and not all publishers are depositing the reference data. Users may find Crossref citation information displayed on journal article pages either with a simple number of citations or a complete "cited-by" list. Crossref makes the information easy to access via an API. Sharing sites or indexing cites may also use Crossref citation information but publishers must agree to share the data with the third party.............(Unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

5. The Increasing Importance of Lifelong Learning in Healthcare, and Especially Nursing

EBSCO Health is a preferred partner of HealthStream, the leading provider of workforce development solutions for the healthcare industry. HealthStream is focused on improving patient outcomes through the advancement of healthcare institutions’ employees. This post from the EBSCOpost looks at the importance of lifelong learning in Healthcare and provides a perspective on how HealthStream is helping customers make this a priority for clinical staff.

The blog post says (quote): In 2011, the Institute of Medicine published The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. It recommended healthcare education to match the transformation occurring in U.S. healthcare, both in terms of the care environment and in the practices clinicians follow to achieve improved outcomes. The IOM report emphasised the need for "equally profound changes in the education of nurses both before and after they receive their licenses." Because nursing is one of the many professions that is changing rapidly in terms of complexity and the technology involved, this report emphasizes that "creating an expectation and culture of lifelong learning for nurses is therefore essential.".............(Unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

6. Why you should care about the rise of fake journals and the bad science they publish

There are more academic publishers out there than ever before. In 2014 there was an estimated 28,100 active scientific journals, but while the large majority of these journals are highly respected, there has also been a sharp rise in the number of predatory journals, notes Graham Kendall, in his post in The Conversation Blog.

The blog post says (quote): Fake journals make their money by charging a publication fee to the authors - anything from £100 to £1,000 a paper. They separate researchers from their money with little, or nothing, in return. And exist to make a profit without having any commitment to the scientific process - even plagiarising papers that have already been published. Publishing in these journals, can not only have a negative effect on an academic’s career, but it can also mean that the academic community, as well as the general public, could be duped - with any old results being printed. And if this work is then cited elsewhere, then the non-reviewed research could propagate even further, and might be accepted as fact.............(Unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

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