Work interests: science communication
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Academia.edu subscription: Expensive but good value, or information overload?
By Research Cooperative, 2023-05-21
I have an unfortunate habit of trying new paid services and then not using them as much as I should.... mostly because (a) there are too many other free and paid services that are constantly catching my attention, (b) I only need to process and use a limited amount of information for my own academic purposes.
Being focused and producing our own new work, while being open to new ideas and information is a difficult balancing act in the present age of media over-abundance.
Nevertheless, I quite often down the pdf packages that academica.edu offers when I come across a paper in their online archive.
As am information management technique, I try to delete bundled papers that are off-topic immediately, so that I can dig into the interesting papers more efficiently at a later date.
The Academia Premium subscription package includes many more benefits thant its regular account. These are described below (Internet , 21st May 2023: https://support.academia.edu/hc/en-us/articles/360043383853-What-is-Academia-Premium?):
Mentions: Learn who cites you.
Readers: See who interacts with your work.
Enhanced Analytics: Slice and dice how, when, and where your Academia profile is discovered and viewed.
Advanced Search: Explore the full text of millions of uploaded papers.
Profile Visitors: Find out types of people who check out your profile.
Personal Website: A clean, beautiful way to show your presence to the world.
Grants: Search our database of over one thousand grant and fellowship opportunities.
PDF Packs: download whole groups of related papers to jumpstart your research. Search Alerts: Stay updated on your research with automatic reports of saved search queries. Summaries: Get super-summarized versions of papers & save time on research.
ChatGPT4 advice on how to fact-check ChatGPT4
By Research Cooperative, 2023-03-17
We definitely need to fact-check everything we are told by AI systems like ChatGPT. These machines seem to be designed to generate uncertain information, without any internal fact-checking system. Although humans are unreliable, at least we can attempt to fact check ourselves by consulting memories that we consider to be factual. Of course, our memories are not always factual, but we are always training and retraining our own memories with new information. And also, for many different reasons, we may be attracted to misleading or wrong information and full our heads with nonsense. My impression so far (as of March 2023) is that ChatGPT can produce unlimited amounts of nonsense, mixed with real and useful information, and we should not absorb any of it uncritically.
My prompt to ChatGPT4:
Please outline the most effective strategy for using online tools to fact-check statements made by ChatGPT. Are there any specific tools designed for fact-checking ChatGPT?
Using online tools to fact-check statements made by ChatGPT is essential to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided. While there aren't any specific tools designed exclusively for fact-checking ChatGPT, you can use a combination of general fact-checking tools and strategies to verify the information:
Search engines: Use search engines like Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo to verify facts, statistics, and historical events. Search for keywords, phrases, or questions that relate to the statement you want to verify.
Fact-checking websites: Websites like Snopes, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact specialize in verifying claims, debunking myths, and providing accurate information. Visit these websites and search for the topic or statement in question.
Primary sources: Whenever possible, refer to primary sources like government publications, official reports, research papers, or interviews with experts. This will help you validate the authenticity of the information provided by ChatGPT.
Cross-referencing: Cross-check the statement with multiple sources to ensure consistency and reliability. If multiple credible sources confirm the information, it's more likely to be accurate.
Media monitoring tools: Use tools like Google News or media monitoring services like Meltwater or Mention to search for news articles, press releases, or other media coverage related to the statement.
Expert opinions: If you're uncertain about a statement's accuracy, consult experts or authorities in the relevant field. This can be done through social media, professional networks, or by contacting them directly.
Social media verification: Verify claims on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook by checking the accounts of official organizations, journalists, or experts in the field.
Statistical databases: Use statistical databases like the World Bank, UNdata, or Statista to verify data and statistics provided by ChatGPT.
Reverse image search: If ChatGPT provides an image or visual representation, use reverse image search tools like Google Images or TinEye to verify the image's authenticity and origin.
Online communities: Engage with online communities like Reddit or Quora to seek clarification or additional information about the statement in question. Be cautious, however, as information from online communities can be both helpful and misleading.
Remember that ChatGPT is an AI language model, and it can sometimes provide outdated, incorrect, or ambiguous information. Always cross-reference and verify information provided by ChatGPT using the strategies mentioned above.
Mailing lists for academic purposes
By Research Cooperative, 2022-09-02
Recently, a small academic society I belong to lost the person who had been looking after member contact details. There was backup copy of the full member list but we now have to rebuild the mailing list based on this. We did not use a properly managed mailing list system: Here I will report systems that other academic groups use:
This might be one of the best open source and free systems:
"GNU Mailman -- the world's most popular mailing-list manager -- has been in constant revision for two decades and supports more than 20 languages.
MailmanLists hosts group mailing-lists -- using GNU Mailman -- on servers around the world, and provides customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." (Mailman website, 2nd Sept. 2022)
The University College London (UCL) uses Mailman and gives advice on how set up a list and manage it:
By Research Cooperative, 2021-05-03
Many online services, free and paid, are now available for analysing DNA sequences and other forms of genetic data. For example:
ATGC bioinformatics platform (Montpellier, France) - data can be uploaded, analysed, and the results will be sent back by email.
Looking for a world index of academic journals?
By Research Cooperative, 2021-02-05
Why look for an index?
Well... hopefully someone else has done the hard work of looking through zillions of search results and identifying journals that actually exist, and that can be contacted if necessary.
Let's see. An exact search on "world index of journals" should narrow things down.
Here's what we get:
Google: "No results..." but then there are about 264,000,000 results that are not exact.
No bad. I won't start at the bottom of that list!
The Index Copernicus , based in Warsaw, is at top.
After that there are some journal ranking sites. And some incomplete journal indexing sites that seem to have started and then stopped.
"World list of journals" doesn't lead far either. There is a Wikipedia entry that lists some journals. And a Google snippit highlights this revelation:
"No one knows how many scientific journals there are, but several estimates point to around 30,000, with close to two million articles published each year."
That came from a short and pithy article:
"Too much academic research is being published"
T here is probably not much more I need to say.
It helps keep us on our toes. We wouldn't need science if we actually knew everything.
By Research Cooperative, 2020-09-19
Even specialists have difficulty learning and remembering all the specific technical terms used in their field. Oxford University Press and other publishers in the past published many discipline-specific dictionaries and glossaries. Now we can find open-access technical glossaries online. Here are some good examples.
Biology Dictionary , USA
Florabase glossary, Western Australia
By Research Cooperative, 2020-04-10
Tools for many different areas of biological research (genetics, ecology, medicine, and more). See:
Online polling sites
By Research Cooperative, 2019-11-27
Recently I was asked to fill out a poll (at http://www.easypolls.net ) on my use of social networks, by a Yahoo group that is focused on Crop Wild Relatives (CWR). I mainly use ResearchGate, which put me in the "other" category in the options offered.
There are many kinds of online polling service available, and I regard them as an important part of the online ecosystem, for academia as much as they are for commercial or entertainment purposes.
Readers of this blog: Please recommend any polling services you think may be useful for research surveys or other academic purposes.
Newspaper Directories - News old and new
By Research Cooperative, 2017-06-22
Newspapers are a major resource for many kinds of research. Here are some newspaper directory sites. Please tell us about any other directory sites of interest.
Newspaper archives are especially interesting.
They take us back to the 19th century, more than 100 years ago, when global views of the world were just beginning to become apparent to most people, through the industrialisation of printing technology and paper production. I wonder what is regarded as the first newspaper in the world?
Here is a start:
Informit - information management and access
By Research Cooperative, 2017-04-19
This information access company has a lot to offer researchers and research organisations in Asia and the Pacific, and beyond. The website is provides adavanced and very well-organised search portal.
Informit describes itself as a: '...provider of information management services to the education, government and corporate sectors. We have an excellent understanding of the needs of students, researchers, educators and professional. Informit exists to preserve, enhance and distribute hard to find content. ..support[ing] the wider research community and [driving] better information management services'
'Informit provides access to ... over 100 databases..[covering] a wide range of subjects, including health, engineering, business, education, law, humanities and social sciences.... sourced from publishers, associations and peak professional bodies as well as international authors.
From its head office in Melbourne, Australia, Informit works with library consortia, associations and agents to help users advance their research through access to peer reviewed and specialist journals, monographs, reports, conference papers and bibliographic indexes, collated with a focus on regional perspectives and otherwise hard-to-find research... from Australia, New Zealand, Asia Pacific and around the world.'