URLs of wisdom (January 11th 2015)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.


  • The Science Opinion Games: new conversations, same old voices? –“Scientific discourse, peer review, and internet conversations are often unpleasant, conflict-driven, and aggressive. Less tolerance and rewarding of that behavior could help cultivate a public science discussion space that’s more appealing across the board, but particularly to women as a group.”

Academia online 

  • Dark research: information content in many modern research papers is not easily discoverable online. PeerJ pre-print by Ross Mounce looking at indexing of research. “This research is a basic proof-of-concept which demonstrates that when searching for published scholarly content, relevant studies can remain hidden as ’Dark Research’ in poorly-indexed journals, even despite expertise-informed efforts to find the content. The technological capability to do full text indexing on all modern scholarly journal content certainly exists, it is perhaps just publisher-imposed access-restrictions on content that prevents this from happening.”


Social media/networks

  • Scholarly communities face crucial social challenges in maintaining digital networks that can sustain participation – Great read on why social challenges matter as much as tech ones “this opportunity points toward a deeper, underlying challenge, for societies and scholars alike: building and maintaining communities that inspire and sustain participation. This is nowhere near as easy as it may sound. And it’s not just a matter of the “if you build it, they won’t necessarily come” problem; problems can creep up even when they do come.”


  • Science in the words of Alan Alda – Interview with the namesake of the Alda Center for Communicating Science at StonyBrook University. “Listening is what lets things happen— whether that’s on stage, or in the classroom. Listening—really listening—to another person, even when you don’t agree with them, can feel dangerous, as if you are making yourself vulnerable to that other person. But that’s what allows a conversation to take place, rather than a debate.”

Science Publishing


  • Great read by Cameron Neylon on the dangers of being defined as one thing and how this hinders interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving – “as I’ve become interested in tackling larger and more challenging problems its also become obvious that new perspectives are needed. This kind of approach needs positive, enriching filters, not negative ones, because by excluding certain streams you eliminate unfamiliar perspectives. This is why being labelled as “a scientist” generally stops me cold. It is a rejection of perspective, a rejection in my world view of an opportunity. It is bound up in a self identify of difference that uses difference as a way to filter and exclude – something that for me is in opposition to scholarship that is of most interest.”

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