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Serendipity as a rule for life

The spectacular foyer of Waterstones Bookshop, Cambridge. Each book on the wall has a handwritten recommendation.

Many years ago, at the start of my career in publishing, an old hand told me what, in his opinion, was the only marketing principle that mattered in trade …

Are institutional repositories designed to be searchable?

I’ve been looking at the impressive Cambridge University Institutional Repository, called Apollo. The repository has an impressive range of content, with over 155,000 items in the collection. Clearly the repository is widely used.

But the more closely I looked, the more I started scratching …

How arts publications fail to follow the rules for referencing science articles

Exhibition catalogue list of citations
List of references in an exhibition catalogue

It is a commonplace that arts and science scholarly writing is different. It’s only when looking regularly at arts and science writing that you begin to see just how different. Some of the differences appear to have little …

Metadata and toothbrushes

I prefer the title above. The official title of this event (“I never metadata I didn’t like”) is perhaps more revealing than the organisers imagined. We only like metadata, we never dislike it. Imagine putting together a one-day conference about metadata. You are unlikely to …

Where are we with Open Research?

How research flows into the open data lake

We should be in the open data lake, but instead we are all too often stuck in stagnant water. Such was the message from the excellent CISPC Conference on Open Research (Art House, Islington, November 2019).

Academic …

Reviewing new software tools

I recently read about a new research report, Mind the Gap, by a team with lead author John Maxwell, about some initiatives in open-source software. It made me ponder how to appraise and to evaluate new software tools.

This year’s SSP Annual Event included …

Yes, we should use AI to make us quicker and more efficient researchers

Some articles are not really about AI at all; this is one of them. David Beer, Professor of Sociology at the University of York, has written a post with the above title (actually a question in the original).  But of course, such a title is …

How to read a wine label

Is this wine any good or not?

It seems a simple idea – to read the label on a bottle of wine and to understand what the bottle contains (and if it’s worth drinking). The reality is quite the opposite. Wine growers (perhaps understandably) do …

Are Preprint servers disruptive?

arXiv: graph of posts by subject area over time
Growth of arXiv subject areas by year

Preprint servers, of which the best known is arXiv (most of the preprint servers attempt some fancy combination of lower- and upper-case letters in their title), are increasingly used and are attracting increasing attention. They appear to fit …

How to get articles read

How do you measure the success of a scholarly article? Many writers disagree that citations should be the only measurement, for example, Bornmann 2017, even if at present the number of citations is the agreed independent metric for scholarly research.

A fascinating article by …

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