- Researchers interested in an academic career, beware! Apparently, in recent years, it's become popular for universities to evaluate prospective hires based on their "h-index," which reflects both the number of publications and the number of citations per publication. However, a recent study has shown that current mathematical models that predict a scientist's future performance based on their past performance aren't reliable and shouldn't be used in career advancement decision processes. [url]
- Getting depressed because you can't get funding? Don't Despair... A study has found that grant size doesn't strongly predict a researcher's scientific impact. [url]
- Traditional metrics used to gauge a researcher's scientific impact are inadequate, since they typically assume that all co-authors of a paper contribute equally to the work. Now researchers are proposing a new metric that takes into account the relative contributions of all co-authors to establish a more rational way of determining a researcher's scientific impact. [url]
- This takes the cake: A new study has found that scientists are terrible at judging the importance of other researchers' publications. Apparently, scientists rarely agree on the importance of a paper and are strongly biased by what journal the paper is published in. Also, the number of times a paper is cited has little relation to its actual scientific merit. [url]
by Joyce Hung
Mon, Nov 11th 2013 5:00pm
by Eric Goldman
Tue, Aug 14th 2012 3:43am
from the an-opinion-is-not-defamation dept
Gizmodo.com published an article, Smoke & Mirrors: The Greatest Scam in Tech, about Redmond's venture, Peep Telephony. In addition to using the word "scam" in the title, the article had lots of denigrating things to say about Peep and about Redmond's prior initiatives. (The opinion lays out the beefs, although some of the hot spots are apparent from a quick review of the initial article). Gizmodo subsequently published Redmond's rebuttals. Later, Redmond apparently decided the rebuttal wasn't enough and asked Gizmodo to remove both articles, which Gizmodo declined to do. Redmond then sued Gizmodo's parent Gawker Media for defamation. The court dismissed the case on anti-SLAPP grounds, and that means Redmond will owe a check to Gawker for his lawsuit.
The court has no problem finding that Peep Telephony's activities were a matter of public interest, as Peep Telephony had received some high-profile coverage from technology reporters before Gizmodo's story, and Redmond apparently had been trying to stir up press coverage in advance of the 2011 CES conference. The court summarizes that the "Gizmodo article was a warning to a segment of the public--consumers and investors in the tech community--that Redmond's claims about his latest technology were not credible."
The court also says that Redmond's beefs relate to statements of opinion, not fact. The court notes that the word "scam" as not a factual assertion (a dicey outcome), the article was written in a "casual" and "sarcastic" first-person style ("the article's general tenor and language would give a reasonable reader the impression the authors were expressing subjective opinions, not reporting facts"), and the article used weasel words, such as "seems," "arguably," "looks like," etc., to qualify key fact-like assertions.
The most interesting part of the opinion is where the court talks about the article's "transparency." The court says (emphasis added):
The sources upon which the authors rely for their conclusions are specified, and the article incorporates active links to many of the original sources--mainly Web sites and promotional material created and maintained by Redmond and his ventures....Having ready access to the same facts as the authors, readers were put in a position to draw their own conclusions about Redmond and his ventures and technologies....Statements are generally considered to be nonactionable opinion when the facts supporting the opinion are disclosed.
This is true, of course, but a point often lost when defamation plaintiffs are breathing fire. A properly-cited article, filled with hyperlinks to original source materials, should be extra-resistant to defamation claims--even if written with typical blogger snark. Readers can easily inspect the source materials themselves and make their own judgments about the article's veracity. Thus, either the citations provide proper factual support for the article's opinion, or the links should eliminate any problems with the author's knowledge (where that matters to the prima facie defamation claim, which would have been the situation here). Either way, the defamation claim should fail, as it did here.
So this decision is a great ruling for bloggers. Unfortunately, it's unpublished (like far too many California appellate court opinions), which limits its precedential effect. To fix this, my RA and I are planning to request that the court publish it. Even if it remains unpublished, perhaps the ultimate takeaway--that defamation claims against well-cited blog posts will be quickly dismissed by anti-SLAPP laws and lead to the plaintiff paying money to the defense--will help dissuade similar lawsuits nonetheless. Especially in a situation like this, where the potential plaintiff already had gotten an on-the-spot rebuttal, suing over a blog post like Gizmodo's rarely makes sense.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 5th 2010 6:17pm
from the what's-stealing,-Rupert? dept
Andrew Fine alerted us to the news that suggests the NY Post used one of his posts as inspiration for a story. Fine had written about the rather disconcerting sign in a Chuck E. Cheese in Harlem. That blog post got some attention on various other blogs... and then just a couple of days later, the NY Post had an article about the very same sign (apparently, it took two reporters to write that article), with nary a mention of Fine's original blog post (or even any of the other blog posts that promoted Fine's original story).
Now, to be clear, while I do think it's good manners to cite where you sourced a story, it's certainly not required (legally or otherwise) by any means. But where it gets hypocritical is for this to come from an organization that claims that other sites merely linking to its articles are somehow "stealing." But when the NY Post comes in and blatantly borrows an idea from someone else, and does so without credit, that's perfectly fine? It seems like Murdoch and News Corp. have quite the double standard going.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 4th 2009 12:06pm
from the parasites? dept
Charles Vestal points us to another such case, but in this one, the reporter confessed and noted that it was company policy not to credit bloggers. In this case, it involved a local New York City blog that goes by the charming name NewYorkShitty.com. Last month, it reported on an illegal gym in the neighborhood. A little over a week later, the big News Corp/Rubert Murdoch-owned NY Post wrote an article covering just that story that seemed pretty obviously taken straight from the original.
So, the author of the blog post, one "Miss Heather" contacted one of the NY Post reporters, who quite openly admitted to using the blog post for his story, and then said it's against corporate policy to credit bloggers with scoops. Apparently, the same applies at the NY Daily News as well:
Post policy prevented me from crediting you in print. Allow me to do so now. You did a fantastic reporting job. All I had to do was follow your steps (and make a few extra phone calls).Now, this isn't a surprise, but how come that Washington Post reporter's claims of blogs being "parasites" got so much attention a few weeks ago, when it involved a clear case where the blog quite deliberately cited and linked to the original -- but a situation like this, where the NY Post blatantly got the story from a blog and admits it, doesn't get any attention at all?
I won't discuss at length the policy of not crediting blogs (or anyone else). I'll just briefly explain that as long as we can independently verify every bit of info, we don't credit.