Owning and Using Scholarship: An IP Handbook for Teachers and Researchers

Director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke University, Kevin Smith has published Owning and Using Scholarship: An IP Handbook for Teachers and Researchers. Published by the Association of College and Research Libraries and available in an open-access PDF version, the book provides scholars with a primer to intellectual property issues in the digital age:

http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/publications/booksanddigitalresources/digital/9780838987483_copyright_OA.pdf

 

How to Correct the Media When They Misreport Your Research

A study published in BMJ 2014;349 reports that mass-media misrepresentations and inaccuracies concerning research findings are often the products of university communication offices’ self-promotion efforts, the result of increasing competition among high education institutions to claim points of pride.

According to this study’s abstract:

Results 40% (95% confidence interval 33% to 46%) of the press releases contained exaggerated advice, 33% (26% to 40%) contained exaggerated causal claims, and 36% (28% to 46%) contained exaggerated inference to humans from animal research. When press releases contained such exaggeration, 58% (95% confidence interval 48% to 68%), 81% (70% to 93%), and 86% (77% to 95%) of news stories, respectively, contained similar exaggeration, compared with exaggeration rates of 17% (10% to 24%), 18% (9% to 27%), and 10% (0% to 19%) in news when the press releases were not exaggerated. Odds ratios for each category of analysis were 6.5 (95% confidence interval 3.5 to 12), 20 (7.6 to 51), and 56 (15 to 211). At the same time, there was little evidence that exaggeration in press releases increased the uptake of news. . . . Exaggeration in news is strongly associated with exaggeration in press releases. Improving the accuracy of academic press releases could represent a key opportunity for reducing misleading health related news. (http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7015)

Researchers should pay careful attention to both inaccuracies and omissions in popular new reporting of their research. At the very least, a letter to the editor or a comment on the news web site is in order.

Simple boilerplate language follows:

I am writing in response to your article [title of news article here] by [journalist’s name here] that you published on [date of the news article here]. While I am grateful that you have brought my [and my colleagues’] research to a wider audience, I need to correct some inaccuracies [and omissions].

First, . . .

Second, . . .

Finally, . . .

Our research has promise but that potential is not yet fulfilled.

By responding to news reports of your research, you refine the public discussion and inform non-expert readers and journalists, “a key opportunity for reducing misleading health related news.”

On-Line Journal Publishes Article Authored by Characters from “The Simpsons”

Would you like to be published in the same journal that accepted a manuscript written by “Margaret Simpson” and “Edna Krabappel”? If those names sound familiar, it’s not because they’re distinguished researchers. They’re not. They’re not even real people. They’re characters on the long-running evening cartoon situation comedy The Simpsons.

But the “editors” of an American Scientific Publishers journal didn’t know that, or they didn’t care, as reported by Joseph Stromberg for Voxhttp://www.vox.com/2014/12/7/7339587/simpsons-science-paper

While Jeffrey Beall’s ScholarlyOA website http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/ has long warned us to the perils of responding to email spam from probably predatory online open-access journals, some intrepid scholars have been writing bogus manuscripts, submitting them, and even paying the publishing fee just to show that these publishing emperors are, as we say in the South, butt nekkid.

In another indication of how unscrupulous some of these publishers can be, Stromberg also reports on one manuscript accepted for publication whose title was “Get me off Your F*****g Mailing List” (a title we’ve censored for the eyes of our more sensitive readers), whose text consisted of the same sentence as the title repeated; details here: http://www.vox.com/2014/11/21/7259207/scientific-paper-scam

While you might have like a guest appearance on The Simpsons, you probably wouldn’t want to appear in the same journal with those characters. So two words to the wise author considering an online open-access journal: Caveat scriptor.

Fast Writing

Gregory Semenza writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae website (free but requiring registration to view) recommends “Better Writing Habits in Just 10 Minutes.” Using Robert Boice’s “contingency management” (in which you schedule time daily for writing), Semenza recommends grabbing 10 or 15 minutes between doing other things (instead of checking Facebook or watching YouTube). There are three advantages: “It makes writing less daunting. . . . it makes you want to write more. . . . It helps you stay in the flow.”

Details here: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/616-the-value-of-10-minutes-writing-advice-for-the-time-less-academic

How to Get Published, or Not

Two summertime articles in Inside Higher Ed remind us of some basic principles for successful scholarly publishing.

Social scientist Maureen Pirog outlines key elements of successful research and publishing:

  1. Think globally.
  2. Create a good research team.
  3. Select a strong research design.
  4. Use good data and measures.
  5. If your paper has flaws, do not ignore them.
  6. Get to the point and write clearly and compellingly.
  7. Constructive feedback is your friend, especially before you submit your manuscript to a journal.
  8. Be strategic.
  9. Get it off your desk.

Details here: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2014/06/27/essay-publishing-social-sciences#sthash.598I3dTc.LoK0Sin9.dpbs

Humanities scholar Rob Weir takes the counter-intuitive approach, reminding us of the self-imposed impediments to publishing:

  1. Demonstrate your illiteracy.
  2. Assume your research is so important that it speaks for itself.
  3. Disrespect the profession.
  4. Disrespect the journal.

Details here: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2014/07/30/essay-mistakes-humanities-faculty-members-make-seeking-be-published#sthash.uqhK5T7O.dpbs

Predatory Publishing: It’s a Jungle Out There in the Wild West

OK, so I’m mixing metaphors here, but the new landscape of online publications does invite both the image of the predatory jungle (“Nature, red in tooth and claw,” as the poet Tennyson wrote) and the lawless American frontier West. Compliments of Edie Brous, nurse attorney—EdieBrous.com—a compilation of recent reports on predatory open-access journals and scholarly conference scams.

Jeffrey Beall, 9/12/12

“Predatory Publishers Are Corrupting Open Access”

http://www.nature.com/news/predatory-publishers-are-corrupting-open-access-1.11385

Declan Butler, 3/27/13

“Investigating Journals: The Dark Side of Publishing”

http://www.nature.com/news/investigating-journals-the-dark-side-of-publishing-1.12666

Declan Butler, 3/27/14

“Sham Journals Scam Authors: Con Artists Are Stealing the Identities of Real Journals To Cheat Scientists Out of Publishing Fees”

http://www.nature.com/news/sham-journals-scam-authors-1.12681

Kyle Crocco, 3/12/14

“Welcome To The Dark Side Of Academia:  Fake Conferences And Faux Journals”

http://gradpost.ucsb.edu/tools/2014/3/12/welcome-to-the-dark-side-of-academia-fake-conferences-and-fa.html

Carl Elliott, 6/5/12

“On Predatory Publishers: A Q&A With Jeffrey Beall”

http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/on-predatory-publishers-a-qa-with-jeffrey-beall/47667

Martha Harbison, 4/9/13

Bogus Academic Conferences Lure Scientists

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-04/scientists-duped-fake-academic-conferences

Gina Kolata, 4/7/13

“Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/health/for-scientists-an-exploding-world-of-pseudo-academia.html?_r=1&

Amy Novotney, APA 2014

“Watch Out For Faux Journals and Fake Conferences”

http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/09/faux-journals.aspx

Be careful out there!

Better Posters

Ah, the poster presentation, a genre with almost limitless possibilities, but more often than not a stepchild to the more prestigious podium paper presentation!

Designing an effective poster is an art, and, indeed, may be art.

Read more here: http://betterposters.blogspot.com/

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