Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SFI research boosts African science

Turns out that SFI's policy of encouraging open access publication of the research it funds could have a big pay off for scientists in Africa and in developing countries around the world.

SFI recently sent out a note that said ...

Where a research publication arises in whole or in part from SFI funded research (i.e. where one or other of the researchers concerned receives SFI funds in support of their endeavours), the SFI Open Access Availability of Published Research Policy will be adhered to.

...and SciDev.Net has now reported that research published in Science recently demonstrates that "making articles freely available online can widen the participation of developing world scientists in global science":

Researchers at the University of Chicago in the United States measured the extent to which making papers available on an open access basis affected how many times those papers were cited, and by whom.

Using Thompson Scientific's Citation Indexes and Fulltext Sources Online, they surveyed 26 million articles from more than 8,000 journals, their associated citations from 1945–2005 and online availability from 1998–2005.


"Our study shows that people who have access to journals in poor countries use them," says James A. Evans, the leading author of the research, published in Science last week (20 February). "If they weren't freely available they wouldn't use them with the same frequency, and they may not be able, as a result, to themselves publish in top journals."

Ironically it looks like you've to pay to get full access to the original paper in Science!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Five Day Masterclass in Science Communication

I just got an e-mail about this 5 day science communication masterclass that looks really interesting...

The Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England is delighted to announce [...]

UWE Masterclass in Science Communication (application deadline: 20th March 2009)

UWE's Science Communication Masterclass is a five day intensive course created to provide professional development in science communication. The masterclass draws on the existing expertise of the team that delivers UWE's popular and practical Masters in Science Communication.

The next Masterclass will be held on April 20-24 2009 in Bristol and will cost £500 per delegate. If you are a current BIG member then make sure you take advantage of the 10% member’s discount when you register.

Registration for the 2009 Masterclass will close on 20th March 2009. To register as a participant please complete the registration form available from the above website. Places are limited and are booking out fast, so early registration is recommended!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Create your own NASA podcast

I'm always impressed by the creativity of NASA's outreach activities, and I just got an e-mail on their NASA Education EXPRESS mailing list about their latest education initiative... Dan Tani (who has Irish links) is one of the astronauts who has taken part by filming videos that anyone can use to create their own "mash up" videos...

NASA Education is excited to introduce the Do-It-Yourself Podcast activity in the For Educators section of Students can preview and download audio and video clips of astronauts performing work in space and on the ground. They can then use these clips to build their own podcast or similar audio/video project.

Learning modules on the DIY Podcast page will be categorized by topic to assist students with creating projects about a subject of interest.

Each subject module includes video and audio clips, images, helpful information and links to related resources. A variety of audio and video clips will be provided to enhance flexibility and creativity. Students can create video or audio projects using free or inexpensive software on Windows or Macintosh computers.

Educators and their students are encouraged to distribute their NASA projects through podcasts, social networks, Web sites, CDs, DVDs or other channels that they may choose.

The Do-It-Yourself Podcast Blog will keep users posted on the latest updates. Tips and suggestions for incorporating the DIY Podcast into the classroom and updates on when new topic modules are available will be posted regularly. Use the Comments feature of the blog to share ideas and experiences with other teachers and students.

To learn more and to start making podcasts, visit .

For answers to questions about this activity, please contact Deana Nunley at