I received a forwarded mail from a doctoral student today. It was a mail from a company calling itself “Research and manuscript experts in American and British style (FMABS)” and it was aimed at a “Dear Doctor …”. The doctoral student was offered language check but since none of the links in the email worked it wasn’t possible to check on the company behind this offer. This e-mail reminds me of many of the e-mails you might receive on a weekly or even daily base from publishers wanting to publish your article or call for papers from conferences you do not recognize. You should be careful when you receive offers like this, make sure they are legitimate. There are many attempts to try to find customers and money with this kind of schemes.
University of Borås has coordinated framework agreements with several different service providers and the web is crawling with this kind of services. You should use the services that are provided thought the framework agreements. The website Avropa.se (or call off in Swedish) is the site where these procuring entities and suppliers are listed. Check the framework agreements for translation services and proofreading (in Swedish).
There is some language support offered at the library for student registered at University of Borås.
Text: Pieta Eklund
There is a presumption that researchers’ keep their raw data in order, that there are lab journals and notes so that someone else can test the results by duplicating the research. This is not always the case. Sweden and most other countries do not have an adequate system to detect or expose research irregularities. The structure in place in Sweden today does not protect the one reporting of the irregularities or the one who has been suspected of misconduct, particularly well. A doctoral student might not dare to cast suspicion on his/her supervisor in the fear of damaging his/her own career or university does not want to investigate into allegations because it might mean losing research funding.
Often when irregularities in research are uncovered the research publications will be retracted. This means that results from the articles are not to be used in other research. Most of the retractions are done due to plagiarism, serious errors in interpretation of research data, fabricated research data or self plagiarism meaning that big part of text for one’s own previously published research is used without citing that work.
Brian Deer uncovered falsifications in a study into the possible connection between vaccination and autism. The so called Wakefield study had falsified number of things in the research. It took twelve years for The Lancet to retract the article. Deer means that researchers should be controlled like sportsmen: unannounced visits to labs to make sure papers and log books and notes are in order.
The Swedish Research Counsil requires a data publishing plan to be attached to an application for research funding. They would like for the research data to be made openly available for others to have the possibility to use the same data for their project and also because openly available research data might increase citations. This demand brings out another question: might there be even other reasons? Could it be that this is a first step making it easier to control research results against research data and expose research misconduct?
There are voices in Sweden asking for a new system to manage suspicions of research misconduct. One of them is Madeleine Leijonhufvud, a professor in criminal law at the Stockholm University, says that the research world in Sweden is so small, everyone knows everyone, that there is a need to call in experts from abroad when cases of misconduct are investigated.
A database where you can search for retracted articles does not exist but Retraction Watch blog writes about retracted articles. There are a some studies made on retracted articles, .e.g. The persistence of error: a study of retracted article on the Internet and in personal libraries and A Comprehensive Survey of Retracted Articles from the Scholarly Literature. The first one studies articles which have been retracted but are still available online and the second one studied retracted articles from several disciplines, not just within medicine and Life Sciences.
Both of these studies and parts of the research community are demanding ways to educate researches on research ethics but also to discuss more openly retracted literature and also to create better and independent organizations to investigate research misconduct. Maybe we should follow Norway? There you might be sentenced to prison for research misconduct.
Text: Pieta Eklund
A couple of weeks ago BioMed Central wrote in one of their blogs that they are now accepting manuscripts which have gone through a peer review by Peerage of Science community. I think this is very interesting because this initiative makes the research world and peer review process more open and transparent compared to the traditional peer review process. This means also that journals do not have to put as much of their energy into finding reviewers which might lead to faster publishing process.
Peerage of Science was started about a year ago
by a couple of Finnish researcher. With this initiative the review process in itself becomes more important. You are able to build your research career and reputation by giving high quality reviews. You have the possibility to review rather than weed out all requests to review from journals. The idea with the service is simple: create a group of peers who all have signed up for making the review process more transparent.
As a researcher you may send a manuscript to Peerage of Science without being a member but you may become a member. There are two ways for this: either you already have a track record of published articles or your manuscript receives favorable reviews.
Read also BMC series blog on how Peerage of Science works.
Text: Pieta Eklund
When the Nobel Prize Laureates are announces it sometimes creates controversy. Most often it is The Nobel Peace Prize that creates the most controversy and there are a couple of reasons for this. We are reminded of all existing conflicts and inequalities. There is also different ideas about what Alfred Nobel meant with his will and how it should be interpreted. There is also controversy regarding who chooses the Laureates. According to the will Nobel wanted the prize to be given to “those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind” and “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. Read full text of Alfred Nobel’s will.
Some of the Peace Prize Laureates from the couple of last years’ are Liu Xiaobo (2010), Barack Obama (2009) and Al Gore (2008) have been critized. Xiaobo for being oscure and unknown among the Chinese youth, Obama for getting too soon and not yet deserving of the Prize and Gore for his work with environmental questions cannot be related to a conflict.
Even the other Nobel Prizes create controversy. Just a couple of days ago a stem cell pioneer sued the Nobel committee for its statement why the Nobel Medicine Prizes is awarded Shinya Yamanaka of Japan and John Gurdon of Britain. There are even some Laureates who have declined the prize more or less because of their own will. In 1937 Adolf Hitler forbade German nationals to accept any Nobel Prizes because the Peace Prize was awarded Carl von Ossietzky, a German writer who openly critized Adolf Hitler. The ban affected three other German researchers. They did receive their certificate and medal later. You could also do what Jean Paul Sartre says has done: decline the prize because an author should not allow himself/herself become an institution. Nevertheless, he wanted to get the prize money. Or you could do what most of the Nobel laureates do: accept the prize as a recogonition of a lifetime achievement.
Text: Pieta Eklund
In the University Library in Borås, you can find articles in Summon by all this year’s prizewinners in:
Physics: Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland
Chemistry: Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka
Fysiology or Medicine: Shinya Yamanaka and John B. Gurdon
Economics: Alvin E. Roth and Lloyd S. Shapley
The articles featured here are all available in full text. You may need to identify yourself with your log on credentials to get access to the articles. Please contact the library if you are having trouble.
You can also search for free articles by the scientist in Wiley Online Library (this is just one place to look for free materials). Just search for the author and then identify the ones that are freely avaible with this symbol:
Or take a look at this page from ScienceDirect, they’ve listed their articles with free access of this years nobelprize winners.
There are also a lot of youtube lectures and other materials about the prizewinners.
For example a physics tv-show with David J. Wineland titled Physics for the 21st Century: David Wineland: The Quantum World Single Ion Clocks.
Two lectures by Robert J. Lefkowitz titeled Seven Transmembrane Receptors and Beta arrestines.
A lecture by Shinya Yamanaka from 2011.
Alvin E. Roths lecture with the title What Have We Learned from Market Design
There are also interviews like this one with John B. Gurdon.
You can read a lot more on the official Nobelprize website.
Text: Lisa Carlson
The foundations for the prize was laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel left much of his wealth to be managed in trusts and to be used yearly to award men and women for outstanding achievements in Science. There are five Nobel Prizes awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace. In 1968 The Swedish National Bank created a prize for the Economic Science. Although not a Nobel Prize it is announced and awarded at the same time, 10th of December. The Noble Peace Prize can be awarded to institutions but the others are awarded to an individual.
There is a nomination process and selection process. The documents regarding selection of the winners are sealed for 50 years.
The Nobel Laureates will be giving a public lecture about the subject they received the prize for. Check out the lectures at the official youtube channel: youtube.com/thenobelprize from 3 pm December 7th. You can also visit the Official site of the Nobel Prize for more information.
Text: Pieta Eklund
Good news for all researchers. Open Researcher & Contributor ID (ORCID) is launched today. ORCID is a non-profit organization and they aim to create a global open register with unique IDs for researchers. You can register yourself; all you need is your hb.se-email and your name, and it does not cost you anything. They do not aim to collect a lot of information on researchers or your research interests, the goal is to be a register. The IDs will be used by other services to communicate and manage information.
One benefit of an international research-ID is that it will be easier for you and a publisher to communicate with each, other since there might be researchers with the same name as you. In other words it will be easier to connect a researcher with a publication.
Read more about ORCID.
Text: Pieta Eklund
A lot of things has happened in research and publishing world. Here is a short summary of some of them.
All research funders are facing the same challenges such as assessing the quality and potential of research applications they receive. This is one of the reasons why a meeting on the subject was organized. During the Global Summit on Merit Review leaders for research financers from more than 50 countries met to discuss how evaluation according to peer review should be done. They were able to agree on six principles and take the first steps toward a global understanding on assessment of research applications. These principles are on expert assessment, transparency, impartiality, appropriateness, confidentiality and integrity and ethical considerations. Next meeting will be held in Berlin 2013 and the topics then will be open access and research ethics. Read the principles they agreed upon: Statement of Principles for Scientific Merit Review.
In the begining of april representatives from different parts of the university and research world met for a workshop organized by Luleå University of Technology and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond to discuss how to manage research data. They agreed that national policy and guidelines are needed for all universities and other concerned parties. They also agreed on that an infrastructure should be developed for research data. Universities are responsible to archive research data but an accepted model and system for archiving this material is missing. A report was published from the workshop (in Swedish).
Representatives from the University visited Brussels during the spring to learn more about EU Horizon 20/20, an EU project for research and innovation and how the university could receive a part of the €80 billion budget. What is good news is that they support open access (either green or gold) and see it as the standard way of publishing. Neelie Kroes, vice president for EU commission responsible for digital agenda has said in connection to Horizon 20/20: ”First, when research is funded by the EU, we will require open access to the results. Whether by ”green” or ”gold” routes.” Read Neelie Kroes speach here.
At the same time as there is lobbying process going on to lobby White house to work for open access, especially for the research paid by taxpayers a federal court has ruled against the publishers and given Georgia State University right in all but five accounts. The teachers at the University had distributed material under copyright protection electronically to their students. The university means that this case “highlights the importance of fair use in providing academic faculty a cost-effective, legal way to spread important knowledge to their students.” So the use of copyright law varies a lot and the publishers are now saying they “hope that this decision will start us down a path where librarians, teachers, and publishers can work together to chart a course through this evolving landscape.” Chronicle of Higer Education has written about the court’s decision.
Text: Pieta Eklund