Category Archives: Scientific Life

University rankings are fake news. How do we fix them?

This post is based on a short presentation I gave as part of a panel at a meeting today on Understanding Global University Rankings: Their Data and Influence, organised by HESPA (Higher Education Strategic Planners Association). Yes, it’s a ‘manel’ … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Scientific Life | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Interview with the author

Those of you who have read all 346 posts on my Reciprocal Space blog will have no need to read this one. You probably already have a sense of what I do and what I’m like – my science, my … Continue reading

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Ch-ch-ch-changes…

There’s a very real chance this could turn out to be an actual blogpost. In the original sense of the word: a web-log of what’s been happening. Posts have been rather sparse on Reciprocal Space of late. That’s not for … Continue reading

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Pre-prints: just do it?

There is momentum building behind the adoption of pre-print servers in the life sciences. Ron Vale, a professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at UCSF and Lasker Award winner, has just added a further powerful impulse to this movement in … Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, Science, Scientific Life | 16 Comments

Can we amend the laws of scholarly publication?

As part of its celebrations to mark the 350th anniversary of the publication of Philosophical Transactions, the world’s longest-running scientific journal, the Royal Society has organised a conference to examine ‘The Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication’. The first half of the meeting, held over … Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, Scientific Life | 16 Comments

Vanity project

I haven’t written a book. And this is it. Well, I did write it of course. The words are mine. But there is nothing new here. I’ve just pulled together a selection of my blog posts from the last six … Continue reading

Posted in Scientific Life | 10 Comments

Copyright Infringement

This morning I received an email from a publisher inviting me to write a chapter for an ‘upcoming hardcover edited collection’ on a topic of research to which I have made a number of contributions over the years. I politely declined because of … Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, Scientific Life | 14 Comments

Debating the role of metrics in research assessment

I spent all of today attending the “In metrics we trust?” workshop organised jointly by HEFCE and the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University. This was part of the information-gathering process of HEFCE’s independent review of the role of … Continue reading

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The REF: what is the measure of success?

Science has been extraordinarily successful at taking the measure of the world, but paradoxically the world finds it extraordinarily difficult to take the measure of science — or any type of scholarship for that matter. That is not for want … Continue reading

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Get out of the laboratory

The Society for General Microbiology (SGM) kindly awarded me this year’s Peter Wildy Prize Lecture, which I delivered at their Spring meeting in Liverpool just a few weeks ago. The prize is given for “an outstanding contribution to microbiology education … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, Scientific Life | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Losing my virginity and the Café Scientifique Reading List

Last night I lost my virginity. To be precise, I lost my Café Scientifique virginity because I gave a talk about science in a café in Portsmouth at the kind invitation of local organiser Maricar Jagger. It was a really … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Communication, Science, Scientific Life | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Unfinished Business

I’ve reached that age where my eye is drawn to the obituary column every time I open the newspaper. It hasn’t been a conscious move but, having arrived at my fiftieth year, I am increasingly aware of the hopes of … Continue reading

Posted in Scientific Life | Tagged , , | 30 Comments