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Blog/Latest News - IJSTR

Does drug touted by Trump work on COVID-19? After data debacle, we still don't know

Scientists are resuming COVID-19 trials of the now world-famous drug hydroxychloroquine, as confusion continues to reign about the anti-malarial hailed by U.S. President Donald Trump as a potential "game-changer" in fighting the pandemic. Read full story

Fri, 05 Jun 2020 03:29:42 -0400

Tyson the alpaca takes heavyweight role in search for coronavirus vaccine

Scientists in Sweden are hoping an alpaca named Tyson can help deliver a knockout blow in the fight to develop a treatment or vaccine against the novel coronavirus that has killed nearly 400,000 people worldwide. Read full story

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 16:40:30 -0400

Fossilized stomach contents show armored dinosaur's leafy last meal

In a forest rebounding after a wildfire 110 million years ago, an armored dinosaur devoured a meal of tender ferns in western Canada before suffering a sudden death - perhaps drowning in a river or a flash flood - and being washed out to sea. Read full story

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 16:50:23 -0400

Convalescent plasma not helpful in China study; hydroxychloroquine doesn't prevent infection

The following is a brief roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Read full story

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 15:48:38 -0400

Oldest and largest ancient Maya structure found in Mexico

Scientists using an aerial remote-sensing method have discovered the largest and oldest-known structure built by the ancient Maya civilization - a colossal rectangular elevated platform built between 1,000 and 800 BC in Mexico's Tabasco state. Read full story

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 11:29:13 -0400

France nears 1-billion-euro crisis fund for aero suppliers: sources

French government and industry officials are negotiating a 1-billion-euro, privately led investment fund for small aerospace suppliers in which major manufacturers could invest 200 million euros, people familiar with the proposals said on Wednesday. Read full story

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 11:16:51 -0400

Hides that reveal: DNA helps scholars divine Dead Sea Scrolls

Genetic sampling of the Dead Sea Scrolls has tested understandings that the 2,000-year-old artefacts were the work of a fringe Jewish sect, and shed light on the drafting of scripture around the time of Christianity's birth. Read full story

Tue, 02 Jun 2020 15:08:21 -0400

U.S. opens national security probe into vanadium imports

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday it was opening an investigation into whether imports of vanadium, a metal used in aerospace, defense and energy applications, impair U.S. national security. Read full story

Tue, 02 Jun 2020 12:21:16 -0400

In-home antibody test shows promise; recovering surgery patients at risk from coronavirus

The following is a brief roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Read full story

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 15:00:14 -0400

'Lady in the well' sheds light on ancient human population movements

The bones of a woman of Central Asian descent found at the bottom of a deep well after a violent death in an ancient city in Turkey are helping scientists understand population movements during a crucial juncture in human history. Read full story

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 10:02:46 -0400

SpaceX Crew Dragon delivers two NASA astronauts to International Space Station

Nearly 24 hours after launching from Florida, SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule delivered NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station on Sunday, marking the first U.S. space capsule to do so with a crew since 2011. Read full story

Sun, 31 May 2020 18:59:54 -0400

NASA resumes human spaceflight from U.S. soil with historic SpaceX launch

SpaceX, the private rocket company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched two Americans into orbit from Florida on Saturday in a landmark mission marking the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from U.S. soil in nine years. Read full story

Sun, 31 May 2020 14:06:05 -0400

Russia applauds SpaceX launch but calls Trump's reaction 'hysteria'

Russia's space agency criticised U.S. President Donald Trump's "hysteria" about the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from U.S. soil in nine years, but also said on Sunday it was pleased there was now another way to travel into space. Read full story

Sun, 31 May 2020 14:06:05 -0400

Millipede from Scotland is world's oldest-known land animal

A fossilized millipede-like creature discovered in Scotland may represent the oldest-known land animal, a humble pioneer of terrestrial living 425 million years ago that helped pave the way for the throngs that would eventually inhabit Earth's dry parts. Read full story

Sat, 30 May 2020 16:02:00 -0400

Prototype of new SpaceX rocket Starship explodes on Texas test pad

A prototype of SpaceX's upcoming heavy-lift rocket, Starship, exploded on Friday during ground tests in south Texas as Elon Musk's space company pursued an aggressive development schedule to fly the launch vehicle for the first time. Read full story

Sat, 30 May 2020 13:09:58 -0400

Coronavirus infection rate may shift toward younger ages; death risk higher in cancer patients

The following is a brief roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Read full story

Fri, 29 May 2020 15:46:57 -0400

Spanish dig unearths human remains in hunt for Irish rebel lord

Spanish archaeologists may have uncovered the final resting place of an Irish nobleman whose bloody 16th-century rebellion almost toppled Ireland's English rulers. Read full story

Fri, 29 May 2020 12:56:26 -0400

Coal mine in Serbia gives up new Roman treasure

As the sun sank over a vast opencast coal mine in eastern Serbia earlier this month, a small crane eased the front half of a Roman ship from the steep sides of the pit. Read full story

Fri, 29 May 2020 09:46:54 -0400

Mammoth skeletons dug up at Mexico City airport construction site

Alongside construction crews racing to build the Mexican capital's new airport, skulls and curving tusks of massive mammoths peek through the dirt as archaeologists dig up more and more bones belonging to the ice age's most famous mammal. Read full story

Thu, 28 May 2020 11:56:20 -0400

Exclusive: GSK says science does not link pandemic H1N1 flu vaccine to sleep disorder

British drugmaker GSK said on Thursday that its previous flu pandemic vaccine, which used some of the same ingredients as COVID-19 vaccines currently under development, was not linked to a rise in cases of the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Read full story

Thu, 28 May 2020 11:39:18 -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 - April 2020 - Volume 9 Issue 4