Scholarly communication

22/06/2016

Looking back over the past 5 years of articles published in JCOM, this editorial looks at the topics covered and the geographies represented and asks: are we tackling all main contemporary issues in science communication/popularisation or public engagement? It invites you to contribute with your papers, letters, essays and news to help address the holes in our coverage and to enter into dialogue on our Facebook page.

09/06/2016

The use and availability of digital media is changing researchers' roles and simultaneously providing a route for a more engaging relationship with stakeholders throughout the research process. Although the digital realm has a profound influence on people's day-to-day lives, some researchers have not yet professionally embraced digital technologies. This paper arises from one aspect of a project exploring how university research and professional practices are evolving as researchers engage with stakeholders via digital media to create, share and represent knowledge together. Using researchers from the Open University (U.K.) as a case study, this paper reviews the extent to which they are developing multiple identities and functions in their engaged research through digital media.

17/03/2016

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.

16/02/2016

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.

15/12/2015

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.

10/12/2015

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.

24/11/2015

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.

13/03/2014

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.

16/03/2012

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.

19/12/2008

In a refereed journal in the food and agriculture sector, papers were tracked over a five-year period during the introduction of electronic submissions. Papers originated in the Americas and Pacific region and were processed in Canada. Acceptance times for revised papers were reduced (P < 0.001) to 59% of the original, from 156.5 ± 69.1 days to 92.8 ± 57.5 days. But the start of electronic submission coincided with a change in the geographical origin of papers, with papers from Anglophone countries changing from a 61% majority to a 42% minority. It is possible that submissions from non-Anglophone sources were facilitated, thus creating challenges to the traditional Anglophone reviewer population.

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