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 –

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.

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 –

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

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:

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:

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

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

Imagine no facebook, twitter, myspace, email, internet for a entire day?

Shutdown Day is a Global Internet Experiment whose purpose is to get people to think about how their lives have changed with the increasing use of the home computer, and whether or not any good things are being lost because of this.

The idea of Shutdown Day project is simple – just shutdown your computer for one whole day of the year and involve yourself in some other activities: outdoors, nature, sports, fun stuff with friends and family – whatever, just to remind yourself that there still exists a world outside your monitor screen.

For more information, go to Shutdown Day

Submitted by Kevin Lindstrom Science and Engineering Liaison Librarian

BC Wood WORKS!/Canadian Wood Council annually host the Western Canadian Wood Catapult Competition on the UBC Campus in Vancouver BC. The third annual Wood Catapult Competition will take place at the UBC Campus in Vancouver on March 28th, 2009.

The purpose of the competition is to challenge registered college or university students to design and build a wood siege engine capable of accurately hitting targets at 20, 30 and 45 meters using a cement ball. Teams consisting of students and one faculty member submit a short report prior to the competition about their catapult design. On the morning of the competition each team will be required to give a fifteen-minute presentation to the judges, after their weigh-in and setup.

For information on the registering for this competition and technical requirements, go to the
BC Wood WORKS! Competitions website.

Background Reading

Denny, Mark. Siege engine dynamics. European Journal of Physics. 2005. 26 561-577.

Submitted by Kevin Lindstrom Liaison Librarian for Materials Engineering, Physics and Astronomy

wind energy, energy

A short article from the New Scientist discusses the Financial Times Energy Conference in London last week. It is a pretty interesting short read.

To see UBC researchers work in this area, you could go to Compendex database (a primary engineering database) –
and type “sustainable energy” as a topic search and UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA as “author affiliation”

** Photo by Lollie-Pop

The University of British Columbia Library and Springer are delighted to introduce a new Print on Demand feature linked to the Library’s eBook collection: MyCopy powered by SpringerLink.

As a current faculty member of the University of British Columbia, MyCopy allows you to order your own personal print copy of a Springer eBook included in the Library’s collection. The individual copy will be delivered as a printed soft cover version directly to your doorstep. Best of all, it will be available to all patrons for just $24.95 (USD plus GST & PST, including shipping and handling costs).

The University of British Columbia Library is one of the first libraries to introduce the MyCopy service that includes more than 11,000 eBooks out of a total of 30,000 eBooks available on SpringerLink. We invite you to take a look, browse this comprehensive eBook collection and take advantage of the MyCopy service.

If you find an eBook that you would like to use for a course, you can simply copy the URL in the address bar on SpringerLink and add this to your course syllabus. The students can then follow the URL and purchase the eBook directly on for home delivery.

Below are directions for ordering a MyCopy book for just $24.95 (USD plus GST & PST, including shipping and handling costs)
1. Go to SpringerLink:
2. Search or browse eBooks in your research area (Available titles will have an orange MyCopy label associated with it.)
3. Click on the eBook or eBook chapter of your interest
4. Click on the MyCopy Logo found underneath the eBook or eBook chapter information, or the “add to shopping cart now” link within the orange box on the right hand column to start the ordering process.

We trust you will find this feature a valuable addition to Springer’s eBook collection. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact UBC Librarians Joy Kirchner ( and Aleteia Greenwood ( or Springer at

For a complete list of all Springer Ebooks including MyCopy titles go to the Springer eBooks by Subject Collection page and download the Excel spreadsheet for your discipline. Look for the column that contains the Springerlink openurl and paste this url into your browser.

Submitted by Kevin Lindstrom Liaison Librarian for the Physical and Applied Sciences.

library, books, standards

This is a quick post to remind you about various standards we have in the SciEng library:

* ASTM up to 2006
* CSA and ANSI standards up to 1995 (How to get those?)
* IEEE Standards: The IEEE Electronic Library provides access to over 1,000 current, revised and superceded standards in the field of electrical and computer engineering. You must be a UBC faculty, student or staff to access these resources. Print standards can be found in the UBC Library catalogue, though coverage varies.
* ISO: We own a number of ISO standards that are listed individually in our library catalogue, mostly from the early 1990s. Try typing ISO and standard? in catalogue search box.
* Open Access Standards (Free):
a.International Telecommunications Union (ITU-T)
b. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standards. The Standards Council of Canada will grant a license for use of ISO and IEC international standards by recognized Canadian educational institutions in a credit course. Please contact us to learn more about this option.

Please do not hesitate to contact Kevin Lindstrom or Eugene Barsky if you require any additional info!

** Photo by Sifter

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