By Nicole Pagowsky and Erica DeFrain In the library with the lead pipe

Why do librarians struggle so much with instruction? Part of the problem is that we have so many facets to consider: pedagogy, campus culture, relationships with faculty, and effectiveness with students. Research on student and faculty perceptions of librarians combined with sociological and psychological research on the magnitude of impression effects prompted us to more thoroughly examine how perceptions of instruction librarians impact successful teaching and learning. In this article, we look at theories of impression formation, the historical feminization of librarianship, and suggestions for next steps that we should take in order to take charge of our image and our instruction.

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Is scientific misconduct increasing? Retraction rates may present more questions than answers.

By R. Grant Steen in The Impact Blog

Drawing on the research from his recent study into rising retraction rates R. Grant Steen argues retractions alone may be a poor surrogate measure of scientific misconduct. Science cultures are shifting to become more aware of certain “crimes” and publishing cultures may also be more willing to take immediate action. Nevertheless, there is reason to suspect that misconduct may really be increasing in prevalence and it is important to consider how best the community can measure and address this.

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The Role of Data Repositories in Reproducible Research

By Limor Peer in Institution for social and policy studies blog

Who is responsible for the quality of data deposited in repositories? And what is quality data, anyway?

These questions were on my mind as I was preparing to present a poster at the Open Repositories 2013 conference in Charlottetown, PEI earlier this month. The annual conference brings the digital repositories community together with stakeholders, such as researchers, librarians, publishers and others to address issues pertaining to “the entire lifecycle of information.” The conference theme this year, “Use, Reuse, Reproduce,” could not have been more relevant to the ISPS Data Archive. Two plenary sessions bookended the conference, both discussing the credibility crisis in science. In the opening session, Victoria Stodden set the stage with her talk about the central role of algorithms and code in the reproducibility and credibility of science. In the closing session, Jean-Claude Guédon made a compelling case that open repositories are vital to restoring quality in science.

My poster, titled, “The Repository as Data (Re) User: Hand Curating for Replication,” illustrated the various data quality checks we undertake at the ISPS Data Archive. The ISPS Data Archive is a small archive, for a small and specialized community of researchers, containing mostly small data. We made a key decision early on to make it a “replication archive,” by which we mean a repository that holds data and code for the purpose of being used to replicate and verify published results.

The poster presents ISPS Data Archive’s answer to the questions of who is responsible for the quality of data and what that means: We think that repositories do have a responsibility to examine the data and code we receive for deposit before making the files public, and that this data review involves verifying and replicating the original research outputs. In practice, this means running the code against the data to validate published results. These steps in effect expand the role of the repository and more closely integrate it into the research process, with implications for resources, expertise, and relationships, which I will explain here.

First, a word about what data repositories usually do, the special obligations reproducibility imposes, and who is fulfilling them now. This ties in with a discussion of data quality, data review, and the role of repositories.

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Survey on academics’ use of social media

This Sociological Life

In January I conducted an online survey to find out how academics are using social media sites and tools. A total of 711 faculty members and postgraduate students completed the survey, mostly from the UK, Australia/New Zealand and North America.

The complete report can be accessed here.

Here is the abstract providing an overview of the findings:

This report outlines findings from an international online survey of 711 academics about their use of social media as part of their work conducted in January 2014. The survey sought to identify the tools that the respondents used, those they found most useful and the benefits and the drawbacks of using social media as a university faculty member or postgraduate student. The results offer insights into the sophisticated and strategic ways in which some academics are using social media and the many benefits they have experienced for their academic work. These benefits…

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Making it Free, Making it Open: Crowdsourced transcription project leads to unexpected benefits to digital research.

Melissa Terras in LSE Blog:

The Transcribe Bentham project, a benchmark achievement for digital humanities research, relies on volunteer transcribers in order to make Jeremy Bentham’s writings more well known, accessible, and searchable, over the long term. Melissa Terras discusses the project’s underpinning ethos which emphasised “co-creation” rather than academic broadcast. This open ethos is also reflected in their approach to making the preprint of their journal article available in an institutional repository.

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Altmetrics could enable scholarship from developing countries to receive due recognition.

Juan Pablo Alperin in LSE Blog:

The Web of Science and its corresponding Journal Impact Factor are inadequate for an understanding of the impact of scholarly work from developing regions, argues Juan Pablo Alperin. Alternative metrics offer the opportunity to redirect incentive structures towards problems that contribute to development, or at least to local priorities. But the altmetrics community needs to actively engage with scholars from developing regions to ensure the new metrics do not continue to cater to well-known and well-established networks.

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Social Sciences converging strongly with STEM disciplines

From the LSE ‘Impact of Social Sciences’ Blog:

Much less is known about the development of the social sciences as a complete discipline group than about the previously dominant STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) discipline group. Patrick Dunleavy, Simon Bastow and Jane Tinkler set out some key findings from their new book ‘The Impacts of the Social Sciences’, identifying five key trends that are causing the old social sciences versus physical science divide to dissolve. With the advent of ‘big data’ and e-science across the board, the social sciences are converging strongly on a ‘rapid advance/moderate  consensus’ model previously characteristic only of the STEM disciplines.

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