In this post, we have given some aspects of the peer review process that can be made openly available for researchers:
Scientists in the Japanese sleep institute have found in their research that active components rich in sugarcane and other natural products may ameliorate stress, thus helping in having sound sleep.
Likert scale is a psychometric scale (i.e. a scale which measures individual differences) that is commonly used in survey research involving questionnaires (i.e. instrument). Each question or statement of the questionnaire forms the “Likert item”. Likert item measures the participants’ level of agreement to a statement, such as “strongly agree” or “neutral” or “disagree” which are orderly numbered. Generally 5 levels of responses are used i.e. 1. Strongly disagree, 2. Disagree, 3. Neither agrees nor disagrees, 4. Agree 5. Strongly agree. However, more than 5 levels i.e. 7 and 9 levels are also sometimes used.
Before analyzing the Likert scale data, the reliability of the instrument or scale is performed. This is achieved by three different ways. First, the uniformity in response within the instrument (i.e. internal consistency) is measured by estimating the Cronbach’s alpha. A Cronbach’s alpha value of ≥0.7 is accepted. Second, the test-retest reliability is calculated. In SPSS, the test-retest is calculated by bivariate correlation which is denoted by the Pearson’s correlation coefficient (r). Third, the inter-rater reliability is also estimated as test-retest in SPSS.
After determining the reliability of the instrument, analysis of Likert data is carried out. Each Likert item can be analyzed either separately (also called as Likert-type data) or summed to create a score for a group of items (summative scales, Likert scales). Each Likert scale consists of at least four or more Likert-type items, all measuring a single variable.
- Likert-type data is an ordinal data, i.e. we can only say that one score is higher than another. Due to the ordinal nature of the data, generally parametric tests (i.e. t-test, ANOVA) are not applied. Rather, non-parametric tests such as Mann Whitney-U test, Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Kruskal-Wallis test should be used. Descriptive statistics used for Likert-type data includes mode or median for measuring central tendency and frequencies for variability. Further analysis appropriate for ordinal scale items includes the chi-square measure of association, Kendall Tau B, and Kendall Tau C.
- Likert scale data, on the other hand, are analyzed as interval data. Since the data are of interval, parametric tests are used for analysis of Likert scale. Analysis that can be performed includes mean for central tendency, standard deviations for variability, Pearson’s r for bivariate analysis, t-test and ANOVA for comparing group means, and regression procedures for associations.
- When Likert-type or Likert scale data can be reduced to nominal level i.e. yes vs. no, agree vs. disagree, then, chi-square test, Cochran Q test, and Mc Nemar test can also be performed.
Further, Likert scales may be subject to biases from several causes. Central tendency bias occurs when respondents may avoid using extreme response categories; acquiescence bias occurs when respondents agree with statements as presented and social desirability bias occurs when respondents try to represent themselves or their institution more positively. All the biases can be checked by conducting a pilot survey before the actual study. If any biases are observed the questionnaire can be modified accordingly. Crafting a scale with an equal number of positive and negative statements can counteract the problem of acquiescence bias. Central tendency bias can be avoided by either making the survey questionnaire short or by forcing comparable rating i.e and/or by randomizing the questions. Social desirability bias can be prevented by implementing the all the above methods i.e. to minimize central tendency bias and acquiescence bias and also by making the questions indirect.
Electing Donald Trump as the 45th American President will bring about scads of policy reforms, even faster than the people realize. Starting from freezing the employee recruitments to the scrapping of Obamacare initiatives are all on the list! In addition, the breakneck statements and views of Donald Trump on various scientific facts have also sparked strong reactions among academics. However, the term “Science” has turned out to be a jargon for the Republicans and has found no special mention in the 100 days plan. However, we will have a bird’s eye view on the Trump’s blueprint that he would gift the Americans and the world community this New Year, and figure out if the science facts have been addressed to.
Trump – Throwing on off Policy fetters
Trump’s hard-line positions on immigration — including his commitment towards barring Muslims or terror-prone nationals from entering the US, a plan for wall building across the Mexico borders, imbibing visa restrictions, prioritizing American workers, and the termination of job programs for foreign youths, have surely perturbed the research advocates. Such decisions could sidetrack many talented international students or researchers from studying or working at US institutions. The future of foreign research scholars in the USA could be jeopardized due to such visa restrictions.
Science Facts vs. Trump’s Contradiction- Will it affect R&D funding?
The US has been a major investor of federal dollars in the field of R&D. “The entire business of the US academic biomedical research enterprise is based on federal dollars. Without that, it would collapse,” says Ethan Weiss, an associate professor, University of California. Trump’s shockingly ignorant views on vaccination for children with autism, and calling climate change a hoax and data to be unrealistic, pulling out US (the second most carbon generator) from the Paris climate change submit), curtailing the funds to UN for supporting climate change initiatives, and calling NASA as a logistics agency, have surely put him under the scanner of the intellectuals.
As per the statement released in September, by Donald Trump, he says that “there are increasing demands to curtail spending and to balance the federal budget; we must make the commitment to invest in science, engineering, healthcare and other areas that will make the lives of Americans better, safer and more prosperous.” In an interview by sciencedebate.org, Trump added that “scientific advances do require long-term investment.” In spite of such speculations, the fate of R&D industry is too early to predict. However, before the commencement of 2017, the present US Congress Govt. could approve spending bills before Christmas. These bills will raise the National Institute of Health funding as well as the NSF budget. During the first year of Trump’s presidency, the public funding will be secured.
Uncertain change in the climate
Trump’s election could factor into climate negotiations and be a setback for the upcoming climate change meets. When the world is thinking of implementing Paris agreement, the exit of the US from the Paris summit can be an unfortunate development and the pledge of 800 million USD as the annual contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change may cease. However, legally Trump would not be able to sign off the Summit within his four years tenure.
Donald trump on Healthcare reforms
The Affordable Care Act, an initiative by Obama, which is in its current incarnation, won’t survive if Trump makes good on his campaign promises. By this logic, the funds linked to birth control programs would fade away, though not immediately. Trump may defund Obamacare and associated programs like state grant for medical care. A Trumpian shift to insurance premium deductions and insurance plans sales and the opening of tax-free Health Savings Accounts may not remedy the ultimate problem of high-cost health care services in the US.
Tech Boost and Trump
The Silicon Valley may be benefitted by the manufacturing revival initiative by Trump’s govt. “There are several things that a Trump administration could do that would be beneficial to tech,” says Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The export industry will flourish over the import, which will be part and parcel of the shifting away from the traditional start-up model and the adjusted tax and trade policy.
We know very little
The research policies and development across a wide spectrum in the US political scenario are still up in the air and have kept the scientific community optimistic (though cautiously). The outcomes of Trump’s immigration policies are also not clear. This is considered as the central pillar of his campaign, which might or might not affect research. Leighton Ku, a professor at George Washington University, said that “it’s likely that the kinds of highly-skilled scientists who immigrate to the US for school or work would still be welcome. But will they want to come?” This is a billion dollar question that still remains unanswered.
The abstract, which is a concise portrayal of the research work, is a decisive factor for the target journal or reader. It is not only essential to encourage people to read your paper, but also to persuade them to cite it in their research work. Thus, it is worth investing some extra time to write an attractive yet simple abstract.
First, it is important to read the main text several times to mentally absorb and retain the whole research work. Thereafter, attempt a draft that does not merely copy the sentences from the main text of the paper. Instead, the abstract should encapsulate the research concisely. Going through several iterations is a good way of improving an abstract.
The first few sentences of the abstract should illustrate the background and the purpose of the research work. These sentences should grab the reader’s attention and create an inquisitiveness to read in greater depth. The next couple of sentences should focus on the methodology of the research. Finally, the abstract should end with the result and conclusion part, which should be summarized in just 3-5 sentences. This part should be concise and emphasize the significant results and not the statistics.
Once the draft is done, proofread the draft to refine it as much as possible. Avoid verbose writing and verify the text for coherence of the information provided and proper usage of grammar. Besides text, scientific journals have come up with a new idea of summarizing their research paper through a graphical abstract. A graphical abstract is a single, concise, pictorial and visual summary of the main findings of the article. It could either be the concluding figure from the article or a figure that captures the content of the article for readers at a single glance. These days, researchers and scientists find abstract writing to be a cumbersome process and instead opt for a graphical abstract.
Regardless of the type of the abstract, it is an essential part of your manuscript that persuades editors, reviewers, and other researchers to absorb your research in detail.
The scope of research is beyond measure and cannot be structured or contained in a single research guide for which knowledge web is need of the hour. Considering the vast well of information, researchers often face problems in zeroing-in on articles that are most suited for their research area. They often take recourse to the World Wide Web in their quest for articles of interest. In this process, researchers use the web crawlers of their favorite search engines. This generates hundreds of sites that store information on the topic of interest. Usually, the first few search results show articles that are cited repeatedly and are the most relevant references for the research. This leads researchers to the important journals and authors related to the field of interest and helps them adopt strategies accordingly.
Although the search results are displayed within few seconds, the researcher needs to devote considerable time in building a mental model of a research field and giving the most apt query for the search engine to return the best and most relevant results. Therefore, a mechanical search on the Web will be grossly insufficient. Instead, the researcher needs to conduct a search for material other than that found on the Web, and must follow up with a wide reading on the subject. That will help the researcher identify the precise data or information require from the search engine. Even after thorough scrutiny of the material, there is a high risk of information masking that could lead to missing out on an important piece of work.
The best way to obtain an overview of a research field is to conduct knowledge domain visualizations. This process expands the ability of researchers to recognize and analyze a knowledge area through several quantitative and qualitative methods. They are able to use tools such as visual analytics and information visualization to analyze data, retrieve information, and mine text from available sources. This process will answer most of their research queries and help avoid repeated searches on the Internet.
Knowledge domain visualizations save valuable time of the researcher in searching, indexing, and structuring data. Knowledge domain visualizations are not only beneficial for individual researchers or a single subject, but also provide a platform for accessing specific publications. It even provides a quick overview of a research field.
In searching for research material on the Web, the automated or mechanical procedure falls woefully sort. On the other hand, manual interventions can improve results significantly and lead to a more substantial research output.
In course of their research, academicians often need to interact and exchange views with their colleagues to provide a firmer ground for their inferences. Such meetings help them debate their research topic with other like-minded participants and then assimilate the information that is presented through audio-visual media to produce a more conclusive finding. Therefore, seminars and colloquia are an essential part in the growth of any research. Often the proceedings of such meetings are recorded in the form of a collection of papers that were presented during the event.
On the other hand, a journal publishes research work, either on the web or as printed copies, after a rigorous process of review and a long approval cycle. However, once published in a reputed journal, your paper has an audience that you would otherwise have never had access to.
Why opt for conferences?
Conference proceedings have several advantages for a researcher. This is because conferences:
– Give a platform for interaction among research scholars who share a common interest.
– Have a faster review process and generate a faster feedback.
– Are often characterized by short presentations, so they manage to present the aim of the research clearly without consuming too much time.
– Include discussions sessions, which encourages exchange of views and ideas on the presentations.
– Allow interaction of scholars from all over the world who are engaged in the same or allied research fields.
– Have a predictable and time-bound review time.
– Help the presentations to be properly archived for reference in similar events held elsewhere on related research topics.
– Involve sponsors, who allure researchers with publishing credits and personal and professional benefits for attending the conference.
– Have high visibility and often leave a greater impact on the academic fraternity.
– Mainly focus on recent researches or up-to-date academic endeavors, unlike a journal that often takes a long time to finally publish a research.
Demerits of a conference publication
On the flip side, conferences have the following drawbacks:
– The review process is often superficial or cursory, i.e., there is no second round of reviewing.
– They have a low acceptance rate.
– The feedback from the research fraternity may be lukewarm compared to a publication in a journal.
– Economies of scale work against good quality publications because the publication is one of many expense heads for the organizers. Therefore, the production quality often leaves much to be desired.
Why opt for a journal publication?
A publication in a reputed journal presents the following advantages for the researcher:
– Research papers that are published in journals are thoroughly peer reviewed, including multiple review phases.
– The quality of research published in a journal is of a high standard.
– Journal publications carry deep analysis of a research work.
– Useful feedback is received from the reviewers, which help bring about substantive changes in the paper to improve the research analysis.
– Word and page limits are longer in the case of journals. This gives more scope to the researcher to express his or her thoughts and interpretations.
– A journal gives a chance to authors to revise their work based on the feedback and then re-submit it for further review and publication.
– Conference papers are never considered the ultimate in publishing a research. Often, conference papers can be converted to journal papers and published in reputed journals with a high impact factor.
Demerits of journal publications
There are also few demerits of journal publications. These include:
– The publication process is time-consuming.
– Due to such delays, the research topic might get outdated.
– Selection of journals is a difficult task. Sometimes, a good research is published in a sub-standard journal.
Both these routes to publication have their pros and cons. It must also be noted that conference proceedings and journal publications are not mutually exclusive; a situation may arise where one form of a research work might be published in the conference proceedings and another, perhaps more developed, form might be published in a journal. Therefore, for a more diverse and in-depth research output, both conference proceedings and journal publications need to play a significant part.
Hundreds and thousands of articles are published every year irrespective of their category and subject in about 25,000 journals worldwide. Published research works and articles help in laying a foundation for future progress in medicine and healthcare developments. This aim of publicizing the new successful researches is possible when the articles published in journals are accessed by the people without any restrictions. The open access can help in disseminating knowledge by promoting the innovations and the solutions to the prevailing incurable problems in medicine and healthcare.
The readership of the open access journals are more in comparison to the subscription mode of publication. This mode of publication increases the number of readers and significantly increases the citations per article rate.
The more the research articles are freely accessible, the more are its utilizations by the health care providers, clinicians, researchers and students along with the public. This free access to the articles is technically termed as Open Access Publication. This mode of publication make research works more useful by allowing an easy access to it for study or further analyzation and creating a chance for further researches, manipulation and mining of the study/research.
Generally, the research works target those health problems which lack solutions. Even if any researcher or medicine practitioner addresses the proposed solutions to such incurable health problems after conducting numerous researches for it, the result or the findings remains unapproachable by the public and other health care practitioners due to the restrictions on the access of the article by the journals by the subscription mode of publication. One who can subscribe the journal or pay for the article can only access those valuable inventions done in the field of medicine and health care.
Nowadays, the prices of the subscription mode are no longer reasonable for a new researcher, academician or student. Some university libraries pay large amount of fees for subscribing to these journals in order to make their students have an easy access to the journal articles on-line. In some countries, the journal subscription prices are so high that the institutions are incapable of accessing those published up-to-date research articles.
Keeping all these points in mind, some journals have shifted to only open access mode of publications, i.e., they have become Open Access Journal. Such journals make their articles available for free through charging for the publication services before publication, rather than after publication through subscriptions. This initiative might now put an impact of the economic aspects of the research work. As the open access publication charges can be included in research funding, the charge for access is handled by the research funder and not the institute’s library.
We hope this detailed portrayal of the open access publication will be a guide for understanding its impact on the field of research and findings.
The BioConference Live virtual neuroscience conference conducted on March 19-20, 2014, was an online event set to unite the neuroscience community via live video webcasts and real-time networking. Manuscriptedit participated in this high profile conference that saw the participation of President Barack Obama as well.
Researchers, post docs, lab directors, and other medical professionals learnt about recent investments and the scientific foci of the BRAIN Initiative through a panel discussion with key leaders from diverse scientific and funding regulatory agencies. The BRAIN Initiative was part of a new Presidential focus intended at reforming our understanding of the human brain.
The Neuroscience conference included topics from science journals like Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, Epigenetic Regulation, Genetics of Neurologic Diseases, Molecular Mechanism, Neurologic Dysfunction from Human Diseases, and Nervous System Development. It also covered neurological diseases from lab to clinic, including Alzheimer’s, ALS, Epilepsy, Huntington’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, and neuropsychiatric disorders.
In addition to topics on diseases, the conference also covered emerging therapies, like combinatorial therapies, immunomodulation, myelin repair, non-coding RNA, neurorobotics, neuroengineering, stem cells, and imaging technologies – in vitro and in vivo.
The intense two-day conference covered original research data, teaching presentations, broad overview of new frontiers given by thought leaders in the field and discussion forums. Attendees learnt new concepts, tools and techniques that they can apply to research and diagnosis.
Learning the art of presentation of research findings is very important for graduate students. You may have obtained very interesting results, but communicating your findings effectively is also very important. This article discusses how to make an effective oral presentation; it can be a conference presentation or in-house symposium presentation or thesis presentation. You need to work on few basic aspects to deliver a good lecture: Timing, Audience, Content, Organization, Presentation tool, and Tone and body-language of the speaker.
Timing: First, find out the duration of presentation, whether it is a 15 min (presentation: 10 min + question: 5 min) or 45 min or 60 min. It is better to finish little early, rather than overshooting the recommended duration. Overshooting presentation time is not only against professional courtesy, but also reflects lack of preparation. Therefore, it is extremely important to plan your presentation according to the recommended duration. Obviously, planning for a 10 min talk would definitely be different from a 60 min lecture. For the short talk, you only have to show the key points without discussing much on the individual research methods. However, for a 60 min lecture, you may elaborate on important research methods used for your study.
Audience: The success of a presentation lies on your ability to understand your audience and accordingly make the presentation. Now how to get an idea about the audience will you have. Well, that’s not very hard to find out. If it is a conference of specialized field (e.g., Asian Society of Spectroscopy, Experimental NMR conference, etc.) or thesis presentation, you may expect peers or experts of the field as your audience. On the other hand, if you are presenting in conferences, like American Chemical Society or Royal Society of Chemistry, you may expect general audiences from various fields of Chemistry. When you are presenting in front of peers or experts of a particular field, you need not have to bother about jargons or acronyms or technical terms regularly used in your field. However, for general audience, you need to define them or restricting yourself not to use much jargons. If you need to use such term, then make an effort to explain those to your audience. You may expect more general audience when you are going to deliver a talk in a college or in a university set up, where students and teachers from diverse fields of science may be present. Here, you need to be more cautious about the planning of your talk. Always remember that the objective of your presentation is to communicate your research findings effectively with your audience, and they should at least understand the overall implication of your work.
Content: Well, you need not present all the details. Plan the content of your presentation keeping in mind the “timing” and “audience”. Before deciding the content, think about the “take home message” you want to give the audience. To make your presentation interesting, take a step back and think what made you interested to take up this project, while working on this project what are the new things you learnt, and what are the main points you want the audience to remember after you finish your presentation.
Organization of contents: Once you have decided the contents, it is time to organize them. Following is a rough outline:
- First wish the audience and introduce yourself and then start your presentation
- Title: make it interesting but simple
- Background of the project: keep it brief
- Objective: what made you undertake this project and what would you like to examine
- Methods: keep it brief highlight the key points (use flow diagrams/schematics/pictures/ short video clip for showing actual reaction or experiment), but save some extra slides at the end of the presentation so that if somebody is interested to know the actual method,those slides would be helpful.
- Results: the most important part, show only the key results. Club the similar type of results together instead of showing single graph for each parameter. Never forget to show control while comparing.
- Discussion: compare the related work by others
- Conclusions and future direction
Use flow diagrams, schematics and minimize the use of text. Write the bullet points not a whole paragraph of text.
Presentation tool: These days people rarely use transparent sheets for presentation. Everybody uses power-point, the most effective tool for presentation. Few points to remember while using power-point:
- Choose background color and text color in such a way so that it would be visible in more or less any interior lighting. Do not go for fancy, keep it basic. Most importantly, be consistent throughout. Do not use different background color for different slide.
- Choose font and font size so that it should be visible from the last row of audience in a standard size of lecture room. For heading choose one size and another for text, but be consistent throughout the document.
- Do not play with colors. Use multiple colors only when required to distinguish or highlight some points.
- You may use animation but do not overdo it. Use only if required.
- It is okay to waste slide space but never over-crowd slides.
Tone and body-language of the speaker: Talk in an audible voice so that everybody can hear you. Talk slowly and pronounce clearly each word. Always face the audience and never read your slides line by line. Make eye-contact with your audience. Do not be nervous. Practice and give mock presentation in front of your labmates or friends. If you are afraid of forgetting something, bring notes. Think about the questions audience may ask. While giving mock presentation, ask your labmates or friends to ask questions. Keep some back-up slides, you may need while answering some question. However, it is okay to say “I don’t know” rather trying to give a vague answer which actually you do not know. Practice makes one much refined and confident, but never be overconfident or aggressive to prove your point. Try to address the questions with proper scientific reasoning. Finally, dress well — dress like a professional.