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Information Culture

Information Culture

Thoughts and analysis related to science information, data, publication and culture.
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  • Profile

    Bonnie J. M. Swoger is a Science and Technology Librarian at a small public undergraduate institution in upstate New York, SUNY Geneseo. She teaches students about the science literature, helps faculty and students with library research questions and leads library assessment efforts. Bonnie started her professional life as a geologist, but realized that she was much more interested in how scientists communicate their research to one another. As a librarian, she gets to teach others about the topic. She has a BS in Geology from St. Lawrence University, an MS in Geology from Kent State University and an MLS from the University at Buffalo. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, two young daughters and two old cats. She would love to have some free time in which to indulge in hobbies. She also blogs at the Undergraduate Science Librarian and can be found on twitter @bonnieswoger.

    Hadas Shema is an Information Science graduate student at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. She studies the characteristics of online scientific discourse and is a member of the European Union’s Academic Careers Understood through Measurement and Norms (ACUMEN) project. Hadas tweets at @Hadas_Shema. Follow on Twitter @infoculture2.
  • Who did what? Clarifying author roles benefits researchers, publishers and students.

    Author roles outlined by Allen et al., 2014

    Scholarly scientific publishing has a lot of traditions that are not transparent to the reader such as peer review or the non-payment of authors. The existence of many authors on a single paper is also a bit of a mystery. Why are there so many? What did they all do? Why are they listed in [...]

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    Introduction to Traditional Peer Review

    Peer review was introduced to scholarly publication in 1731 by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which published a collection of peer-reviewed medical articles. Despite this early start, in many scientific journal publications the editors had the only say on whether an article will be published or not until after World War II. “Science and The [...]

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    Frustration of the day: unclear article numbers

    Over the past couple of days, I have been reviewing some citations for student projects.  Several of the students submitted citations in which they expressed confusion over what page numbers to include. The problem: Many journals no longer publish a print version and have switched to using article numbers. Unfortunately, some publishers make these article [...]

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    Why I don’t buy print reference books

    The first page of Ranganathan's 1931 book outlining the Five Laws of Library Science.

    Last week, I was asked by an acquisitions editor at a publishing company to review a 2 page proposal for a new reference work that would be available in print and electronically. It was a specialized science encyclopedia that would be 7 volumes. Based on other offerings from that company, a 7 volume encyclopedia would [...]

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    Post publication peer-review: Everything changes, and everything stays the same


    In the early days of scientific societies (i.e. the 17th century), scientists would share their experimental results with each other at meetings, and receive feedback about their experiments in person.  (The scientific journal wasn’t invented until later.)  As the scientific community grew, it was impossible for everyone to be in the same room to hear [...]

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    Altmetrics: emphasizing the plural

    One of the challenges we face when using alternative metrics is the interpretation of what we measure.  This is even more confusing than interpreting traditional citation impact (which is challenging and confusing in itself) because “altmetrics” is an umbrella term for a wide range of activities. One can’t compare an article being bookmarked with it [...]

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    Peer-review mysteries and simple things publishers can do to help readers


    Scholarly scientific publications have a pretty standard structure: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, References. One of the primary purposes of this structure is to make the work understandable to others. Ideally, we will understand the context from the introduction, see how the experiments were performed from the methods section, and learn how future research [...]

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    A day in the life of a science librarian

    Scholarly characteristics: Reputable, peer-reviewed, authors as scholars, use of jargon, audience of scholars

    When I tell people I am a librarian, they automatically think they understand how I spend my day: they imagine a lot of book stamps, telling people to be quiet, and having time to read. In reality, librarians in academic institutions do a wide variety of things related to making information available to folks. From [...]

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    The Impact of TED Talks

    Dates of doctoral degree for academic presenters, by gender

    With over a billion views, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) talks are a huge business. There are two main TED conferences a year – the TED conference and the TEDGlobal, and a large number of satellite conferences (TEDx) all over the world. A quick Google Scholar search shows TED talks even receive scholarly citations. Sugimoto, [...]

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    Understanding your rights: repositories, websites, and “self-archiving”

    "Ask a librarian" sign

    Last month, I mentioned that authors posting copies of their articles online need to think about two big questions in order to determine whether they are acting in accordance with a copyright transfer agreement or publishing contract: What version of your article do you want to post online? Where do you want to post it? [...]

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