Final Paper Writers Block? Read These

Some Friday afternoon journal-publishing humor: The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis has published two research studies, about 30 years apart, on writer’s block. ⇒ From 1974, D. Upper, “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of a Case of ‘Writer’s Block’ “ (PDF) ⇒ From 2007, R. Didden et al., “A Multisite Cross-Cultural Replication of Upper’s (1974) Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of Writer’s Block” (PDF) You have to see these to believe them, but they were honest-to-goodness published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. Those wacky psychologists…

Open Access Week: Annals of Environmental Science

OA Week DOAJ The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 5,553 journals produced worldwide that are fully open access. But did you know that one of those journals is produced here at Northeastern University? In 2007, faculty members Geoffrey Davies and Elham Ghabbour began publishing the Annals of Environmental Science, a peer-reviewed, open access international journal for the environmental sciences. It’s now publishing its fourth volume! Some of our faculty authors have chosen to publish their research in open access journals — for example, Biology professor Kim Lewis has been published in the prestigious Public Library of Science journals PLoS Biology and PLoS Genetics. Why not try publishing open-access yourself?

Friday five on the brain

Today’s Friday Five starts with the mind. Specifically, the hottest article in this week’s Times, judging by the number of times emailed, debunked common myths about studying. Based on a review article in Psychological Science, it says there are no “left-brain” and “right-brain” learning styles, we all basically learn the same way!    Furthermore, you should study a mix of different things and not immerse yourself in one thing according to a study of college students and retired people in the Journal of Psychology and Aging.  Other studies say you should study in different rooms not just sit in one place because changes of scene and environment help you to remember.  Finally, spacing your studying, and testing, help you remember better over the long term. Ready to blame the teacher?  Turns out that’s hard, we don’t really know scientifically what makes a teacher successful at getting kids to learn, according to Daniel T. Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and author of the book “Why Don’t Students Like School?” (available on the 3rd floor of Snell Library!) Finally, an MRI scan can map brain development in children, according to research in the journal Science.  It could allow doctors to place children on a “maturation curve” just like we do with height and weight and perhaps even be alerted to signs of disorders.

Sage Journals Online: Now Available!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded our collection of Sage publications online to over 560 journals. Coverage includes journals in the social sciences, health, business, and related disciplines. You can access these through the database Sage Journals Online, where you can choose a specific journal title or search by keyword or topic. You can also find an individual Sage journal title through NUCat or the E-journal Finder.

University of California vs. Nature Publishing Group

Have you heard about the confrontation between Nature Publishing Group and the University of California faculty and library? If not, or if you want more information, read on! In short, The Nature Publishing Group (NPG) (which publishes Nature along with many other journals) wanted to renegotiate its contract with the University of California system, with a price increase amounting to about 400% (or over one million dollars). The University not only resisted such an increase, but some faculty there have organized a boycott of Nature journals (PDF): no submitting papers, no peer review, no editorial boards, and so on. In other words, withholding their mostly-free labor in the face of this price increase. Since then, NPG has responded and UC/California Digital Library has responded to that response (PDF). (Text borrowed from Steve Lawson, with his permission.) This is a topic that touches on a lot of different aspects of scholarly communication — faculty as authors, the peer review process, journal prices… I welcome discussion, and will post updates as they come. More reading on the subject: Bidwell, Allie. 14 June 2010. UC Librarians Urge Professors To Boycott Publishing Company. The Daily Californian. Howard, Jennifer. 8 June 2010. U. of California Tries Just Saying No to Rising Journal Costs. Chronicle of Higher Education. Oder, Norman. 24 June 2010. UC Libraries, Nature Publishing Group in Heated Dispute Over Pricing; Boycott Possible. Library Journal. Smith, Richard. 10 June 2010. University of California takes on Nature Publishing Group. BMJ Group Blogs.