where you stand . . . depends on where you sit

17 May

Originally posted on Living with Open Hands:

“Where you stand . . . depends on where you sit . . .” The viewpoints you are most likely to advance (your stance politically, your opinions) are decisively determined by the place you occupy economically, in your career, in your community, in your organization, in society. We must not ever presume to speak for others; especially those outside of our scope, like the poor, the battered and bruised, the broken hearted, the “least of these.” We must ‘live’ there . . . and listen.

Three years ago, I sat in a very different place in life with very different viewpoints.
An entrepreneur, a social entrepreneur at that, making enough money to actually pay the bills.
Two income family.
Home owner.
Living in a middle class neighborhood.
Going to a middle class church in a poor neighborhood. (Made me feel better about church)
Wondering why those people in that poor…

View original 882 more words

Ethnography: A Scientist Discovers the Value of the Social Sciences

22 Apr

Originally posted on The Scholarly Kitchen:

Picture from an early ethnographic study Bronislaw Malinowski with natives on Trobriand Islands, ca 1918.

I have always liked to think of myself as a good listener. Whether you are in therapy (or should be), conversing with colleagues, working with customers, embarking on strategic planning, or collaborating on a task, a dose of emotional intelligence – that is, embracing patience and the willingness to listen — is essential.

At the American Mathematical Society, we recently embarked on ambitious strategic planning effort across the organization. On the publishing side we have a number of electronic products, pushing us to consider how we position these products for the next generation of mathematician. We quickly realized that it is easy to be complacent. In our case we have a rich history online, and yet – have we really moved with the times? Does a young mathematician need our products?

We came to a sobering and rather exciting realization: In…

View original 1,008 more words

In NEJM: Protection or Harm? Suppressing Substance-Use Data

16 Apr

This post is jointly authored by Nicholas Bagley and Austin Frakt. Yesterday evening, the New England Journal of Medicine released a Perspective piece that

via In NEJM: Protection or Harm? Suppressing Substance-Use Data.

Are We at a Tipping Point for Open Data?

18 Mar

Ha-Vinh:

Data sharing is on the rise, the French public health insurance shares openly its data as you can see in the link below:
https://www.etalab.gouv.fr/ouverture-du-fichier-damir-par-lassurance-maladie

Originally posted on The Scholarly Kitchen:

Street sign, park nearby Image via RP Norris https://www.flickr.com/photos/rptnorris/3453936781/

Last month, President Obama showed off his dad-joke skills while announcing the appointment of the first US Chief Data Scientist. The focus of much of the White House’s messaging around this appointment has been on making the government’s own data publicly available. In his ‘memo to the American people’, however, Dr. D.J. Patil talked about acting as a conduit between government, academia and industry. In some ways, this latest move can be seen as a continuation of a US government push toward open data that mirrors efforts in Europe and elsewhere.

For a long time, there has been an expectation that researchers share data upon request with other academics but more recently, the trend has been towards making data widely and publicly available. In February 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a memorandum on Expanding Public Access…

View original 1,240 more words

In Support of Academic Writing

27 Feb

Originally posted on Explorations of Style:

Last fall, Steven Pinker promoted his new book, The Sense of Style, with an article in The Chronicle Review entitled “Why Academics Stink at Writing”. I didn’t write about this article at the time because I hadn’t yet read the book; while I had a lot of concerns about the article, I was reluctant to share them in the absence of an understanding of his overall intentions in the book. Over the winter break, I read the book in order to write a review; what I found was a thoughtful diagnosis of the habits that impede strong academic writing and a great deal of incisive writing advice. I recommend Pinker’s account of how what he calls the “curse of knowledge” (p. 59) prevents us from grasping what the reader needs to know. And I recommend his approach to managing complex writing, especially at the sentence level. I feel certain that most serious…

View original 934 more words

What a good introduction paragraph looks like?

8 Feb

Putting their research in context is of a major concern for all the health services researchers. This comes from the fact that health services research is not per se a hard science. Its research object is transversal over a large range of domains extending from occupational medicine to surgery passing by pharmacology and social sciences. Thus the importance of a strong introduction in our papers, expliciting what our research confirms or questions in the existing knowledge and what new knowledge it adds. There is no question to be able to do that without conducting beforehand a sound analysis of the literature. H Maisonneuve in his blog gave an interesting link to the Lancet’s definition of what a good introduction should look like in a medical research paper:

This Is What a Strong Introduction paragraph Looks Like:

introduction

 

writing a journal article? start with the So What question

6 Jan

Originally posted on patter:

I’m running another writing course soon in Iceland and have been sorting through potential pre-reading material. In my file of pdfs I came across an editorial written by Neil Selwyn in the journal Learning, Media and Technology. The piece is called ‘So What?’… a question every journal article needs to answer‘.

It’s pretty apparent that Selwyn was tired of getting papers that weren’t suitable for his journal. In his three years as Editor he’d obviously seen a lot of unsuitable submissions – and he really, really didn’t want to see any more. You can hear his frustration in his very clear delineation of what is and isn’t acceptable for his journal….

These ‘proof of concept’ and ‘best practice’ studies of the application of specific digital devices and practices in particular educational settings are clearly necessary and worthwhile stages in the development of any educational technology. Yet work of…

View original 369 more words

Multiple sclerosis, what about the south-north gradient?

4 Jan

Recent researches found that the south north gradient of the occurrence of multiple sclerosis is diminishing in the USA and doesn’t exist anymore in France.
Here are the two articles:

Alvaro Alonso, MD Miguel A. Herna ́n, MD
Temporal trends in the incidence of multiple sclerosis A systematic review
Neurology 71 July 8, 2008
Available in full text here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4109189/pdf/129.pdf

Fromont A, Binquet C, Sauleau EA, Fournel I, Bellisario A, Adnet J, et al. Geographic variations of multiple sclerosis in France. Brain 2010;133:1889-99.OpenUrlAbstract/FREE Full Text http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/brain/133/7/1889.full.pdf

Thus the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis seems to shift toward a less intense south north gradient but in the same time an aggravation of the sex ratio, aggravating the burden that women bear in this inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system (i.e. the central unit of our body in terms of information technologies).

This tendency opens new interests for more epidemiological studies in this field. All the more because the observational studies aiming to prove the mixed, genetic and environmental, etiology are entangled with the current migrations of populations, the mobility of young people in view of finding a job and the changes in life habits in the populations of the south such as using more protection against the sun rays.

Professor Confavreux had well depicted the stakes in this editorial:

An unchanging man faced with changing times Christian Confavreux
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/aws135 1663-1665 First published online: 24 May 2012
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/135/6/1663.full

For the present moment multiple sclerosis etiological mechanism is an enigma and risks to remain so if researchers in the domain have no new data to crunch at the populational level.

The Craft of Revision

19 Dec

Originally posted on Explorations of Style:

All academic writers have some sort of revision process, but that process is often either insufficient (just nibbling around the edges) or scattershot (catching some things but missing others). To improve our revision practices, we generally have to both deepen them and make them more systematic.

My starting point here is the near impossibility of crafting reader-ready first drafts. If the material is conceptually complex, if you are still struggling to understand the implications of what you’ve learned, if the internal connections aren’t yet apparent to you, then the first draft is going to be clumsy. At that stage, the text will be something that you are still learning from rather than something that others can learn from. For most of us, making the transition from a text that helps you to a text that helps the reader takes multiple iterations. When I talk about needing to make a commitment to extensive revision, that choice of words…

View original 1,051 more words

The value of identifiable research data

16 Dec

Joel Kallich of Big Health Data wrote me: Over the last 30 years, the government has been reluctant to release identifiable information, first on an

via The value of identifiable research data.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 136 other followers

%d bloggers like this: