Chemistry

News, events and resources from the Drexel University Libraries related to chemistry.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Peggy's First Podcast

Yesterday, I participated in my first podcast:

Peer Review in the Google Age: Is technology changing the way science is done and evaluated?
http://drexel-coas-talks-mp3-podcast.blogspot.com/

Four of us were involved in the discussion:
Jean-Claude Bradley, E-Learning Coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of Chemistry, Drexel University
Peggy Dominy and Jay Bhatt, Librarians at Hagerty Library, Drexel University
Heather Morrison, Librarian at Simon Fraser University

During the discussion, it was mentioned that we, in fact, use a form of peer review through our blogs in the structure of comments and responces. In the sciences, this is particularly helpful to prevent an experimental failure or to point a colleague in a more productive direction. Rather than have the peer review after a paper is submitted, we have a sort of 'pre' peer review on research that develops into papers.

I was interested to see the blog entry on the ACRL site:
Do Academic Librarians On The T-Track Blog
http://acrlblog.org/2006/02/23/do-academic-librarians-on-the-t-track-blog/
Here is a thoughtful argument about blogs along with the interactivity of commenting (peer review?) might actually be helpful to the academic librarian on the tenure track.

So is peer review broken or is it evolving? I guess we'll see.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Patent on Thinking? Huh?

Ok the U.S. Patent office has been known to give patents to some bizarre inventions, but a patent on thinking? Paleeeeze!

From Chronicle of Higher Education
Chronicle Review
From the issue dated February 17, 2006
POINT OF VIEW

The Patent Office as Thought Police
By LORI B. ANDREWS
(Lori B. Andrews is a professor of law at the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology and director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology there. Her first novel, Sequence, will be published in June by St. Martin's Press.)

The boundaries of academic freedom may be vastly circumscribed by the U.S. Supreme Court this term in a case that is not even on most universities' radar. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings v. Metabolite Laboratories Inc. is not a traditional case of academic freedom involving professors as parties and raising First Amendment concerns. In fact, nobody from a university is a party in this commercial dispute, a patent case between two for-profit laboratories. But at the heart of the case is the essence of campus life: the freedom to think and publish.
[...]
LabCorp appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals. Astonishingly, it held that LabCorp had induced doctors to infringe the patent by publishing the biological fact that high homocysteine levels indicate vitamin deficiency. The court also ruled that the doctors had directly infringed the patent by merely thinking about the physiological relationship. (Metabolite had not sued the doctors, probably because such lawsuits would have cost more than they would have netted the company and would have produced negative publicity.)
[...]

To read the entire article go to:
Chronicle of Higher Education (may require Drexel logon)
http://chronicle.com/weekly/v52/i24/24b02001.htm

Thursday, February 09, 2006

What's Happening to Peer Review???

Two articles (at least) have recently appeared discussing the peer review process. One makes a case for the whole process being broken. The other offers a new twist to it.

"Is Peer Review Broken?" by Alison McCook
The Scientist, vol 20 (2), pg 26.
http://www.the-scientist.com/2006/2/1/26/1/
Submissions are up, reviewers are overtaxed, and authors are lodging complaint after complaint about the process at top-tier journals. What's wrong with peer review?

"Journal lays bare remarks from peer reviewers" by Emma Marris
Nature, vol. 439, 9 February 2006, page 642 http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v439/n7077/full/439642b.html
Cloak of anonymity shed by new publication. Editors of a journal launched this week are out to revolutionize peer review. By publishing signed reviews alongside papers, they hope to make the process more transparent and improve the quality of the articles.

(the link to the Nature article may require Drexel authentication)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Science Commons

Science Commons devotes its legal and technical expertise to help scientific researchers make the best possible uses of new communication technologies for purposes of scholarly communication.

What is it?
Science Commons is a project of the non profit corporation Creative Commons. Science Commons was launched in 2005 with the generous support of the HighQ Foundation and Creative Commons. It receives additional funding from the Omidyar Network and the Teranode Corporation.

Who runs it?
It is overseen by members of the Creative Commons board; including MIT computer science professor Hal Abelson, intellectual property experts James Boyle, Michael Carroll, and Lawrence Lessig, and lawyer and documentary filmmaker Eric Saltzman. Bioinformatics entrepeneur and metadata expert John Wilbanks is the Executive Director of the project.

What does it do?
"Our goal is to encourage stakeholders to create areas of free access and inquiry using standardized licenses and other means; a 'Science Commons' built out of voluntary private agreements."

To find out more go to: http://sciencecommons.org