journals

 

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

Gender Bias in Researcher-to-Researcher Communication

Posted 22 March 2013 by Matt Shipman

Science communication extends beyond the attempts of reporters and scientists to communicate with nonexpert audiences (i.e., the so-called “general public”). For example, science communication also describes the efforts of researchers to communicate with each other. And, as a recent study points out, that process includes challenges that researchers have little control over. Challenges like gender bias. Among other findings, an Ohio State University study found that graduate students rated research abstracts as having greater “scientific quality” when they thought the... Read more

Don’t Panic: Challenges Regarding Science, News and Comments Online

Posted 7 January 2013 by Matt Shipman

A recent “Perspectives” commentary in Science on the importance of online science news – and associated challenges – has (unsurprisingly) gotten a fair amount of attention in the science communication community. Not all of it good. But I think that, at the very least, it presents a good opportunity to lay out some of those challenges and, hopefully, spark a productive discussion about how to address them. The commentary also refers to a forthcoming paper on the impact of online... Read more

Can News Media Boost Citations? Examining One (Old) Study

Posted 14 November 2012 by Matt Shipman

I recently raised the idea that media coverage of a research article may boost that article’s citations, and mentioned a 2003 study by Vincent Kiernan that found a correlation between news stories and citation rates. Now I’d like to talk about another, older study that makes a stronger claim regarding the link between news and citations. The paper, “Importance of the Lay Press in the Transmission of Scientific Knowledge to the Scientific Community,” was published in 1991 in the New... Read more

SciComm Matters Because…It’s Tough to Keep Up with Journals

Posted 12 November 2012 by Matt Shipman

(Note: this is the first in what will be a series of occasional posts about why science communication is important.) One reason that science communication, outside the peer-reviewed literature, is becoming more important is because of…the peer-reviewed literature. In my opinion, this is particularly true for researchers. If you’re a researcher, you want people to see your papers. You also want to stay abreast of new findings that are relevant to your work. For a number of reasons, both of... Read more