Monday, February 23, 2015

Publishing

There is an extremely well written article on publishing/publishers/high cost of journals etc. that has appeared in the latest issue of Current Science. The article seems to focus on mathematics journals but the principles there are applicable to all fields.

Unfortunately, another book which promises much from the title, "Do We Still Need Peer Review?" fails in the quality of the content. Read the review of the book.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thanks

..to the readers and commentators on this blog. This blog has crossed one million visits in 5 years. Thank you all.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Choosing a research advisor

How can you avoid a picking a bad adviser if you’re not sure what you’re looking for in the first place?
One way is to study what goes into the decision. Be an informed consumer: Know what you want, and expect what you’re entitled to.
From the comments
Spotting (and avoiding) a bad adviser is actually much easier than finding a good one. Common issues to watch for:
(1) Ask: find former students or colleagues and [delicately] ask whether (s)he is an effective adviser who supports students. 
(2) Speak: is (s)he someone with whom you can truly speak... candidly? You will need that later on, so avoid those aloof, cagey, dismissive, and distant personality types (and yes I realize that probably rules out half of academia);
(3) Publications: does (s)he publish results regularly? If not, avoid. Remember you're there to do work and get published. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pinned post for prospective faculty to IITs/IISc

This is a pinned post for prospective faculty to IITs/IISc. Please, please read this site and the old posts, herehere, herehere,  here and here, here also. There are over 2000 comments and replies to these comments in these posts. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Congratulations

to Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, who has been confirmed as the DST secretary. He is an outstanding scientist and someone I look up to for research.

He also writes wonderful poems and he presented me a great book called Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

I think he will miss doing research in IIT, Kanpur but I feel his contribution to science will increase by taking over this position.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Impact factor

Another new impact factor by Scopus.

IPP: The IPP measures the ratio of citations in a year (Y) to scholarly papers published in the three previous years (Y-1, Y-2, Y-3) divided by the number of scholarly papers published in those same years (Y-1, Y-2, Y-3). 

SNIP: Source Normalized Impact per Paper measures contextual citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field.

SJR: SCImago Journal Rank is a prestige metric based on the idea that not all citations are the same.


Of course, you have the famous journal impact factor (JIF) by Thomson Reuters as published by Journal Citation Reports (JCR). This is based on 2 and 5 year windows. Thus, now we have impact factors on 2, 3 and 5 year windows but based on different databases.

The Eigenfactor is another PageRank-type measure of journal influence.

Scientists normally choose a journal based on factors such as longevity, publisher and reputation in the community rather than impact factor. However, in my experience, in the Indian scientific community, impact factor is given a lot of importance rather than how many times the paper is eventually read/cited. It should be remembered that less than 5% of the total papers that are published are cited more than 10 times (the i-10 index) and only 20% of the papers published in the journal contribute to 80% of the impact factor (Pareto principle).

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rankings

You can listen to Prof. Balaram talk about rankings..the video is nearly for 2 h (including the question-answer section). Below is the youtube link

Ranking Indian Institutions : Choosing Courses for Horses 

Prof. Balaram, as usual, is clear and critical. He says that these lectures should not be held in INSA because no practicing scientists attend these talks in INSA. He points out clearly the problems with the administration of the universities.

Prof. Balaram is really one of the very few people to understand rankings. As he clearly says in the talk, we can not move up the rankings unless we understand these rankings. People think it is very easy to understand rankings by just looking at the final numbers. It is important to understand the methodology and the fine print. 

For example, in the BRICS rankings released this week, IISc is ranked 25 but fares poorer in citation scores than IIT Roorkee. Why? The number of citations, number of citations per faculty, number of citations per paper etc. are all higher for IISc compared to IIT-R but then why does it score lesser? Well, I am not giving the answer here but that is something administrators who indiscriminately talk about rankings should understand. They should spend time reading the methodology used and understand all the fine print or at least contact people who understand this.