Issue 8

OPEN SCIENCE


How important are journal metrics still in faculty evaluations? There is still a long road ahead towards better measures of a researcher’s work. A recent preprint by Alperin et al. surveyed faculty guidelines and tenure documents of 129 Canadian and American research universities and finds a continuing strong emphasis on traditional research outputs and impact metrics. Only 5% of institutions mention the term ‘open access’ in their guidelines. See graphic below for details.

Mozilla has opened the next round of their Open Science Mini-Grants of $3,000 to $10,000 to support projects making science more accessible, transparent, and reproducible. Initial funding concepts must be received by March 27, 2019.

PUBLISHING


Nancy Roberts’ open letter to the publishing industry: “Dear Publishing. I love you, but right now I don’t like you very much. An open letter.” It makes the point that we all need to do more towards diversity and inclusion, and that interest in actions is lacking.

A discussion on the pros and cons of open access publishing of scholarly books has been taking place on the philosophy blog Daily Nous.

RESEARCH


Machine learning is now able to artificially produce compelling passages of text from basic input, as demonstrated by open.ai. So much so that open.ai only released part of the related code and data — for fear of abuse they say. The capabilities of that tool has led to controversy and concerns around abuse. Ryan Lowe for example has called for a conversation and wider discussion around the social impact of machine learning

The Oldest True Stories in the World,” a feature by Patrick D. Nunn that lays out the evidence how in preliterate societies orally shared knowledge can be transferred for more than 7,000 years.

PLOS


I wrote a blog post about the significant progress that we made at PLOS ONE last year with a faster and better service for our authors and readers. In 2019 we continue continue these efforts and our work with the research communities that we cover.

OTHER


What it is like to be the only one. Amy Harmon in the New York Times on the very few black mathematicians in the US. Focussing on Edray Goins, the article highlights the importance of nurturing at the school level, and subsequent support from universities. The evidence continues to point to the fact that this is not working sufficiently yet. Goins himself was uncomfortable in a research environment and moved from Purdue University to a Liberal Arts College, as he outlined in a blog post.

From chemistry to becoming director of the FBI. An interview with James B. Comey in C&EN News on an unusual career path.

Analysis of terms used in faculty assessment documents from 192 US and Canadian Universities. R1 are the most research-intensive US institutions, R2 and R3 less so. RCan are Candian.
Credit (CC-BY): Alperin, J.P., Muñoz Nieves, C., Schimanski, L., Fischman, G.E., Niles, M.T. & McKiernan, E.C. (2018). How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion, and tenure documents? Humanities Commons [preprint]. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6W950N35

Joerg Heber