Nature Blog Network

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Praxis #3

Praxis, the blog carnival about "scientific life", has landed here at The Other 95%. Welcome and make sure you look around at the work of my spineless co-blogger Eric and myself. The last edition was held at Life v. 3.0. Make sure you submit to Praxis #4 to be held at The Lay Scientist. Go ahead and host one yourself as well! Now on to the carnival.

Open Access Day and 5 Years of PLoS!!!
It was Open Access Day yesterday which (nearly) coincided with the 5th year anniversary of PLoS on October 13. PLoS asked "Why does open access matter to you". Check out all the replies aggregated in the Synchroblogging Competition post!

Difficulties of Being a Scientist
KH at Lecturer Notes ponders junior faculty naivete. Head over there to remind KH that making mistakes is part of the learning process!

The Rock Doctor at Life v. 3.0 has a post up describing her thoughts on being different from her friends. Science often takes people down an interesting path that neither social circumstances, religion or personaly/family history can control. You either succumb to the mold or let the journey carry you onward.

Bill at Open Reading Frame reminds everyone that no goes into science to get rich by plotting monthly salary versus experience. The results? Go there and see his analysis!

Searching for a job is no easy task. We all have our ideals. A nice salary, maybe able to purchase that first home, live in a nice area with plenty of weekend adventure opportunities and culture. But the job we want isn't always there or isn't always yours. That is why Physioprof over at Drugmonkey reminds us to cast a wide net when job hunting!

Is Biology Chemistry?
Bora from A Blog Around the Clock waxes poetic on Green Fluorescence Protein winning the Nobel prize in Chemistry. For some reason he seems to think the "nobel" jellyfish isn't deserving of the prize. Oh, I guess some people got the prize not the jelly. My bad. But he has several comments on what discerns Medicine/Physiology from Chemistry. The line is often blurred in the awarding of the Nobel Prizes. The don't join the bandwagon rant resonates with me for sure!

Abel Pharmboy at Terra Sigillata also weighs on the GFP Nobel issue and concludes that "funding agencies [need] to support a broad range of chemical and biological research". Find out why at Terra Sigillata!

Revolutionizing Peer Review
Cameron Neylon at Science in the Open offers up a few ideas about bringing peer review into the 21st century. This includes taking into account online articles (such as blog posts), wiki-style reviewing, open reviewing, aggregation after review, and much much more. Be sure to follow the excellent comment thread. Cameron also offers up his personal view of open science. If you are not a "believer" in open access and open science after this post (the 1st in a series), then there is no hope for you or you must work for "that one". Superbly done.

Bjorn Brembs also puts out an excellent post about transparent peer review, but has a different take on it from Cameron. It starts with a discussion forum, ends with a journal publication. But it is what happens between those two stages that is important.

Do it for the Children?
Janet Stemwedel at Adventures in Ethics and Science supports the progress of women in science but asks a very important question of a german initiative. Should women with kids get special treatment for scholarships? There are lots of underlying assumptions with this, be sure to read through the comment thread as well. Zuska also weighs in with her thoughts.

Fight the Power!
Sick of Thomson-ISI or just want an open source alternative to EndNote? After hearing about Thomson Reuter's bogus lawsuit against George Mason University, where the open source referencing software Zotero was made by Dr. Daniel Cohen, for violating its license agreement and destroying the EndNote customer base (i.e. reverse engineering the .ens file format), I decided to give Zotero a whirl. It rocks and it integrates well with NeoOffice, the open source word editting software made for the Mac platform. Kevin Smith from Scholarly Communications@Duke distills down the copyright issues associated with the lawsuit. He has many excellent points and concerns, such as:

"In general, open source software is a gift that many universities like George Mason give to the academic community as a whole, and the value of that gift is increased if it is possible for scholars who have been using a costly commercial product to move their research resources from the latter into the former. That increased value (an “externality” in economic jargon) could be weighed against Thomson’s loss (which they allege is around $10 million per year) in reaching a reasonable decision about contract enforcement."
Somewhat on the topic of Thomson, at least the use of their metric, John Wilkins at Evolving Thoughts mentions the joint response of many journals from the History of Science, Technology and Medicine fields to the stupidity of index metrics.
"We now confront a situation in which our own research work is being subjected to putatively precise accountancy by arbitrary and unaccountable agencies."
Larry Moran at the Sandwalk kindly reminds us that scientists, too, can be activists. The picture of Haldane raising his fist, passionately lecturing a large crowd of the "United Front" is priceless. What scientists are standing up with the people and demanding answers to pertenant issues of our day?

Anonymous Coward of Bayblab posts the letter by scientists in Canada (America's hat!) who are protesting government interference in science. Blame Go Canada!

College or Bust
Are too many people trying to get a B.A. degree? Should colleges be more selective, admit less students or be tougher to cater to the portion of society with higher IQs? Razib addresses this question with data and discusses why college is still the best bet.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read everyone's posts yet. I am sampling them before bed, but this looks like an interesting carnival and you did a great job!


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