Citations Aren’t Enough: Academic Promotion and Scholar’s Presence in Popular Media

Scholars all around the world are almost solely judged upon their publications in (prestigious) peer-reviewed journals. Asit Biswas and Julian Kirchherr argue that publications in the popular media must count as well. After all, these publications are crucial in informing practitioners’ decision-making.

Many of the world’s most talented thinkers may be university professors, but sadly most of them do not shape today’s public debates or influence policies. Indeed, scholars often frown upon publishing in the popular media. “Running an opinion editorial to share my views with the public? Sounds like activism to me”, a professor recently noted at a conference, hosted by the University of Oxford. The absence of professors from shaping public debates and policies seems to have exacerbated in recent years, particularly in the social sciences. Even debates among scholars do not seem to function properly.

Up to 1.5 million peer-reviewed articles are published annually. However, many are ignored even within the scientific community: 82 percent of articles published in humanities are not even cited once. Rarely do scholars refer to 32 percent of the peer-reviewed articles in the social and 27 percent in the natural sciences.

If a paper is cited, though, this does not imply it has actually been read. According to one estimate, only 20 percent of papers citedhave actually been read. We suspect that an average paper in a peer-reviewed journal is read completely at most by no more than 10 people. Hence, impacts of most peer-reviewed publications even within the scientific community are miniscule.

knowledge policyImage credit: oscar cesare (Wikimedia, Public Domain)

Many scholars aspire to contribute to their discipline’s knowledge and to influence practitioner’s decision-making. However, it is widely acknowledged practitioners rarely read articles published in peer-reviewed journals. We know of no senior policy-maker, or senior business leader who ever reads any peer-reviewed papers, even in recognized journals like Nature, Science or The Lancet. No wonder: First of all, most journals are prohibitively expensive to access for anyone outside of academia. Even if the current open-access-movement becomes more successful, the incomprehensible jargon and the sheer volume and lengths of papers (mostly unnecessary!) would still prevent practitioners (including journalists) from reading them. Original Source (LSE Impact of Social Sciences)

Video Games in the Age of Cell Phones

Featured Image -- 2514

Originally posted on TIME:

More than 100,000 new iPhone and iPad games were uploaded to Apple’s App Store last year–upwards of 500 a day, by some estimates. There were puzzle games, role-playing games, strategy games, shoot-’em-ups, sports games, quizzes, war games, word games. Some were good. Some were bad. Some were truly terrible. The vast majority of them went unnoticed and sold poorly if at all.

So why do people make them? Because a) mobile games, as they’re called, are relatively easy and inexpensive to develop, and b) a successful one pretty much prints money.

The canonical example is Flappy Bird. A simple game featuring a squat little bird that tries (and usually fails) to fly between big green pipes without touching them, Flappy Bird was coded over a long weekend in 2013 by a 28-year-old in Hanoi named Dong Nguyen. Since then it’s been downloaded over 50 million times and was making $50,000…

View original 4,027 more words

How to Remember What You Read

Featured Image -- 2512

Originally posted on TIME:

A great place to start with book retention is with understanding some key ways our brain stores information. Here are three specific elements to consider:

  1. Impression
  2. Association
  3. Repetition

Let’s say you read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of our favorites here at Buffer. You loved the information and want to remember as much as possible. Here’s how:

Impression – Be impressed with the text. Stop and picture a scene in your mind, even adding elements like greatness, shock, or a cameo from yourself to make the impression stronger. If Dale Carnegie is explaining his distaste for criticism, picture yourself receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace and then spiking the Nobel Prize onto the dais.

(Another trick with impression is to read an important passage out loud. For some of us, our sensitivity to information can be greater with sounds rather than visuals.)


View original 801 more words

A Diet Might Cut the Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s

Originally posted on Chez Froggie:

The MIND diet was developed by researchers at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, whose recent study found that certain foods could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Photo: Getty

The MIND diet combines elements of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, which aims to reduce high blood pressure. The MIND diet also includes ‘brain-healthy’ foods such as lots of green leafy vegetables, blueberries and nuts. A study found adhering strictly to any of the three diets lowered the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. But only the MIND diet had significant benefits even with moderate adherence.ENLARGE
The MIND diet combines elements of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, which aims to reduce high blood pressure. The MIND diet also includes ‘brain-healthy’ foods such as lots of green leafy vegetables, blueberries and nuts. A study found adhering strictly to any of the three diets lowered the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. But only the MIND diet had significant benefits even with moderate adherence. PHOTO: HARALD WALKER/CORBIS

The study is part of a small body of research investigating how nutrition can improve brain health and stave off the cognitive decline and memory impairment that comes with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Experts…

View original 451 more words

Green Spaces Linked to Improved Memory and Focus in Children

Featured Image -- 2508

Originally posted on Quartz:

The benefits of green spaces to human health and the environment include slowing soil erosion and potentially even making us kinder.

Now there’s evidence that they may help school children focus, too.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (paywall) found that over the course of a year, children exposed to more green areas at school in Spain had slightly better memory and focus over the course of a year.

Researchers at the Pompeu Farba University in Barcelona, Spain looked at roughly 2,500 students aged 7 to 10 and the amount of green space they had exposure to based on the location of their home and school. Using a satellite image of the area of study, the scientists applied a computer model that highlighted green areas based on visible and infrared light reflections and then ranked different areas on a grid based on a vegetation index. Every three months, researchers then gave…

View original 118 more words

Productivity – Encourage workers to keep track of time can make them healthier and more productive

Originally posted on Chez Froggie:

WSJ: Productivity – Encourage workers to keep track of time can make them healthier and more productive

Improve productivity AND your morale & health – by tracking how you use your time.  Remember – lost time can never be reclaimed – so use time wisely and strategize each morning how you will spend your day!

  • April 2, 2012

Employees, Measure Yourselves

Encouraging workers to keep track of what they’re doing can make them healthier and more productive


Imagine how much better workers could do their jobs if they knew exactly how they spend their day.

Suppose they could get a breakdown of how much time they spend actually working on…

View original 1,518 more words

Stanford graduates get schooled on how to solve Silicon Valley’s sexism and racism problem

Featured Image -- 2506

Originally posted on Quartz:

The pomp and circumstance of Stanford University’s graduation ceremony on June 14 was coupled with the promises of grand success and prestige regularly enjoyed by students of Silicon Valley’s most revered talent farm.

But alongside the well wishes came a far more sobering cry, warning graduates of what will happen if they overlook the pervasive problems of racism and sexism festering beneath the riches of the tech world.

Stanford graduates will have no trouble snagging top jobs at companies like Google or Facebook, but that won’t shield them from the inequality problem plaguing Silicon Valley and the country overall, said Vernon Jordan, the longtime civil rights activist and Washington lawyer who addressed Stanford’s 2015 baccalaureate ceremony the day before graduation.

Jordan invoked the words of black scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, who declared that the problem of the 20th century is the “problem of the color-line,” and explained that “no society that leaves out a significant percentage of its people can long endure.”


View original 462 more words

What MOOCs Are Teaching Universities

MOOCs are inspiring university and high school teachers to try assigning video lectures for homework so class time can be used for asking questions and hands-on assignments.
When the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) enrolled over a hundred thousand students from all over the world, it started an education buzz about how technology could revolutionize higher education.

A few years later, MOOCs haven’t exactly replaced expensive college degrees, but edX CEO Anant Agarwal says the MIT experiment with MOOCs has given educators important insights into how students learn.

In his TED talk, Agarwal describes how MOOCs are inspiring university and high school teachers to try assigning video lectures for homework so class time can be used for asking questions and hands-on assignments.

He’s fired up at how engaged students have been and at the power of immediate feedback the online platform offers. Even more impressive, students from around the world are discussing concepts together online, eventually finding answers to questions on their own.

MOOCs may not have upended the university system as predicted, but they may have done something better, Agarwal says — force inert institutions to rethink their practices.

Original Source (MindShift)

A University just invented Self-healing Bioconcrete

“We have invented bioconcrete — that’s concrete that heals itself using bacteria,” professor Henk Jonkers from TU Delft told CNN.
After nine years of research and development, a team from TU Delft presented their self-healing concrete prototype that regenerates itself due to the addition of bacteria in its composition. These bacteria have the ability to “break” some specific components in the concrete and gradually fix small cracks and holes.
The formula developed at the university goes beyond merely repairing visible imperfections; If not repaired, these cracks can increase in size and allow water to enter the structure, leading to the corrosion of steel and damaging the mechanical properties of the structure.

This kind of bioconcrete incorporates some species of bacillus bacteria, that can survive up to five decades without food or oxygen. In order to last so long, the bacillus bacteria are stored within the concrete in biodegradable plastic capsules that only break open when they come into contact with water. After being exposed to water, the bacteria feeds on calcium lactate and produce limestone, which closes up the cracks, repairing the material.

“It is combining nature with construction materials,” Jonkers explains. “Nature is supplying us a lot of functionality for free — in this case, limestone-producing bacteria. If we can implement it in materials, we can really benefit from it, so I think it’s a really nice example of tying nature and the built environments together in one new concept.”

The team is currently testing the ability of the bacteria to resist sulfate attacks or extreme temperature variations. In addition, scientists seek to reduce the production cost of the material so that it becomes an affordable alternative in the market, since their commercial potential is very large.

Original Source (Interesting Engineering)

The growing social media landscape: an updated glossary

Originally posted on Social Media for Learning:

The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3 The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3

Social Media not only keeps on growing but also changing. New vocabulary and new sites emerge and as sites lose popularity they disappear are quietly forgotten. The Conversation Prism above created by Brian Solis and JESS3 has gone through a number of iterations since its conception in 2008. This latest version is a visual map of the social media landscape. It’s an ongoing study in digital ethnography that tracks dominant and promising social networks and organizes them by how they’re used in everyday life. (The full size version can be found here.)

Below is a collection of social media terms  and a short explanation for each.

An [updated] A-Z Social Media Glossary

A A social networking site and customisable personal homepage. A social networking site for academics/researchers

App: An application that performs a specific function on your mobile…

View original 2,562 more words