Usage Bibliometrics as a Tool to Measure Research Activity [CL]

http://arxiv.org/abs/1706.02153


Measures for research activity and impact have become an integral ingredient in the assessment of a wide range of entities (individual researchers, organizations, instruments, regions, disciplines). Traditional bibliometric indicators, like publication and citation based indicators, provide an essential part of this picture, but cannot describe the complete picture. Since reading scholarly publications is an essential part of the research life cycle, it is only natural to introduce measures for this activity in attempts to quantify the efficiency, productivity and impact of an entity. Citations and reads are significantly different signals, so taken together, they provide a more complete picture of research activity. Most scholarly publications are now accessed online, making the study of reads and their patterns possible. Click-stream logs allow us to follow information access by the entire research community, real-time. Publication and citation datasets just reflect activity by authors. In addition, download statistics will help us identify publications with significant impact, but which do not attract many citations. Click-stream signals are arguably more complex than, say, citation signals. For one, they are a superposition of different classes of readers. Systematic downloads by crawlers also contaminate the signal, as does browsing behavior. We discuss the complexities associated with clickstream data and how, with proper filtering, statistically significant relations and conclusions can be inferred from download statistics. We describe how download statistics can be used to describe research activity at different levels of aggregation, ranging from organizations to countries. These statistics show a correlation with socio-economic indicators. A comparison will be made with traditional bibliometric indicators. We will argue that astronomy is representative of more general trends.

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E. Henneken and M. Kurtz
Thu, 8 Jun 17
7/69

Comments: 25 pages, 11 figures, accepted for publication in Handbook of Quantitative Science and Technology Research, Springer

Galaxy Makers: creating an online component to a science exhibition for re-engagement, evaluation and content legacy [CL]

http://arxiv.org/abs/1705.04563


For the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2016, the Institute of Computational Cosmology from Durham University created the Galaxy Makers exhibit to communicate our computational cosmology and astronomy research. In addition to the physical exhibit we created an online component to foster re-engagement, create a permanent home for our content and to allow us to collect the ever-more important information about participation and impact. Here we summarise the details of the exhibit and the successes of creating an online component. We also share suggestions of further uses and improvements that could be implemented for online components of other science exhibitions.

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J. Borrow and C. Harrison
Mon, 15 May 17
6/42

Comments: Accepted for publication in CAPj

The Role of Gender in Asking Questions at Cool Stars 18 and 19 [IMA]

http://arxiv.org/abs/1704.05260


We examine the gender balance of the 18th and 19th meetings of the Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stellar Systems and the Sun (CS18 and CS19). The percent of female attendees at both meetings (31% at CS18 and 37% at CS19) was higher than the percent of women in the American Astronomical Society (25%) and the International Astronomical Union (18%). The representation of women in Cool Stars as SOC members, invited speakers, and contributed speakers was similar to or exceeded the percent of women attending the meetings. We requested that conference attendees assist in a project to collect data on the gender of astronomers asking questions after talks. Using this data, we found that men were over-represented (and women were under-represented) in the question sessions after each talk. Men asked 79% of the questions at CS18 and 75% of the questions at CS19, but were 69% and 63% of the attendees respectively. Contrary to findings from previous conferences, we did not find that the gender balance of questions was strongly affected by the session chair gender, the speaker gender, or the length of the question period. We also found that female and male speakers were asked a comparable number of questions after each talk. The contrast of these results from previous incarnations of the gender questions survey indicate that more data would be useful in understanding the factors that contribute to the gender balance of question askers. We include a preliminary set of recommendations based on this and other work on related topics, but also advocate for additional research on the demographics of conference participants. Additional data on the intersection of gender with race, seniority, sexual orientation, ability and other marginalized identities is necessary to fully address the role of gender in asking questions at conferences.

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S. Schmidt, S. Douglas, N. Gosnell, et. al.
Wed, 19 Apr 17
38/62

Comments: 16 pages, 8 figures, 2 tables. Submitted to Cool Stars 19 Proceedings. Related resources available at this https URL

An educational distributed Cosmic Ray detector network based on ArduSiPM [CL]

http://arxiv.org/abs/1703.09843


The advent of microcontrollers with enough CPU power and with analog and digital peripherals makes possible to design a complete particle detector with relative acquisition system around one microcontroller chip. The existence of a world wide data infrastructure as internet allows for devising a distributed network of cheap detectors capable to elaborate and send data or respond to settings commands. The internet infrastructure enables to distribute the absolute time (with precision of few milliseconds), to the simple devices far apart, with few milliseconds precision, from a few meters to thousands of kilometres. So it is possible to create a crowdsourcing experiment of citizen science that use small scintillation-based particle detectors to monitor the high energetic cosmic ray and the radiation environment.

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V. Bocci, G. Chiodi, P. Fresch, et. al.
Thu, 30 Mar 17
31/69

Comments: N/A

Widening Perspectives: The Intellectual and Social Benefits of Astrobiology (Regardless of Whether Extraterrestrial Life is Discovered or Not) [CL]

http://arxiv.org/abs/1703.06239


Astrobiology is usually defined as the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. As such it is inherently interdisciplinary and cannot help but engender a worldview infused by cosmic and evolutionary perspectives. Both these attributes of the study of astrobiology are, and will increasingly prove to be, beneficial to society regardless of whether extraterrestrial life is discovered or not.

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I. Crawford
Tue, 21 Mar 2017
3/80

Comments: Accepted for publication in the International Journal of Astrobiology

Black Holes and Vacuum Cleaners: Using Metaphor, Relevance, and Inquiry in Labels for Space Images [IMA]

http://arxiv.org/abs/1703.02927


This study extended research on the development of explanatory labels for astronomical images for the non-expert lay public. The research questions addressed how labels with leading questions/metaphors and relevance to everyday life affect comprehension of the intended message for deep space images, the desire to learn more, and the aesthetic appreciation of images. Participants were a convenience sample of 1,921 respondents solicited from a variety of websites and through social media who completed an online survey that used four high-resolution images as stimuli: Sagittarius A*, Solar Flare, Cassiopeia A, and the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101). Participants were randomly assigned initially to 1 of 3 label conditions: the standard label originally written for the image, a label with a leading question containing a metaphor related to the information for the image, or a label that contained a fact about the image relevant to everyday life. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 image and compared all labels for that image. Open-ended items at various points asked participants to pose questions to a hypothetical astronomer. Main findings were that the relevance condition was significantly more likely to increase wanting to learn more; the original label was most likely to increase overall appreciation; and, smart phone users were more likely to want to learn more and report increased levels of appreciation. Results are discussed in terms of the need to examine individual viewer characteristics and goals in creating different labels for different audiences.

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L. Smith, K. Arcand, B. Smith, et. al.
Thu, 9 Mar 17
32/54

Comments: 50 pages, 7 tables, 2 figures, accepted by the journal “Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts”

Reaching New Heights in Astronomy – ESO Long Term Perspectives [IMA]

http://arxiv.org/abs/1701.01249


A comprehensive description of ESO in the current global astronomical context, and its plans for the next decade and beyond, are presented. This survey covers all aspects of the Organisation, including the optical-infrared programme at the La Silla Paranal Observatory, the submillimetre facilities ALMA and APEX, the construction of the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope and the science operation of these facilities. An extension of the current optical/infrared/submillimetre facilities into multi-messenger astronomy has been made with the decision to host the southern Cherenkov Telescope Array at Paranal. The structure of the Organisation is presented and the further development of the staff is described within the scope of the long-range financial planning. The role of Chile is highlighted and expansion of the number of Member States beyond the current 15 is discussed. The strengths of the ESO model, together with challenges as well as possible new opportunities and initiatives, are examined and a strategy for the future of ESO is outlined.

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T. Zeeuw
Fri, 6 Jan 17
39/46

Comments: 26 pages, 17 figures. Appears in The Messenger, December 2016