A new article today in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science could be of interest to those of you who post their studies to arxiv.org:

A. Haque and P. Ginsparg, “Positional effects on citation and readership in arXiv,” J. Am. Soc. Inf. Sci. Technol., vol. 60, pp. 2203-2218, 2009.


arXiv.org mediates contact with the literature for entire scholarly communities, providing both archival access and daily email and web announcements of new materials. We confirm and extend a surprising correlation between article position in these initial announcements and later citation impact, due primarily to intentional self-promotion by authors. There is, however, also a pure visibility effect: the subset of articles accidentally in early positions fared measurably better in the long-term citation record. Articles in astrophysics (astro-ph) and two large subcommunities of theoretical high energy physics (hep-th and hep-ph) announced in position 1, for example, respectively received median numbers of citations 83%, 50%, and 100% higher than those lower down, while the subsets there accidentally had 44%, 38%, and 71% visibility boosts. We also consider the positional effects on early readership. The median numbers of early full text downloads for astro-ph, hep-th, and hep-ph articles announced in position 1 were 82%, 61%, and 58% higher than for lower positions, respectively, and those there accidentally had medians visibility-boosted by 53%, 44%, and 46%. Finally, we correlate a variety of readership features with long-term citations, using machine learning methods, and conclude with some observations on impact metrics and the dangers of recommender mechanisms.

** Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/easternblot/ – “Paul Ginsparg shows that everyone submits their paper to ArXiv *just* after the submission deadline so they’ll be the first on the front page the next day”

Those of us, who teach or use Google or Google Scholar (GS)  might find the most recent Peter Jacso’s piece on Google Scholar to be of interest – http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6698580.html?&rid=1105906703&source=title

Please be very careful using this tool. We talk about the perils of GS and compare it with Compendex and Web of Science in our Google workshops.

We ourselves saw those problems almost five years ago, and they are still not corrected:

Giustini D, & Barsky E. A look at Google Scholar, PubMed and Scirus: comparisons and recommendations . J Can Health Libr Assoc 2005, 26(3): 85-89.


All IMS articles 2004 and forward are freely available in a postprint format on arXiv <http://arxiv.org/>, as well as those articles posted by authors.

From the IMS website: http://www.imstat.org/publications/arxiv.html

ArXiv is an open access, fully automated electronic archive and distribution server for research articles, now owned and operated by Cornell University, and partially funded by NSF. The main fields it covers are physics, mathematics, non-linear science, computer science, and quantitative biology. Recently, arXiv has cooperated with IMS and the Bernoulli Society to open up a new statistics category within mathematics. We expect this category to eventually grow into a top level archive comparable to e.g. mathematics and physics.

Great news, IMS!

** photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/saz/

mathematics, physics

The International Mathematical Union is offering videos that were recorded at the International Congresses of Mathematicians in 1998, 2002, and 2006. IMU maintains the copyright of the videos but gives everyone interested the permission to download and show the videos.


** photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/mscolly/

science, laser

A very recent article on PLoS One is worth the read –

Bollen J, Van de Sompel H, Hagberg A, Chute R, 2009 A Principal Component Analysis of 39 Scientific Impact Measures. PLoS ONE 4(6): e6022. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006022



The impact of scientific publications has traditionally been expressed in terms of citation counts. However, scientific activity has moved online over the past decade. To better capture scientific impact in the digital era, a variety of new impact measures has been proposed on the basis of social network analysis and usage log data. Here we investigate how these new measures relate to each other, and how accurately and completely they express scientific impact.


We performed a principal component analysis of the rankings produced by 39 existing and proposed measures of scholarly impact that were calculated on the basis of both citation and usage log data.


Our results indicate that the notion of scientific impact is a multi-dimensional construct that can not be adequately measured by any single indicator, although some measures are more suitable than others. The commonly used citation Impact Factor is not positioned at the core of this construct, but at its periphery, and should thus be used with caution.

Frankly,  I was surprised by the authors’ conclusion, particularly with this piece: “Our results indicate that the JIF and SJR express a rather particular aspect of scientific impact that may not be at the core of the notion of scientific “impact”. Usage-based measures such as Usage Closeness centrality may in fact be better “consensus” measures.”

I am used to be inquired about Journal Impact Factor (JIF) so often in academia and know that it used for tenure consideration in many departments in UBC.

** photo by testone 22

science in canada

Thomson Reuters has released its latest figures for Canadian Science last week – http://sciencewatch.com/dr/sci/09/may31-09_2/

Between 2004 and 2008, Thomson Reuters indexed 226,232 papers that listed at least one author address in Canada. Of those papers, the highest percentage appeared in journals classified under the heading of environment/ecology, followed by psychiatry/psychology and geosciences. As the right-hand column shows, the citations-per-paper average for environment/ecology papers from Canada-based authors was 24% above the world average in the field (5.49 cites per paper for Canada versus 4.43 cites for the world). In fact, in all the fields shown here, the impact of Canadian research exceeded the world average, with particularly strong performance in space science (44% above the world average), physics (43% above), and agricultural sciences (+29%).

It is great to see that we are producing a decent share of world’s research. But it seems that Engineering is one of weak points!

** Photo by tripleman

more books

Books 24×7 can now be accessed by UBCcard Barcode and PIN. Find the title in the catalogue, click on the “Online Access” under the title and sign in.

“OK, it’s easier,” you say. “But I’ve used Books 24×7 before. Where’s my saved ebooks?” Ay, there’s the rub. In testing, saved ebooks came across under the new log-in. In reality, they didn’t.

However, you can still access them through your old account. After you find a title in the Library catalogue, click on the “Alternate Online Access” at the BOTTOM of the page – OR – go to our Books 24×7 Info Page and log in through “old account” using your old Username and Password.

You can see all nearly 7,500 online books we buy from Books24x7 in our catalogue here, or search for Books24x7 EBook Collection as an author in our catalogue…

*NOTE: We are only allowed nine (9) users at one time. Therefore, the resource times-out after 15 minutes of inactivity.

** Photo by gaspi

Statistics isn’t just about bayesian disease mapping and analyzing incomplete multivariate data. Statistics has some very important applications for analyzing hockey – yes, ice hockey. While my team hasn’t made the playoffs for a while except for that glorious 2006 run, it might be interesting to for any of you hockey statisticians to apply the research to the teams currently playing in the NHL playoffs.

Here’s a sample of some the articles available in MathSciNet and Current Index to Statistics dealing with ice hockey.

Thomas, Andrew C. (2007) “Inter-arrival Times of Goals in Ice Hockey,” Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports: Volume 3: Issue 3, Article 5. Available at: http://www.bepress.com/jqas/vol3/iss3/5

Thomas, Andrew C. (2006) “The Impact of Puck Possession and Location on Ice Hockey Strategy,” Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports: Volume 2: Issue 1, Article 6. Available at: http://www.bepress.com/jqas/vol2/iss1/6

Anthology of Statistics in Sports. Edited by Jim Albert, Jay Bennett and James J. Cochran. ASA-SIAM Series on Statistics and Applied Probability, 16. 2005.

Gill, Paramjit S. (2000) “Late-Game Reversals in Professional Basketball, Football, and Hockey” The American Statistician, Volume 54, Number 2 (May, 2000), pp. 94-99 http://www.jstor.org/stable/2686024

The Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports is a great place to browse.

Submitted by Kevin Lindstrom UBC Science and Engineering Librarian

Canada Excellence Research Chairs – Phase 1 Competition Results

In 2008, the Government of Canada created a new permanent program to establish 20 prestigious research chairs–Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC)–in universities across the country. The CERC program invests $28 million a year to attract and retain the world’s most accomplished and promising minds and help Canada build a critical mass of expertise in the priority research areas of environmental sciences and technologies, natural resources and energy, health and related life sciences and technologies, and information and communication technologies.

Phase 1 Competition Results

The following 17 universities have been invited to compete in Phase 2.

Universities invited to Phase 2 competition
(Number of successful proposals arranged from West to East)

* University of British Columbia (4)
* University of Alberta (5)
* University of Calgary (1)
* University of Saskatchewan (1)
* University of Manitoba (1)
* University of Toronto (5)
* University of Waterloo (4)
* McMaster University (2)
* Queen’s University (1)
* University of Western Ontario (2)
* University of Ottawa (2)
* McGill University (4)
* Université Laval (3)
* Université de Sherbrooke (1)
* Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (1)
* University of Prince Edward Island (1)
* Dalhousie University (2)

Click here for a list of the successful proposals

Submitted by Kevin Lindstrom Liaison Librarian

Educause has released its new report – “7 Things You Should Know About Location-Aware Applications“.

Location-aware applications deliver online content to users based on their physical location. Various technologies employ GPS, cell phone infrastructure, or wireless access points to identify where electronic devices such as mobile phones or laptops are, and users can choose to share that information with location-aware applications. As mobile devices offer greater amounts of data about the environment through which we move, location-aware systems will become increasingly effective at predicting what users would like to know about in the geographical space around them, offering a layer of knowledge superimposed on the physical world that can be accessed for information and convenience.

You can research this topic in many of our online databases, however,  IEEE digital Library would be your first source.  Try this search in IEEE database – http://tinyurl.com/d6y5aj

** Photo by fotoopa

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