Posts Tagged ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN






From: PeerJ <newsletter@peerj.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2013 18:10:54 +0000
To: AvivaLev-Ari <Avivalev-ari@alum.Berkeley.edu>
Subject: PeerJ turned One today – help us celebrate by entering our competition

Hi Aviva,
We are very pleased to announce <http://blog.peerj.com/post//celebrating-the-one-year-anniversary-of-peerj>  that this is the one year anniversary of PeerJ – it was on June 12th, 2012 that we first announced ourselves and started the process towards becoming a fully-fledged publishing company. Today, just 12 months later, PeerJ is completely up and running; we are publishing high quality peer-reviewed science; and we are doing our very best to change the world by pushing the boundaries of Open Access!

To briefly overview what has been achieved in the last year – we announced ourselves on June 12th 2012 and opened the PeerJ doors for submissions on December 3rd. We published our first PeerJ articles on Feb 12th 2013, and followed up by launching PeerJ PrePrints on April 3rd 2013. This last year has been spent recruiting an Editorial Board of 800 world renowned researchers; building cutting edge submission, peer-review, publication and pre-print software from scratch; establishing ourselves with all the major organizations who archive, index, list and certify new publications; and building an entirely new type <http://blog.peerj.com/post/46261563342/6-reasons-to-publish-with-peerj>  of publishing company from the ground up.

Some of the highlights have included:

* the fantastic reception <http://svpow.com/2012/08/30/peerj-sorted/>  to our membership model <https://peerj.com/pricing/&gt;  which means that authors now have a way to publish for their lifetime for a single low price payment (starting at just $99);

* the fact that we have been processing submissions with extreme speed and effectiveness <http://blog.peerj.com/post/45340534713/peerj-is-fast> ;

* the fact that our Open Peer Review process has been so well received <http://blog.peerj.com/post/43139131280/the-reception-to-peerjs-open-peer-review>  with over 40% of reviewers now providing their name and almost 80% of authors making their reviews public;

* being named by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the “Top 10 Tech Innovators in the Education Sector <http://chronicle.com/article/The-Idea-Makers-Tech/138823/> ” and by Nature as “a significant innovation <http://www.nature.com/news/journal-offers-flat-fee-for-all-you-can-publish-1.10811> ”;

* and of course the fact that the journal has turned out to be so innovative <http://blog.peerj.com/post/42920094844/peerj-functionality> , beautiful and aesthetically pleasing <http://theseamonster.net/2013/05/peerj-awesomeness/> .

The giveaway

We are celebrating this milestone with a new PeerJ Competition. On June 19th, we will give away 12 “complimentary publication” passes (the ability to publish one paper with us at no cost to you or any of your co-authors) + a PeerJ Charlie T-Shirt + a pin + a fridge magnet (!) to a random selection of 12 people (one for each month of our first year) who publicly post some variation of the following message:

“PeerJ just turned one! Open access publishing, for just $99 for life – check them out and submit now!”

Please include a link to us as well (you choose the best one!).

The last year has been an intense journey, and to be honest we have been so busy we almost missed the anniversary! We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many thousands of researchers who have signed up as PeerJ Members; all those who have authored or reviewed articles; all those who have joined our Editorial Board; and anyone who have simply expressed their support – without the involvement and enthusiasm of these people we would not be where we are today. Of course, we must also thank our dedicated staff (Alf Eaton, Patrick McAndrew and Jackie Thai) and Tim O’Reilly, who collectively took a chance on a brand new publishing concept, but who have been irreplaceable in making us what we are today!

Please encourage your colleagues to look into PeerJ, and make sure they consider submitting their next article to us. The future of academic publishing is here, right now <http://blog.peerj.com/post/46261563342/6-reasons-to-publish-with-peerj> .

The PeerJ Founders
and the PeerJ Team

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Mobilizing Scientific Societies: Editorial by Science Editor-in-Chief Dr. Bruce Alberts

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D

In a weekly editorial, Dr. Bruce Alberts, Editor-in –Chief of the journal Science discussed issues pertaining to science education in the United States[1].  He suggests the US science education system may need to be more flexible in its approach to science education in grade and high school.  He considers the one major problem is the “broad coverage of each subject, which kills student interest and makes genuine comprehension impossible.  Dr. Alberts suggest that state-based textbooks and the inability of the scientific community to understand teacher’s needs is driving this inadvertent problem.  The current textbooks used for scientific education focus more on memorization of a multitude of scientific terms than on concept development, experimentation and inquisition, and conclusion.  Materials are desperately needed for teachers to guide students to confront the overall concept, and working in teams, design potential methods to further explore these concepts.  He suggest this style of teaching would require close partnerships between top-notch teachers , educational  experts and scientific societies in order to research the effect of current curriculum materials but also develop  new Web-based  curriculum.

In a recent interview in the March 2013 issue of Wired magazine with Clayton Christensen, Ph.D. the author of the famed book The innovator’s Dilemma,  Dr. Christensen forwqarns the impending changes in higher education due to increased availability of online learning.  As he states, universities are on the precipice of a collapse in the future and those which survive will evolve hybrid models of education, part online and part classroom but will provide more specialized offerings to fit current needs.  Indeed, as listed below these changes and suggestions in science education may well be underway.  Below is a brief listing of scientific societies who have undertaken these challenges and formed extensive programs in STEM education.

FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) programs such as:

Resources for Faculty and K-12 Teachers

APS Frontiers in Physiology Program – Provides professional development for middle and high school teachers by providing them with tools and resources and connecting them with researchers on-line and through workshops.

APS Physiology Understanding Week – Fosters relationships among teachers, students, and physiologists. PhUn Week encourages member physiologists across the nation to volunteer and work with teachers in their local community to visit a classroom during the first week in November.

Leap to the Top in Science Classes  from AAAS found at:


A progress report from the 2013 AAAS meeting follows:

Often, in the daily grind of slogging through a difficult science class, students see fully formed scientists and their discoveries as a distant blur. Remote men and women somehow make advanced science happen.

New efforts aim to bring students face to face with creative, imaginative scientists right in their classroom.

With a lifetime of scientific contributions at their back, many retired scientists, engineers, and physicians are returning to school, not as pupils or as instructors, but as classroom volunteers in public elementary, middle, and high schools.

This week over 400 teachers and scientists gathered in Boston for the first International Teacher-Scientist Partnership Conference, organized by AAAS Education and Human Resources and the University of California, San Francisco Science & Health Education Partnership, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Presenters are scheduled to share a range of partnership models over three days, from scientists generating digital education tools, to teachers participating in research.

Throughout the first day of the conference, the conversation turned to the idea of bringing scientists into the classroom to work directly with the students.

Virginia Shepherd from Vanderbilt University shared a comprehensive analysis of the university’s nearly 20-year-old Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education program. Presentation attendees duly applauded the success of the program but said that they had trouble establishing similar programs in their state for lack of funding.

A handful of organizations represented at the conference have found that an affordable way to bring scientists into the classroom is to recruit retired scientists.

Volunteers at Northeastern University’s Retirees Enhancing Science Education through Experiments and Demonstrations program, or RE-SEED, spend at least one day a week in an elementary, middle, or high school classroom in Massachusetts helping students conduct experiments as part of the existing curriculum.

“Retired scientists and engineers have a lot of experience from a lifetime of working in laboratories. They can make what the students are learning relevant,” said Christos Zahopoulos, a professor of education and engineering at Northeastern University.

Since founding RE-SEED in 1991, Zahopoulos has helped to start similar programs in 15 states, conducting on-site trainings for volunteers. While such programs start out strong, many of them have since faded, with only a handful remaining, he said.

Even though retirees are offering a free service to the schools, getting them trained and placed takes a certain amount of funding, Zahopoulos says. He has been fortunate to fund RE-SEED with private donations. Many programs were not so lucky.

AAAS’ Senior Scientists and Engineers (SSE), a service-oriented organization for retired scientists and engineers, has managed to sustain a similar program for seven years. In 2005, Zahopoulos helped SSE establish its own volunteer program.

Donald Rea, a former research chemist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and SSE volunteer coordinator for Virginia, hopes that helping to reinforce science education will enhance the public understanding of science in years to come.

“If you want to have an influence on science literacy, you want to get [kids] while they are young. So we work in classrooms as young as second grade,” Rea said.

This kind of investment takes many years to fully mature. So, how do Rea and Zahopoulos measure success? They look to their teachers, volunteers, and students.

Rea said he measures success by the eagerness of schools and teachers to participate year after year.

For Zahopoulos, hints of success sometimes come in the mail. He says one student wrote in to RE-SEED upon graduating from high school, several years after any contact with a RE-SEED volunteer, to say that she had decided to major in biology and had enrolled in a pre-medicine program.

Both Rea and Zahopoulos said they have been amazed at the dedication and eagerness of volunteers.

“When we first started, we asked volunteers to commit to one day a week for one year. Now we have volunteers who have been with us for 18 years and some volunteer as many as 4 times per week,” Zahopoulos said.

Ron McKnight, a former Department of Energy physicists and SSE volunteer has recently taken on the task of coordinating volunteers living in Montgomery County, Md. He still volunteers in middle school science classrooms and is considering taking on another assignment.

When asked what he loves about volunteering, he replied, “Whenever a kid I’m working with asks a really good question, that’s when I have a really good day.”

National Science Foundation (NSF) Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL)

Information can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=DRL

DRL invests in projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM learning for people of all ages. Its mission includes promoting innovative research, development, and evaluation of learning and teaching across all STEM disciplines by advancing cutting-edge knowledge and practices in both formal and informal learning settings. DRL also promotes the broadening and deepening of capacity and impact in the educational sciences by encouraging the participation of scientists, engineers, and educators from the range of disciplines represented at NSF. Therefore, DRL’s role in the larger context of Federal support for education research and evaluation is to be a catalyst for change—advancing theory, method, measurement, development, and application in STEM education. The Division seeks to advance both early, promising innovations as well as larger-scale adoptions of proven educational innovations. In doing so, it challenges the field to create the ideas, resources, and human capacity to bring about the needed transformation of STEM education for the 21st century.

Society of Toxicology K-12 Educational Outreach for Scientists


This sites contains multiple .pdf  files on volunteering and mentoring topics including

  • Scientist Mentor Ideas
  • Links to Other Mentoring Sites
  • Resources for toxicologists to use in K-12 Outreach
  • Regional Chapter K-12 Outreach


1.         Alberts B: Mobilizing scientific societies. Science 2012, 338(6113):1396.

for high school teachers please see https://www.teachercertificationdegrees.com/top-blogs/science-teacher/


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Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Publishing’s Gender Gap

Female scholars are gaining ground in publishing, but cluster in sub-disciplines and tend not to be listed as first or last authors.

By Beth Marie Mole | October 23, 2012

Marie Curie, Wikimedia, UnknownThe percentage of women authors in academic publishing has risen to 30 percent since 1665, but women are still less likely to be first or last author, and tend to cluster in sub-disciplines, according toresearchers at the University of Washington who analyzed two million academic papers published from 1665 to 2010 by 2.7 million scientists, social scientists, and humanities scholars.

“The results show us what a lot of people have been saying and many of my female colleagues have been feeling,” environmental scientist Jennifer Jacquet of New York University, who was involved in the study, told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Things are getting better for women in academia,” despite the fact that they are still not publishing at the same rate and level as their male counterparts.

Mining JSTOR, a digital archive of scholarly publications, the researchers tagged articles by field and subfield of research, then used data from the Social Security Administration to identify author age. Most importantly, they also tagged authors by gender, assuming that if a name was used 95 percent of the time for one gender it was probably accurate. Publications with androgynous author names were left out of the analysis.

In 2010, when women scholars reached 30 percent of published authors, women made up 42 percent of full-time faculty, 34 percent of which were tenured professors. This suggests that although women are continually gaining ground in publishing—only 27 percent of authors publishing between 1990 and 2010 were women—they are still not publishing at the same rate as men. Moreover, women are under-represented as the coveted first author, the lead author on the research, as well as last author, considered the senior researcher on the study. In molecular and cellular biology, for example, women made up 30 percent of the authors but only 16.5 percent of the last authors. And only about 19 percent of women were first author overall, with the majority falling in the second, third, or fourth author listed.

When the researchers looked at the gender distribution among sub-disciplines, they found additional disparities. For example, although women comprised 30 percent of authors overall, some subfields, such as paleontology, had only 16.6 percent female authors.

Despite the gaps in publishing, the data don’t necessarily provide evidence for gender discrimination. “The international literature show that when women submit work, there is no bias in it being accepted, but the likelihood of women submitting work may be lower,” human development professor Wendy Williams of Cornell University, who studies women’s role in science, told The Chronicle. Still, most believe the results warrant further study.


The Nutshell


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