Monday, April 8, 2013
These developments would provide huge benefits - increased dissemination, improvements in the publication process (e.g. greater speed of publication, reduced cost), and, most certainly, greater transparency into the scientific process. And there are very few legitimate drawbacks. To those who believe that we can't or shouldn't quantify scientific impact, employing altmetrics and a greater diversity of factors to represent impact should do a better job than simple citation counts, a metric already in wide use. These tools will break down the exclusivity of science, an outcome most will see as a positive direction.
The only major drawback that I see is one we deal with constantly in the information age, being able to manage and process the streams of information in our lives, which have magnified at an alarming rate. Priem sees the new rankings of altmetrics as the answer to this problem as well, with online tools that create a personally-tailored "journal" or RSS feed that highlights the most relevant research to your personal interests.
I do worry about something getting lost here. How will I ever keep comprehensive track of my discipline? Whereas a few years ago, I felt as though I never missed an important publication and could confidently identify the important literature published in my field, nowadays the published and online literature has grown gangly. Also, what will become of the cross-disciplinary spark that comes from happening across a research article digressive from my own interests in a general science journal, a feeling which thrills my A.D.D. science-brain?
These concerns stem from my discomfort in confronting a new landscape, rather than any substantive impediment to online publishing. Learning the new landscape will require trial and error. It might not be painless, but at least I'll probably learn something. Overall, the development of more open, online models like the Public Library of Science is a positive development in science that will make us more effective at communicating our findings to colleagues and the public, and, in the vein of Facebook, Wikipedia, and Twitter, likely open up a host of new possibilities that I can scarcely imagine. I just worry about the eyestrain.
Read the story: Scholarship: Beyond the paper
Monday, December 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
My comment is below:
To the Gulf of Mexico Restoration Task Force:
I commend you on the preliminary Restoration Strategy. Scientists have recognized the decline in coastal and riverine ecosystem health in the Gulf of Mexico states for far too long without any change in practices. A core concept of the plan, to put science and restoration on the same footing with industry, politics, and economics, is outstanding.
As most of the Task Force would no doubt agree, making a good plan is far easier than putting it into action. Too many decisions, for example the locations, priorities, and specific goals for restoration projects, have been left to the states and private and public partners. I worry that when the funding sources come online, they will be diverted from the focal aims of the Strategy. The Task Force should appoint a Science Advisory Commission to oversee and distribute funds for ecological restoration.
Your stated aim of doing restorations within an adaptive management framework is excellent. A substantial portion of funding must be devoted to the effort of adaptive management to support the equipment and labor required for proper monitoring and decision-making. Do not let this issue get sidelined or allow the funding for this to be trivialized. The Task Force should suggest the amount or proportion of resources that are required to be devoted to this pursuit. Please include this revision in the final draft of the Strategy.
Restoration on a scale as large as the Gulf of Mexico has rarely been attempted. Despite the substantial environmental challenges faced by these coastal states, many other regions face similarly daunting environmental degradation. Please ensure that, as the Strategy moves forward, information is collected and made available to scientists and the public so we may learn from this example to improve future large-scale restoration practices. The final draft should include a plan for the release of information on restoration progress and costs.
Thank you for your commendable efforts for restoring the Gulf of Mexico.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I myself was not sure what to make of them - I've never previously seen or heard about salp blooms. However, field biologist Gregg Sakowicz from the nearby Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR) informed me that they are a common seasonal phenomenon there. I'm not sure what species it was; they had a bit of blue coloration.
Salps are taxanomically unrelated to jellyfish and do not sting. Rather, they are filter feeders that are relatively closely related to vertebrates for an invertebrate. They possess a spinal cord predecessor (notochord) in their larval stage and have a central nervous system. Read more about salp biology on the jellieszone.com.
I made a short video -
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Fishing the lionfish, for food and sport, is being used as an invasive control and eradication approach. You too can learn to fillet a lionfish in this instructional video, and then enjoy a great meal and contribute to the cause. Interestingly, others are attempting to train sharks to eat the lionfish, and report visual confirmation of sharks consuming lionfish, albeit in a somewhat engineered scenario.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Read our post: "What the floc?!"
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Forsythia, a non-native shrub commonly used in landscaping, is the first to bloom at SERC. Abundant buds suggest that the other lianas, shrubs, and trees, are not far behind.
In DC, where I live, the cherry blossoms made their glorious and synchronous appearance earlier this week! If you have the ability to visit the capitol in the next week or two, it is the highlight of the year for botanists and tourists alike!