Archive for: April, 2012

Around the Web: Undecided on paper books vs. e-books, Is blogging and tweeting about research papers worth it? and more

Apr 13 2012 Published by under around the web

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Around the Web: Decline of the library empire, Libraries' impact on student learning and more

Apr 12 2012 Published by under around the web

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Reading Diary: Marketing for Scientists by Marc J. Kuchner

It's probably best to start with what Marc J. Kuchner's new book -- Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times -- isn't.

It isn't a social media jackass recipe book for "Success through Twitter." It isn't a detailed treatise on marketing theory. It doesn't come with a guarantee of grants, publications and prizes if you follow it's instructions. In fact, it's hardly about Twitter or blogs or Facebook or Pinterest or any of that stuff at all.

Instead, it's a primer on why getting your message out is a good idea.

Marketing for humans, in other words, where humans = scientists.

Kuchner's approach is quite straightforward and logical, meant to appeal to logical and rational science-types. He starts with a few chapters on the general principles of marketing -- why it's a good idea, how to approach it, what the main elements are of a good marketing plan.

And to make the medicine go down, the spoonful of sugar is some lively examples and experiences from his parallel career as a country music songwriter in Nashville.

First of all, he gives an introduction to general marketing principles like building relationships, selling, branding and the marketing archetypes that apply to science. These sections are quite well done as they bring some marketing concepts directly to bear on how a scientist can make her work better known.

He then applies those general principles to some specific areas where scientists would find it useful to have themselves and their work better known and better regarded: job offers, funding decisions, proposal writing, getting papers read and recognized, maximizing the conference experience, spreading the work about your work online, outreach to the public and government and finally, advancing the public understanding of science.

Yeah, I guess the common preconception about a book like this is, "Hey, I'm a scientist, what do I need to know marketing for? I exist in a world of pure thought and devoid of human emotion."

Not so much.

Kuchner emphasizes those areas of science that are the most human -- establishing and creating a rewarding career path, getting your ideas known and appropriately recognized. These are problems of human relationships and human systems.

If I can quibble a bit about the book, I do have a few small complaints. Island Press is obviously not a huge publisher. The book could have used a stronger editorial hand. It's a bit diffuse and repetitive at times, especially at the beginning when Kuchner is setting the stage. Sections that are supposed to be "theoretical" end up mostly practical, for example. Still, small quibbles in a generally very good book.

Another small quibble would be his approach to specific marketing tools and strategies. I appreciated that he didn't make this book solely about social media strategies but I felt he short-changed his audience a little by taking a bit of the other extreme. I really think he could have made a case that online tools are probably the best way to spread the word.

Who would I recommend it too? First of all, virtually any working academic scientist would find value here, except perhaps for the most wired and plugged in. Certainly any library that supports a community of academic researchers would find value. It's aimed at scientists but most of the lessons are generalizable.

Kuchner, Marc J. Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times. Washington: Island Press, 2011. 248pp. ISBN-13: 978-1597269940

(Book provided by publisher.)

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Friday Fun: The Fourteen Best Private Eye Novels of All Time

Apr 06 2012 Published by under friday fun

I love me some private eye novels, that's for sure. I also love me some lists of books.

So combining them is pure heaven!

Anyways, an old friend of mine, Kevin Burton Smith, the proprietor of The Thrilling Detective web site and zine decided to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the site by running a poll to find out his reader's 14 all time favourite private eye novels.

On April 1st he published the results. And here they are:


(Links on the private eye's name lead to the profile on Kevin's site. Check it out!)

  1. The Taste of Ashes by Howard Browne (Paul Pine)
  2. Promised Land by Robert B. Parker (Spenser)
  3. Solomon's Vineyard by Jonathan Latimer (Karl Craven)
  4. The Drowning Pool by Ross Macdonald (Lew Archer)
  5. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe)
  6. Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane (Patrick Kenzie & Angela Gennaro)
  7. I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane (Mike Hammer)
  8. The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley (C.W. Sughrue)
  9. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes by Lawrence Block (Matt Scudder)
  10. L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais (Elvis Cole)
  11. Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (Easy Rawlins)
  12. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe)
  13. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe)
  14. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (Sam Spade)

I've read about half of the books on the list -- so I have some very fine reading ahead of me I'm sure.

My favourite PI is definitely Robert B. Parker's Spenser with Looking for Rachel Wallace being my favourite of the Spenser novels.

And one final note: the poll results page also has quite a nice listing of the runners up and the best of the rest. Lots more great reading to be sure.

(And yes, it would have been nice to see some more women writers and PIs on the various lists.)

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Around the Web: The paleo media diet, What she really said, Imploding business models and more

Apr 05 2012 Published by under around the web

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My exciting new job at Elsevier: Inaugural editor-in-chief of The Journal of Applied Publishing Experiments

Hi everybody,

It is with great pride and excitement that I'm finally able to announce something that's been in the works for a few months now. I will be accepting the role of inaugural editor-in-chief of an exciting new journal to be published by Elsevier: The Journal of Applied Publishing Experiments.

This amazing opportunity arose a few months ago, initiated by a blog post of mine that congratulated Elsevier on their wise marketing and publishing moves and this one a bit later, where I declare my undying loyalty to the Elsevier brand. The publisher of Elsevier immediately contacted me after that post to see if there was a way we could work together to advance the cause of scholarly publishing.

Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

And thus began the discussions around the best way to do that. And before too long, this amazing JAPE was conceived.

The scope of the new journal is going to be very broad. It will be about the intersection between publishing, authoring and business models. And while the focus will be on practical solutions to difficult theoretical and economic problems, we will get into some high-falutin' theorising too.

Some sample articles we have already solicited from some of the most important members of the online scholarly communications community:

  • Alt-Metrics, Schmalt-Metrics
  • Open Access for Fun and Profit
  • How Institutional Open Access Declarations Are the Tools of the Devil
  • Open Notebook Science: Just Say No!
  • Data Wants to Be Free -- Not!
  • Why Depositing Articles in Your Institutional Repository Is a Bad Idea
  • Librarians Are Not Your Friends
  • Citizen Science: Would You Let Your Kids Operate the Large Hadron Collider?
  • Journals Articles as Data Worth Mining: Fuhgeddaboudit!
  • $60 an Article? Cheap at any Price
  • Elsevier Are the Pink Fluffy Bunnies of Publishing
  • The Best Libraries of Science Shouldn't Belong to the Public

I can't tell you who the superstars are who have written these articles are yet, but see if you can guess! And please feel free to pitch articles in the comments!

The first quarterly issue is scheduled for April 1, 2013. Of course the journal will be included in all major Elsevier journal bundles. The annual subscription rate will be US$100 for individuals and $US10,000 for libraries.

I'm incredibly proud to announce the first set of appointments to the editorial board. There are a stellar bunch to say the least! I am actively recruiting further members for the board amongst the librarian, scientific and publishing communities. Please feel free to apply in the comments.

Our initial meeting is on the tropical island of Belize this coming June.

I know this might come as a surprise to many who have perhaps known me as an open access supporter but really, perhaps it's time for all of us to grow up, put away our childish things and embrace reality. Show me the money, and all that.

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