Battle of the beauty contests

Does the analysis of the citation of publications of research adequately measure the impact or worth of the research reported upon? Does the percentile rank assigned to an investigator initiated research proposal by a group of her peers reflect the likelihood of societal or scientific impact of the proposed research plan? If the answer to both questions is yes then this recent study in Circulation Research will puzzle. There was very little relationship between citations and the percentile rank of the proposal. Except for the highest ranked proposals which did have a large bump in citations. Of course there are other ways to decide to fund research that also have their own measures of success.

So how best to have a public debate about how we allocate the public monies for biomedical research?
.Relationship between citations and grant proposal ranking
Hat tip: David Osterbur.


Welcome news from the Wellcome Collection

Many of us have had the following experience. We find an interesting illustration and use it for a scholarly presentation or for a class. Then a well meaning compliance officer will notify us that if we are going to put the presentation on the web, we will have to secure the rights to the illustration for that purpose. Often the expedient response is to delete the illustration or withdraw the entire presentation from the public domain.

In this context this British invasion is a hopeful glimpse of the future. One hundred thousand pictures were just made freely available (so long as you correctly attribute their provenance). So, if you want to illustrate Harvey’s anatomical exercises of the heart and circulation, or contrast modern medical advertising to that of a well regarded phrenologist, the materials are there for you (see below), for free and without any administrative overhead. The other flank of the British open access image invasion is led by the British Library from which the charming picture below of the anatomy of the leech was taken.

L0035170 Page 1 & 2, Harvey\'s discussion on the motion heartL0040553 Leaflet for Prof. Thomas Moores, a Practical PhrenologiLeech from the British Library