In this article I review evidence showing that the current definition of asthma as chronic airway inflammation is not scientifically substantiated. Importantly, this problematic definition is distracting the medical community away from inexpensive therapeutic interventions that have proven to be remarkably efficient in numerous clinical trials.
The feature article on last Sunday’s Vima Science discussing University Rankings presented a research paper authored by Michael Taylor, Varvara Trachana, Stelios Gialis and myself. The Vima Science article uses data and arguments presented in our paper to criticise current University indices that are constructed from a list of arbitrary indicators combined using subjective weightings. The article specifically focuses on how these rankings fail to capture the high productivity of Greek scientists and University students as measured through citation data, and discusses Michael’s suggestions on what criteria should students and parents use in order to select a suitable University.
After a long delay, our debate article “Academic self-publishing: a not-so-distant future” finally appeared at Prometheus, a journal publishing critical studies in innovation. The journal issue hosting our article was originally expected in September 2013, but a series of unfortunate events resulted in an eight-month standoff between the journal’s editorial team and its publisher Taylor & Francis. In short, the debate proposition paper, authored by four academics from the University of Leicester’s School of Management, harshly criticized the large profits made by major publishing firms on the back of academics’ labors and the failure of the Finch report on open access to address this problem.
A new article we have been working for some time with Dr. Plamen Ivanov was recently published in PLoS ONE. In the article we analyse times between consecutive transactions for a diverse group of stocks registered on the NYSE and NASDAQ markets, and we relate the dynamical properties of the intertrade times with those of the corresponding price fluctuations. We report that market structure strongly impacts the scale-invariant temporal organisation in the transaction timing of stocks, which we have observed to have long-range power-law correlations.
Global university rankings are a powerful force shaping higher education policy worldwide. Several different ranking systems exist, but they all suffer from the same mathematical shortcoming – their ranking index is constructed from a list of arbitrary indicators combined using subjective weightings. Yet, different ranking systems consistently point to a cohort of mostly US and UK privately-funded universities as being the ‘best’. Moreover, the status of these nations as leaders in global higher education is reinforced each year with the exclusion of world-class universities from other countries from the top 200.
As I make my way through an ocean of stimuli and experiences I observe the subtle changes in my mood and try to explain where they come from and what is causing them. My mind is hardwired to look for causes in a linear way. Big emotions are caused by dramatic life events while minor mood changes can have less significant origins, such as something I ate yesterday or an approaching project deadline. This hunt for external causes keeps my mind busy and the conversations with friends going, but is it always meaningful?
I recently came back from Brussels where I attended the Information Days on the Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructures Work Programme. I was there to present the LIBRE project and to have the chance to meet other project coordinators looking for European funding.
Today I made a brief presentation of Open Scholar and the LIBRE project at the Information Days on Horizon 2020 that was held in Brussels from 12-14 of February. I had the chance to receive first hand information about the e-Infrastructures calls, listen to many interesting proposals and discuss about possible collaborations with potential partners.
On Thursday 5th of December, I gave a talk on how to move beyond open access and face academia’s real problems, at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. The talk focused on how the journal monopoly over three of the most basic processes in scholarly communication —validation, evaluation and dissemination— is creating problems even more important than the lack of accessibility to research output. The LIBRE platform was presented as an alternative, free, journal-independent, community-based model of research validation and evaluation where the author is at the center of an open and transparent peer review process.
On Friday 8th of November, together with Michael Taylor we gave a 5-minute talk on the future of academic peer review also presenting the forthcoming platform LIBRE at the SpotOn 2013 event.