Friday, November 30, 2007

Study of social science PhDs recommends changes for 21st century

This just in from

"The first multi-disciplinary study to examine the status of doctoral students in the social sciences at least five years after receiving their degree concludes that doctoral programs need to be brought into the 21st century."

For example, they found that "The average graduate student is not an 'unencumbered young man.' Schools need to confront the work-family tension that exists in doctoral careers, both for men and women, more than half of whom are married and in their early to mid 30's by the time they receive their PhD. Women reported making more compromises in juggling work and family than men."


SCOAP3 is short for the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics. It looks like an interesting organization.

"The Open Access (OA) tenets of granting unrestricted access to the results of publicly-funded research are in contrast with current models of scientific publishing, where access is restricted to journal customers. At the same time, subscription costs increase and add considerable strain on libraries, forced to cancel an increasing number of journals subscriptions. This situation is particularly acute in fields like High-Energy Physics (HEP), where pre-prints describing scientific results are timely available online. There is a growing concern within the academic community that the future of high-quality journals, and the peer-review system they administer, is at risk."

Friday, November 16, 2007


We now have GeoScienceWorld, and the 30+ journals that are contained within it. GSW is an unprecedented collaboration of six leading earth science societies and one institute.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG),
American Geological Institute (AGI),
Geological Society of America (GSA),
The Geological Society of London (GSL),
Mineralogical Society of America (MSA),
Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), and
Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG)

Design News Magazine Article

"Second Life: A Virtual Universe for Real Engineering," By applying SL building tools, engineers are facilitating a paradigm shift in computer-aided design, Matthew J. Traum, Contributing Editor -- Design News, October 22, 2007

"First there was the drafting table and the pencil. Then there was 2-D CAD; next came 3-D drafting utilities like SolidWorks and ProEngineer. Now, San Francisco-based Linden Lab has evolved computer-aided design to its next plateau, offering free access to a computer-generated alternative universe called Second Life (SL) where users can build anything."

ScienceDirect Backfiles

The records for over a thousand new e-journals in the ScienceDirect backfiles collection are now cataloged in Peak.

For example, we now have The Lancet going back to 1823, Physica to 1934, Physics Letters to 1962, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) to 1947 [it then split into 13 sections in 1964], and many, many more.

Here is a list of over 2,000 records for the ScienceDirect journals.

The New Librarians

The New Librarians -- Meet the risk-taking scholars who are shaking things up while they build tomorrow’s academic library.

"With its faded orange carpet, rows and rows of dusty stacks, and old-school study carrels, McMaster University’s H.G Thode Library of Science and Engineering looks like a place purposed with preserving the 1970s."
Bet you thought this was description of Penrose at first, huh? But, this is an interesting article from a Canadian perspective, eh.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Teaching Information Evaluation and Critical Thinking Skills in Physics Classes

This is a good article in The Physics Teacher, Vol. 45, No. 8, pp. 507–510, November 2007, and it is written by Adriana Popescu and James Morgan of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ.

"Not long ago, researching a school paper was a process that involved only one step: visit the library. These days students might not ever walk into a library since they have an immense amount of information at their fingertips (literally). In the end this may turn out to be an even more daunting task than browsing books in the library stacks or going through reels of microfilms of newspapers. There is a lot available, but how do you select, evaluate, and use what you find to best address the research question or to achieve the goal or task at hand? How will the “Millennial” generation (born 1980s–2000s) learn these skills? Can these skills be taught, and if yes, when and how should they be taught?"

Etc., etc., etc.