给钱都不一定有人要的博士后

2009/07/02 - Comments Off on 给钱都不一定有人要的博士后

以前几次提到过日本的博士后问题。简单地说就是从事研究的年轻人越来越多而提供给他们的固定教职却紧缩,造成合同工“博士后”的数量在日本近年激增,如何给他们(我也在其中)找出路成了一个社会问题。

这不,又推出了一个新政策:高度研究人才活用促进事业。为了鼓励企业来雇用博士后,政府为提供职位的企业每人480万日元的补助。这就相当于企业雇用博士后可以将近一年不用给开工资。此计划7月1日实施,截止到8月10日。预计可以处理掉100个人左右的博士后。不知道这个计划能不能在一个多月的时间里花掉政府准备的这5亿日元的预算。如果在期限内没有那么多企业来给萝卜挖坑,政府岂不是很尴尬啊。

瞧,这就是我们的生存环境,要倒贴钱,还不一定有人要。

PRL求精

2009/06/30 - Comments Off on PRL求精

在这个“学术”论文泛滥的年代,期刊杂志作为论文露脸的地方,通常也是“与时俱进”,原来一月一期的变一周一期,原来200页一期的出500页,同时还有各式各样的“新”杂志如雨后春笋,于是现在放眼看去就是一片茂密的笋,还挺立的竹子越来越少。

比较典型的事例就是,年初的时候Chaos, Solitons & Fractals这个杂志的主编M. S. El Naschie退休,他在任期间自己发表了数百篇文章,很显然恐怕是没有什么“审稿”。而且该杂志几乎没有什么标准地接收文章,致使年初时居然有900余篇in Press(现在已经剩下400多篇了),于是不得不做出“暂”不接收任何投稿的决定。

Currently we have many accepted Chaos, Solitons and Fractals papers waiting to be published. We feel it is inappropriate to keep scientists waiting too long before their research paper is published and therefore, for the moment, we are not accepting any new submissions to the journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals.

We trust you understand our decision and we hope you will find another suitable journal for publication of your research paper (please have a look at: www.elsevier.com). We apologise for any inconvenience and please do consider us again for your next upcoming research paper.

与此相对,刚刚有PRL(物理评论快讯)的编辑的群体邮件,说他们觉得目前每周80篇的文章太多了。从今往后需要提高标准,只让更好的文章出现。下面是邮件全文:

We at Physical Review Letters always look for ways to do better at our core mission, which is to provide the physics community with accounts of crucial research in a convenient format. PRL at present publishes about 80 Letters per week, and we Editors, and many readers of PRL, have concluded that these cannot all discuss crucial research, and that it is too large a number to be convenient. This view is also held by our editorial board and by others, as we know from a wide range of exchanges with our colleagues.

As a result we will reaffirm the standards for acceptance for PRL. The criteria will not change fundamentally, but we will work to apply them with increased rigor. To meet the PRL criteria of importance and broad interest, a Letter must

1) substantially advance a particular field; or

2) open a significant new area of research; or

3) solve a critical outstanding problem, or make a significant step toward solving such a problem; or

4) be of great general interest, based, for example, on scientific aesthetics.

We are confident that this initiative will lead to a journal that is better able to attract the best papers, because it will provide a more exclusive platform for those papers, and thus impart a higher profile to the most significant results. We also anticipate that a renewed focus on the characteristics that underlie importance and broad interest, as listed above, will lead to a more accurate selection process. As we reinvigorate the PRL criteria, we will also make every effort to make decisions promptly. This will enable results to reach the community in a timely fashion, whether in PRL or in a more suitable venue.

For this effort to be successful, authors must submit only results that meet at least one of the above criteria. Referees must judge breadth of interest based on impact both in the specific field and across field boundaries, and must support favorable recommendations with substantive reasons to publish. Editors will be more discriminating in both their own evaluation of manuscripts and their interpretation of referee reports. In support of these efforts we will revise our statement of Policies and Practices and our Referee Response Form.

We will carefully monitor the impact that application of reaffirmed standards has on the physics community. The process will necessarily be gradual, as authors, referees, Editors, and Divisional Associate Editors become familiar with more rigorous application of PRL requirements. This will also allow time to correct for any unexpected deleterious effects. Although we do not plan a specific numerical target, we do wish to make a significant change in the number of papers we publish.

We note that there are many papers that are valid and important in their area, but are not at the level of importance or broad interest that is necessary for PRL. There are also papers of great importance for their field and/or of broad interest that simply cannot be presented in a letter format. The Physical Review journals have high standards and unmatched reputations and are natural venues for such papers.

We know that these changes will lead to some disappointments. We are convinced, however, that a more selective PRL will communicate the best physics more efficiently.

Sincerely,
The Editors

如此,才是一个顶尖杂志的本色,才是对学术界负责的态度。

转载个笑话(真事儿?)

2009/06/02 - Comments Off on 转载个笑话(真事儿?)

源引自:http://www.sciencenet.cn/m/user_content.aspx?id=234761

某大公司引进了一条香皂包装生产线,结果发现这条生产线有个缺陷:常常会有盒子里没装入香皂。总不能把空盒子卖给顾客啊。他们只得请一个学自动化的博士后设计一个方案来分拣空的香皂盒。博士后拉起了一个十几人的科研攻关小组,综合采用了机械、微电子、自动化、人工智能和纳米等高科技,花了几十万,成功解决了问题。每当生产线上有空香皂盒通过,两旁的探测器会检测到,并且驱动一只机械手把空皂盒推走。

中国南方有个乡镇企业也买了同样的生产线,老板发现这个同样的问题后也大为发火。他找了个小工来说:“你他妈给老子把这个搞定,不然你给老子爬走。”
小工很快想出了办法:他花了90块钱在生产线旁边放了一台大功率电风扇猛吹,于是空皂盒都被吹走了。

这个故事告诉我们:

(1)知识并不一定都是生产力;
(2)能吹是多么的重要!

外国人研究者手册

2009/04/23 - Comments Off on 外国人研究者手册

京都大学更新了它的外国人研究者手册(汉语版)。看了看,涵盖在日本生活的方方面面,虽然很多内容都只是针对京都,但对于一般的外国人也很值得参考。

下载地址

研究费比GDP

2009/04/13 - Comments Off on 研究费比GDP

日本总务省发表了一个调查结果:所有的科学技术研究费占国民生产总值(GDP)的比例日本是调查对象中最高的(3.61%);每1万人口中研究者的人数日本也是最多的(55.5人)。

研究费的总量来讲日本是第二位,18兆4631亿日元,美国是第一位:43兆4000亿日元。而按照占GDP比重来算日本是3.61%首位,第二位是韩国(3.23%),第三位才是美国(2.66%)。中国的总研究费是10兆8000亿日元,仅次于日本,第三位。可是占GDP比重只有1.42%,排在德法英之后。

从研究者人数上看,第一是美国:1,838,000人,中国其次:1,224,000人,而日本是第三:709,691人。根据近年的数据,中国在人数上的增多是十分明显的。而按照人口的比例来算,每一万人中,日本有研究者55.5人,美国有46.8人,韩国是41.4人,而中国是9.3人。可见多么大的数字在中国被人口一除就没有了。

详细请看总务省发布的数据(日语)。

论文剽窃的问题

2009/03/06 - Comments Off on 论文剽窃的问题

最新的一期SCIENCE(3月6日)的POLICY FORUM专栏刊登了一个有意思的文章,是关于论文剽窃的各方反应的调查。

德克萨斯的研究人员用工具自动对MEDLINE数据库中的论文进行对比调查,从文字表现,引用文献等相似度判断,抽出了212对有可能涉及剽窃的文章,他们有高达百分之七八十的相似度。然后他们综合一些其他信息对其中163对文章的作者和杂志编辑发布了问卷,回答数很高,有144个反馈。

在接到问卷之前有93%的原作者并没有意识到他们的文章被抄袭,基本的反应是愤慨。

而抄袭者的回答就多种多样,(1)有28%完全否认,(2)有35%承认有“借鉴”了以前的研究并基本上做了道歉,(3)22%的说主要是合作者或者学生写的文章,本人并不太清楚,(4)另外还有17%比较搞笑,说他们并不知道自己的名字为什么出现在了文章中。

如果这个调查在中国做,结果可能会有很大的不同,恐怕(1)和(3)的比例会接近100%,至少从已经被揭发出来的某些Case来看,基本上都是“打死我也不说”的态度。

原文中还介绍了几个工具来查找抄袭的文章,不知道有没有人有这个需要,看看自己的文章是否被剽窃,或者用来找找是否曾经有人曾经做了类似的工作。

There are now dozens of commercial and free tools available for the detection of plagiarism. Perhaps the most popular programs are iParadigm’s “Ithenticate” (http://ithenticate.com/) and TurnItIn’s originality checking (http://turnitin.com/), which recently partnered with CrossRef (http://www.crossref.org/) to create CrossCheck, a new service for verifying the originality of scholarly content. However, the content searched by this program spans only a small sampling of journals indexed by MEDLINE. Others include EVE2, OrCheck, CopyCheck, and WordCHECK, to name a few.

很遗憾,目前的工具还只能是揭发剽窃,而对于更有技术含量,更有危害性的:论文造假还是毫无办法,只能考学者们的自觉,揭发机制还有惩罚措施来约束了。

附上原文中的回信抽样的图片: