Sunday, June 25, 2006

Scientific publications communicate science too

It's easy to forget that science communication isn't all about "popular science" material aimed directly at a non-specialist public audience. Traditional scientific publications such as journal articles are widely available on the internet and read by many people outside specialists in those fields. This is having a knock-on impact on the peer review process as well with traditional print journals struggling to find ways to compete with internet pre-print servers. Nature's innovative answer to this is to try out its own version of open peer review - giving non-specialists an exciting glimpse of work in progress and also a fascinating insight into the often hidden debate and discussion that surrounds the publication of every paper.

Many papers and scientific publications are now readily available on-line - and my own MSc Thesis entitled "Surface studies of nanomagnetic systems" is among them. This nanotechnology research focusses on a number of magnetic systems relevant to the development of the next generation of computer hard disks and other devices based on magnetic nano-structures. This work was carried out in the group of Igor Shvets which is now playing an active part in CRANN at Trinity College Dublin, and is related to the work being done internationally by groups such as that founded by Prof. Dr. Roland Wiesendanger.

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