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How to publish a paper in easy steps

It’s never been easier to be a scholar — just take a look at this invitation I received from a journal:

Dear Dillon, Andrew,

It’s a great honor to select out and read your article titled Inventing HCI: The grandfather of the field in INTERACTING WITH COMPUTERS from thousand of articles. The theme History; Brian Shackel; Foundations; Review of your article is very attractive. We wonder if you get any new progress of your research or do any new study in your research field.

Till now, there are totally 380 Special Issues with varied topics presented in SciencePG:


The interesting points here: That paper of mine they like so much, was a memorial piece for a former colleague. Hard to imagine that I would have new research progress on this. Further down the invitation I learn that if I agree to edit one of their journals, I can publish two papers FOR FREE. And wait, there’s more….I can publish further papers after this at a 30% discount. Ah yes, scholarship meets commerce, is this what people want when they ask academia to be more entrepreneurial?


Seven great ideas for writing research papers

Running my writing studio again this fall for iSchool doc students, I am always on the look out for good ideas or support material for writing. Most of the stuff out there is pretty harmless but not very useful either. Here’s a pleasant exception (though I do need to point out this is really about smaller conference papers) . Over to you, Professor Jones:

Laughing just to keep from crying?

I find the coverage in the US media of the awful conflict in Gaza to be depressingly unbalanced. Even NPR has difficulty getting the perspective of all sides and most TV news commentators seem far to willing to toe a soft line when it comes to asking hard questions. Seems others are thinking the same. Fascinatingly, this clip is the work of a comedic actor from the UK who is more than a little insightful in his commentary. Take it away, Russel Brand:

Snowden interviewed in the Guardian — listen and learn

Oops, no irony intended, I am sure.

Open access publication grows in acceptance?

Taylor and Francis have just released their second annual “Open Access Survey, June 2014,” which gauges scholars opinions toward open access publication. The results reveal growing belief that open access offers wider circulation and higher visibility than publication in a traditional subscription journal, though some residual doubts that citation impact follows accordingly. There is still some strength in the view that open access journals might be lower quality, and on top of it all, there seems little doubt in scholars’ minds that academic papers will still be the main output of research in 10 years time. Plus ca change?

Anyway, lots of interesting data points in the final report, some attempt at significance testing of trends across both years of the survey, but very little synthesis or analysis of the resulting data beyond bald reporting. But hey, that’s big data.

And the tweets go wild……

Twitter data offers another measure of fan behavior…..here’s the traffic picture when that second US goal went in last night…….

Frightening stuff at the Patients Privacy Rights Summit

In DC this week for the annual PPR Summit — and just when you think you’ve heard it all about breaches of privacy and our lack of control over our own data, each year there are new findings which reveal how low we have sunk.  A Utah police officer on a major data-fish downloading the prescription data for every employee in a paramedical group to see who is receiving what treatments in an effort to generate suspects in a possible minor loss of medication. Your own health data being sold and accessed every day is now a reality. Your searches on specific health issues being used to flag you as ‘concerned’ and therefore subject to targeted marketing and worse.  Lots of hot air from the White House about ethics and health data while simultaneously surveilling every citizen.

Depressing as the stories may be, the bigger problem seems to be finding common ground on solutions. I’m hearing a lot from lawyers and policy specialists but little from the perspective of the consumer like you and me, other than how negatively we are impacted. The law will prove important here but in one sense the genie is out of the bottle and it’s hard to see how ordinary people can engage in meaningful acts to control  their own data. I think the doctor-patient interface is going to be crucial but the complicated nature of the processes involved and the profits involved in capturing and mining this type of data presents some real challenges in designing better information systems.

Discussion and its absence: sometimes the reason is clear

I have wondered a lot since serving on the Board of ASIST why we have so little discussion among members or even across the information field of issues that matter to us. Sure we have more social media than ever but there is no obvious forum in our field for interested parties to share ideas or discuss topics of mutual interest in a constructive manner. What we do have are endless announcements about talks going on somewhere that we can’t be this week, or self-promotional puff pieces that seek to convince us that some person or school is really doing great things. Yes, it’s all part of the culture of being seen, the effort to create the illusion of quality, relevance and innovation.

I cannot say I was a huge fan but I was a subscriber to the daily digest from the JESSE list that arrived in all its rough-formatted glory in time for breakfast like a reminder of the last century. So I only realized it was not appearing when a colleague asked me about it. Only then did I discover, sadly, that the driver behind JESSE, Gretchen Whitney had died suddenly. That this rather more important piece of news did not hit my inbox sooner is disturbing but perhaps it came in a form I was not expecting. I am sorry to learn of Gretchen’s death, and dismayed that it seemed to get drowned out in the sea of data that washes over me every day. I used to enjoy her rather firm way of moderating some of the nonsense that occurred on the list. The absence of even this list now highlights even more the lack of online discussion we have in the universe of information. I hope someone steps up to take that list forward  so that Gretchen’s memory lives on and there is at least some continuity in our community’s record of discourse. I hope even more that we can find a way to talk intelligently about our field.

Daily Texan article picks up this blog

Digital media changes reading habits, according to UT professor


Andrew Dillon, dean and professor in the School of Information, has been conducting research that suggests the way people read online impacts their ability to comprehend texts on paper.

Click here for the rest



Faculty speak: An international perspective

Since I facilitate an advanced writing seminar for doctoral students, it has become apparent that my version of the English language might not quite be the same version most US-based students speak. At their own initiative, former students have offered the following ‘translation table’ for key phrases. Use wisely (and indeed, bravely)