An exploration of collaborative scientific production at MIT through spatial organization and institutional affiliation

Authors: Claudel M, Massaro E, Santi P, Murray F, Ratti C

Abstract: Academic research is increasingly cross-disciplinary and collaborative, between and within institutions. In this context, what is the role and relevance of an individual’s spatial position on a campus? We examine the collaboration patterns of faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, through their academic output (papers and patents), and their organizational structures (institutional affiliation and spatial configuration) over a 10-year time span. An initial comparison of output types reveals: 1. diverging trends in the composition of collaborative teams over time (size, faculty versus non-faculty, etc.); and 2. substantively different patterns of cross-building and cross-disciplinary collaboration. We then construct a multi-layered network of authors, and find two significant features of collaboration on campus: 1. a network topology and community structure that reveals spatial versus institutional collaboration bias; and 2. a persistent relationship between proximity and collaboration, well fit with an exponential decay model. This relationship is consistent for both papers and patents, and present also in exclusively cross-disciplinary work. These insights contribute an architectural dimension to the field of scientometrics, and take a first step toward empirical space-planning policy that supports collaboration within institutions.

Citation: Claudel M, Massaro E, Santi P, Murray F, Ratti C (2017) An exploration of collaborative scientific production at MIT through spatial organization and institutional affiliation. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0179334. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179334

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A prospective study on an innovative online forum for peer reviewing of surgical science

Authors:  Almquist M, von Allmen RS, Carradice D, Oosterling SJ, McFarlane K, Wijnhoven B

Abstract:
Background
Peer review is important to the scientific process. However, the present system has been criticised and accused of bias, lack of transparency, failure to detect significant breakthrough and error. At the British Journal of Surgery (BJS), after surveying authors’ and reviewers’ opinions on peer review, we piloted an open online forum with the aim of improving the peer review process.

Methods
In December 2014, a web-based survey assessing attitudes towards open online review was sent to reviewers with a BJS account in Scholar One. From April to June 2015, authors were invited to allow their manuscripts to undergo online peer review in addition to the standard peer review process. The quality of each review was evaluated by editors and editorial assistants using a validated instrument based on a Likert scale.

Results
The survey was sent to 6635 reviewers. In all, 1454 (21.9%) responded. Support for online peer review was strong, with only 10% stating that they would not subject their manuscripts to online peer review. The most prevalent concern was about intellectual property, being highlighted in 118 of 284 comments (41.5%). Out of 265 eligible manuscripts, 110 were included in the online peer review trial. Around 7000 potential reviewers were invited to review each manuscript. In all, 44 of 110 manuscripts (40%) received 100 reviews from 59 reviewers, alongside 115 conventional reviews. The quality of the open forum reviews was lower than for conventional reviews (2.13 (± 0.75) versus 2.84 (± 0.71), P<0.001).

Conclusion
Open online peer review is feasible in this setting, but it attracts few reviews, of lower quality than conventional peer reviews.

Citation: Almquist M, von Allmen RS, Carradice D, Oosterling SJ, McFarlane K, Wijnhoven B (2017) A prospective study on an innovative online forum for peer reviewing of surgical science. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0179031. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179031

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What do computer scientists tweet? Analyzing the link-sharing practice on Twitter

Authors: Marco Schmitt, Robert Jäschke

Abstract: Twitter communication has permeated every sphere of society. To highlight and share small pieces of information with possibly vast audiences or small circles of the interested has some value in almost any aspect of social life. But what is the value exactly for a scientific field? We perform a comprehensive study of computer scientists using Twitter and their tweeting behavior concerning the sharing of web links. Discerning the domains, hosts and individual web pages being tweeted and the differences between computer scientists and a Twitter sample enables us to look in depth at the Twitter-based information sharing practices of a scientific community. Additionally, we aim at providing a deeper understanding of the role and impact of altmetrics in computer science and give a glance at the publications mentioned on Twitter that are most relevant for the computer science community. Our results show a link sharing culture that concentrates more heavily on public and professional quality information than the Twitter sample does. The results also show a broad variety in linked sources and especially in linked publications with some publications clearly related to community-specific interests of computer scientists, while others with a strong relation to attention mechanisms in social media. This refers to the observation that Twitter is a hybrid form of social media between an information service and a social network service. Overall the computer scientists’ style of usage seems to be more on the information-oriented side and to some degree also on professional usage. Therefore, altmetrics are of considerable use in analyzing computer science.

Citation: Schmitt M, Jäschke R. (2017). What do computer scientists tweet? Analyzing the link-sharing practice on Twitter. PLOS ONE 12(6): e0179630. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179630

Data Availability: All data are available from the Zenodo repository (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.580587)

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