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!
One of my all-time favourite open source tools is Open Refine, which "is a powerful tool for working with messy data: cleaning it; transforming it from one format into another; and extending it with web services and external data." Today I'm talking about that extending bit. One of the nice features of Open Refine is that it can run on Linux, Windows, or MacOS. I only have experience with the latter two, but am pretty sure what follows applies to Linux as well.
So here it is in a nutshell. When you install an extension in Open Refine, sometimes there will be an indication in the upper right of your Open Refine page that the extension is installed, but just as often there is no indication other than a new choice within a drop-down, or a new function that's now available in GREL. I think maybe the first few extensions I ever installed resulted in a drop-down choice in the upper right, so I made the assumption that's how all extensions behaved. I'm embarrassed to tell you how much time I have wasted installing, uninstalling, then trying a different location all in vain as I restarted Refine only to not see the expected shiny new extension greeting me in the upper right corner.
How many extensions do I have correctly installed here? (The pull-down only relates to the named extension you see)
Wrong - I have four installed! Until earlier today I too would've sworn it was only one, but these other three operate elsewhere within the program, either through a drop-down, or as part of GREL:
And how did I finally figure this out? I finally read the frickin' readme file within one of those extension folders and it explained all. Hope this helps someone else out there. I've gone ahead and clarified the instructions on how to install extensions as well.
As an aside, if you haven't looked at it lately, Open Refine seems to have a new lease on life, with a couple of recent point releases and a new push on looking for new contributors (even non-coders).
One of my hats these days has me supporting students and faculty in the use of NVivo, a piece of software used for qualitative data analysis. Often people are wanting to analyze the text of recorded interviews, and of course that usually requires someone to transcribe the audio into text. I'm always on the lookout for free tools to automate this process.
I didn't realize it was that long ago, but last December I started playing with an automatic transcription tool called AutoEdit2, and found it pretty decent. Yesterday and today, ResearchBuzz led me to two new options, so I thought I'd do a quick comparison.
First up was a link to this announcement on TechCrunch about Deepgram. Then today was a pointer to Hongkiat's How to Transcribe YouTube Videos Automatically, which actually has pointers to several different tools or methods. I was most interested in the new-to-me option of having Google Docs automatically type what it heard into a document. Do note this method requires the use of the Chrome browser - I missed that and couldn't find the option in Firefox when I first tried...
Here's what Deepgram made of it:
please your right and never after me i george walk bush too solemnly swear i told what university so this work but i will say for extra office of person of the united states that i was lately excuse a of the united states and roll to the best of my and well the best of my ability sure protect learn the constitution of the united states sarah protect and the fan constitution of the united states saw not like so help
me god in congratulations
Here's what Google Docs heard:
The only answer please raise your right hand and repeat after me I George Walker Bush do solemnly swear a George Walker Bush to sell them I 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 Constitution of the United States
And here's what AutoEdit2 came up with:
the only please raise your right hand and repeat after me I George Walker bush do solemnly swear I 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 in 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 congratulate
So it seems to me on this very short audio sample that AutoEdit2 did very well, followed by Google Docs, with Deepgram bringing up the rear. Deepgram is the easiest to use, requiring the user to simply upload an audio file or point to either a YouTube video or online audio file. Once installed (MacOS only), AutoEdit2 is also very simple, though does require the file to be local, not online. And Google Docs is a bit of a pain to set up initially, but after a little trial and error is fairly straightforward and can record either a local file or something streaming online.
Curious to hear if you've played with any of these, or other tools, with longer audio clips, and if you find the same results?
Somehow I wasn't subscribed to the Google Scholar blog already, and missed last week's announcement that they'd made some tweaks to the interface of Google Scholar. Today though I was presented with a big link under the search box to the post on their blog touting Better ways of getting around. I've gotta say I found their screenshot pretty confusing. In a nutshell, they've moved things like Alerts and Metrics to the hamburger menu which appears to the left of the words "Google Scholar" on all the results pages.
Lifehacker has a post describing how to Map Anything From the Chrome Address Bar. Sounds great, except I recently switched back to Firefox after many years away, so found that there are a pair of extensions for FF that allow you to do pretty much the same thing. Map with Google Maps takes care of the highlight searching, and GoogleMaps adds Google Maps to your list of search engines, allowing you to map addresses w/o starting at the site itself. And if you prefer Open Street Maps...
Until the end of 2017, de Gruyter is offering free access to its Rights, Action, and Social Responsibility ebook Collection for "all students and faculty". You do have to register, and it appears that when I did so, I did so for my entire University! I had expected an email with a username and login, but got a notice several days later (as did at least one other colleague) that "Your institution now has online access to all the titles in our Rights, Action, and Social Responsibility collection until December 31, 2017." It appears to be IP-based, but I didn't give them any info other than my institution name, so YMMV. Content is available only chapter-by-chapter as PDF documents.
Public debates surrounding immigration policy, climate change, international relations, and constitutional and human rights are currently at the forefront of our national discourse. Critical reasoning, supported through academic research, is needed.
As a result, De Gruyter, along with our partner presses, is making freely available books and journal articles across nine topical areas for all students and faculty. Broadening access to this scholarship enables more people to address these issues in an informed manner: it helps us combat false news sources, to consider the nature of truth and ethics, and to understand the struggles of all members of society.
We can engage in these important debates intelligently and confidently using credible sources. To provide free access for your library please register here.
Steve Fallon, Director of Publishing Partnerships
Definitely some timely topics available:
Thanks to a tip from my colleague Dani I learned that Factiva has recently added a filter for fake news. Like many things with Factiva (IMHO), it's not terribly intuitive to find, so here are the steps. You can either add this as a filter to a search you've already run, or just use it to see what all is out (in) there.
From the main search page choose Subject, then Political/General News, and finally, Fake News Phenomenon. If you simply click on the blue arrow to the right and then run the search you'll see all there is on the subject within Factiva. According to the scope note, it looks like this category was added on March 14, 2017.