While I had actually read the article in question shortly after it first came out, I was unaware of the fallout until earlier this morning. This is a story you should be aware of.
In a nutshell, Dr. Derek Pyne wrote a paper in early 2017 titled, The Rewards of Predatory Publications at a Small Business School, in which he looked at how many of his colleagues in the business school at Thompson Rivers University had published articles in predatory journals. Quite a few, as it turned out. From his conclusion (emphasis mine):
Predatory journals have become an increasing problem when it comes to assessing and rewarding researchers for the merit of their publishing records. In addition, the presence of predatory journals makes it difficult for non-experts to judge the quality and validity of published research. This paper finds that, at least at one university, there are few incentives not to publish in predatory journals. In addition, when the opportunity cost of forgone income from extra teaching is significant, publishing in ranked journals is costly.
Of course it's understandable that his colleagues and administrators would be embarrassed by this paper, but apparently he has been suspended from his position, and the university as a whole, for bringing this information to light. I say apparently, because so far Thompson Rivers University hasn't provided any actual reason. Well, they do say all this.... Despite what you'll find in the preceding link, this appears to be completely against the concepts of academic freedom and tenure, like seriously TRU?
So this post is just to make sure y'all are aware of this sorry situation, and I now have an alert on his name so will let you know when it's been resolved. Of course these are my opinions and not those of my employer, yadda yadda yadda.
November 7 Updates:
Here's a good 15-minute audio summary of the whole situation: 10/3 podcast: A B.C. economist is in hot water for exposing fake journals
And here's an article from The Economist I missed from this past summer which mentions Dr. Pyne's paper, but appears to have come out just before his suspension: Some science journals that claim to peer review papers do not do so
Almost exactly a year ago I took a quick look at three automated transcription tools, and today there's another one to add to the mix, though this one's not free. NVivo has launched an automated transcription service and I'm impressed! I uploaded the same audio clip I used in last year's shootout, a 40-second snippet from the inauguration of George W. Bush, and here's what NVivo made of it:
Please raise your right hand and repeat after me. I George Walker Bush do solemnly swear. George Walker Bush do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will to the best of my ability and will to the best of my ability preserve protect and defend the Constitution of the United States preserve protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God. So help me God. Congratulations.
It didn't pick up the separate speakers, but other than that it was a perfect transcription of a somewhat noisy audio clip, which moves it to the top of the list of the one's I've looked at so far.
You'll get 15 minutes of free transcription when you sign up (and as far as I can tell, you could use this w/o having a license for NVivo), though you DO have to enter a credit card to get an account. You can access the tool from within NVivo, on the Create tab:
Or from the website of your account, which is what I did. You just browse to your audio file and hit "upload". NVivo claims transcription occurs at 2x speed, so this should've only taken 20-seconds to transcribe. In my case it was just going and going, so I refreshed my browser after two minutes and it was all done, so that may be a little bug, or more likely something with my browser.
Cost of the service is on a per/hour basis, as follows:
I honestly have no idea if that's a fair price, but it certainly seems like it is. If you needed quality transcription I suspect you could pay a lot more. A major bonus is that this service covers 28 different languages! Feel free to try out one you know and let me know if the quality is still this high. Oh, I chose "English - North American" when I tried the Bush file.
Pretty nifty overall, I think.
The 7th edition of the Designing Libraries conference just wrapped up here at the U of Calgary, and I thought it'd be fun to capture the tweets using the hashtag #designinglibraries, so here you go:
Here's the full archive (457 tweets as of posting)
Here's a dashboard summary view
Here's a nifty view that allows for easy searching and filtering. (only one tweet even mentioned the weather!)
All this brought to you by the awesome TAGS project.
Update: Here's an article from our campus newspaper: Calgary 'head of the list' of library cities around the world.
I first read about it on Reddit, followed shortly by the CANLIB-DATA Listserv, but as of today Google has a new search engine dedicated to research data sets, the cleverly-named Google Dataset Search.
The good: Surfacing this stuff is great! Google is using schema.org to discover stuff, and has a pretty extensive page on how this all works. Results link through to Google Scholar to show who has cited a dataset. Likely not comprehensive, but a good start. Oh wait, it's not very good at all - I thought it was linking to the DOI, but it's just some sort of keyword linking. I just found a declassified Los Alamos report from 1957 in the top spot that supposedly links to one of these datasets :-/ Right idea, totally the wrong approach.
The annoying: Just as with Google Scholar, there's no way to know exactly what is and isn't being indexed. Also annoying not to have a count on the number of results. I can't get the "share" button to work, but that may very well be something specific with my browser and some extension - not a huge deal right now.
The weird: Of course I did a search for MPOW, and "University of Calgary" auto-suggests to a record about our institutional repository, but nothing from within our IR. Do we not conform with schema.org? (entirely possible). Why is that link from the French version of the National Research Council Canada?
The bad: No filters or facets of any sort - boo!
I have already found a couple of datasets of interest, and one that eventually led through to a deleted dataset, making me wonder how fresh the index is.
Definitely one to watch!
The Atlantic recently posted a fascinating article looking at the problem of reproducibility in the field of psychology: Online Bettors Can Sniff Out Weak Psychology Studies
So why can't the journals that publish them? Ed Yong breaks down
the new results from the Social Sciences Replication Project, in which 24 researchers attempted to replicate social-science studies published between 2010 and 2015 in Nature and Science—the world’s top two scientific journals. The replicators ran much bigger versions of the original studies, recruiting around five times as many volunteers as before. They did all their work in the open, and ran their plans past the teams behind the original experiments. And ultimately, they could only reproduce the results of 13 out of 21 studies—62 percent.
I've seen lots of dismal numbers like that before in other fields, but what I found fascinating was that in addition to their attempts to reproduce these studies, the SSRP team also ran "a "prediction market", a stock exchange in which volunteers could buy or sell “shares” in the 21 studies, based on how reproducible they seemed." And it turns out these 206 volunteers predicted overall that the 21 studies would replicate 63% of the time!
That's just freaky-close! I want to be in on one of these prediction markets, and I want to see how these would play out in other academic disciplines. Off to learn more!
I subscribe to The Daily, from Statistics Canada, and was intrigued earlier this week when they announced that Canadian Cancer Statistics 2018 would be released the following day. This was the first time I remembered seeing StatsCan announce that something would be released, rather than that something had been released. Also, I couldn't recall a time when had they pointed to another organization, and not to their own content.
I expected to find a simple spreadsheet or two containing numbers around cancer, so was confused to see that it seemed to be much more of a complete information package, including a Media Release page. So I checked it out, and I must say I was thoroughly impressed! This is a very well-written report, easily understood by laypeople, yet meaty enough to be of interest to physicians and others who have been paying a lot more attention to cancer than I have. Early on in the report they do an excellent job explaining how the stages of cancer (the main focus of this special report) are classified, and I now feel I have a much better understanding of this system. It's not hard; I just never paid attention.
The report itself is only about 25 pages (PDF), though is double that including appendices, references and such. Each section of the report does an excellent job of describing what's being presented, why, and how to interpret the results. I was pleased to see lots of information, again well-presented, at the end of the report on where to go for those statistics I had initially sought. They include a shorter version of this PPT presentation that describes how to use CANSIM, StatsCanada's socio-economic database, which I'll probably borrow for other presentations I do.
So why am I bothering to come out of hibernation to write a blog post on cancer? Not for me, but for you. Well, all of us. I hadn't realized until reading this report that nearly 50% of Canadians (and possibly Americans / humans?) will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime (holy crap!), and that cancer is the leading cause of death in this country. But I also learned that regardless of the type of cancer, our chances of living are far greater if the cancer is diagnosed early, in stage I or II. Nobody likes tests, but hey, if you're approaching or are over the age of 50, do yourself and your loved ones a favour by asking your doctor what screening tests can be done. Here's some background on screening for Canadians and Americans.
AnyDesk is totally new to me, so I thought I'd make note of Gizmodo's post on 3 Simple, Free Apps for Accessing Your Home Computer From Anywhere. I use Chrome Remote Desktop at least weekly, and have used TeamViewer to good effect in the past, so can vouch for each of those. The commenters overwhelmingly choose TeamViewer. I'll certainly explore AnyDesk and likely add it to my arsenal.
Good tools to know about for sure!