estudos métricos da informação e muito mais

Categoria: science and society

Mentoring for your research project in Science Communication or Information Science

Many friends who follow what I write here or on Facebook do not know, but I am a researcher and advisor in the areas of Science Communication and Information Science. The focus of my postgraduate courses is on the use of new technologies for science communication and data collection of academic production and social media analysis of the online repercussion of (mostly) publications on science topics. If the names Bibliometrics, Cybermetrics, Webometrics and Altmetrics do not make sense for you, in part the previous paragraph tries to explain them a little bit.

With these data, one can also study and discover many cool and exciting things, as well as making beautiful graphs (like the image that is in my profile on facebook) or diagrams representing and synthesising what was observed. What will define what each element of the graph represents will depend on choices that you need to make wisely, and this goes from the initial data selection, to the data treatment you will give when it comes to representing links (edges) and actors (nodes).

Well, excuse me for the “big text”, but all of this is just to say that within the philosophy that I always speak at the beginning of my courses, I’ve decided to see if I can extend my humble contribution to the development of the fields of science in which I have dedicated my last 20 or 10 years (20 of SC and 10 of IS). Inspired by the proposal that my friend from high school Michel Lent made, I decided to make available a public google agenda in which I will be offering weekly an hour and a half to mentoring your research project. If I will be of any assistance it will depend on you to properly see me as someone who can help, and I be able to do so. 🙂

Just go to the link [] , see what day I will be available, and schedule it. The conversations will preferably be by Google Hangout or similar tool, but something in person may be feasible for those who are in my city. I ask first of all that you understand that as it is a new experiment, I will certainly take time to put this into a routine. So it is possible that I have to reschedule your request. And I’ll be evaluating requests to try to prioritize those I identify that I have the greatest potential to be of some help.

If all goes well and you are happy, remember me in the acknowledgments 🙂 and do an excellent research, because what we need most is good projects to consolidate these areas even more in Brazil or elsewhere in the World. If you are from Portugal you are also super welcome. If your native language is Spanish or English, we also can talk, as long as you could deal with my accent and some false cognates 🙂 . I look forward to seeing how this experiment will flow. I hope this can be an incredible experience for me and for everyone who participates.

Cheers to everyone and until the next Hangout!

“Come on! Tell me how blockchain can change Science!”

It was just a regular weekend day, a meeting with friends, some things to cook and eat, some beers, juice or wine to drink. We have this group from college that meet every month or so, and each one does what he is best at. I usually open the bottles, as cooking for people with high level of exigence is not for me. One of my friends, Bernardo, actually was a chef for some time. Before that, he was a Biologist and now a Lawyer, quite a multi-skilled guy.

All of a sudden, I bumped into a conversation between Bernardo and Mauro, also a biologist and an entrepreneur. They were talking about blockchain, and contracts, and a bunch of our current science dilemmas; sharing knowledge, getting funded, making a revolution on everything starting from the kitchen bench while preparing food (our favourite topic). There, serving glasses with an open bottle of wine, I heard the question from Mauro: “Come on, Fábio! Tell me how blockchain can change Science! Or, at least, how can it make a change in what we are doing in our lab?”.

Simple question, not an easy answer. Moreover, I was still trying to cope with my second “Future Shock” in life. The first one was more than 25 years ago when I first accessed some files via Gopher (a pre-WWW tool for navigating through menus on the Internet, and yes, I am that old!). So, at that moment I just tried to prompt some ideas out of my little knowledge of that, and we shared some common thoughts. For that moment there was no clear straight answer that we could give.

We talked about some aspects of the technology, a little bit more about what are the bottlenecks of science production, and other issues, like the need of science hubs in Brazil to provide infrastructure to solve complex issues (like the Zika pandemic). At the end we left, all of us, with some “Lego Blocks” to make sense. Maybe we could build a “Lego Truck” with that to start with (something Mauro teachs me now and then). It is crude, maybe is not the perfect truck, but it is what we need at the beginning, because the real truck, perfect, would take a lot to be done and would not be as adaptable as the Lego one.
After a while, this conversation started to make sense to each one of us. That moment was the seed for something that was growing. Now we can see that one of the most known applications of blockchain, the creation of cryptocurrencies, could make the difference for science and scientist, and that is where the idea of Genecoin came aboard. With a currency created to the science ecosystem, we can really do something that would solve more than technical problems on everyday lab bench.

We would be able to use the trust in science to thrust science to another level of funding and knowledge sharing. We could pave a road to give financial support to activities that today are not supported. And we can give to supporters of science a way to direct their investments in those that are working hard to make a difference in what they need or believe.

I know that this may sound more like a teaser, as there are lots of things to understand about blockchain, cryptocurrencies, tokens, and its relations with the scientific community. But, let’s think that we are starting here with the first of several building blocks. One that can tell were we came from, and point to where we plan to go.

For now, just think what would represent to everyone working in the science field if they could have a currency. One with the virtuosity to cycle among their community, making every investment a two, a ten, a hundredfold investment in the perceived results. Imagine that every directed trust in science could result in thrusting science further, and further, day by day.

Imagine that it will grow in a Fibonacci Spiral. Welcome to Genecoin! [to be continued…]


What we believe but cannot prove

All we need are evidence, in order to get the truth. Will it be just that? Well, in science facts and data are one of the front lines for research. For trials of crimes, the proof is sought by investigators too. Thus, the phrase “we don’t have proof, but we have belief”, falsely attributed to a member of the Brazilian Federal Public Ministry, would cause naturally great repercussions on social networks. But, even in science, many questions hang in the minds of thinkers as to what you believe, but cannot prove it yet.

What We Believe But Cannot Prove

What We Believe But Cannot Prove

This is the subject of “What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today’s Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty (Edge Question Series)” edited by John Brockman. In this book, answers to a question asked by the Edge are answered by 107 collaborators ranging from Richard Dawkings to Craig Venter. The goal was basically raise issues which those who are at the frontiers of research believe, even if they have not yet gathered enough evidence to definitively prove it. What appears against a purist vision of science is actually something commonplace. Consider the actors of the processes of research as total impartial would be actually naivety. These are a clear exercise to test everything we think or theorize, but you can’t dehumanize science and its processes. And, not to go unnoticed, there were discomfort on the respondents in letting themself go and talk about their assumptions even if not based on facts.

This is a book that I had a quick contact and is on my reading list for a long time. I remembered exactly due to this controversy on the Brazilian Federal Public Ministry, and I read a couple of its online essays. But as Silvio Santos (a Brazilian Show Man) would say, “I didn’t read it, but my employees liked”, that is, if you think worth reading it complete, leave a message. I’m convinced that you will enjoy.

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