This Week’s Most Viewed Papers
Each day thousands of Academia.edu users scour the site, discovering new research topics and catching wind of trending papers.
Here’s what sparked the curiosity of Academia.edu users this week:
Total Views: 1,400
On a Friday evening in the spring of 1375, William Cantilupe, a knight of the relatively young age of thirty and the great-great-nephew of St Thomas of Hereford, was murdered by members of his household. His murder, which took place in his wife’s family manor in Scotton in Lincolnshire, marked the final stage of the fall of the house of Cantilupeas, a major baronial family in medieval England. Although the legal records of the subsequent murder trials have been known since 1936, the motives for the murder have been the subject of much speculation. In this paper we shall combine a re-examination of the murder of William Cantilupe with a case initiated seven years earlier between his brother, Nicholas, and Nicholas’ wife.
Total Views: 3,259
“Love hurts”— as the saying goes — and a certain amount of pain and difficulty in intimate relationships is unavoidable. Sometimes it may even be beneficial, since adversity can lead to personal growth, self-discovery, and a range of other components of a life well-lived. But other times, love can be downright dangerous. It may bind a spouse to her domestic abuser, draw an unscrupulous adult toward sexual involvement with a child, put someone under the insidious spell of a cult leader, and even inspire jealousy-fueled homicide. How might these perilous devotions be diminished? The ancients thought that treatments such as phlebotomy, exercise, or bloodletting could “cure” an individual of love. But modern neuroscience and emerging developments in psychopharmacology open up a range of possible interventions that might actually work. These developments raise profound moral questions about the potential use—and misuse—of such anti-love biotechnology. In this essay we describe a number of prospective love-diminishing interventions, and offer a preliminary ethical framework for dealing with them responsibly should they arise.
Total Views: 645
This is an essay on a suggestive parallel between photographs of the Chinese torture and execution known as the “death by a thousand cuts,” and the routine protocols of art history known as formal analysis and iconography. I attempt to demonstrate that art history’s most fundamental, apparently neutral, preparatory exercises in seeing and analysis, taught to every beginning student, carry a burden of invasiveness and pain.
Total Views: 1,156
The paper goes into the origin of rock art and discusses the theory that two-dimensional art could have found its origin in altered states of consciousness. Etnographical examples of other ‘primitive’ cultures inducing altered states gives an idea of how this might have worked in the Palaeolithic.
Total Views: 610
With the end of the military rule and the emergence of democratic government with the mantra of speedy development of the Nigerian State in the new millennium, there was a great surge of optimism that Nigeria, a giant in Africa, could use its enormous resources for socio-economic development. Working in tandem with the global effort to eradicate poverty in all developing nations, there was expectation from the ordinary citizens that their plight would be a thing of the past. However, the nine years of democratic governance in Nigeria in the 21st century has not amounted to poverty eradication or alleviation. The seeming efforts of government within this period has not yielded positive fruits, but have rather depreciated, decimated and disenchanted the poor citizens, while feeding them crumbs when an advanced socio-economic life should be their lot. Thus, we posit that there is a missing link that needs to be bridged through empowerment of the poor and increasing their influence on decision-making in the Nigerian State.
Total Views: 185
With improving professionalism of sports around the world, the volume and frequency of training required for competitive performances at the elite level has increased concurrently. With this amplification in training load comes an increased need to closely monitor the associated fatigue responses, since maximising the adaptive response to training is also reliant on avoiding the negative consequences of excessive fatigue. The rationale for the experimental chapters in this thesis was established after considering survey responses regarding current best practice for monitoring fatigue in high performance sporting environments. Outcomes from the subsequent series of studies aimed to provide practitioners working in high performance sport with guidelines for using vertical jumps to monitor athletic fatigue.
Total Views: 199
Many contributors to this volume will be discussing religions of the other in the ancient world, as seen through the eyes of the ancients themselves: how the ROmans viewed the Jews, how the Greeks viewed the Egyptians, and so on. I would like to do something different; I would like to look at a group of people whom scholars of ancient religions themselves tend to view as practicing a strange religion: namely, those who recreate ancient religions in the contemporary world, or neopagans.
This paper reflects upon the “life issues” of population growth and reproductive health in the Philippines in the context of the ongoing congressional deliberation of House Bill 5043. Specific attention is paid to the influence of the Roman Catholic Church upon this process, through an analysis of the institutional pronouncements and edicts made by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). It still remains to be seen whether HB5043 will be passed into law. What can be observed even at this stage, however, is that there may well be a discordance between Church proclamations regarding faith-based sexual morality on the one hand, and popular opinion and actual practices under difficult economic and social circumstances on the other. In this respect, sustainable population control in the Philippines continues to be an uphill battle, given the Church’s persistent association of artificial contraception with a pernicious “culture of death”.
Total Views: 496
Ever since the information technology revolution hit India in a big way, substance abuse has been rising in incidence by leaps and bounds, mainly because of the ease with which such substances can be procured through the Internet. But because these drugs are covered by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, there has beena recent trend towards abuse of pharmaceutical agents such as pentazocine, propoxyphene and buprenorphine. Spasmo-Proxyvon® is a popular brand of antispasmodic from Wockhardt. This paper highlights three cases of death due to addiction to Spasmo-Proxyvon®.
This paper is based on two international research projects. It discusses two diﬀerent groups of objects, runic ring sword pommels and pottery found in Merovingian Gaul and Anglo-Saxon Kent. It is concluded that our comparative mapping of the runic swords, pottery and brooches suggests that the distribution patterns reﬂect a limited Anglo-Saxon settlement in Gaul on the one hand, whereas the runic Bifrons-Gilton typering sword pommels appear to be indicative of a brief implantation of Merovingian hegemony in Kent during MA 2 (520/30–560/70).
SPOTLIGHT ON REBECCA KENNISON, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
Recently two of Rebecca Kennison’s papers on Academia.edu were picked up by the media— one a gossip column, which called Rebecca’s paper on the gender-bending fashion choices of famed actress Marlene Dietrich a “good scholarly read on ‘double drag’”, and the other Medievalist.net, which featured a co-authored article on the mystical experiences of Hildegard of Bingen and Joan of Arc. While the media attention “tickled” Rebecca, the flood of profile and document views that followed, which then trickled down into her other publications, made her ecstatic.
“This indicated to me how the public really does value the work that’s being done by scholars and academics. And if you put it out there, who knows what can happen,” says Rebecca.
Working as Director of the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) at Columbia University, Rebecca’s day job is not as an academic, per se, so the potential to increase citations through this media attention isn’t what drove her excitement. Rather, it was evidence that her decade-long work in scholarly communication and pursuit of open access hasn’t been in vain. (Side note: Rebecca was employee number one at PLOS).
“To me it was much more about the openness of the system and the design of Academia.edu to allow people to easily find scholarly works and repurpose them in really surprising ways,” says Rebecca.
“I think one of the attractive things about Academia.edu is its potential to give people access to materials that they otherwise wouldn’t have,” she adds.
Other than allowing the general public to take a dip into the seemingly undisclosed world of academics, Rebecca has also experienced Academia.edu’s ability to keep old articles afloat, even when their journals sink into the abyss of discontinued publications which soon become forgotten as the digital age grows.
For example, the article picked up by Medievalist.net was housed in Mystics Quarterly, a journal that went out of print in 2007. Without an open repository like Academia.edu the article would have been inaccessible to all but a few, and mostly likely wouldn’t have been picked up by Medievalist.net.
Involved in scholarly communication for over 10 years, Rebecca has seen many academics besides herself benefit from open access platforms like Academia.edu. For example, soon after posting a book on Academia.edu (with permission from her publisher), one of Rebecca’s colleagues now has more document views than book sales from the last five years.
Commenting on her colleague’s experience, Rebecca adds, “I think that was very gratifying for her because now it is much more likely that people are going to cite her book than they did in the past.”
Believing in the broad dissemination of research and scholarly work, Rebecca and the CDRS encourage Columbia’s faculty and students to upload their papers and research on “all kinds of places where their work can be found”, including repositories like Academia.edu.
“Academia.edu truly builds on fast, new knowledge exchange, and the density of networks is also really important. You guys make it really easy for people to find people!” says Rebecca.
Rebecca Kennison is the Director of the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) at Columbia University, where she advises faculty and staff on topics of scholarly communication, runs Columbia’s in-house repository, and is involved in activities related to publications and hosting journals. Prior to the CDRS, Rebecca was a production manager and editor at a variety of publishers and online networks, including PLOS, in which she was employee number one and the Director of Production for four years. Rebecca has a PhD in English from Northeastern University and an MA in English language and literature from Arizona State University.
Rebecca’s work can be viewed here.
SPOTLIGHT ON BLESSON VARGHESE, UNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS
Though fear of being pigeonholed plagues many PhD holders, University of St. Andrews computer science post-doc, Blesson Varghese, has found a way to curtail this concern simply by showcasing (and tagging) the gamut of his subtly diverse work on Academia.edu.
“I can basically present myself to a community without having to do anything in addition to posting my papers and putting in my tags,” says Blesson.
Working in the realm of high-performance computing, at first glance many outsiders are simply confused, or uninterested, in his work, says Blesson, never making it beyond the title. But tagging his papers with overlapping fields has broken disciplinary barriers, opening the eyes of new readers by translating the relevance and potential application of his work with a simple word. As a result Blesson has seen far more profile hits from communities outside of computer science, which pleases this modest interdisciplinary academic.
“In a purely pedantic sense, I do high-performance computing. But there are these minor offshoots in which I’ve worked, and the danger I’ve found is that I’ve not presented myself as a researcher who has worked in those offshoots. But with Academia.edu I can easily present those offshoots for each paper— I don’t just merely have to list high performance computing,” adds Blesson.
Without tagging, and the open access and multi-disciplinary nature of Academia.edu, Blesson says his work would be lost in “a big clump” of seemingly inaccessible or irrelevant research, a loss to other communities who could benefit from the potential impact of his work.
“If I was working on something like artificial intelligence,” explains Blesson, “then I could describe my research in a non-computer science way by tagging it as cognition or psychology or neuroscience, which would be of interest to some medical communities.”
But translating the potential application of his work to others also requires an understanding of what is needed or “has currency” in other communities, something that Blesson’s keyword analytics help him identify.
“One of the important things for researchers is to be able to articulate the broader areas where they can have impact. I think Academia.edu’s keywords and tags help do that,” says Blesson.
Blesson Varghese is a post-doc in computer science at the Big Data Laboratory, University of St. Andrews where he is working on constraint programming and cloud computing. Prior to St. Andrews, Blesson was a post-doc in the Risk Analytics Laboratory, Dalhousie University and worked on high-performance computing systems for risk modeling and management.
Blesson’s work can be viewed here.
This Week’s Most Viewed Papers
Each day thousands of Academia.edu users scour the site, discovering new research topics and catching wind of trending papers.
Here’s what sparked the curiosity of Academia.edu users this week:
Total Views: 2,541
Given how frequently the concept of “creepiness” is invoked in everyday life to describe the relationships and encounters that we have with others, it is surprising that it has not been studied in a formal way. This study attempted to uncover the cues that are used to label someone as “creepy” and to identify the basic elements of creepiness.
Sperm Competition in Humans: Implications for Male Sexual Psychology, Physiology, Anatomy, and Behavior
Total Views: 478
With the recognition afforded by evolutionary science that female infidelity was a recurrent feature of our evolutionary past has come the development of a new area of study within human mating: sperm competition. A form of male-male postcopulatory competition, sperm competition occurs when the sperm of two or more males concurrently occupy the reproductive tract of a female and compete to fertilize her ova. We review the recent theoretical and empirical work on human sperm competition, identify limitations and challenges of the research, and higlight important directions for future research.
Total Views: 314
Hunting of large felids in Latin America is common throughout their range mostly as retaliation for cattle predation. Until recently, few records reported hunting of these species for consumption, and in general its use, other than as a trophy, was scarcely reported in literature. Here we present two noteworthy records of puma, Puma concolor, hunting for meat consumption in Colombia. Both records are considered occasional. However, they fit with an apparent widespread pattern in the Northern regions of Colombia
A Traitor’s Death? The Identity of a drawn, hanged and quartered man from Hulton Abbey, Staffordshire
Total Views: 3,920
Analysis of a set of bones redeposited in a medieval abbey graveyard showed that the individual had been beheaded and chopped up, and this in turn suggested one of England’s more gruesome execution practices. Since quartering was generally reserved for the infamous, the author attempts to track down the victim and proposes him to be Hugh Despenser, the lover of King Edward II.
Total Views: 2,120
Reports by organisations such as Stonewall and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation concerning LGBTQ visibility in the mainstream media make it quite clear that the only thing more rare than a well-developed lesbian storyline is one that deals lesbian relationships between teenagers. However, between 2009 and 2010, the British teen drama series ‘Skins’ bucked that trend with its sensitive portrayal of the romance between Naomi Campbell (Lily Loveless) and Emily Fitch (Kathryn Prescott). The ensuing fan frenzy catapulted ‘Naomily’ to the status of super-couple and transformed their story into an international, transmedia pop culture phenomenon. The Naomily phenomenon is worthy of closer study for a variety of reasons, but in this paper I want to explore the aspects of queerness that inform Naomi and Emily’ relationship and examine how that queerness is integral to the storyline’s massive success.
Total Views: 1,387
"Bleach" is a manga best-selling in the US and Japan in the early 2000s, published by Shuesha in its weekly "Shonen Jump" imprint; however, in America the "first arc" ("Soul Society Arc") of the story was received to great success, with the "second" ("Arrancar") and "third" ("Hueco Mundo") "arcs" meeting with great derision as "filler material" and plot-recycling. However, I posit that much of this is due to cultural barriers, as the latter two arcs rely heavily on esoteric Buddhist symbology such as Aizen Myo-o and wish-fulfilling jewels, which were set up in the first arc.
Total Views: 8,213
The concern with national integration is not only timely but of the utmost importance for a number of good reasons. For one thing, contemporary political history in Nigeria demonstrates time and again what may justifiably be considered a failure at attempts in mobilizing its vast human and natural resource to form a unified national state. Since the return to civil rule in May 1999, there have been well over 100 religious and ethnic conflicts resulting in great losses of lives and property. These conflicts raise serious questions of the constitution and future direction of the country as a single nation.
Total Views: 4,877
The influence of population on the economy is seemingly straightforward. It is about having enough resources to meet the needs of the growing number of people. Since the same resource base is shared by all members of the society, everybody is affected by development and many are deprived of their access to the same resources. High population growth rate means rapid growth of the school-age population that spreads out even more thinly the already very scarce resources for basic education development. This study explores access to resources between urban and non/less-urban populations and its impact on basic education development using evidence from Cebu Province to highlight the straightforward relationship between population growth and basic education.
Total Views: 227
This article reviews the presently available supply of textbooks and introductions to the new academic field of study known as ‘Western esotericism’. By analogy with computer software, the author refers to the early ‘religionist’ phase of research in this domain as ‘Western esotericism 1.0’. He argues that Antoine Faivre’s small French textbook ‘Lésotérisme (1992) marked the beginning of a more satisfactory upgrade that might be referred to as ‘Western esotericism 2.0’ and remains dominant in teaching and research today. A critical review of textbooks and introductions representative of this second pahse of academic professionalisation reveals a number of structural problems and weaknesses that need to be corrected in order for the field to complete its adolescence and reach academic maturity.
Total Views: 1,634
Planned change in nursing practice is necessary for a wide range of reasons, but it can be challenging to implement. Understanding and using a change theory framework can help mangers or other change agents to increase the likelihood of success. This article considers three change theories and discusses how one in particular can be used in practice.
SPOTLIGHT ON WAICHING SUN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
Looking for correlations between topic, readership, and countries, WaiChing Sun of Sandia National Laboratories keeps a sharp eye on his Academia.edu analytics, especially after giving an important presentation or after applying for a job. And while this habit may seem a bit fastidious for some, it’s helped WaiChing fine-tune the relevance and power of his research, which recently landed him a tenure track position at Columbia University.
WaiChing explains: “For example, when I try a different topic and have a paper published, I can see how frequently people read it and I can judge how relevant the topic is. Or if I attend a conference, sometimes after a few days people download more articles on a particular topic, and then I can see how much impact I can have and I can use that to judge how to invest my time in that research topic and how likely it is to get funding.”
But now that he’s landed a tenure-track position at a top tier university certainly doesn’t mean that WaiChing’s analytics-tracking days are behind him. Rather, he anticipates that his profile will become even more useful as he takes the next giant leap in his career.
“I need to keep track of my research progress, the readership, and my broad impact,” says WaiChing about thriving at Columbia, and for him Academia.edu is a concise way to do that.
“It’s good to have all of my manuscripts or articles in one page— it’s much easier to search for things,” adds WaiChing. “Academia.edu is a good way to have a cohesive presence so that people can see you as a researcher, as an individual person.”
This cohesion, having all of his articles in one spot, not only helps him track his readership and calibrate his research, but it also provides a reservoir of resources for potential employers. After seeing huge spikes in his document views following applying to jobs, including his new position at Columbia, WaiChing is glad that he had his Academia.edu account throughout the job hunt.
“It’s important to have everything in place— I think that will be a big advantage,” says WaiChing.
WaiChing Sun is currently a senior member of technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories, a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. WaiChing recently accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position at Columbia University where he will continue his research on geomechanics and utilizing computer simulations to address complex multiphysics problems in engineering, particularly within an earthquake- and energy-related. His other line of research includes investigating how hydrogen changes metal behaviors. WaiChing received his PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Northwestern University.
WaiChing’s work can be viewed here.
SPOTLIGHT ON GAYAN WEDAWETTA, COVENTRY UNIVERSITY
Following the advice of his PhD supervisor at the onset of his dissertation five years ago, Gayan joined Academia.edu to divulge the details of his research and showcase his work to the world, actions that his supervisor foretold would open up many opportunities in the years to come. And while his supervisor’s predictions are beginning to come to fruition, the real advantage of showcasing his work on Academia.edu lies in the timing.
“Let’s say I have my Academia.edu account for 10 years from now on,” explains Gayan, “the document and profile views will be high, which will be really good for my profile. Academia.edu is great for early career researchers because we have time to develop our profile and showcase it from the very beginning.”
Gayan believes that accruing document and profile views over the span of his professional career, beginning with his graduate work, will help him cultivate a strong online presence and ultimately give him an edge when making the next career leap, whether that’s gaining a grant, research position or professorship.
“Having an account with quite a reasonable number of document and profile views reflects well on me, my research and my impact,” adds Gayan.
And even though Gayan is early in his career, recently finishing his PhD and only one year into his lectureship at Coventry, his strong online presence is already giving him a boost. Including a link to his Academia.edu profile in the header of his CV and in his email signature, Gayan has noticed a spike in his profile views immediately after applying for jobs, leaving him to deduce that his Academia.edu profile is also a handy tool for potential employers.
“My Academia.edu account will definitely be a plus because any employer who wants to run a check on me can just click on my profile link and then see how many people have accessed my account,” says Gayan.
And when these spikes in profile views are followed by an invitation to interview, and then even a job like the assistant professorship position Gayan was recently offered, Gayan concludes: “I definitely think my Academia.edu profile is helping me get shortlisted for interviews and get through the interview process.”
Gayan Wedawetta recently finished his dissertation in the School of the Built Environment at the University of Salford and is currently a lecturer in civil engineering at Coventry University. Touching on topics of climate change and disaster management, Gayan’s research investigates the resilience of small construction companies in the aftermath of extreme weather events. Small construction companies are one of the worst affected by extreme weather events.
Gayan’s work can be viewed here.
SPOTLIGHT ON BEATRICE KABUTAKAPUA
In need of an expert on African studies and diaspora for her upcoming documentary, a trail of conversations led international journalist Beatrice Kabutakapua to the name Msia Kibona Clark, an assistant professor at California State University, Los Angeles. Hailing from Europe, Beatrice was unfamiliar with the academic world in sunny California, so she typed Msia’s name into Google and within seconds found herself perusing Msia’s Academia.edu profile, intrigued by her articles about African migrants and bicultural blacks.
Only just discovering the site, Beatrice thought, “This is indeed a powerful tool.”
For investigative journalists and documentary filmmakers like Beatrice, Academia.edu’s power lies in its ability to archive the works and opinions of experts, expediting background research and unveiling sources. But it doesn’t stop there; those academics who inspire and inform journalists are reaping the rewards of Academia.edu too.
“There are so many academics and so many people you can find when you just type in [to Google] ‘African studies’. It’s a little bit discursive, so it might take more time to do research without an archive or without a website that can gather all of the academics,” adds Beatrice.
Hooked by Academia.edu’s potential, Beatrice immediately joined and began following dozens and dozens of people.
“There are so many other professors and so many other experts that I could contact,” says Beatrice.
Hoping to include an expert opinion in each episode, academics help frame Beatrice’s documentary, (In)Visible Cities, giving an insight into the history of each community she features. Her documentary explores African migrant communities in 12 cities across the world providing an educational tool about cultural diversity and a catalyst for integration.
After reading Msia’s papers on Academia.edu, Beatrice decided she was a good fit for her documentary and invited Msia to talk on camera about the relationship between Africans and African Americans in Los Angeles.
And while Beatrice’s documentary was obviously graced with a unique perspective and local expertise, Msia also gained some insider knowledge from this exchange.
"A lot of times these kind of meetings snowball into other connections,” says Msia. “I was able to forward on to Beatrice some individuals she might be interested in for her documentary, and in return she gave me some useful information for my own research— some individuals to look at. It was definitely beneficial and a good experience."
This isn’t the first time for Msia that good things have come from showcasing her research on Academia.edu. The breadth of her work on the site has attracted the eyes and interests of radio stations and universities who have invited Msia to speak about African migrants.
Enticed by the possibilities of Academia.edu to not only aid in producing her documentary but also her journalistic career, Beatrice concludes, “The good thing about Academia.edu is that you can both find a source and what the source is doing— what they already did, what they studied, and you can read their papers. It’s a good way to find people and have an idea of what they’re doing before meeting them, because that’s the thing you need to do in journalism— you need to do research before meeting people that you’re going to interview. I’m definitely going to use Academia.edu again.”
Beatrice Kabutakapua is a multilingual freelance journalist who is currently traveling the world for two years to produce (In)Visible Cities, a 12-episode documentary about African migrants in 12 cities across the world. As an Italian-born Congolese, Beatrice was inspired by her own roots to create (In)Visible Cities and by observing African migrant communities across cities throughout her career as a journalist. Beatrice is also a foreign correspondent for Radio France Internationale, covering Africa, international development and human rights, and works for World Pulse, providing online training in journalism for women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Learn more about Beatrice here.
Msia Kibona Clark is an assistant professor in the Pan African Studies Department at California State University, Los Angeles. Her teaching and research interests cover African migrations, African and African Diaspora, Black identity, hip hop studies, and African hip hop. Msia is heading to Tanzania this August as a Fulbright Scholar and recently she has been using Academia.edu to contact individuals she will be working with upon her arrival. “There’s a prominent presence of African academics on Academia.edu, and I think that’s really important because those are people who don’t come to the US for conferences,” says Msia.
Msia’s work can be viewed here.
SPOTLIGHT ON BERT TIMMERMANS, UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN
When trying to wrap his head around murky measures of research impact, like the h-index, psychology lecturer Bert Timmermans of the University of Aberdeen can’t help but say: “I don’t think these massive amounts of metrics and measures of impact are really doing science much good.”
Consequently when ResearchGate released their nebulous impact score in 2012, Bert closed down his ResearchGate account immediately and made his Academia.edu profile his go-to account for keeping an online repository, tracking documents views, and linking to other academics and research topics.
“What is really nice about Academia.edu is that it specifically does not have an impact score,” says Bert on why he turned to Academia.edu.
To Bert, Academia.edu’s freedom from fuzzy measures of research quality is a key step in changing what he believes is impeding science: an academic climate where only hypothesis-confirming research results lead to publications, leaving all other intelligent or innovative or informative research efforts in the dark.
The reason why these metrics and measures can impede science, says Bert, is this:
“They go together with the whole problem about the increasing difficulty to publish null results. If you make it very difficult for people to get null results or replications out, then it’s very simple: you cannot measure the quality of research by output.”
The current “impact” system quantifies research quality through quantity (i.e. research output), however current measures of quantity are biased or unrepresentative since “much of that quality research may be null findings or replications” which are deemed unpublishable and therefore are excluded when tallying quantity, says Bert.
To further explain his point, Bert educated me on the theory of the “LPU”, the Least Publishable Unit, a witty (and somewhat cynical) term coined by one of his former bosses to describe the publishability of a research effort.
“Let’s just assume that simple replication papers, or papers that fail to replicate an effect or find something, could also easily see the light of day. Then it would also make sense to have some kind of measure of quality through quantity. But if you actually combine the hypothesis-confirmation publication bias with impact metrics, then it’s really detrimental precisely because nobody is actually going to engage in research that is not sure to deliver on the publication side.”
It is from this aversion to engaging in research that will not definitively produce a publication that the concept LPU was born. A high LPU, no matter how good the idea, dissuades many non-tenured and growing academics.
“The scientific output has grown, but whether this is actually also the scientific quality remains to be seen,” adds Bert.
To elaborate on the questionable quality of growing scientific output, Bert tells the tale of his PhD days at the Free University of Brussels.
“When I started to make my first steps into the research world, about 10 or 15 years ago as a beginning PhD student, people would do a PhD and then after a PhD they started publishing about what they had done. They very often had papers which contained five experiments or so, and they had something to say,” says Bert.
But once PhD students began to be pressured to publish prior to finishing their doctorates is when things started to get hairy. Today, without several publications prior to receiving those coveted three letters after your name, Bert says, “You simply either won’t get your PhD or you certainly won’t get your post-doc position or a grant.”
So rather than publish a paper comprised of multiple experiments, eliciting a strong idea of a known effect and where the data fits into the big picture, students are pressured to publish early datasets fast, and consequently have a fuzzy sense of what their results actually mean. The situation is cyclical, encouraged by the case of the LPU. If PhD students and early academics were to hold off on publishing until they accrued multiple related experiments— “until they really identified the effect,” says Bert— then they run the risk of finding null results and consequently no publication. Years of research down the tube, from a reputation and impact-factor stance.
“Nobody wants to run that risk because everything hinges on publication, because publication happens to be the way that research quality has now been quantified. And that’s why I think that this obsession with ‘impact’ of your research is detrimental to science,” says Bert.
Sounds pretty dreary, huh? So what can we do to cure the case of the LPU?
Bert believes some of the solutions can be found through sites like Academia.edu and Psych File Drawer, a psychology-specific online database that houses papers that attempted to replicate some effect but actually couldn’t. These sites allow non hypothesis-confirming papers to see the light of day, providing opportunities for future research efforts to be more effective and productive. Rather than reinvent the wheel over and over again, people accessing these sites learn from each other— seeing what worked and what didn’t. Doing so will hopefully begin to reverse the hypothesis-confirmation bias that dominates publications by showing the value of null results and subsequently allow impact (or quality) to be measured on an even playing field.
Bert’s point is particularly relevant in light of recent academic scandals, like the Stapel Case in which a Dutch social scientist was found to be producing fraudulent results. His incentive? Guaranteed publication in prestigious journals like Science and thus the potential to increase his impact and reputation.
“Some of the effects that Stapel found were notoriously difficult to replicate, but nobody really knew to what degree precisely because these non-replications didn’t see the light of day,” stresses Bert.
While some creative recent proposals to combat this hypothesis-confirming bias and consequent measures of “impact” have been circulating, Bert thinks Academia.edu is a good place to start.
“Academia.edu gives you a way for all people to just share their papers and see how many people think their papers are worth taking a look at,” says Bert.
Bert Timmermans is a lecturer within the University of Aberdeen’s Social Cognition section where he investigates social cognition and consciousness. His work on consciousness, which is fairly fundamental research, involves a range of experiments including computer simulations testing implicit learning of sequences and patterns, and utilizing eye-tracking labs to observe how people interact with virtual avatars via eye gaze. Bert’s social cognition work looks at what happens when people interact with each other rather than simply observe something happening, experiments aimed to aid clinical psychologist in diagnoses.
Bert’s work can be viewed here.
This Week’s Most Viewed Papers
Each day thousands of Academia.edu users scour the site, discovering new research topics and catching wind of trending papers.
Here’s what sparked the curiosity of Academia.edu users this week:
Total Views: 441
The global struggle for real democracy exposes the divorce of power and politics at the heart of the capitalist state. Autonomy is the only way forward.
Total Views: 1,667
This article examines Indonesia’s reactions towards regional haze management eﬀorts between October 2006 and September 2007. Two signiﬁcant developments occurred during this time, drawing attention to Indonesia’s sovereignty sensitivities. Firstly, while Indonesia at ﬁrst seemed to be moving towards ratiﬁcation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, it abruptly decided to set up a special commitee to study the treaty, eﬀectively halting the parliamentary ratiﬁcation process. Secondly, after asking for regional help by inviting ASEAN member countries to assist areas of their choosing, Indonesia later refused to approve their proposals. The article argues that Indonesia is reluctant to give up control over its sovereignty due to the shadow of a bloody colonial history, bitter foreign interventionist experiences, territorial disputes with its neighbours, and ongoing internal conﬂicts. External non-intervention is especially important to Indonesia now, in the process of decentralizing and dealing with the arising internal complications, especially those involving forest resources.
Total Views: 15,139
This paper analyzes the relationships among same-sex marriage bans, social attitudes toward gays and non-marital sex, and measures of public health and welfare. We hypothesize that same-sex marriage bans may foster intolerance for gays and increase the social costs of same-sex partnerships, which may raise incentives for risky homosexual behavior. We also hypothesize that same-sex marriage bans may codify and signal traditional family values, which may raise the benefits of heterosexual marriage and reduce incentives for non-marital sex. Using micro-and state-level data, we find evidence that same-sex marriage bans reduced tolerance for gays and increased the syphilis rate, a rough proxy for risky homosexual behavior. However, we find no consistent evidence that same-sex marriage bans impacted risky heterosexual behavior, marriage, or divorce.
Total Views: 1,744
Being a growing problem, plagiarism is generally defined as “literary theft” and “academic dishonesty” in the literature, and it is really crucial to be well-informed on this topic to prevent the problem and stick to the ethical norms. With this motive, the aim of this study is to investigate the prospective academicians’ views on plagiarism, the degree to which they are knowledgeable about plagiarism, and the factors leading them to plagiarize, if any. The results showed although the prospective academicians have negative attitude, they might plagiarize due to foreign language problems, time constraints, and lack of knowledge about plagiarism
The Effects of Sexualization of Female Video Game Characters on Gender Stereotyping and Female Self-Concept
Total Views: 1,603
The present study utilized an experimental design to investigate the short term effects of exposure to sexualized female video game characters on gender stereo-typing and female self-concept in emerging adults. Bussey and Bandura’s (1999) social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation was used to explicate this relationship. Undergraduate students (N =328) at a large U.S. Southwestern university participated in the study. Students were randomly assigned to play a “sexualized” heroine, a “non-sexualized” heroine, or no video game; then completed an online questionnaire. Female self-efficacy was negatively affected by game play with the sexualized female character. Results cautiously suggest that playing a sexualized video game heroine unfavorably influenced people’s beliefs about women in the real world.
This chapter examines the musical, textual, and visual elements of contemporary rap music produced by Italian-American artists. “Hip wop” practitioners have forged their artistic personae from the alluring gangster image—the dominant narrative of the Italian experience in the United States in the popular imagination—found at the confluence of film, television, music, and the Internet. Italian-American rappers make a proprietary and authoritative claim to the gangster figure in an attempt to negotiate their positions as “white rappers” within a musical form associated with and dominated by African Americans. Claims of authenticity are reinforced through a series of cultural references that include the Italian language, Italian musical styles, and other objects and behaviors that contribute to the establishment of an Italian-American Hip Hop sensibility. Finally, these artists are attuned to the possibilities of deterritorialized affiliations as they use the internet to communicate and collaborate in a youth centric, transnational dialogue of reinvented community that forges a diasporic consciousness linking points on a global Italian cartography.
Total Views: 4,974
In terms of community focus, the field of urban and regional planning is much more comprehensive in both subject matter and outcomes than is most tourism planning, as least as each is taught in higher education around the world. Tourism planning, however, draws upon a good portion of urban and regional planning methods, especially in the area known as rational planning. As such, the more narrow area of tourism planning could be considered a subfield of urban and regional planning. One major shortcoming of tourism planning is an apparent lack of attention to the normative issues of (1) how planners should plan and (2) what issues planners should focus on in their planning efforts. These questions address the complexity of data and issues that planners deal with, including questions of what data or information is collected, how it is organized, and how the information will be used to make decisions. Tourism planners could benefit from greater familiarity with these fundamental concepts of planning theory.
Total Views: 2,118
As far as sustainability is concerned, the role of technology has always been contested. With regard to environmental degradation, technology is either perceived to be part of the problem or part of the solution. To combat the complex issues of the present time, technological solutions are expected to play a key role towards mitigating and adapting to the negative impacts of climate change. The paper also discusses the role of the 2009 Copenhagen Conference towards addressing climate change. Although the Copenhagen Accord is not a legally binding agreement, it is seen as a necessary first step towards a protocol that will effectively address the issue of climate change.
History as Drama, Drama as History: A Study of Three Plays as Windows into People and Groups in the ‘Niger Area’
Total Views: 11,571
The documentation of the happenings in society for future generation takes many methods and one of the methods is drama. For very long time in the history of African society’s oral performances have been the strongest way of transferring societal norms, taboo and genealogical chronology of individuals, families and communal life from one age to the other. No other texts in the Western imagination occupied central position in the self-definition of Western culture as the two epic poems of Homer, the Iliad and Odyssey. These narrative poems concerned the great defining moment of Greek culture, the Trojan War and heroes. Most of the knowledge of Myceneans, classical Greece and Rome that we have today are through the epic poems of Homer and Virgil as well as through the play-texts of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca, Terence and so on. This paper interrogates Ahmed Yerima’s Ameh Oboni the Great, The Trials of Oba Ovonramwen and Erelu Kuti as a revisit of the classical mode of historical documentation.
Total Views: 1,656
Examines how Coca-Cola has strategically positioned itself within the world’s soft drinks market. Given that they operate in over 200 countries, they are faced with a clear choice of whether to standardise their product offerings globally and reap the potential benefits of economies of scale, adapt their offerings to a particular market (which may facilitate increased market specific penetration), or adopt an integrated approach utilising both approaches simultaneously (Vrontis’ AdaptStand approach). There has been much literature written regarding the external and often uncontrollable factors which may impact upon a firms positioning strategy; this paper looks at these externalities and the internal controllables in order to derive a ‘best fit’ strategic and tactical approach. Moreover, this paper looks at the strategic international positioning of Coca-Cola by utilising a number of models
SPOTLIGHT ON KAYE WISE WHITEHEAD, LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MARYLAND
Academia.edu isn’t just for newbies trying to get known. Even scholars with solid reputations and robust bodies of work can reap the rewards, especially if they’ve lived three different careers in a decade, like assistant professor Kaye Wise Whitehead of Loyola University Maryland.
As a filmmaker turned teacher turned academic, Kaye has told the story of African American history to audiences spanning ages and disciplines. And while the medium of each tale has been markedly different, posting the complete body of her work on Academia.edu has constructed a synergistic narrative that draws people from all sectors, landing Kaye invitations to speak at a range of events and giving her some extra ammo when she comes up for tenure in two years time.
“I wanted to have all of my materials stored in one central location,” says Kaye about why she decided to join. “If anyone’s looking for me, I want Academia.edu to be the first place they go so that I can track that— so I can actually have the data and see what people are interested in.”
Tracking analytics is important to Kaye. While her work is clearly interrelated, the diverse forms of her scholarship can make quantifying its impact somewhat difficult, which is why Kaye plans to use her analytics in her tenure application in 2015.
“I’m going to write my analytics into my narrative when I talk about how I see myself in the field, when I talk about the people who access my work. I have hard numbers. I can say that my site has 500 or so profile views and people are looking for material. I can do a spreadsheet where I could document through Academia.edu that every time I have an article come out there is a peak in people who go look at it,” says Kaye.
While Kaye’s work is often accessed by teachers looking for lesson plans and primary sources, academics looking for articles, and filmmakers looking for experts, recently Kaye’s profile attracted the U.S. Postal Service who invited her speak at their relaunch of black history stamps this February.
"They had heard my name and then went on to my profile and began to download some of my articles as well as look at some of my clips," says Kaye.
Following the chain of her works, the U.S. Postal Service was moved by more than Kaye’s words; they were also drawn to her camera presence, one of the benefits says Kaye of providing all mediums of her work on Academia.edu.
“You can see me on camera and decide if you want me to come and give a talk at your company or be in your documentary,” adds Kaye.
Kaye’s camera charisma has also won the hearts of many schools, who have invited Kaye to talk about historical figures like Harriet Tubman, a figure she has written extensively about and has created extensive primary sources for K-12 teachers. In fact, Kaye’s K-12 educational materials drive a lot of traffic, which is telling of the widespread potential impact of her work— she was the 2006 Gilder Lehrman Preserve America History Teacher of the Year for Maryland after all.
“I love researching and writing about history, but more importantly, as a former teacher, I want the materials to be available to be used in every classroom, from K-16. I believe that my job, as a historian and an educator, is to make sure that my lesson plans, historiographies, book chapters, video clips, documentaries and any information about my upcoming work are accessible and user friendly, and Academia.edu provides me with a great forum to be able to do that,” says Kaye.
Kaye Wise Whitehead is an Assistant Professor of Communications and Affiliate Professor of African and African American History at Loyola University Maryland. Beginning her career first as a documentary filmmaker, Kaye covered a range of topics including the history of the Twin Towers and the construction of the George Washington Bridge, and also received three New York Emmy nominations. In 2003 she transitioned to teaching, becoming certified in Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12), elementary education, and middle school Social Studies; and in 2006 she was awarded Gilder Lehrman Preserve America History Teacher of the Year for Maryland, awarded to one K-12 American history teacher in every state. In 2007 Kaye left teaching to pursue a PhD in Language, Literacy and Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Last fall Kaye was one of four experts invited to speak at the “Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington” panel discussion held at the White House. Currently Kaye is working on two books— “Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis” and “The Emancipation Proclamation: Race Relations at the Eve of Reconstruction”— as well as a K-12 curriculum package for the March on Washington 50th anniversary to be released in August 2013.
Kaye’s work can be viewed here.