News Brief: NSF Unveils Plan for Public Access to NSF-Funded Research

Posted 18 March 2015 by Matt Shipman

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled a plan March 18 that would require researchers to make publications pertaining to NSF-funded research freely and publicly available within 12 months of their initial publication. The requirement will apply to all projects whose proposals are submitted after the agency issues its Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide in January 2016. The change is outlined in the NSF’s new public access plan, titled “Today’s Data, Tomorrow’s Discoveries.” In a March 18 announcement,... Read more

A Journal to Advance Citizen Science: an Interview with Caren Cooper

Posted 26 January 2015 by Matt Shipman

Science communication and citizen science have a lot in common – namely, the desire to engage with people both inside and outside of the traditional science community. But where science communication is often seeking only to educate or to get folks interested in science, citizen science is trying to get people actively involved in the scientific process. Citizen science can take many forms – from “games with a purpose,” such as Phylo, to projects that have people collecting ants from... Read more

Science Blogging and Citations

Posted 31 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Paige Brown Jarreau, author of the SciLogs blog From The Lab Bench, recently wrote a lengthy post on the science of science blogging. The post included a lengthy list of related journal articles, and one of them caught my eye: “Do blog citations correlate with a higher number of future citations?” With Paige’s blessing, I decided to unpack that particular paper a bit. The full title of the paper is “Do blog citations correlate with a higher number of future... Read more

Scicomm Accessibility: Accessing Scicomm Journals

Posted 8 July 2014 by Matt Shipman

Science communication researchers aren’t the only people interested in science communication research. Reporters, bloggers and researchers from various fields interested in sharing their work (among others) are interested in learning what “scicomm” can tell us about conveying scientific information to various audiences. But reaching the relevant research findings can be difficult. I doubt that most people expect scicomm research to give us a specific prescription for how to communicate effectively. Research doesn’t work that way, and most of us know... Read more

Citation Rates Highlight Uphill Battle for Women in Research Careers

Posted 13 December 2013 by Matt Shipman

One of the most important and institutionalized forms of science communication is the peer-reviewed journal article. These articles are essential to disseminating information among researchers in specific fields of study, and the extent to which those journal articles are cited by researchers in later articles is of enormous professional importance to researchers – particularly researchers who work in academic settings. But it appears that many researchers face an uphill battle when it comes to getting citations and related professional benefits.... Read more

Peer Review Quality is Independent of Open Access

Posted 14 October 2013 by Matt Shipman

Editor’s Note: A new report from the journal Science indicates that there are serious problems with the peer-review process at many open access journals. However, the issue may not be as clear as the article suggests. To get a different perspective, I solicited this guest post from Jon Tennant, an open access advocate and Ph.D. student at Imperial College London. Jon also blogs at Green Tea and Velociraptors and is one of the folks behind the Palaeocast podcast series. I’ll... Read more

U.S. Shutdown Beginning to Affect Journals

Posted 10 October 2013 by Matt Shipman

Peer-reviewed journals have long been at the heart of science communication – and now they’re beginning to feel the pinch of the U.S. government’s partial shutdown. The impact on journals isn’t a surprise. Michelle Dohm, an associate editor at PLOS, wrote on Oct. 1 that the shutdown could slow down manuscript reviews at the journal PLOS ONE. Specifically, Dohm wrote, “PLOS ONE reviewers and editors employed by or affiliated with the U.S. government may or may not be available to... Read more

What Twitter May Be Able to Tell Us (in Advance) about Citations

Posted 7 June 2013 by Matt Shipman

Social media platforms allow people to exchange information, including scientific information. That’s one reason many scientists are active on social media. I just read a paper (not new, but new to me) that suggests social media – particularly Twitter – may actually also serve as something of a crystal ball for predicting the scientific impact of journal articles. I read a recent post by entomology researcher Cameron Webb on whether social media can increase the exposure of newly-published research. (It’s... Read more

A Journal Editor’s Perspective on Publishing Negative Results

Posted 30 May 2013 by Matt Shipman

Earlier this week I wrote about two questions regarding negative results. First, should researchers publish their negative results? Second, why is it so hard to publish negative results? Some of the responses I got on Twitter and Facebook drove home how divisive the issue can be. Many researchers thought publishing negative results would be incredibly helpful. But others were decidedly less enthusiastic. As Twitter user Peter Dudek put it, “If I chronicled all my negative results during my studies, the... Read more

The Challenge of Negative Results

Posted 28 May 2013 by Matt Shipman

If a bunch of people are working toward a shared goal – like, say, curing a form of cancer – it would make sense for them to compare notes, right? Significant discoveries should be made public so that researchers can adjust their efforts accordingly and move everyone closer to solving the problem. That’s what journal articles are – an opportunity for researchers to share information and get closer to solving whatever medical, scientific or technological challenges they’re grappling with. Except... Read more