Why Beall’s List Died — and What It Left Unresolved About Open Access – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Universities still have a long way to go to create systems for researchers to share and collaborate with one another, evaluate one another’s work, and get credit for what really matters in research.”


Source: Why Beall’s List Died — and What It Left Unresolved About Open Access – The Chronicle of Higher Education


Best Practices for File Naming | National Archives

August 22nd blog post from the National Archives advocating for best practices in file naming:

“The following are best practices for file naming. File names should:

  • Be unique and consistently structured;
  • Be persistent and not tied to anything that changes over time or location;
  • Limit the character length to no more than 25-35 characters;
  • Use leading 0s to facilitate sorting in numerical order if following a numeric scheme “001, 002, …010, 011 … 100, 101, etc.” instead of “1, 2, …10, 11 … 100, 101, etc.”;
  • Contain a file format extension;
  • Use a period followed by a file extension (for example, .tif, .jpg, .gif, .pdf, .wav, .mpg);
  • Use lowercase letters.  However, when a name has more than one word, start each word with an uppercase letter for example, “File_Name_Convention_001.doc”;
  • Use numbers and/or letters but not characters such as symbols or spaces that could cause complications across operating platforms;
  • Use hyphens or underscores instead of spaces;
  • Use international standard date notation (YYYY_MM_DD or YYYYMMDD);
  • Avoid blank spaces anywhere within the character string; and
  • Not use an overly complex or lengthy naming scheme that is susceptible to human error during manual input, such as “filenameconventionjoesfinalversioneditedfinal.doc”.”

Source: Best Practices for File Naming | Records Express

The ‘So What?’ Question

Continuing my previous post on editing, here are some useful tips for writing stronger papers provided by Theresea MacPhail, a digital editor for a science journal.

I’d like you to pause a moment from your daily diligence — grinding out future articles and book chapters — and think about those of us who work as editors and manuscript reviewers. And I’d like to ask a big favor — one that will benefit us and you. Before you send in that manuscript, take a second look at that draft you’ve polished three or four times and ask yourself the following question: What is my main argument here?

Theresa MacPhail goes on to suggest three signs that you do not have a central argument:

  • You can’t answer the “So what?” question.
  • Your introduction and conclusion don’t mesh.
  • Your colleagues can’t explain your main argument.

The last point is important. Having a colleague explain your main argument can go a long way in exposing your blindspots and strengthening your argument. Another benefit in having a colleague (or family member or friend) read your paper is to assist in ‘polishing up’ the text. A paper that is poorly written has greater risk in being rejected outright.

Source: The ‘So What?’ Question | ChronicleVitae

Should Journals Be Responsible for Reproducibility?

As the incoming editor of College & Undergraduate Libraries, I find myself asking similar questions regarding many of the papers that I edit. The editors of the American Journal of Political Science outlines their concerns in this article in Inside Higher Education. 

Our goal is to establish a standard for the information that must be made available about the research that appears in our journal. By requiring scholars to provide access to their data and conducting our own replications on those data, we confirm the rigor of, and promote public confidence in, the studies we publish. As one of the top journals in the discipline, we hope to create state-of-the-art standards that others in the field will aim to adopt.

The editors discuss their expereinces and offer suggestions for those journals interested in pursuing reproducibility and  transparency.

Source: Should Journals Be Responsible for Reproducibility? | Rethinking Research

A Survey of Digital Humanities Programs

Chris Alen Sula, S. E. Hackney, and Phillip Cunningham provide the results of a survey they did on examining the DH activities that constitute these programs,  the skills and methods needed, and what is missing. The value of this survey is that it provides “some empirical perspective on debates about teaching DH, particularly the attention paid to theory and critical reflection.”

“The number of digital humanities programs has risen steadily since 2008, adding capacity to the field. But what kind of capacity, and in what areas? This paper presents a survey of DH programs in the Anglophone world (Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States), including degrees, certificates, and formalized minors, concentrations, and specializations. By analyzing the location, structure, and disciplinarity of these programs, we examine the larger picture of DH, at least insofar as it is represented to prospective students and cultivated through required coursework.”

Source: A Survey of Digital Humanities Programs