Ian Mulvany

January 9, 2022

Brief links - 2022 week 1!

Welcome to 2022! At the end of week 1 here are some things across the web that caught my attention this week. 

Invest in Open launched their catalog of open infrastructure services. 
From their website: 
IOI was founded to help increase adoption and investment in the open infrastructure needed to drive equitable access and participation in research. 

COIs is designed as a resource for funders, users, and other interested stakeholders looking to make informed decisions about the open infrastructure services available for research and scholarship. 

They do an in-depth look at the sustainability of 10 key open infrastructure services. Useful for decision makers considering adoption of these services. 

There has been a growth in alternative research institutes recently. The phenomenon itself is not new (think bell labs, xerox park, the Santa Fe institute), but I get the impression that the diversity of such places is growing. This is a fantastic list of such places. It’s a really interesting topic worth coming back to.  https://arbesman.net/overedge/

Why ex post peer review encourages high-risk research while ex ante review discourages it this paper https://www.pnas.org/content/118/51/e2111615118 looks at how peer review affects the nature of research - in that for grant proposals you have to write something that passes peer review for work you are about to do, and for journal publication you have to write something that passes peer review for something you have just done. Paywalled though, so I couldn’t get to the conclusion :( 

https://www.mollymielke.com/ Molly mielke has announced that she is starting a company to make it easier for individuals to award grants to those who are doing work that they want to support. https://www.mothminds.com/  (Altruism as a service?). 

The former was via Nadia eghbal https://nadia.xyz/ - always worth following. I’d not caught up with her writing for a while. 
This insight from a recent post is bang on: 
The business and organizational tools for creators that are emerging today aren’t just unlocking ways for people to make a living writing blog posts or making videos. They also give people the freedom to tinker with ideas, try unexpected experiments that aren’t otherwise supported by the market, and collaborate on big lofty projects together. Content is a means to an end, but it shouldn’t be the end goal.
The whole post is just great. 

Meta-Research: Investigating disagreement in the scientific literature https://elifesciences.org/articles/72737 
Looking at cues in individual sentences, where does disagreement happen in the literature? (Kind of like a mega sentiment analysis of the research cf https://scite.ai/). 

Overall, the level of disagreement is highest in the social sciences and humanities, and lowest in mathematics and computer science. However, there is considerable heterogeneity across the meso-level fields, revealing the importance of local disciplinary cultures and the epistemic characteristics of disagreement. 

When it comes to defining scientific disagreement, scholars disagree. Rather than staking out a specific definition, we adopt a broad operationalization of disagreement that incorporates elements of Kuhn’s accumulation of anomalies and paradigm shifts (Kuhn, 1996), Latour’s controversies (Latour, 1988), and more recent notions of uncertainty (Chen et al., 2018) and negative citations (Catalini et al., 2015). By bridging these past theories, we quantify the rate of disagreement across science. Roughly 0.31% of all citances in our dataset are instances of disagreement, a share that has remained relatively stable over time. However, this number is much smaller than in past studies—such as the 2.4% for so-called “negative” references (Catalini et al., 2015), and the estimated 0.8% for “disputing” citations (Nicholson et al., 2021). This is explained by our operationalization of disagreement, which although conceptually broader than negative or disputing citations, is narrowed to only 23 queries to prioritize precision. Moreover, studies differ in corpus used, most often covering only one journal or field, compared to our large multidisciplinary corpus. The strength of our analysis is not the absolute incidence of disagreement, but its relative differences across disciplinary and social contexts.

Of course the big news of the week was the launch of https://docs.openalex.org/ - the drop-in replacement to Microsoft Academic Graph from Heather and Jason from https://ourresearch.org/. It’s amazing, and the data is now freely available. 

Lastly I want to give a pointer to smiling mind - this is a charity that helps with mental health by providing mindfulness resources, with a strong focus on mental health for children. Their app has helped our family deal with a lot of the anxiety that has emerged during the pandemic. I encourage you to consider donating. https://christmas21.smilingmind.com.au/donate

About Ian Mulvany

Hi, I'm Ian - I work on academic publishing systems. You can find out more about me at mulvany.net. I'm always interested in engaging with folk on these topics, if you have made your way here don't hesitate to reach out if there is anything you want to share, discuss, or ask for help with!