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Monday, 10 April 2017

Accessing the Scientific Publication that You Need

By Kwame Agyei Dankwah
2017
Access to scientific publications has become one of the ultimate wishes of most people who find themselves in knowledge-producing industries. Researchers, lecturers, students and librarians, particularly those in developing countries go through a lot in order to have access to these publications. Most academic and research institutions however, have libraries that facilitate access to these resources, mostly through what has become known as institutional subscriptions.

In an effort to reduce the gap in knowledge production and knowledge accessibility, most international stakeholders like the WHO, UN, INASP, USAID and a host of them have undertaken initiatives to compel “big publishers” to make their products available for free or at a lower cost to researchers in low and middle income countries. For instance, in order to help achieve its SDGs, the UN through its various agencies came out with the Research4Life programme to provide expensive and extensive scientific publications in Health, Agriculture, Environment and Development and Innovation. The USAID through its K4Health programme has also made available unquantifiable peered-reviewed and grey literature on reproductive health for free.

This write up aims to introduce to readers to the many channels through which they can have access to scientific literature for their research and teaching.
Your Institutional Library
If you find yourself working for any academic or research institute, then, the institute’s library should be your friend. By their mandates, libraries corroborate the research activities of their patrons by subscribing to a number of academic databases. The scope of these databases usually covers the mission and visions of the mother institution. These databases require login credentials. However, by virtue of your relationship with your institution, you are entitled to these credentials. Kindly see your librarian for your username and password because they will serve as a gateway to resources you would otherwise have to pay hundreds of dollars for.

This is the broader name for the UN initiative to provide scientific publications to researchers and academics in low and middle income countries. This initiative comprises: HINARI (medicine and health), ARDI (technology and innovation), OARE (environmental science), and AGORA (agriculture). These resources also include contents that are multidisciplinary in scope, such as economics, public policy, anthropology, development etc. If your library is not benefiting from the Research 4 Life programmes, kindly prompt your librarian to register. If your library is already registered, kindly ask your librarian for your login credentials to access these resources at www.research4life.org.

INASP has become a household name that supports research in developing countries. They have negotiated for deeply discounted, sometimes free, access to online research literature for eligible institutions in many countries. You can visit INASP at www.inasp.info to verify if your institution is eligible. Use the “Country” box at www.inasp.info to select your country and choose the “view research literature” bar to see the list of resources available.

Open Access
Open Access (OA) means unrestricted online access to scholarly research. No registration is needed. For a list of more open access resources, kindly visit the INASP training resources:
www.inasp.info/en/training-resources/open-access-resources

Institutional Repositories (IR)
An institutional repository is an online archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research or academic institution. The development of an IR has redefined the production and dissemination of scholarly materials within an academic community. A repository may contain a range of materials deposited there by scholars including, but not limited to, copies of journals articles (e.g. ‘Green’ Open Access pre-prints), conference papers, working papers, theses and dissertations, and datasets from research projects. Materials could be accessed for free from these repositories. Your institution may have a Repository. Check from your librarian. You can also help to build such repositories by willingly submitting your publications to be made available for others to access them for free.

Using these channels, it is hoped that researchers and academics will find it easier looking for the required resources to write their papers.

Your views and suggestions are welcome.



Thursday, 6 April 2017

Assignment 2: Reference Management.

Follow the instructions given to complete this assignment.
  
Topic: Smartphone and medical related App usage among medical students of the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. You can use any academic database for this assignment. (Google Scholar, PubMed, ScienceDirect, etc) 
  2. Download five free full-text articles that relate to the topic above
  3. Create a folder in Mendeley with the name First_Article
  4. In the folder, build a library with your downloaded articles
  5. Create a sub-folder with the name Chapter_One and download a sixth article with bibliographic details given under No. 6 below: 
  6. Payne, K.F.B., Wharrad, H., & Watts, K. (2012). Smartphone and medical related App use among medical students and junior doctors in the United Kingdom (UK): A regional survey. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 12(1), 121.
  7. Take a screenshot of your Mendeley Library showing the main and sub-folders. Save the screenshot as a PDF document with the name: YourIndexNumber_Screenshot_2017 (eg. SM/MED/16/0110_Screenshot_2017)
  8. Next write a two-paragraphed introduction in Microsoft Word on the above topic using the six downloaded articles
  9. Using Mendeley-Cite-O-Matic in your Microsoft Word, cite all materials used in writing your introduction (Using the Vancouver Referencing Style).
  10. On a separate page, create the bibliography for all your references.
  11. Save your document in PDF with the name: yourIndexNumber_Assignment2_2017 (eg. SM/MED/16/0110_Assignment2_2017)


Send your two documents (SM/MED/16/0110_Screenshot_2017 and SM/MED/16/0110_Assignment2_2017) to dadankwah@uhas.edu.gh

Deadline (Tuesday, 18th April, 2017, 12:30 pm)

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Treasure hunt

TREASURE HUNT FOR MY INFORMATION RETRIEVAL STUDENTS
Answer the questions below. This forms part of your assessment for this course.
Clue: Answer question one in order to answer the rest
Answer these questions on sheets of papers with your index numbers. Submission date: 21/02/2017

1.      There is a building in Pretoria that used to be known as “Oom Jochemus’s Place”. Who was the architect?
2.      This architect designed another building: a cottage for the curator of which park?
3.      Who was this park named after?
4.      This person introduced the first coins in South Africa. When the coins were minted, the die broke and this gave rise to two varieties of coins. What were they named?
5.      The feature referred to above, is also the part of the name of a type of lizard. What is the genus name of these lizards?
6.       These lizards originate from which country?
7.      Who is this country’s largest export partner?
8.      What is the official local (long form) name of the country named in question 7?
9.      The colours of this country’s flag are red and?
10.  A rockband, formed in the 1960 in Liverpool, England, had a hit song with this word (from question 9) in the title. What was the song called?
11.  Several movies have been made about the object mentioned in the answer to question 10. One of these were made in 1990, with Sean Connery in the lead role. Who played the role of Admiral Greer in this movie?
12.  The year in which this actor was born is also the year in which luxury brand of car was founded in Stuttgart in Germany?
13.  The specific model of this car that has been manufactured since 1963 is also an emergency number in the United States. Who made the first call on this number?
14.  An airport was named after this person. What is the address of this airport?
15.  Use the zip code in the address above. How many Ghana Cedis would you have gotten for this amount of dollars on 14 February 2017.

Monday, 7 November 2016

BIBLIOMETRICS OR ALTMETRICS

**BIBLIOMETRICS OR ALTMETRICS: THE LIBRARIAN HAS A ROLE IN INCREASING RESEARCH IMPACT**
By

Kwame Agyei Dankwah
Assistant Librarian
University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana

Over the years, there has been a tremendous increase in research output by researchers particularly those in Africa. The reasons for this phenomenon could be attributed to various factors. Firstly, it could be that African researchers have woken up from their slumber and have started working. Furthermore, this sudden rise in research output could also be ascribed to the “publish or perish” mantra in most academic institutions. This has emanated as a result of a string attached to promotion in most academic institutions. Faculty is required to publish a number of articles as one criterion to qualify for promotion. And as humans, everybody wants to attain a level of self-actualisation and so are forced to embark on a research agenda. This, perhaps might be a key reason for the increasing research output in Africa.

Another reason that comes to mind is “funding”. This, conceivably, is the major reason. It is evident that most funding agencies have developed interest in Africa and for that reason, research in Africa. Funding, which for a long time had been a major stumbling block to publications in Africa is gradually becoming a stepping stone. All these factors lead to the benefit of Africa. They are good initiatives and need to be encouraged. Together, they have helped to advance knowledge, discovered our values, built our philosophies and moulded our culture.

One key challenge to these initiatives is the lack of visibility of the research outputs from these investments and also low levels assigned to these articles. Generally, authors tend to depend on journals to make their articles visible or valuable. This has been in the form of bibliometric analysis (Journal Impact Factor, H-Index, Percent cited/uncited papers- Absolute, among others). This write up does not intend to deal with the various metrics. Possibly, it will be the focus of subsequent posts. Bibliometrics analysis tend to evaluate the value of research outputs using various quantitative analysis. Thus, if an article appears for instance, in a high Impact Factor Journal, then that article is considered to be valuable.

Bibliometrics analysis has helped to determine the value of research production which has aided academic institutions, funding organisations and government agencies to know the value they should ascribe to a particular research work. This notwithstanding, many are of the view that this metric has inherent flaws. One of such flaws is that if somebody publishes an original research with intrinsic benefits to society in a less known journal (without any impact factor), that article is not going to be considered as valuable. Again, there has been instances where individuals have engaged others to cite their works frequently in order to increase their citation index which leads to a favourable impact factor. Moreover, we are all aware of the long period it takes for some articles to get cited. Thus, regardless their value, once they have not been cited, it is considered “valueless”.

Critics of the bibliometric system of analysing research impact are advocating for what has become known as the altmetrics. This involves the use of the web 2.0 technology to increase the visibility of articles. They argue that once articles are visible, people will use them, download them, cite them which in the long run will lead to increased value. In that sense, proponents are making cases for the use of social media (facebook, twitter, etc), LinkedIn, ResearchGate, ORCID, among others. They emphasise on visibility of the article.

It is important to state here that, all the two methods of evaluating articles are essential and one complements the other to get a holistic approach in evaluating research impact. This is where the role of the librarian is important. Librarians have always been considered as partners in the knowledge industry. They are either producing knowledge themselves or aiding others in that regard. But what is the essence when all these efforts do not lead to valuable outputs of researchers or visible produce from these researchers. Librarians have to ensure that researchers choose the right journal for their articles and should lead in a crusade to market these outputs.

Thus, whether it is bibliometric or altmetric, the librarian can never be left out. Librarians understand these better. It is a high time libraries developed policies that will help to increase the value and visibility of research outputs of their users.

BIBLIOMETRICS OR ALTMETRICS



**BIBLIOMETRICS OR ALTMETRICS: THE LIBRARIAN HAS A ROLE IN INCREASING RESEARCH IMPACT**
By
Kwame Agyei Dankwah
Assistant Librarian
University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ho, Ghana

Over the years, there has been a tremendous increase in research output by researchers particularly those in Africa. The reasons for this phenomenon could be attributed to various factors. Firstly, it could be that African researchers have woken up from their slumber and have started working. Furthermore, this sudden rise in research output could also be ascribed to the “publish or perish” mantra in most academic institutions. This has emanated as a result of a string attached to promotion in most academic institutions. Faculty is required to publish a number of articles as one criterion to qualify for promotion. And as humans, everybody wants to attain a level of self-actualisation and so are forced to embark on a research agenda. This, perhaps might be a key reason for the increasing research output in Africa.

Another reason that comes to mind is “funding”. This, conceivably, is the major reason. It is evident that most funding agencies have developed interest in Africa and for that reason, research in Africa. Funding, which for a long time had been a major stumbling block to publications in Africa is gradually becoming a stepping stone. All these factors lead to the benefit of Africa. They are good initiatives and need to be encouraged. Together, they have helped to advance knowledge, discovered our values, built our philosophies and moulded our culture.

One key challenge to these initiatives is the lack of visibility of the research outputs from these investments and also low levels assigned to these articles. Generally, authors tend to depend on journals to make their articles visible or valuable. This has been in the form of bibliometric analysis (Journal Impact Factor, H-Index, Percent cited/uncited papers- Absolute, among others). This write up does not intend to deal with the various metrics. Possibly, it will be the focus of subsequent posts. Bibliometrics analysis tend to evaluate the value of research outputs using various quantitative analysis. Thus, if an article appears for instance, in a high Impact Factor Journal, then that article is considered to be valuable.

Bibliometrics analysis has helped to determine the value of research production which has aided academic institutions, funding organisations and government agencies to know the value they should ascribe to a particular research work. This notwithstanding, many are of the view that this metric has inherent flaws. One of such flaws is that if somebody publishes an original research with intrinsic benefits to society in a less known journal (without any impact factor), that article is not going to be considered as valuable. Again, there has been instances where individuals have engaged others to cite their works frequently in order to increase their citation index which leads to a favourable impact factor. Moreover, we are all aware of the long period it takes for some articles to get cited. Thus, regardless their value, once they have not been cited, it is considered “valueless”.

Critics of the bibliometric system of analysing research impact are advocating for what has become known as the altmetrics. This involves the use of the web 2.0 technology to increase the visibility of articles. They argue that once articles are visible, people will use them, download them, cite them which in the long run will lead to increased value. In that sense, proponents are making cases for the use of social media (facebook, twitter, etc), LinkedIn, ResearchGate, ORCID, among others. They emphasise on visibility of the article.

It is important to state here that, all the two methods of evaluating articles are essential and one complements the other to get a holistic approach in evaluating research impact. This is where the role of the librarian is important. Librarians have always been considered as partners in the knowledge industry. They are either producing knowledge themselves or aiding others in that regard. But what is the essence when all these efforts do not lead to valuable outputs of researchers or visible produce from these researchers. Librarians have to ensure that researchers choose the right journal for their articles and should lead in a crusade to market these outputs.

Thus, whether it is bibliometric or altmetric, the librarian can never be left out. Librarians understand these better. It is a high time libraries developed policies that will help to increase the value and visibility of research outputs of their users.