Monthly Archive for October, 2012

The world’s first video science journal

Researchers in the Lab, Ready for Their Close-Up from The Chronicle of Higher Education
“Unlike traditional journals, which compress the “how to” descriptions into three or four brief paragraphs of text, JoVE, as its readers call it, sends professional videographers into labs to record how scientists do experiments—measuring how water flows around jellyfish, for instance, or implanting electrodes in insect legs to monitor nerve control of walking—and publishes these minidocumentaries online, along with scientific descriptions, diagrams, and citations.

In a world where failure to replicate afflicts more than half of all life-science experiments published in academic journals, according to a 2011 report published in the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, many scientists view the video journal as a recipe for success.”

Women as Academic Authors 1665-2010

Women as Academic Authors, 1665-2010
Special report from the Chronicle of Higher Education

Women’s presence in higher education has increased, but as authors of scholarly papers—keys to career success—their publishing patterns differ from those of men. Explore nearly 1,800 fields and subfields, across four centuries, to see which areas have the most female authors and which have the fewest, in this exclusive Chronicle report. See how overall percentages differ from the important first-author position and—in two major bioscience fields—from the prestigious last-author position.

Data Citation Index from Thomson Reuters

In October 2012, Thomson Reuters will release the Data Citation Index on the Web of Knowledge platform. See a video introduction here.

According to Thomson Reuters, researchers can:

  • Maximize your research efforts with access to the most influential repositories, data sets and studies from a single destination
  • Speed the time to discovery by building upon previous, quality digital research
  • Understand data in context through summary information connected to the work it informed
  • Track the use and importance of research data across multiple disciplines
  • Get a complete view of scholarly research output
  • Support proper attribution to data research through standard citation format.
  • The Rise of Post-Famialism

    The Rise of Post-Famialism: Humanity’s Future
    Joel Klotkin | New Geography
    October 2012

    This is a summary of a longer report that looks at the shifts in family formation behavior world-wide. A great deal of attention to this issue has concentrated on high income countries, but the authors illustrate that this shift is occurring world-wide. The report focuses on both the short-term and long-term implications for the labor force, economic growth, and societal spending priorities.
    [Summary]
    [Report]

    The full report is a publication from Civil Service College of Singapore. It includes several contributing authors, in addition to the author, Joel Klotkin.

    Warning: An end to the Social Security Death Master File?

    Research is Hampered by New Limits on Death Records
    Kevin Sack | The New York Times
    October 8, 2012

    A shift by the Social Security Administration to limit access to its death records amid concerns about identity theft is beginning to hamper a broad swath of research, including assessments of hospital safety and financial industry efforts to spot consumer fraud.

    A quote by the senior project manager of the Nurses’ Health Study is apt:

    the new policy ha(s) “thrown us back to the pre-Internet era where you’d start looking in the phone book for someone with a similar name and sending out a bunch of letters.”

    Demography 101: Do not ignore age structure

    In a campaign speech, Romney announced that the unemployment rate was really 11 percent. He was driven to come up with that number since the unemployment rate fell below 8 percent with the October jobs report. But, he made an error. He ignored the changing age structure, e.g., the leading edge of the baby boomers, who have retired.

    This is a good example for a quantitative reasoning class. A fuller explanation of the issue follows in the post by Mulligan.

    Fact-Check: An 11 Percent Unemployment Rate?
    Catherine Rampell | Economix Blog, The New York Times
    October 5, 2012

    The Baby Boom and Economic Recovery
    Casey Mulligan | Economix Blog, The New York Times
    October 10, 2012

    The Politicization of Data

    On the first Friday of this month (October 5, 2012), the BLS released its job figures just like it does every month. This report had unemployment dropping from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. Immediately, there was an outcry that somehow BLS had cooked the figures to help the Obama campaign, the most notable of which was a tweet by Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric:


    Below are a few examples of that view or commentary on it as well as some more thoughtful posts on the noisy nature of the data.

    Enabling the jobs report conspiracy theory
    Brendan Nyhan | The Swing States Project Blog, Columbia Journalism Review
    October 8, 2012

    The jobs truther movement
    Patrick Reis | Politico.com
    October 5, 2012

    Steep drop in unemployment rate spawns conspiracy
    Scott Mayerowitz and Christopher Rugaber | AP
    October 5, 2012
    Great opening paragraph:

    Sasquatch might as well have traipsed across the White House lawn Friday with a lost Warren Commission file on his way to the studio where NASA staged the moon landing.

    Conservatives Jobs Conspiracy is Nuts
    Robert Schlesinger | Newsweek
    October 5, 2012

    Don’t Trust this Number in This Jobs Report (or Any Jobs Report)
    Derek Thompson | The Atlantic
    October 5, 2012

    How Bureau of Labor Statistics Tames Volatile Raw Data for Jobs Reports
    Catherine Rampell | Economix Blog, New York Times
    October 5, 2012