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Mar 17, 2016 Editorial
Telling stories about our research

by Emma Weitkamp

The academic journal paper has been around for several hundred years and during that time has seen shifts in style and structure. This editorial explores the traditional research paper and considers whether thinking about the research paper as a story, provides insights into style and structure that would make research both more transparent and more readable.

Volume 15 • Issue 02 • 2016

Feb 16, 2016 Article
The extent of engagement, the means of invention: measuring debate about mirror neurons in the humanities and social sciences

by David Gruber

Mirror neurons (MN) — or neurons said to be able to "mirror" the sensed environment — have been widely popularized and referenced across many academic fields. Yet, MNs have also been the subject of considerable debate in the neurosciences. Using a criterion based sampling method and a citation analysis, this paper examines the extent of engagement with the neuroscience literature about MNs, looking specifically at the frequency of "MN debate sources" within articles published in the JSTOR and Communication and Mass Media (CMMC) databases. After reporting the results, the paper reviews characteristic examples in context and, ultimately, shows that MN debates remain largely absent from peer-reviewed articles published in JSTOR and CMMC. However, the paper suggests that this happens for good reason and that MNs retain the potential for inventive animations even though debates have gone largely unrecognized.

Volume 15 • Issue 02 • 2016

Dec 15, 2015 Commentary
Open Access: what's in it for me as an early career researcher?

by Nancy Pontika

When entering the research world, Early Career Researchers (ECRs) may encounter difficulties building a good reputation for their research, its quality and the research results. Open access is the movement that could assist ECRs to: (a) widely disseminate their scholarly outputs, (b) demonstrate the research and societal impact of their work and, (c) organise online research portfolios that can be accessed by all researchers, as well as prospective employers.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Dec 15, 2015 Commentary
Open Science training and education: challenges and difficulties on the researchers' side and in public engagement

by Nico Pitrelli and Stefania Arabito

Open Science may become the next scientific revolution, but still lingers in a pre-paradigmatic phase, characterised by the lack of established definitions and domains. Certainly, Open Science requires a new vision of the way to produce and share scientific knowledge, as well as new skills. Therefore, education plays a crucial role in supporting this cultural change along the path of science. This is the basic principle inspiring the collection of essays published in this issue of JCOM, which deals with many subjects ranging from open access to the public engagement in scientific research, from open data to the social function of preprint servers for the physicians' community. These are issues that go along with the targets of the FOSTER project (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research) funded by the European Union, which has provided interesting food for thought in order to write this commentary.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Dec 15, 2015 Commentary
The time has come for managing and sharing research data in universities

by Ignasi Labastida

During the last decade universities have developed policies and infrastructures to support open access to publications but now it is time to move a step forward. There is an increasing demand for accessing data supporting the research results to validate and reproduce them. Therefore universities have to be prepared for this new challenge that goes beyond dissemination because it requires a strategy for managing research data within institutions. In this paper I will try to give some hints on how to deal with this challenge that can be framed in the new open science movement aimed at providing openness in all the whole cycle of research.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Dec 15, 2015 Commentary
Preprints and peer review: a lesson from physics

by Alessandro Delfanti

For decades, particle physicists have been using open access archives of preprints, i.e. research papers shared before the submission to peer reviewed journals. With the shift to digital archives, this model has proved to be attractive to other disciplines: but can it be exported? In particle physics, archives do not only represent the medium of choice for the circulation of scientific knowledge, but they are central places to build a sense of belonging and to define one's role within the community.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Dec 10, 2015 Article
Science bloggers' self-perceived communication roles

by Paige Brown Jarreau

This study addresses an open question about science bloggers' self-perceived roles as science communicators. Previous research has investigated the roles science journalists see themselves engaging in, but such research has failed to capture the experiences of science bloggers as a broad and diverse group that is yet often very different in their practices from professional journalists. In this study, a survey of over 600 science bloggers reveals that on the broadest level, science bloggers see themselves engaging most often as explainers of science and public intellectuals. Perceived communication role depends predominantly on occupation, science communication training, blog affiliation and gender.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Nov 24, 2015 Book Review
A handy guide to science-communication theory and practice

by Achintya Rao

The ever-changing nature of academic science communication discourse can make it challenging for those not intimately associated with the field ― scientists and science-communication practitioners or new-comers to the field such as graduate students ― to keep up with the research. This collection of articles provides a comprehensive overview of the subject and serves as a thorough reference book for students and practitioners of science communication.

Volume 14 • Issue 04 • 2015

Mar 13, 2014 Article
The passive voice in scientific writing. The current norm in science journals

by Leong Ping Alvin

In contrast to past consensus, many authors now feel that the passive voice compromises the quality of scientific writing. However, studies involving scientific articles are rare. Using a corpus of 60 scientific research articles from six journals, this study examined the proportion of passives used, and the contexts and forms in which they occurred. The results revealed that about 30% of all clauses were passive clauses. The canonical form was most pervasive, followed by the bare passive; together, they constituted more than a quarter of all clauses analyzed. Passives were typically used in main clauses, followed by relative and adverbial clauses. Roughly 29% of all passives were located in the methodology section. Based on the results, the proportion of passives in scientific writing may stabilize at about 30%. It is unlikely to dramatically drop any further since the trend suggests that passives are still widely used in the methodology section.

Volume 13 • Issue 01 • 2014

Mar 16, 2012 Article
Trends in scientific publications in physical education: a multifaceted field?

by Jacqueline Leta and Suely Rosa

The paper investigates diversity in terms of interest and goals in international research in Physical Education (PE). This investigation is based on publications in PE indexed in three major international databases, namely Medline, Scopus and Web of Science (WoS). To identify these publications in Medline, we searched for “physical education and training”. As for the WoS and Scopus, we searched for “physical education” in the title, abstract or key-word. We also searched for “physical education” in the affiliation address only in the Scopus database, which we describe as Scopus-Afill. Using these strategies, we found 2,257 documents in Medline, 6,107 in WoS, 8,807 in Scopus and 5,838 in Scopus – Affil. for the 1991-2005 period. Our findings offer evidence that PE research is mostly associated with biological and medical sciences. However, our results show that the field is multifaceted when it comes to the nature of PE contributions to knowledge.

Volume 11 • Issue 01 • 2012