Monday, March 20, 2017

Award honors the legacy of Dr. Eugene Garfield

We were pleased to learn of this new award from Clarivate Analytics:

"To honor the legacy of Dr. Eugene Garfield, the visionary founder of the Web of Science and a pioneer of Information Science, Clarivate Analytics created the “Eugene Garfield Information Sciences Pioneer Award.” The award will be given annually to at least one promising information scientist, selected by a board of prominent scientometricians.

"Clarivate Analytics, the home of the Web of Science and Journal Impact Factor, supports innovative research by individuals in the scientometric community through a thought leadership program, which gives researchers access to Web of Science data, as well as to scholarships such as the American Society of Information Science & Technology’s Outstanding Teacher Award and Dissertation Proposal Award. Both awards were created in the early 1980s by Dr. Garfield. This new award will enable additional researchers to advance the field and build on Dr. Garfield’s legacy.

"At least one prize will be given annually for the most innovative research in scientometrics, which can be applied to the field globally. It will be awarded to an early-career researcher (i.e., no more than PhD + 10 years) and based on the application criteria and on the researcher’s needs. In addition to the award, Clarivate Analytics will provide the successful applicant with in-kind support and access to Web of Science data."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Communicating Science: more than just the facts, please

The library is celebrating great science writers with a display of engaging, delightful to read, fact-based books that draw in the reader with compelling stories.  
It will become a rotating display (figuratively and literally, once the new display rack arrives) of new books on science topics, written for a general audience.

The Internet abounds with wonderful science writing as well, of course.  Sean Carroll speaks to this very persuasively in his 2014 blog post, "Twenty-First Century Science Writers."

In 2015, Columbia Journalism Review highlighted "Six great pieces of science writing you may have missed this year."

The description of our book display (Oberlin College Libraries tumblr, March 15) includes a long list of recommended articles - to that list, we add two by Dyani Sabin '14 (former Science Library Student Assistant):

Hawaii Could Become an All-Renewable All-Electric Car Paradise by 2045
Dyani Sabin Clean Energy February 21, 2017

The Blue Collar Job of the Future Is Solar Panel Installer
Dyani Sabin Solar Energy February 22, 2017.

It's remarkable how much one can learn (even those who are reluctant to approach science in any manner) when a good writer weaves the facts with an interesting story that brings home a strong message.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Senior Ryanna Fossum co-authors a paper in Lithos

Oberlin College geology major Ryanna Fossum worked with researchers from the American Museum of Natural History and Rutgers State University Wright Rieman Labs on this project:

Zirakparvar, N. Alex; Setera, Jacob; Mathez, Edmond; Vantongeren, Jill; Fossum, Ryanna.  2017. The pre-Atlantic Hf isotope evolution of the east Laurentian continental margin: Insights from zircon in basement rocks and glacial tillites from northern New Jersey and southeastern New York. Lithos 272, : 69-83. 

From the Abstract:
This paper presents laser ablation U–Pb age and Hf isotope data for zircons from basement rocks and glacial deposits in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York. The purpose is to understand the eastern Laurentian continental margin's Hf isotope record in relation to its geologic evolution prior to the opening of the Atlantic Ocean.  
Access this at or the OhioLINK EJC.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Brad Carter publishes in the journal Zebrafish

New publication from Brad Carter, Visiting Assistant Professor in Neuroscience, from research completed at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Validation of Protein Knockout in Mutant Zebrafish Lines Using In Vitro Translation Assays.
Bradley S. Carter, Christian Cortés-Campos, Xiao Chen, Jasmine M. McCammon, and Hazel L. Sive.
Zebrafish. February 2017, 14(1): 73-76. doi:10.1089/zeb.2016.1326.  (full-text access for subscribers)

Advances in genome-editing technology have made creation of zebrafish mutant lines accessible to the community. Experimental validation of protein knockout is a critical step in verifying null mutants, but this can be a difficult task. Absence of protein can be confirmed by Western blotting; however, this approach requires target-specific antibodies that are generally not available for zebrafish proteins. We address this issue using in vitro translation assays, a fast and standard procedure that can be easily implemented.

Publication by Matthew Elrod and current students, alumnus

New publication from the Elrod lab, as indexed in the Web of Science
Authors:  William C. Thomas, Class of 2015; William D. Dresser, junior; Diego A. Cortés, senior; Matthew J. Elrod, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Gas Phase Oxidation of Campholenic Aldehyde and Solution Phase Reactivity of its Epoxide Derivative.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2017 121 (1), 168-180
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.6b08642  (access for American Chemical Society subscribers)

From the abstract: "On the basis of the rate constants determined for CA and CAE, it is likely that these species are reactive on atmospherically relevant time scales in the gas and aerosol phases, respectively. The results of the present study largely support a previous supposition that a-pinene-derived secondary organic aerosol may be influenced by the multiphase processing of various intermediate species, including those with epoxide functionality."

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Eugene Garfield Obituary: Scientometrics Pioneer | The Scientist Magazine®

Eugene Garfield Obituary: Scientometrics Pioneer | The Scientist Magazine®: Eugene Garfield, founder of the Institute for Scientific Information and The Scientist, has passed away at age 91.

The only evidence of the once imposing wall of volumes -
our neglected shelf list card for Science Citation Index.
I was sorry to read the news today of Dr. Garfield's passing.  It was an honor to meet Eugene Garfield when I was invited to participate in a users group forum at the Institute for Scientific Information in the mid-1980s.  He was very kind and welcoming, and surprised us with his self-deprecating humor in the face of our deference to his superior knowledge of citation metrics.  It seems like a life-time ago (and for the current generation of undergraduates, it is more than a life-time) that the science faculty here routed the library's copies of Current Contents, issued weekly, around each department as a way of keeping abreast of new research.  Likewise, the print volumes of Science Citation Index hit the recycling bin ages ago - perhaps directly to a landfill, in the pre-recycling era - and Web of Science competes mightily with Google Scholar and other databases for the same reliance from today's students as once shown by faculty to Current Contents.  Dr. Garfield's legacy is still very evident, even as formats and use patterns evolve.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Scientific Integrity Relies on Transparency and Open Communication

Sign seen at #WomensMarchOnWashington
The National Park Service Won't be Silenced and Rogue Scientists Race to Save Climate Data... are just two of recent headlines that indicate a growing unease and distrust between the new administration and the scientific community.  Another indication of strained relations is this list of recommendations for protecting yourself as a whistleblower, from Inside Climate News (no. 6 is especially chilling: "Consider buying a burner phone. Use cash.").

The second story was, in part, about researchers, computer scientists, librarians (yeah!), archivists and students at Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania.  Listen to this story, which aired today, beautifully crafted by Susan Phillips of Here and Now.  It is reassuring to hear professional colleagues explaining the need for metadata and archiving.  Find the "bagged data" at  This sort of vigilance will be needed to keep scientific data and reports accessible - especially those funded by the government, at taxpayer expense.

The following comes from the "Rogue Scientists" story in Wired:
"But data, no matter how expertly it is harvested, isn’t useful divorced from its meaning. “It no longer has the beautiful context of being a website, it’s just a data set,” Allen says. [Laurie Allen, the assistant director for digital scholarship in the Penn libraries and the technical lead on the data rescuing event]
"That’s where the librarians came in. In order to be used by future researchers—or possibly used to repopulate the data libraries of a future, more science-friendly administration—the data would have to be untainted by suspicions of meddling. So the data must be meticulously kept under a “secure chain of provenance.” In one corner of the room, volunteers were busy matching data to descriptors like which agency the data came from, when it was retrieved, and who was handling it. Later, they hope, scientists can properly input a finer explanation of what the data actually describes."

Thank you, librarians and archivists.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Physics major Stella Ocker publishes in Astrophysical Journal

Congratulations to Stella Ocker, junior, for her publication in Astrophysical Journal, co-authored with Gordon Petrie of the National Solar Observatory (NSO).  Ocker's research took place in Boulder, Colorado as part of the NSO Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Spatial maps of solar active region NOAA 11158
Ocker, Stella Koch and Gordon Petrie. 2016. The effects of spatial smoothing on solar magnetic helicity parameters and the hemispheric helicity sign rule. Astrophysical Journal 832, no. 2: 162.

Partial abstract:
"The hemispheric preference for negative/positive helicity to occur in the northern/southern solar hemisphere provides clues to the causes of twisted, flaring magnetic fields. Previous studies on the hemisphere rule may have been affected by seeing from atmospheric turbulence. Using Hinode/SOT-SP data spanning 2006–2013, we studied the effects of two spatial smoothing tests that imitate atmospheric seeing: noise reduction by ignoring pixel values weaker than the estimated noise threshold, and Gaussian spatial smoothing."