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  • Author or Editor: Grant Lewison x
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Abstract  

Journal citation impact factors, which are frequently used as a surrogate measure of research quality, do not correlate well with UK researchers" subjective views of the relative importance of journals as media for communicating important biomedical research results. The correlation varies with the sub-field: it is almost zero in nursing research but is moderate in more “scientific” sub-fields such as multiple sclerosis research, characterised by many authors per paper and appreciable foreign co-authorship. If research evaluation is to be based on journal-specific indicators, then these must cover different aspects of the process whereby research impacts on other researchers and on healthcare improvement.

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This paper investigates two bibliometric problems: the listing of books in a specialist area (ornithology) and the determination of the citation pattern to individual authors, who often re-issue their books in later editions. James Bond, a Philadelphia ornithologist, who specialised in the birds of the West Indies, is used as an example of a naturalist whose long career led to many journal articles and enduring scientific fame through a well-known book. He also attained some unexpected notoriety through the use of his name by a popular novelist. Methods for the evaluation of his book and associated bird checklists in comparison with other similar works are presented on the basis of their citations

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This paper describes an analysis of coverage of the risks from agricultural and food genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) from April 2002 to April 2004 in 14 news media from six countries (Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the USA) which was conducted as part of a review for the European Commission of the management of risk communication. A total of 597 relevant news articles were found and coded for their presentational tone, the types of risk (environmental, financial, health and political, in that order), the organisms described (mainly maize, rape and beet crops), and the documents, people and organisations cited. UK news media tended to be the most “scary” and Spanish ones the most “robust”. Articles quoting public perceptions, non-governmental environmental organisations and politicians tended to emphasize the risks of GMOs; those quoting scientists tended to downplay the risks and describe their potential benefits. Some suggestions for possible action by the European Commission are put forward, such as the facilitation of contact between journalists and scientists, but it is recognized that for some newspapers, their editorial wish to campaign will inevitably over-ride their reporters’ wish to present the truth.

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Abstract  

Traditional means of analysis of research outputs have focussed on citations to papers in journals in other journal publications. But these only chronicle the early stages whereby research in biomedicine is converted into health improvement through better patient care and through preventive measures. New evaluation methods, still based on the concept of citation of research in other documents, are needed and are now being developed. These include the use of textbooks in medical education and the analysis of governmental regulations and health policies, which can influence both the availability of new drugs and the control of toxic substances in food and the environment. There is also an interest in the way that newspapers report biomedical research advances. Readers include politicians, healthcare professionals, the general public (who are increasingly becoming active consumers of healthcare products) and other researchers who may value the immediacy of the reporting. Newspaper articles tend to focus on fashionable topics and to offer premature hopes of cures to disease, but they can also provide a valuable service in showing the importance of animal experiments to biomedical progress. It would be useful to create an international database of newspaper citations through a consortium of partners in different countries who would agree a common protocol and exchange information on a regular basis.

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Abstract

This study is based on the fact that the surnames of many Russian scientists have gender endings, with “a” denoting a female, so that the sex of most of them can be readily determined from the listing of authors in the Web of Science (WoS). A comparison was made between the proportion of females in 1985, 1995, and 2005, with a corresponding analysis of the major fields in which they worked, their propensity to co-author papers internationally (which often necessitates having the opportunity to travel to conferences abroad to meet possible colleagues), and their citation records. We found, as expected, that women had a higher presence in the biological sciences and a very low presence in engineering, mathematics, and physics. Their citation scores, on a fractionated basis, were lower than those for men in almost all fields and years, and were not explained by their writing of fewer reviews and papers in English (both of which lead to higher citations), or their lower amount of international collaboration in 1995 and 2005 after Russia had become a more open society.

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Abstract

Cancer research outputs in India have expanded greatly in recent years, with some concomitant increase in their citation scores. Part of the increase in output is attributable to greater coverage in the Web of Science of Indian journals, which are more clinical than international ones, and much less often cited. Other measures of esteem have also increased, such as the percentage of reviews and the immediacy with which Indian cancer articles are cited. Most of the output came from just nine of the 35 Indian states and Union Territories, led by New Delhi and Maharashtra. The distribution of the amount of research by cancer site correlates moderately positively with the relative disease burden, with mouth (head and neck) cancer (often caused by the chewing of tobacco or areca, betel or paan) causing the highest number of deaths and also being well researched. We also analysed the articles by type of research, with articles in genetics and chemotherapy being the most numerous. For articles published in 2009–2010, data were available on the funding acknowledgements, and we found, as expected, that articles in clinical subjects were less often supported by external funding than ones in basic research. The major source of support was the Government of India, with relatively small contributions from charities and industry, unlike the situation in the UK and other western European countries.

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Abstract  

The performance of Brazilian male and female scientists in three scientific fields was assessed through their publications in the Science Citation Index from 1997-2001. Information on their sex and their ages, positions, and fellowship status was obtained from a census on all Brazilian scientists. The results showed that women participated most in immunology, moderately in oceanography and least in astronomy. Men and women published similar numbers of papers, and they were also of similar potential impact; they were also equally likely to collaborate internationally. Nevertheless, women were less likely than men to receive fellowships to supplement their salaries, suggesting that some sexual discrimination may still be occurring in the Brazilian peer-review process.

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Abstract  

Although many Indian surnames are common across the whole country, some are specifically associated with just one or a few of the 35 states and union territories that comprise India today. For example, Reddy comes from Andhra Pradesh and Das, Ghosh and Roy from West Bengal. We investigated the extent to which researchers with names associated with some of the larger states were writing scientific papers in those states, and in other ones, and to see how these concentrations (relative to the whole of India) had changed since the early 1980s. We found that West Bengalis, for example, were now significantly less concentrated in their home state than formerly, and that their concentrations elsewhere were strongly influenced by the state’s geographical distance from West Bengal and, to a lesser extent, by the correlation between the scientific profile of their host state and their own preferences (which favoured physics and engineering over biology and mathematics). Thus they were strongly represented in nearby Bihar, Assam and Orissa, and much less so in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

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Abstract  

New Scientist is a British weekly magazine that is half-way between a newspaper and a scientific journal. It has many news items, and also longer feature articles, both of which cite biomedical research papers, and thus serve to make them better known to the public and to the scientific community, mainly in the UK but about half overseas. An analysis of these research papers shows (in relation to their presence in the biomedical research literature) a strong bias towards the UK, and also one to the USA, Scandinavia and Ireland. There is a reasonable spread of subject areas, although neuroscience is favoured, and coverage of many journals—not just the leading weeklies. Most of the feature articles (but not the news items) in New Scientist include comments by other researchers, who can put the new results in context. Their opinions appear to be more discriminating than those of commentators on research in the mass media, who usually enthuse over the results while counselling patience before a cure for the disease is widely available.

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