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5 Things to Think About with Tony Alves, Senior Vice President at HighWire Press

On contrasting fun with seriousness
Published onApr 27, 2023
5 Things to Think About with Tony Alves, Senior Vice President at HighWire Press

According to Geoffrey Chaucer in the general prologue to The Canterbury Tales, April is a celebratory time of renewal:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour

Detail of mural by Ezra Winter illustrating the characters in the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C.

But in The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot characterizes April differently:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Wikipedia Commons

April is a month of contrasts, and so is this newsletter where I have some fun (how to be a happy scholarly journal; wicked cool AI tools), and where I get serious (COVID; ethical challenges in science; and infrastructure).

1 / What makes for a happy scholarly journal?

Emilie Paquin, Suzanne Beth, University Affairs/Affaires Universitaires, March 23, 2023

Budget is just one factor that leads to a well-functioning journal.

What makes a scholarly journal “happy”?

The journals that were most satisfied with their situations – in other words, the “happiest” – had three common characteristics: they enjoy significant institutional support, they face no issues finding qualified contributors for peer review in their field and they are up to date on current issues in the field of scientific publishing.

What makes a scholarly journal “unhappy”?

Editorial teams who described themselves as being in a less favourable position were apparently hampered by three issues: a lack of institutional recognition and support, the feeling of being at odds with approaches adopted by funding agencies, and the feeling of being trapped in a cycle of burnout.

Read the full article here: What makes for a happy scholarly journal?

2 / Forget ChatGPT, Here Are New AI Tools That Will Blow Your Mind

Nitin Sharma, The Startup, February 22, 2023

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best AI tools available and examine how you can put them to work for you. Excited? Let’s start.

Image of PlaygroundAI

  1. PlaygroundAI allows creators like me to import our own images and use them as prompts to generate new and unique images using AI technology

  2. Mixo, Durable allows you to create a website by simply providing basic information about your business or brand, such as the name and type of business

  3. Deep Nostalgia creates realistic animations of still images to transform your old photos into moving images

  4. Beatoven create royalty-free music; pick a genre or style, change the mood to fit the story, and cut the tune to the right length. 

  5. Cleanvoice AI automatically edits podcast episodes for you

  6. Flair a design tool that creates branded images; drag product photos into the canvas, describe the scene, edit, and then export

  7. Ocoya create, auto-generate, and schedule social media posts

  8. Tome give it a title or topic, and it will generate a fully-loaded slide deck with all the content you need

  9. OutfitsAI uses your body measurements and creates a virtual version of you that you can use to try on different outfits

Read the entire article here: Forget ChatGPT, Here Are New AI Tools That Will Blow Your Mind

3 / How covid-19 bolstered an already perverse publishing system

Jocalyn Clark, British Medical Journal, March 28, 2023

This article takes a look at the global response of scientific publishers to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while noting the overall positives, the author also looks at some of the problems.

On the role of researchers and publishers, "This was the first global pandemic that the scientific publishing industry had ever faced... An estimated 1.5 million articles were added to the global literature in 2020—the largest single year increase in history."

On the role of preprints, "Proponents of open science had breathlessly heralded a revolution. medRxiv, a BMJ affiliated preprint server, saw a 10-fold rise in submissions within two months of the first reported covid case. But this enthusiasm receded, and submissions at medRxiv and others stabilised by mid-2020."

On the role of open research, "Progress towards more open research has also disappointed. While the leading publishers agreed to make their covid content open and reusable, Wellcome’s assessment found that just 46% of signatories’ covid papers were genuinely open access, where re-use is permitted and authors retain copyright."

On the role of open access, "Most journals retained commercial rights and simply took down a paywall... while major publishers including Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Wiley continue to make covid content freely available, only about half of papers on the climate crisis are similarly available." 

Read the full article here: How covid-19 bolstered an already perverse publishing system

4 / Science and Ethics of “Curing” Misinformation

Isabelle Freiling, PhD, Nicole M. Krause, MA, and Dietram A. Scheufele, PhD, AMA Journal of Ethics, March 2023

This compelling opinion piece brings a realistic perspective to the desire of scientists to stop the spread of misinformation through interventions designed to "shape rather than inform public policy and to change how the public consumes public health information."

The authors are critical of, "Some scientists’ strategy of urging policy makers or citizens to 'just follow the science,'" feeling it is "not only naïve with respect to its likely success but also normatively at odds with how democratic societies make policy choices." 

Man with a face mask over his eyes.

The authors are quite clear-eyed when they say, "Our concern about social engineering approaches, such as inoculation, however, should not be interpreted as advocacy for a naïve understanding of a marketplace of ideas in which “false” claims will eventually give way to “true” claims in public discourse. They will not. Even if true claims were easily identifiable (which they often are not), evidence-backed claims that fail to meaningfully connect to societal values and preferences are unlikely to win hearts and minds when they compete in modern media ecosystems against well-packaged falsehoods.

Read the full opinion piece here: Science and Ethics of “Curing” Misinformation

5 / Interoperable infrastructure for software and data publishing

Stephen Druskat, Kristi Holmes, Jose Benito Gonsalez Lopez, Lars Holm Nielsen Stefano Iacus, Adam Sherherd, John Chodacki, Danie Kinkade, Upstream, March 28, 2023

While it is important to openly collaborate to fight against siloed tendencies, many of our systems are still not as interoperable as they could and should be. As a result, our aspirational goals for the community and open science are not being met with the pacing that modern research requires.

Yellow subway car.

The authors advocate coordination of policies and processes across different repositories, and to make researchers more aware of these earlier, "Repositories have varying levels of support for assessing the quality of hosted data and software, ranging from curation services and automated validation of files or metadata, to documenting and enforcing best practices. This work should be coordinated across repositories to ensure researchers can easily understand expectations and leverage standards; importantly, these expectations should be built into curriculum upstream from the data and software submission processes."

Read the entire blog post here: Interoperable infrastructure for software and data publishing

~ Tony Alvez, April 2023
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