Clarivate, creator of the Web of Science suite of databases, has released its 2021 list of Highly Cited Researchers. From the press release: "The annual list identifies 6,602 researchers from across the globe who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. The names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index, and the list identifies the research institutions and countries where they are based." The United States still leads the country race, with about 40% of the authors, but this is down significantly from past years. China is rising fast with 935 researchers, followed by the UK (492), Australia (332) and Germany (331). Chemistry's own Jonathan Sessler is on the list.
As if things couldn't get much worse, Nature reports that the latest scam in the journal publishing world is "special issues" of established journals being hijacked by scammers posing as guest editors and publishing hundreds of fake scientific papers. It's becoming clear that normal safeguards are insufficient before editors hand the keys over to alleged guest editors, who then proceed to conduct fake peer review and populate their issues with nonsensical articles with titles such as "Sea level height based on big data of Internet of Things and aerobics teaching in coastal areas," which apparently attract no notice prior to final publication. Elsevier and Springer Nature have been most affected so far, and there are probably many more to come. The big question is why anyone would go to such trouble to pollute the literature with obviously fake papers. The saga continues.
ACS Publications has announced a portfolio-wide Research Data Policy, effective September 30th, 2021. The policy, which was developed in partnership with ACS editors and outside experts, provides best practice recommendations for data citation, data availability statements, and the use of appropriate data repositories. This is a "step toward ensuring that the results reported in our journals are verifiable, reproducible, and easily accessible to researchers. For authors publishing in ACS journals, making their data available and citable offers a greater opportunity for the research to be recognized and assists in meeting various funders’ requirements. For readers and the research community, having data available for review allows researchers to reproduce and compare reported results. It can also create efficiencies in the research process, providing greater potential for scientific and economic development." Read more at ACS Axial.
In a sad sign of the times, the journal tracking company Cabell's has logged over 15,000 "predatory" journals out there. The service analyzes journal web sites, fees and behavior for the unmistakable signs of a scam: hidden fees, false claims of peer review, fake editorial boards, and bogus U.S. addresses of "editorial offices." A new innovation is hijacking a legitimate journal: cloning the title, ISSN and website of the original in order to dupe authors into paying to publish in a paper mill that might disappear at any time. Read more on the Cabell's blog. (Disclosure: The UT Libraries do not subscribe to the Cabell's service and do not officially endorse its work or methods.)
The Library has purchased a complete e-book set of the Thieme reference series Science of Synthesis, including the base set of 48 volumes and the Reference Library volumes through 2020. SoS is the successor edition to the venerable Methoden der organischen Chemie (known to older chemists as Houben-Weyl) and was published between 2000 and 2010. It contains reviews of synthetic methods for various classes of organic compounds authored by experts. While the library has always held the series in print, we now offer access as standalone e-books via the Library Catalog. See the guide page on Science of Synthesis for more information.
Staying up to date with the literature in your field has always been difficult, if not impossible. And it gets harder every year as publications increase exponentially. The traditional ways of tracking new papers - email alerts and RSS feeds - fill your inboxes and are less and less effective. Database 'keep me posted' alerts based on saved searches are effective but underutilized. A new generation of online artificial intelligence tools, most of them free, is emerging to tackle this problem. Connected Papers, Google Scholar, Feedly, Research Rabbit, and others, some of which are newly launched and others long established, have entered the fray. Read more about them in this Nature article.
A new study has revealed a disturbing new trend in scientific publication: fabricated papers disguised by reverse-translation and plagiarism detection software tools. After investigating a rise in the occurrence of "tortured phrases" such as "counterfeit consciousness" (meaning artificial intelligence), "haze figuring" (cloud computing), "colossal information" (Big Data), among others, the authors theorized that unscrupulous authors were using software to hide plagiarism and fake research and get it published in many journals. One journal in particular, Microprocessors and Microsystems (Elsevier) later identified over 400 papers of concern and flagged them for further analysis. And this is almost certainly only the tip of the iceberg. Read more in Nature.
AlphaFold, the new database from DeepMind (a subsidiary of Alphabet/Google), contains more than 350,000 protein structures from the human proteome. The predictions vary in their accuracy. But researchers say the resource — which is set to grow to 130 million structures by the end of the year — has the potential to revolutionize the life sciences. Read more in Nature.
The Chemistry Department's own Dr. Paul McCord, Associate Professor of Instruction, has been recognized by the Senate of College Councils and the University Libraries for his many efforts to increase access and equity through use of free or low-cost course materials in his classes. He was nominated for an Affordable Education Champion award by his students in CH 304K. He is known for being one of the creators of the popular gchem e-textbook that is used by thousands of freshman chemistry students every year, and he is now working on his own free chembook site for non-science majors. Congratulations, Paul!
Read more about Dr. McCord's award in the TexLibris blog.
An article in Science reviews the current state of Open Access publishing in the sciences today, as Plan S takes effect for authors under certain funding agencies, mostly in Europe. Highlights: The "citation advantage" of an open article may be exaggerated; a recent NBER analysis found only an 8% advantage, and only for top-level papers. The rate of open access uptake varies greatly by discipline; as usual chemistry is in the lowest tier, with under half of new articles open. Flipping from a fully subscription-based model to a fully author-funded model (with fees set by publishers focused on continued profits) would be enormously expensive and unsustainable for high-output research universities, and is unlikely to happen in the near future. A diverse hybrid environment is likely to continue for many years. Read more in Science.
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