Blogs selected for Week March 23 to March 29, 2020 -

1. How the pandemic is shaping the way scientists show their work

On December 31, 2019, the WHO received news of pneumonia cases with unknown etiology in Wuhan, China. Within days, Chinese researchers identified the presence of a novel coronavirus, since called SARS-CoV-2, in patients, which has since spread through the world at a meteoric pace. According to the latest WHO situation report, dated March 25, the virus has infected 414,000 people and killed over 18,400 in 190+ countries. On March 11, the WHO designated the spread of the virus a pandemic. Scientists are increasingly participating in virtual conferences and seminars, and interacting over the social media to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Once the pandemic ends, the world will surely emerge changed in many ways – and the way scientists communicate their results, share their data and help their peers around the world is surely going to be one of them.

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. What is a scholarly source?

Written material that can be used as source material generally falls into two categories: popular and scholarly. Scholarly material is typically made up of research studies and journal articles targeted to help advance knowledge in a particular field. Scholarly sources are not meant to entertain. Their purpose is to inform and to advance their academic field. Scholarly sources are generally found in discipline-specific journals or published by academic presses, such as The Journal of Educational Behavior or Columbia University Press. It’s important to note that scholarly research is often peer-reviewed, which means that other scholars in that field review the work and decide if the research and methods are sound. If so, the work is considered reliable and suitable for publishing in a journal or academic press. Professors and students rely on scholarly journal articles to share their research, and publishing their work allows others to benefit from their findings.

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. Why is there a gap between scientists and the public?

Science is about understanding the world in order to improve lives (and perhaps those of other species). Science crucially serves human purposes and thus necessarily involves pragmatic considerations. One may even argue that an engagement with the public is necessary for scientists to do their jobs well. Yet, the scientific communities are seemingly becoming more and more detached. It is necessary to move away from a system that only rewards the number of publications in reputable journals. What matters, is whether these studies have an impact. Otherwise, the publication 'noise' of papers that will never be read by anyone but their reviewers will increase more and more.

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Academic library response to COVID-19: Real-time data gathering and dissemination

As higher education institutions in the United States began to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by moving classes online, emptying residence halls, and authorising remote work, academic librarians found themselves in need of real-time information — not only about their own institution’s practices, but also how other libraries were responding. Academic librarians hope that this serves as a useful case study for those who are also finding themselves in situations where speed in gathering and disseminating useful information is the most important objective. In addition to the survey itself, academic librarians built out real-time dissemination of the results and the beginnings of a communications strategy. Since then, the project has grown significantly to include published analyses of the data, additional reports and dashboards, a geographic visualisation of building closures by Cal Mugru, scraping of Twitter to create an archive of related tweets, and a fair bit of media coverage.

The full entry can be read: Here.

5. Publishers putting research and information to work against COVID-19

In this time of pandemic, once ordinary medical resources have taken on greater importance, from simple thermometers to sophisticated ventilators. Most highly prized of all may be peer-reviewed research and carefully curated information. Indeed, immediate access to research findings and reliable news sources can make a critical difference for individuals and entire nations. In an effort to contribute to the common good, leading scientific news, trade, education and business publishers are offering open-to-read access to a deep pool of content on topics related to the novel virus and the COVID-19 disease pandemic it is creating. Last week, Copyright Clearance Center published an alphabetical list of links to this important content on the website. CCC will support this roll call of responsible publishing through own social media channels to give it the greatest possible reach for individuals, academic researchers, commercial scientists and students.

The full entry can be read: Here.

6. Covid-19 is reshaping the world of bioscience publishing

The Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly changing lives in previously unimaginable ways and forcing us to view many behaviors in a new light. That is certainly the case for bioscience publishing, which has already undergone significant change in the digital era. Scientific progress depends on effective transmission of research results to the scientific community, enabling discoveries to be assessed and extended. Once the domain of physical journals collected and stored in libraries, the digital era totally transformed the bioscience publishing ecosystem. Journals of widely varying quality have proliferated, and are increasingly available only online. One important innovation in bioscience publishing is the rise of preprint servers, sites that put manuscripts online without peer review. The enhanced use of preprints, the evolution of ‘standard’ journals, and effective use of social media will all be required for bioscience publishing to adapt to a changing and challenging world.

The full entry can be read: Here.

7. Editorial: Social science in a time of social distancing

The spread of the Covid-19 virus has presented an unparalleled challenge for society, academia and the social sciences. The effects of social distancing on families, education and psychological wellbeing pose more challenges for social researchers. Even the way in which information about the virus is communicated, is again a key area in which social research can make real contributions. Social distancing is also affecting the dissemination and development of social research. As conferences, seminars and public events are cancelled, so are many of the informal mechanisms by which social research is communicated and made useful. Halted too is the cross pollination of ideas, serendipitous encounters and socialisation that allows new ideas to come into being. Whilst it has been argued that a reduction in academic conferences and their related international travel is long overdue, these processes are not easily replicated in online environments, especially with little planning in the space of a few weeks.

The full entry can be read: Here.

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