In recent years, MOOCs have become a global phenomenon that, in many ways, has shifted the landscape of teaching and learning. With universities and academic institutions across the globe hosting these MOOCs, millions of students now have access to free tertiary level courses. At their core, MOOCs are geared toward mass participation and self-direction and is available to anyone with an internet connection. They allow for features such as interactive online forums that can involve hundreds of students in peer-to-peer discussions, as well as access to video and audio lectures and course materials in online format. (more…)
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the annual UCT Summer School with short courses on a huge array of subjects. The Summer term will be running from 19 – 30 January 2015 and will encompass diverse courses from fields such as medicine, music, law, language and literature. See the link below for more information about the 2015 Summer School and what courses will be offered, but hurry… school’s starting soon!
The Chinese Publisher SCIRP (Scientific Research Publishing): A Publishing Empire Built on Junk SciencePosted by in Publishing - (Comments Off)
Another day, another report of a junk science article published by China-based publisher Scientific Research Publishing, or SCIRP. This publisher specializes in publishing junk cosmology and junk physics, but with this article, the publisher is branching out into junk medical science, specifically AIDS denialism.
The article is entitled “Basic Principles Underlying Human Physiology” , and you don’t have to be a scientist to know that it’s junk, for it is a manifestation of AIDS denialism. The conclusion’s first paragraph says,
HIV is not etiologically involved in AIDS. It is just a common retrovirus found in AIDS conjuncturally. There is only AIDS that may not be strictly associated neither to a primary immune deficiency nor to an acquired immune deficiency. Actually, heart failure represents the causal factor of AIDS and many other “primary” immune deficiencies (p. 1821). (more…)
It’s crucial for the South African university to bring itself to acknowledge that there is “outstanding business, business that is not even on the agenda” in terms of excluded knowledge systems, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Crain Soudien argued in an address about how a university should position itself in the information age.
Libraries were at the heart of this dilemma, he told delegates at LISC 75, the Library and Information Studies Centre’s 75 years commemoration conference on 27 November.“How you begin to project this information revolution is not only about big data, but also about big data that we’ve lost and never come to terms with. So you, as the frontline in some ways, of how information is come to, are in a pivotal position. I really appeal to you to help us become better at what we are doing.” (more…)
The publication count is an annual collation of UCT’s research output that is sent to the National Department of Higher Education (DHET). The count has a direct influence on the funding received from government and plays a vital role in the research sustainability at UCT. The purpose of the DHET policy is to encourage the production of research by rewarding research excellence.
The DHET puts emphasis on peer reviewed journals and for the purposes of this subsidy, however, they only recognize publications from a list of accredited journals.
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This brings the total number of global university rankings that feature South African institutes to five, with UCT now topping four of the local listings.
In this latest ranking, Harvard University claims the No. 1 spot overall, on a list featuring 500 institutions, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at No. 2 and the University of California – Berkeley at No. 3. (more…)
The Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, published in Italy, has been called a scam but it appears on the CVs of several professors at Unisa as the publisher of papers authored by them.
This journal, owned by the Mediterranean Centre of Social and Educational Research, will publish an article only on payment by the author of a fee of $200 (about R2200).
But the quality of this publication was put into doubt recently by the author of an anonymous letter addressed to Unisa vice chancellor Mandla Makhanya but circulated widely.
The letter’s author questioned the publication’s peer review system.
He said he submitted to the journal a “98% plagiarised” article that had appeared in it before, in 2011.
Some names were changed and the author used a pseudonym.
The article was accepted for publication with a request for a publication fee “with no peer review report attached”, the letter to the vice chancellor claims.
The author called on Unisa to investigate the journal. The university had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.
At least two professors at Unisa list articles published in the journal on their CVs.
Peer review is the process in which experts comment on and evaluate articles by their peers.
US librarian Jeffrey Beall has made it his mission to expose what he calls “predatory journals” and has accused the Mediterranean Journal of Social Science of being one.
“The standard among high-quality scholarly publishers is to perform a rigorous peer review and to use plagiarism-checking software before accepting a manuscript for publication,” Beall said.
He said predatory journals made money from authors desperate to get their work published.
Diane Parker, an acting deputy director-general in the Department of Higher Education and Training, said the publication was listed in Scopus, a database of academic journals.
“No one has come to us about this journal, but if someone sent a complaint to us, we would investigate,” she said.
The Mediterranean Journal said the Unisa article had been accepted because the publishers did not have plagiarism detecting software.