Work interests: research, editing, science communication
Affiliation/website: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
Preferred contact method: Any
Preferred contact language(s): English, German
Contact: email = researchcooperative-at-gmail-dot-com
Favourite publications: Various, and especially the open access versions of older journals with effective review systems
Affiliations: 1996-present: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka. 1995: Freelance editor, Kyoto. 1994: JSPS Research Visitor, Kyoto University, Kyoto. 1993: Research Visitor, Australian National University, Canberra. 1991: Visiting Researcher, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.1990: STA Fellow, National Institute for Ornamental Plants, Vegetables, and Tea (NIVOT), Ano, Japan
Contact: National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka, Japan 565-8511
Biographical: Established the Research Cooperative in 2001
Favourite Publications: Various
Applications invited for UK Science Communication course (Jan-March 2023)
By Research Cooperative, 2022-09-01
[Cross-posted by Admin from PCST Network]
Science Communication: Connecting People, Creating Events
The Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol is delighted to once again invite applications for this popular part-time, online course, which will run from 16 th January to 24 th March 2023.
You will develop the practical skills and theoretical understanding needed for effective, science-based public engagement, from the team behind UWE Bristol's highly regarded Science Communication postgraduate programmes . Topics include event design; understanding audiences; project planning; presentation skills; event promotion and evaluation.
The course is designed to work flexibly alongside other commitments, with assignments that can be tailored to a current role or used to explore new possibilities. The e ight units are taught over ten weeks (including two private-study weeks), with approximately ten hours study time each week.
You are required to have a minimum degree level qualification (or equivalent), though this does not need to be in a science-based subject. On completion you will gain 30 Masters-level credits (UK) or 7.5 ECTS (EU). Course fees are £750.
To apply, and for further course information , please visit: https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/usskns15m/science-communication-connecting-people-creating-events or contact us on email@example.com .
Science Communication Unit
Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences
Department of Applied Sciences
University of the West of England
Bristol BS16 1QY
James Lovelock, creator of the "Gaia hypothesis", has died at 103
By Research Cooperative, 2022-07-30
It is hard to imagine that James Lovelock, of all people, has passed away at the age of 103 (26th July 2022). He seemed to be eternal. Yet I doubt that he had any problem with the idea of his own mortality, despite his refusal to retire, and all his efforts to extend life on Earth. From reading about his ideas and his role in science history, he appears to have been an optimist, pessimist, idealist and realist all in one.
Helena Horton, writing for the Guardian on 27th July 2022, provides an informative short obituary, and notes:
"His Gaia hypothesis posits that life on Earth is a self-regulating community of organisms interacting with each other and their surroundings."
She then quotes Jonathan Watts (global environment editor at the Guardian). Watts knew Lovelock well and is writing a biography. The following statements are from Watts:
“Without Lovelock, environmental movements across the globe would have started later and taken a very different path.
In the 1960s his ultrasensitive electron capture detector revealed for the first time how toxic chemicals were creeping into the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil where we grow our food.
He was the first to confirm the presence of fluorocarbons in the stratosphere and issued one of the earliest warnings that petroleum products were destabilising the climate and damaging the brains of children.
He also warned, in clearer terms than any of his peers, of the dangers humanity posed to the extraordinary web of relations that make Earth uniquely alive in our universe.”
A long Wikipedia article dives deeper into various scientific controversies that Lovelock helped to energise.
His own views changed over time, doubtless because he lived long enough to see whether actual trends matched his own predictions.
Lovelock was conscious of having been alarmist in his popular writings, but remained alarmed. Current climate trends, and an ever-expanding range of empirical observations (in the physical, biological and agricultural sciences) give us every reason to be alarmed.
Panic will not be helpful: we need to be clear-thinking and alert to opportunities for positive action.
(Images: Gaia & Melting Ice, Vectorstock, 2022)
An open letter to the Ronin Institute - is collaboration possible?
By Research Cooperative, 2021-12-19
Copy of an open letter to the Ronin Institute (19th December 2021)
To whom it may concern,
I am a New Zealander working at the National Museum of Ethnology in Japan. This is where I settled in 1996 after a few years of wandering as a post-doc and self-employed scholar. My experiences of working in Japan led me to create the Research Cooperative in 2001, and the network now has approx. 8,000 members who are largely silent and/or inactive. This is partly because I cannot engage full-time with Co-op members while also working full-time for my museum and my own research. See:
The Research Cooperative needs collaboration with like-minded organisations and individuals!
My goal is to make the network self-sustaining as I believe the Research Cooperative will always be needed and useful, if it can achieve the potential I see in it. By self-sustaining a mean in terms of both development of the network and financially.
If the network can become more active, then it might attract sponsorships and advertising revenue, or might be of sufficient value to members to attract subscription payments for specific extra services. For example, professional editing or translation companies might be willing to offer discounts to subscribing members.
The Research Cooperative is a network where novices and professionals involved in all aspects of science communication can gather for mutual benefit.
Is collaboration between Ronin Institute and the Research Cooperative possible? At a minimum this could be a matter of cross-linking and cross-promotion.
Best regards, Peter
Codes of Conduct and Research Ethics
By Research Cooperative, 2021-04-08
Codes of conduct, research ethics and integrity... there are many ways to label the subject, but the overall goal is to make science a positive approach to understanding the world and guiding human activities. Science and knowledge can be powerful, anything that is powerful can do much that is good, and much that is not, however "good" is defined.
The actual details that need to be considered by any individual person or organisation depend on context: who is doing the work, who else is involved, the topic of study, the place of study, the methods used, what kind of information is generated, how information is communicated, the ways in which information might be used, intended purposes and possible unintended consequences, and who or what will benefit, or might benefit, directly or indirectly, when, and where.
In this blog I will gradually add links to a range of articles and websites where codes of conduct and research ethics are discussed or provided. Seeing many different examples may help members of the Research Cooperative consider what is best practice in their own areas of activity, as researchers, students, editors, translators and so on. Codes of conduct are often developed by professional societies, academic societies, institutions. Some may be very broad in scope, others may be designed for specific disciplines or even for specific methods used within a discipline.
If you would like to discuss these matters with other members of our network, please see our topic focus group for Research Ethics and Integrity
Here is an example with very broad scope, published by ALLEA (European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities), which represents more than 50 academies in over 40 EU and non-EU countries. ALLEA aims to promote science as a global public good, and facilitate scientific collaboration across borders and disciplines: The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity
The Code was published in English on 24th March 2017, and was translated into all official EU languages. All versions can be accessed through the link above.
The Research Cooperative and Covid 19
By Research Cooperative, 2020-06-23
I'm concerned that, globally, not enough efforts have been made to let most people know what viruses are and how we can protect ourselves and our communities from Covid 19 and economic damage -- now and in the future. Such efforts are just as important as collecting and providing the information on how and where the pandemic is expanding or retreating.
Despite all sincere efforts, perfectly accurate and complete information cannot be expected. Presenting the information we do have is done very well here:
A good public-health service and the economy are not either/or options. We need both: one supports the other.
It also helps to know how, why and where disinformation is created. UNESCO has published a report on this very recently, with the following cover note:
" Access to reliable and accurate information is critical at the best of times, but during a crisis such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it can be a matter of life and death ".
Support for composing service requests?
By Research Cooperative, 2018-07-06
A common problem that many researchers face when working in a second language is uncertainty about how to write a service request (see "Offers & Requests" in main menu) in the second language.
Authors may be uncomfortable making a request for help public, and not being sure of how to express the request is likely increase the discomfort. This leads to a natural resistance to make public requests for help.
This is why it is important for editors and translators to make public offers of help, so that authors can find them easily and then contact them using our "private note" messaging system. After login, each member can find the "private note" tab under their own username in the main menu.
It may also be useful for our network to provide individuals support in composing requests for help. I can offer such support as Administrator, but only to a limited extent as I have a full-time research job that needs most of my time.
What our network really needs is a volunteer support team who can help authors compose requests for help for either the public "Offers & Requests" or for private notes that can be sent to specific editors or translators in our network (or other service providers in the network - proofreaderes, illustrators, etc.)
If you would like be part of such a volunteer support team, please let me know!
Keep lots of copies for information safe-keeping
By Research Cooperative, 2017-06-10
The title here is an expansion of the catch phrase of a Stanford University team that developed a system (program) for long-term preservation of digital content: LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) .
The program description begins:
'The LOCKSS Program is an open-source, library-led digital preservation system built on the principle that “lots of copies keep stuff safe.” The LOCKSS system is the first and only mechanism to apply the traditional purchase-and-own library model to electronic materials. The LOCKSS system allows librarians at each institution to take custody of and preserve access to the e-content to which they subscribe, restoring the print purchase model with which librarians are familiar. ...' (Internet 10th June 2017, lockss.org/about/what-is-lockss/)
This program has supported a range of public and private archiving efforts, with a particular emphasis on helping libraries maintain access to digital content that they have purchased. What happens when an online journal dies and the website disappears? If libraries can keep copies of the digital content they actually already paid for, then the journal's published information will remain accessible.
There is a wealth of useful information and discussion in the LOCKSS website itself, and especially in Dr. David S. H. Rosenthal's Blog , maintained by one of the founders of LOCKSS.
One of the many important efforts being made using LOCKSS is called CLOCKKS :
' Controlled LOCKSS is a not-for-profit joint venture between the world’s leading academic publishers and research libraries whose mission is to build a sustainable, geographically distributed dark archive with which to ensure the long-term survival of Web-based scholarly publications for the benefit of the greater global research community.
CLOCKSS is for the entire world's benefit. Content no longer available from any publisher ("triggered content") is available for free. CLOCKSS uniquely assigns this abandoned and orphaned content a Creative Commons license to ensure it remains available forever.' ( Internet 10th June 2017 , https://clockss.org/clockss/Home)
Confessions of a newsclipping addict
By Research Cooperative, 2017-05-26
My Japanese wife reads two newspapers per day but claims it is just one, with morning and evening editions. She's a subscriber and reader. She has a photographic memory. I'm a non-subscriber and a clipper.
To be precise, I am a newsclipping addict. For environmental reasons!
Clipping helps me to remember things. I forget what exactly, but surely it does. Or at least, I know that I have already seen a paper if I find holes in it.
I've made a pact that I should not buy my next paper until I've finished clipping what catches my eye from the previous paper next to my chair at our dining table. I'm systematic, each page checked for clipworthy news is folded and put onto the paper recycling pile. A huge pile of paper in the corner of our living room.
We all read newspapers at the table, most often during breakfast. This includes my son. It is rude and unsociable but when else are we going to get time to read the paper? My son has all day (he lives at home, the newspaper is his university, along with the internet). My wife and I have only minutes free, squeezed into busy work schedules.
Clipworthy means I want to read the article twice. Or see it again in twenty years. Maybe use it for teaching. Maybe write about it. Maybe dream about it. Maybe see a new direction for my research, or change my life because of it.
I always think that another PhD lives in the questions raised by a good piece of news writing. I have hundreds of possible PhD topics stashed away in my paper files, waiting for the students I will never have. Waiting for second lives and further reincarnations for which I have every hope but no reasonable expectation. One life seems lucky enough, a sparkling moment at the surface of a broad and continuous stream.
Perhaps that is the miracle of news. We can live many lives through the stories we read. Good news means news that has meaning, significance, resonance. It sparkles, or makes me miserable, drowns my spirit -- but I cannot turn down the chance to learn from something that catches my eye or mind or heart. Or stomach. From past experience, I trust my gut reactions. Sometimes I clip first, and then later understand why I did that.
Really bad news is a nightmare that I try to forget. I don't need to know everything about problems that I cannot do anything about. There are enough unhappy and happy stories that I should look at. They concern matters close to my own life and work. Agriculture, food security, pest and disease in the food chain, arable land loss, global fertiliser supplies, poverty, over-population, food trade, small-scale farming, artists, writers, farmers, plants, or animals.
I may be a wide-grazing, newsclipping addict, but that doesn't mean I don't have focus.
The news is a lens. The optics may be fuzzy at times, but newspapers do give me a deeper, wider perspective on what I am doing with the rest of my day. I like taking what comes, sorting out the wheat from the chaff, finding unexpected gems. What will the next turn of the page bring?
The news is a drug. Clipping the news is a daily addiction, accompanied by sounds of family, rain, frogs chirping in the fields outside, passing trains, another cup of tea. Followed by a dash to the station, with ideas to think about as I study the space between my nose and the next passenger.
The 'Riken Affair" and home schooling
By Research Cooperative, 2014-04-22
My son here in Japan is of an age when he is seriously beginning to think about what it might be like to enter university... and why he might want to do that. He doesn't have much experience of writing, and writing does not seem to be a strong concern at his mid-level, local highschool. We expect that he will face a steep learning curve if he does go to university.
Few the last few weeks though, there has been continuous daily coverage of the 'STAP cell" controversy, also known as the "Riken Affair". The affair started with publication of a paper in Nature by researchers at Japan's Institute of Physical and Chemical Research ('Riken'). One strand of the story goes back to the university training of the young researcher who was first author of the coauthored paper.
Her PhD was found to contain plagiarised elements, that were further copied into the paper published in Nature, despite there being no stated connection with the thesis in the Nature paper. Concern has been raised about standards of training and supervision at universities where some staff may have too many PhD students to give sufficient attention to their work.
In the Focus column of the Japan Times (Friday 18th April 2014), it is noted that a growing number of universities in Japan are introducing software systems to detect plagiarism in academic papers. At the same time, universities have started to publish all doctoral theses online, following introduction of a rule by the education ministry that made this mandatory.
The two systems most commonly used by universities here appear to be internationally-known products called iThenticate and Turnitin.
I hope the use of such systems to deter plagiarism does not become a substitute for teaching students how to learn, think, and write. Unexpectedly, we've been having family discussions about research, writing, and publishing. A good result of the Riken Affair has been some home schooling that may help our son think more realistically the purpose of a university education.
My first copy of the journal "Science Editor"
By Research Cooperative, 2013-05-07
Last year, for $179, I joined the Council of Science Editors (headquarters in the USA). The cost was a bit of shock, but I have been looking forward to seeing their journal. I like having a good read for the train.
Today I received the first issue for 2013: Science Editor , Vol. 36 (1, January-March), with 36 pages.
As well as being supported by membership dues, the journal has one inside-front and two back-cover pages carrying full page advertisements.
The present issue shows advertisements for online publishers and publishing systems. The issue theme is related:
Perspectives on Open Access .
It's a slim volume, but the writing is all to a high standard, and is clearly guided by an understanding that less can be more.
Reading what editors say about writing, editing, and publishing might sound like self-inflicted punishment to many people.
Rest assured, the pain is short-lived, and you may enjoy relief afterwards. The editors believe in Brevity.
Personally, I am glad to see the work of authors who are caring and knowledgeable about how science is communicated.
See: Science Editor
A free white paper can be downloaded: Open Access: Five Considerations for Publishers