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Tweeting Arxiv June 9, 2009

Posted by Sarah in astro 2.0, science.
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tweprintsFellow astronomer, blogger and developer Rob (@orbitingfrog) has put together a great new site in recent months that makes the most of two of my favourite places on the web, arxiv and Twitter. Arxiv on Twitter, or Tweprints for short, tracks all tweets about publications listed on arxiv, the online preprint service where many scientists post their new papers in a variety of sciences, including astronomy. Authors often post their work to arxiv before they are officially published by the journals, so it’s an excellent way to disseminate new results to the community more quickly than the time it takes a journal to publish (months sometimes).

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Look UP! April 16, 2009

Posted by Sarah in astro 2.0.
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Ever wished you had a place on the web where you can find out everything about an astronomical object? Comrade astroblogger Stuart over in the UK has written just the thing. It’s called LookUp and you can access it for free, here. I’ve been playing with it for a few days and it’s a lovely little tool that will come in handy for both the desk-bound professionals and the stargazers out in the field. (more…)

Ethics in Research: Share your views April 15, 2009

Posted by Sarah in politics, science.
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In the last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about ethics in physics and astronomy. While in astronomy we don’t have to navigate the perilous minefield of research on people or animals, proper scientific conduct is still considered to be an essential requirement for a career in astronomy. But what defines “proper scientific conduct”, or its counterpart, the dreaded “misconduct”, and who writes those definitions? Plagiarism is the one form of misconduct students are taught from undergraduate level to avoid at all cost. How far does the definition of plagiarism actually stretch, and why? And does that make sense? Moreover, what is the punishment, and who should it be administered by?While these issues are often presented in very black and white terms, once you dig below the surface they are really pretty murky. (more…)