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Musk's SpaceX wins NASA award to supply planned lunar space station

NASA on Friday picked a new space capsule from Elon Musk's SpaceX to ferry cargo and supplies to the agency's planned lunar space station, a crucial building block to its plans to build a permanent post on the moon and mount future missions to Mars. Read full story

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 16:29:22 -0400

Russia's 2020 satellite launch programme hit by production halt: Roscosmos

Russia's space agency Roscosmos said on Friday it would have to adjust its 2020 launch programme because of a halt in satellite production in Europe, amid the coronavirus outbreak. Read full story

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 05:48:36 -0400

'Navajo warrior' dinosaur was a real fighter, with a scar to prove it

Scientists have unearthed fossils of a fearsome feathered dinosaur in northwestern New Mexico that was a quick and agile predator that could chase down smaller prey or swarm larger prey in pack attacks 67 million years ago. Read full story

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 20:57:02 -0400

SpaceX's simulated spacecraft becomes unstable in parachute test: CNBC

Private rocket company SpaceX had an incident during parachute testing for its Crew Dragon capsule, in which the simulated spacecraft being tested became unstable and was dropped early, according to a tweet from a CNBC reporter. Read full story

Tue, 24 Mar 2020 22:35:44 -0400

Singapore scientists study genes to fast-track coronavirus vaccine

Scientists in Singapore say they have developed a way to track genetic changes that speeds testing of vaccines against a coronavirus that has killed more than 16,000 people worldwide. Read full story

Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:37:32 -0400

Pharma firm Anges and Osaka University to begin testing coronavirus vaccine on animals

Japanese biopharmaceutical firm Anges Inc said on Tuesday that it and Osaka University had completed development of a DNA vaccine against the new coronavirus and that it would begin testing it in animals soon. Read full story

Mon, 23 Mar 2020 21:40:40 -0400

Astronauts quarantined ahead of journey to International Space Station

Two Russian cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut were spending their final weeks on Earth in quarantine before they are scheduled to blast off on April 9 for the International Space Station for six months as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps Earth. Read full story

Mon, 23 Mar 2020 19:50:44 -0400

Gilead's potential coronavirus treatment gets FDA's orphan drug label

Gilead Sciences Inc's experimental drug remdesivir, seen as one of the more promising potential treatments for the coronavirus, on Monday received the orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Read full story

Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:49:18 -0400

In battle against coronavirus, Colombia transforms military hospital

Colombia's central military hospital, which for decades was inundated with victims of landmines and other casualties of the country's internal conflict, is being outfitted to battle a new enemy: coronavirus. Read full story

Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:27:21 -0400

Primordial worm-like creature was forerunner to most animals - including us

A worm-like creature smaller than a grain of rice that burrowed on the sea floor in search of meals like dead organic matter about 555 million years ago may be the evolutionary forerunner of most animals living today - including people. Read full story

Mon, 23 Mar 2020 16:35:07 -0400

Coronavirus deals blow to NASA's 2024 return-to-moon plan

The coronavirus has dealt a blow to NASA's plan to return Americans to the moon by 2024, as the space agency chief on Thursday ordered the temporary closure of two rocket production facilities after an employee tested positive for the illness. Read full story

Fri, 20 Mar 2020 01:33:01 -0400

Fins of prehistoric fish reveal origins of the human hand

Inside the stout fins of a fish that prowled the shallow waters of an estuary in what is now eastern Canada about 380 million years ago, scientists have found what they call the evolutionary origins of the human hand. Read full story

Thu, 19 Mar 2020 17:04:25 -0400

'Wonderchicken' fossil from Belgium reveals dawn of modern birds

A fossil unearthed in Belgium dubbed the "Wonderchicken" is providing a rare glimpse into the early evolution of modern birds at the twilight of the age of dinosaurs, right before an asteroid impact altered the course of life on Earth. Read full story

Wed, 18 Mar 2020 14:56:10 -0400

Australian researchers map immune response to coronavirus

Australian researchers said on Tuesday they have mapped the immune responses from one of country's first coronavirus patients, findings the health minister said were an important step in developing a vaccine and treatment. Read full story

Wed, 18 Mar 2020 04:16:13 -0400

Chinese rocket fails on maiden launch - Xinhua

A new Chinese medium-lift rocket, part of a family of launch vehicles meant to support most of China's launch missions in future, failed on its debut flight, the official news agency Xinhua reported. Read full story

Tue, 17 Mar 2020 03:51:11 -0400

Trials of potential coronavirus treatments start for some existing drugs

Drugs used for treating arthritis are being tested as treatments for COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, as researchers rush to find ways of helping patients and slowing the number of infections. Read full story

Mon, 16 Mar 2020 15:51:27 -0400

First woman in space brought down to earth by anger over bid to prolong Putin rule

Valentina Tereshkova was hailed as a hero when she became the first woman in space in 1963. Read full story

Fri, 13 Mar 2020 09:41:14 -0400

Joint Russian-European Mars mission postponed over coronavirus

A joint Russian-European mission to send a rover to Mars has been postponed by two years because its final phase has been compromised by the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, the European and Russian space agencies said on Thursday. Read full story

Thu, 12 Mar 2020 09:50:06 -0400

Skull of smallest-known bird embedded in 99-million-year-old amber

Scientists are marveling over the exquisitely preserved skull of what appears to be the smallest-known bird - tinier than any hummingbird - encased in 99-million-year-old amber and boasting many odd traits including jaws studded with numerous puny teeth. Read full story

Wed, 11 Mar 2020 17:13:54 -0400

Fossil footprints on Scottish island reveal dinosaur parade ground

On a crag of rock called Brother's Point on Scotland's Isle of Skye, scientists have identified two bustling footprint sites that reveal an abundance of dinosaurs that thrived 170 million years ago including an early member of a celebrated group. Read full story

Wed, 11 Mar 2020 14:16:10 -0400

Impact factors and citation metrics

The adoption of the REF means that universities are under enormous pressure to produce publications, particularly peer-reviewed journal articles. A controversial aspect of the REF is the proposal to use metrics based on a ‘citation count’ as one means of measuring research performance.

A citation count is a measure of the number of times that books or articles published or co-published by the researcher have been cited in other academic papers. In general terms, the more publications a researcher or team has, the more likely they are to be cited in publications by their peers. The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), now part of Thomson Reuters, publishes an online list of ‘Highly Cited Researchers’ - those whose publications were most often cited over the last decade. Inclusion in this list is taken as a measure of the esteem of these academics.

Citation metrics are the basis of another commonly used measure of prestige: the ‘Impact Factor’ of a journal. The impact factor is a number derived from the average number of citations gained by articles published in the journal. The ISI publishes impact factor data annually. Because articles in journals with a high impact factor tend to be cited more often than articles in journals with a lower impact factor, publication in a ‘high impact factor’ journal is often seen as an indication of the quality of the article.

Some academics maintain that citation metrics do not accurately reflect the importance of published research or the success of the authors or groups who publish the papers. In particular, as early career researchers tend to have relatively few publications to their name, their citation counts are lower than those of more established names. Researchers who develop widely used methodologies achieve large numbers of citations even though they may not be publishing original research. And those who write for the popular presses inevitably gain more citations than those who confine themselves to more specialist academic journals, regardless of the quality or originality of what they are publishing.

In many disciplines, it used to be common practice for research teams to publish large numbers of short articles (often described as ‘letters’) in specialist journals designed for rapid publication of new discoveries. Researchers were often able to use these journals to make an impact early on in their careers. The picture has changed, however, as impact factors have assumed a greater importance. Many of the ‘rapid publication’ journals are in specialist fields and as such their impact factors are relatively low. Some institutions now actively discourage publication in these journals, requiring researchers to ‘save up’ their results until they can be published as a major article in a high impact factor publication instead.

Whether or not these changes are beneficial to the academic community is open to debate. However, the reality appears to be that citation metrics are here to stay. Researchers need to bear these issues in mind when considering when and where to publish.

ISSN 2277-8616
IJSTR - February 2020 - Volume 9 Issue 2