EGU Blogs

open access

Three-dimensions of palaeontological awesomeness

Scientific publishing is entering a new era, with digital content becoming more and more important in a world where data is openly and freely shared. In palaeontology, we’re not being left behind. Along with this shift, 3D fossils are adding a new breadth to the field, both in a scientific and educational context. A great example is the British Geological Survey’s immense 3D fossil project.

I thought it might be a nice idea to draw attention to a new article by Stephan Lautenschlager of the University of Bristol, discussing the role that 3D palaeontology has to play in the current publishing world, as well as ways of implementing it. He’s been cool enough to make the article open access (see link at the bottom), so I’d recommend heading over to check it out.

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An interesting step for open access..

If you haven’t heard of it yet, a new tool, the Open Access Button has just launched, coincident with a large open access conference in Berlin. Below is a copy of their press release, the original of which can be found here. In the mean time, check out some of the EGU’s open access journals – there’s quite a decent variety! Also, for those interested, the Finch Committee who kicked off open access policy development in the UK just released a review of their progress, which is worth a peek.

[Begin press release]

November 18, 2013


Students Launch “Button” to Put Denied Access to Research on the Map

BERLIN – Today, at an international meeting of student advocates for expanded access to academic research, two undergraduates from Great Britain announced the highly-anticipated launch of The Open Access Button – a browser-based tool to map the epidemic of denied access to academic research articles, and help users find the research they need.

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From impact factors to impact craters

Day 2 in the Big Brother house (aka the European Geosciences Union General Meeting). There’s no where near enough beer, and tensions are getting high. A horde of angry horses have invaded the lower levels, and taken the President of Austria hostage, with demands of lowering the Fair Straw Tax.

But throughout all the acid-fuelled hysteria, two events have stuck out so far today. The first was a workshop discussion on open access publishing for early career researchers (ECRs), hosted by a new Editor for the EGU’s publishing house, Copernicus. Unfortunately, this event confirmed a lot of the current issues with the development of open access policies globally, in that there has been a serious communications breakdown about the effects the policy transitions, particularly in the UK now that Research Councils UK’s (RCUK) open access policy has come into play (April 1st), will have on how and where ECRs can publish. Here are comments on several of the more prevalent points raised:

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The crux of the matter – language, context, and narrative

Throughout this series, I have highlighted the pitfalls and issues associated with effective communication of scientific knowledge to and with the public. This has largely been fueled by a recent paper highlighting these points as stepping stones and hurdles which scientists face and can develop upon to create strategies for becoming better at public communication. However, I’ve yet to offer any kind of solution.

Yesterday, I wrote briefly about the way in which geoscientists can use different plots to help them reconstruct scientific information into a digestible narrative format, taking on the style of a refashioned ‘story’. Continuing to draw upon the analysis by Iain Stewart and Ted Nield, this post will focus on how developing a narrative and particular language can help researchers to ‘talk geoscience’ in a more engaging manner.

To reiterate the actual issue, I’m going to steal a quote from the Stewart and Nield paper citing the geoscientist and science writer Rex Buchanan (it’s like he was made to be a geoscientist with a name like that..):

“We do a mediocre job of helping adults to learn about and appreciate science. Many of the science stories that I read in newspapers or try to watch on television aren’t very engaging. Some are too long, and many seem irrelevant. Popular science often seems like castor oil – some we should take because it’s good for us, not because we want too” (2005)

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