Implementing Ideas for Improving Software Citation and Credit [IMA]

Improving software citation and credit continues to be a topic of interest across and within many disciplines, with numerous efforts underway. In this Birds of a Feather (BoF) session, we started with a list of actionable ideas from last year’s BoF and other similar efforts and worked alone or in small groups to begin implementing them. Work was captured in a common Google document; the session organizers will disseminate or otherwise put this information to use in or for the community in collaboration with those who contributed.

Read this paper on arXiv…

P. Teuben, A. Allen, G. Berriman, et. al.
Tue, 22 Nov 16

Comments: 4 pages; to be published in ADASS XXVI (held Oct 16-20, 2016) proceedings

The Durability and Fragility of Knowledge Infrastructures: Lessons Learned from Astronomy [CL]

Infrastructures are not inherently durable or fragile, yet all are fragile over the long term. Durability requires care and maintenance of individual components and the links between them. Astronomy is an ideal domain in which to study knowledge infrastructures, due to its long history, transparency, and accumulation of observational data over a period of centuries. Research reported here draws upon a long-term study of scientific data practices to ask questions about the durability and fragility of infrastructures for data in astronomy. Methods include interviews, ethnography, and document analysis. As astronomy has become a digital science, the community has invested in shared instruments, data standards, digital archives, metadata and discovery services, and other relatively durable infrastructure components. Several features of data practices in astronomy contribute to the fragility of that infrastructure. These include different archiving practices between ground- and space-based missions, between sky surveys and investigator-led projects, and between observational and simulated data. Infrastructure components are tightly coupled, based on international agreements. However, the durability of these infrastructures relies on much invisible work – cataloging, metadata, and other labor conducted by information professionals. Continual investments in care and maintenance of the human and technical components of these infrastructures are necessary for sustainability.

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C. Borgman, P. Darch, A. Sands, et. al.
Wed, 2 Nov 16

Comments: Paper presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology, October 14-18, 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark. 10 pages; this https URL

Quantitative Evaluation of Gender Bias in Astronomical Publications from Citation Counts [IMA]

We analyze the role of first (leading) author gender on the number of citations that a paper receives, on the publishing frequency and on the self-citing tendency. We consider a complete sample of over 200,000 publications from 1950 to 2015 from five major astronomy journals. We determine the gender of the first author for over 70% of all publications. The fraction of papers which have a female first author has increased from less than 5% in the 1960s to about 25% today. We find that the increase of the fraction of papers authored by females is slowest in the most prestigious journals such as Science and Nature. Furthermore, female authors write 19$\pm$7% fewer papers in seven years following their first paper than their male colleagues. At all times papers with male first authors receive more citations than papers with female first authors. This difference has been decreasing with time and amounts to $\sim$6% measured over the last 30 years. To account for the fact that the properties of female and male first author papers differ intrinsically, we use a random forest algorithm to control for the non-gender specific properties of these papers which include seniority of the first author, number of references, total number of authors, year of publication, publication journal, field of study and region of the first author’s institution. We show that papers authored by females receive 10.4$\pm$0.9% fewer citations than what would be expected if the papers with the same non-gender specific properties were written by the male authors. Finally, we also find that female authors in our sample tend to self-cite more, but that this effect disappears when controlled for non-gender specific variables.

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N. Caplar, S. Tacchella and S. Birrer
Mon, 31 Oct 16

Comments: Abridged version to be submitted to Nature Astronomy. Comments welcome. For readers with very little time, the central result of the paper is covered by Figure 6 (Section 5)

Instruments on large optical telescopes — A case study [IMA]

In the distant past, telescopes were known, first and foremost, for the sizes of their apertures. Advances in technology (not merely those related to astronomical detectors) are now enabling astronomers to build extremely powerful instruments to the extent that instruments have now achieved importance comparable or even exceeding the usual importance accorded to the apertures of the telescopes. However, the cost of successive generations of instruments has risen at a rate far above that of the rate of inflation. Here, given the vast sums of money now being expended on optical telescopes and their instrumentation, I argue that astronomers must undertake “cost-benefit” analysis for future planning. I use the scientific output of the first two decades of the W. M. Keck Observatory as a laboratory for this purpose. I find, in the absence of upgrades, that the time to reach peak paper production for an instrument is about six years. The prime lifetime of instruments (sans upgrades), as measured by citations returns, is about a decade. I investigate how well instrument builders are rewarded (via citations by users of their instruments) and find acknowledgements ranging from 60% to 100%. Next, given the increasing cost of operating optical telescopes, the management of existing observatories continue to seek new partnerships. This naturally raises the question “What is the cost of a single night of telescope time”. I provide a rational basis to compute this quantity. I then end the paper with some thoughts on the future of large ground-based optical telescopes, bearing in mind the explosion of synoptic precision photometric, astrometric and imaging surveys across the electromagnetic spectrum, the increasing cost of instrumentation and the rise of mega instruments.

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S. Kulkarni
Wed, 22 Jun 16

Comments: 29 pages, 16 figures, destination: PASP

Aggregation and Linking of Observational Metadata in the ADS [IMA]

We discuss current efforts behind the curation of observing proposals, archive bibliographies, and data links in the NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS). The primary data in the ADS is the bibliographic content from scholarly articles in Astronomy and Physics, which ADS aggregates from publishers, arXiv and conference proceeding sites. This core bibliographic information is then further enriched by ADS via the generation of citations and usage data, and through the aggregation of external resources from astronomy data archives and libraries. Important sources of such additional information are the metadata describing observing proposals and high level data products, which, once ingested in ADS, become easily discoverable and citeable by the science community. Bibliographic studies have shown that the integration of links between data archives and the ADS provides greater visibility to data products and increased citations to the literature associated with them.

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A. Accomazzi, M. Kurtz, E. Henneken, et. al.
Fri, 29 Jan 16

Comments: 4 pages, Proceedings of the ADASS XXV conference

Improving Software Citation and Credit [CL]

The past year has seen movement on several fronts for improving software citation, including the Center for Open Science’s Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines, the Software Publishing Special Interest Group that was started at January’s AAS meeting in Seattle at the request of that organization’s Working Group on Astronomical Software, a Sloan-sponsored meeting at GitHub in San Francisco to begin work on a cohesive research software citation-enabling platform, the work of Force11 to “transform and improve” research communication, and WSSSPE’s ongoing efforts that include software publication, citation, credit, and sustainability.
Brief reports on these efforts were shared at the BoF, after which participants discussed ideas for improving software citation, generating a list of recommendations to the community of software authors, journal publishers, ADS, and research authors. The discussion, recommendations, and feedback will help form recommendations for software citation to those publishers represented in the Software Publishing Special Interest Group and the broader community.

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A. Allen, G. Berriman, K. DuPrie, et. al.
Tue, 29 Dec 15

Comments: Birds of a Feather session organized by the Astrophysics Source Code Library (ASCL, this http URL ); to be published in Proceedings of ADASS XXV (Sydney, Australia; October, 2015). 4 pages

The data sharing advantage in astrophysics [IMA]

We present here evidence for the existence of a citation advantage within astrophysics for papers that link to data. Using simple measures based on publication data from NASA Astrophysics Data System we find a citation advantage for papers with links to data receiving on the average significantly more citations per paper than papers without links to data. Furthermore, using INSPEC and Web of Science databases we investigate whether either papers of an experimental or theoretical nature display different citation behavior.

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S. Dorch, T. Drachen and O. Ellegaard
Tue, 10 Nov 15

Comments: 4 pages, 2 figures, Conference proceedings of Focus Meeting 3 on Scholarly Publication in Astronomy, IAU GA 2015, Honolulu