Featured Post

Inside Story: How a postgrad plagiarised at least 60 papers in huge publishing scam

To fall down a rabbit hole, in today’s usage, implies that while done voluntarily, the consequences are nightmarish, with all sorts of hazards and unintended consequences. While this differs to the original meaning from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland , as this New Yorker article spells out , there are corollaries that have only been discovered in today’s online-dependent world. So, when Ripeta co-founder and CEO Leslie McIntosh described the start of her investigation of suspicious publication activity in March 2022 as being “interested in going down this rabbit hole”, she knew that while it would satisfy her curiosity as someone who had built a company on the basis of trying to improve science, it could also lead to some painful realisations as to how research and publications can go awry. Back Story The rabbit hole first appeared – as they so often do – in the shape of a tweet where an author had bemoaned the fact that a journal was ignoring the entreaties

Taking Open Access book usage from reports to operational strategy

Understanding how many times an open access (OA) book has been viewed or downloaded is only part of the story – what you then do with the data is when the tale really unfolds… Note: This blog post includes excerpts from the OA eBook Usage Data Analytics and Reporting Use-cases by Stakeholder report by Drummond and Hawkins. While the term “usage data” most often refers to webpage views and downloads associated with a given book or book chapter, scholarly communications stakeholders have identified a near future where linked open access (OA) scholarship usage data analytics could directly inform publishing, discovery, and collections development in addition to impact reporting.  In the 2020-2022 Exploring Open Access Ebook Usage research project supported by the Mellon Foundation, publisher and library representatives expressed their interests in using OA eBook Usage (OAeBU) data analytics to inform overall OA program investment, strategy and fundraising. A report summarizing a

How can central research facilities expand their role in the science community?

Governments and research consortia can reap great benefits for the community and industry through large, shared research facilities and infrastructure. What happens when experiments are too big and too expensive for a single university to run? Some research efforts need to be conducted at a huge scale, drawing on multiple partner institutions; it’s not always feasible or advisable for one institution to be the sole focus of that work. Instead, large scientific instruments and experimental infrastructure are built and maintained at central facilities. These advanced research tools range from underground labs at the bottom of mines, to free-electron lasers and particle accelerators – such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN , Switzerland. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest particle accelerator. It’s a prime example of a facility that fosters international scientific collaboration. Photograph: Dominguez, Daniel; Brice, Maximilien. Credit: CERN. Due to thei

Inspiring dreams: the new James Webb Space Telescope

“Cosmic Cliffs” in the Carina Nebula, approximately 7,600 light-years away from Earth. Image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI. As children we look up to the beauty of the night sky and are inspired to dream. I recall as a small child being fascinated by my father’s books on astronomy and the beautiful pictures of now-familiar starscapes such as the Horsehead Nebula. That led me to join the astronomy club at school and spending nights in the cold, sleeping on the floor of the cricket pavilion, and waking up at the right time with other similarly nerdy teens, to peer up through a telescope lens to see if we could locate the moons of Jupiter. How many of today’s scientists (not just astronomers) are doing what they do in part due to some similar formative experience? A wonder about the universe and a desire to understand its mysteries. A whole new generation of scientists may now have been inspired to dream and perhaps, one d

The role of Open Access in developing African research and publications

How far has the scholarly communications industry come in helping African researchers to publish their work? Inroads have been made but there’s still a way to go – and Open Access has a major role to play. A recent study showed that researchers using different article publication databases would not have access to the same level of content from the Global South ( Basson et al , 2022). This has, sadly, always been the case, as Western countries’ researchers have dominated in terms of article numbers and their respective citations ever since the first journals appeared in England and France in the 17th Century. While India and China have increased their research output markedly in recent years, the imbalance with other developing countries is still significant. In order to help redress this deficit, Digital Science and Dimensions has partnered with the Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa) since 2019. TCC Africa is a research capacity Trust based in the University of Nairobi

Sci Foo returns face-to-face in 2022

The Digital Science team is getting ready to attend the annual Science Foo Camp in San Francisco, California this weekend – and we’re excited, because for the first time since 2019 the event will be held face-to-face as well as online. Sci Foo, as it’s known, is an “unconference” with no fixed agenda, and brings together researchers, innovators, technologists, communicators and policy makers from around the world who are doing groundbreaking work in diverse areas of science and technology. Attendance is by invitation only. Image: A sketch by Alex Cagan of some of the Digital Science Sci Foo 2019 crew. Since the first event in 2006, Sci Foo has aimed to do things differently. Tim O’Reilly, of O’Reilly Media, had created a format to bring together thinkers from different fields in the Friends of O’Reilly ( FOO ) Camp format, but it was Linda Stone who suggested that Timo Hannay (of Nature), Chris DiBona (of Google) and Tim should come together in creating a camp that brought comp