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Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

RGuns "Vrije University"? (136 comments)

"Vrije" is a Dutch adjective, meaning "free". So either you write "vrije Universiteit", or you write "Free University". "Vrije University" is just silly.

about three weeks ago
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Firefox 29: Redesign

RGuns Re:Don't care (688 comments)

They did not push their CEO out; that's how some media tried to spin the whole thing. More specifically:

Brendan was not fired and was not asked by the Board to resign. Brendan voluntarily submitted his resignation. The Board acted in response by inviting him to remain at Mozilla in another C-level position. Brendan declined that offer.

about 3 months ago
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Study Attempts To Predict Scientists' Career Success

RGuns Re:Why is publishing useful? (64 comments)

1) Your information is owned by the publisher, you can't reprint or send copies to friends.

This is a sweeping generalization at best and wrong in most cases. It is perfectly possible to publish in a 'gold' open acess journal like the ones owned by PLoS, in which case your information is published under, for instance, some CC license. Even most 'traditional' journals nowadays allow self-archiving preprint and/or postprints in an institutional repository like Harvard's or in ArXiv ('green' open access).

3) The work gets restricted to a small audience - the ones who can afford the access fees

Not necessarily true, for the reasons outlined above.

4) It's rife with politics and petty, spiteful people

The same goes for Slashdot, Wikipedia, the local philately club and most communities I can think of. More seriously, it also happens that a paper is vastly improved thanks to constructive and insightful comments by genuinely concerned reviewers.

5) The standard format is cripplingly small, confining, and constrained.

I can sort of see what you mean by this, although most journals allow authors to post supplementary information (or just add a link to one's web page). Is this really such a problem in practice?

6) The standard format requires jargonized cant to promote exclusion.

There is a reason why jargon exists: it helps specialists communicate. The reason is not to exclude non-specialists, which may be an unfortunate side-effect from time to time. There are other media for that purpose (communicating the results of important research to a wider audience).

about 2 years ago
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Study Attempts To Predict Scientists' Career Success

RGuns Re:Inaccurate (64 comments)

The h-index of a scientist is the largest number h, such that he/she has at least h papers each of which have received h or more [citations].

Made a minor clarification to your definition [in brackets].

Oops, thanks for the correction!

IMO the definition should be modified to exclude self-citations. Scientists like to cite their earlier work (and should, if it is on the same topic), but the h-index as currently defined temps spamming your papers with self-cites just to drive your index up.

Good point. IMO exluding self-citations is good practice for pretty much all citation-based indicators.

about 2 years ago
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Study Attempts To Predict Scientists' Career Success

RGuns Inaccurate (64 comments)

The summary is pretty inaccurate. The h-index was proposed by Jorge Hirsch, not Jorge Hurst. Rather than give a vague description, why not simply provide an exact definition? The h-index of a scientist is the largest number h, such that he/she has at least h papers each of which have received h or more papers.This is easier to understand if you look at the picture in the Wikipedia entry for h-index.

about 2 years ago

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