- We discussed several times on this blog the question how plausible metrics for scientific success are, see for example my posts Science Metrics and Against Measure. This week, the NYT reports an amusing fact from the recent Times Higher Education university ranking in the article Questionable Science Behind Academic Rankings: Alexandria University in Egypt made it on the list on rank 147 (together with Uppsala) as the only Arab university. Just that, upon closer inspection, this success goes back to the enormous productivity of one researcher... and that is no other than Mohamed El Naschie. If you recall, two years ago we mentioned El Naschie's amazing publication record of more than 300 papers within a few years, published in a journal of which he also was editor-in-chief. He retired from his position a few weeks later. The NYT reports:
“But the news that Alexandria University in Egypt had placed 147th on the list — just below the University of Birmingham and ahead of such academic powerhouses as Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (151st) or Georgetown in the United States (164th) — was cause for both celebration and puzzlement. Alexandria’s Web site was quick to boast of its newfound status as the only Arab university among the top 200...
Like most university rankings, the list is made up of several different indicators, which are given weighted scores and combined to produce a final number or ranking...
Phil Baty, deputy editor of Times Higher Education, acknowledged that Alexandria’s surprising prominence was actually due to “the high output from one scholar in one journal” — soon identified on various blogs as Mohamed El Naschie, an Egyptian academic who published over 320 of his own articles in a scientific journal of which he was also the editor. In November 2009, Dr. El Naschie sued the British journal Nature for libel over an article alleging his “apparent misuse of editorial privileges.” The case is still in court.”
- Somehow scary:
“In this edition, we have added, for the first time, annotated references in the text to provide the beginning of an evidence based approach to clinical methods.”
From the preface of “Clinical Examination,” by Nicholas J Talley & Simon O'Connor, 4th Edition, 2001.
- The results from our recent poll: Is the scientific process one of discovery or invention? A total of 167 people took the poll. To my surprise, most them shared my opinion. The replies were: Both - 52.1%, Discovery - 33.7%, Invention -10.4%, Neither - 1.8%, Don't know - 1.8%.
- Chad Orzel discusses the statistic on the initial employment of new PhDs in physics from 1979 to 2008 in his post Physics Job Market: Same As It Ever Was. Slightly more than 50% of new PhDs presently go on to make a postdoc...
You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack... and you may find yourself in another part of the world... You may ask yourself, "Well, how did I get here?"... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... (Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime).
- And if you think that statistic doesn't look so bad, you may want to watch this:
[Via Dynamics of Cats]
You may ask yourself... How do I work this?
El Naschie commented the following on the university ranking:
“I do not believe at all in this ranking business and do not consider it anyway indicatory of any merit of the corresponding university.”