1 10 Things


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Changing scientific communications - and reframing the problem

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  • 1 10 Things

    1. 1. Science and paradoxes 10 things research authors do and you hopefully don’t... Daniele Tosi
    2. 2. 1 - Did you know that... ‣ the biggest innovation in research journals, in the last 8 years, is the online version of paper works? • Scientific journals are not innovating, this is a real matter. A research paper 15 years ago could be exactly the same today. • But the web has fluidly changed the way people interact, communicate, publish and get in touch. ➡ In the last 8 years, blogging, online newspapers, podcasts, ebooks, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Scribd... does it mean something?
    3. 3. 2 - Did you know that... ‣ 0.08% of the research papers in engineering include a chart presenting the competitive scenario? • Out of 4000 journal papers in engineering technology, only 3 (!!!) make it crystal clear to everyone how the developed technology deals with competition. • It never comes out clearly where the innovation is, how technology improves the status quo. ➡ Would you present a business plan without business opportunity, competitive advantages and competitors?
    4. 4. 3 - Did you know that... ‣ it takes 2 to 25 months for a reviewer to get an answer? • Scientific review is frankly awful and useless. It is too slow to work. One year to get a review for 5 pages? • Building a concept, testing the feasibility, redesigning and engineering it, and building a prototype takes 1-2 years. ➡ How many articles on newspapers are published everyday? And how many people read them? And who checks their correctness? And how long do you think your business plan will last on the desk of a VC?
    5. 5. 4 - Did you know that... ‣ each scientist picks up from 9 different templates when he writes a paper? • Incredibly, copying a research paper to another research paper, and adapting it to the new format, takes about 2 hours! And without changing a single word! • A scientist is never able to create documents with his own style, always have to sustain imposition ➡ Is it possible that, as of 2010, no journals, not even the online-only, are able to accept user’s style imposing their own, unique, rare and frustrating template?
    6. 6. 5 - Did you know that... ‣ blind review is not really blind, nor even a review? • Each authored article is subject to blind review, but a wide percentage of papers are reviewed by 1st/2nd degree contacts, who have their papers reviewed by the same authors. • Conflict of interest between reviewers and authors is sometimes reversed: reviewers reject papers and steal core ideas (isn’t there some kind of code of ethics?) ➡ Isn’t it cleaner, wiser and somehow safer to open the reviewing process to anyone who has interest in the topic?
    7. 7. 6 - Did you know that... ‣ researchers read publications like kids read books? • Kids look at figures, rather than reading. They get a better feeling of the core concepts without even reading a word. • Well, 54% of researcher look only to figures and charts. 83% figures, charts and abstract. Despite that, figures and charts have low-quality, very low information content and are strictly limited in number. ➡ Cut 80% of charts, pictures and schemes out of your business plan and replace it with text. Does it look appealing, catchy and clear now?
    8. 8. 7 - Did you know that... ‣ scientists publish black-and-white charts for online publication? • 87% authors publish only b/w figures, even on online- only journals. Authors pay an unfair extra fee for publishing color figures (!!!). • A paradox that clearly shows the degree of innovation of scientific journals. ➡Do you commonly buy b/w magazines?
    9. 9. 8 - Did you know that... ‣ despite the equal opportunity character, scientific publications kill democracy? • Write a paper authored with your research group, and submit it to a high-level journal in your field. • Then send the very same paper, single-authored by a science rookie. Do you see any change? ➡ Wouldn’t you like to have someone that reads your work first, and your bio last, rather then the opposite? (You may object that nothing in this world is really equal opportunity, but why can’t we start to make it?)
    10. 10. 9 - Did you know that... ‣ the SEO potential of scientific papers is completely unexplored? • A research journals contains 4,200 papers (avg) and provides no networking, no customized results; there are 7.5 journals covering each research area. Despite this 45% of user search fail (compare it to Google Scholar...) • A good SEO can work with 30% of this database. ➡ Is it possible that such an incredible networking and customizing power is completely wasted?
    11. 11. 10 - Did you know that... ‣ scientists working in the same field use the same vocabulary and structure for their publications? • Running some searches with a SE, it comes out that, of all the papers belonging to a certain area, about 40% share the same technicalities and 60% the same structure. • Authors are sometimes obliged, often forced, not to get out of the strict boundaries imposed by publications ➡ Is the publication system so standardized that it does not accept any creative push any more? And have scientists accepted a low-freedom imposition?
    12. 12. Question • Can we really do something to improve the scientific publication system (framed question)? • Or maybe, much better, let’s move one step over... • Is the “publication system” the best way to spread scientific research? (unframed question)
    13. 13. Thanks to... • SurveyMonkey • Google Scholar • Alexa • Compete • Any comment welcome!
    14. 14. Thank you Stay tuned for the next episode