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  • May 29, 2017
  • 11:34 AM

Study suggests computational model to predict air pollution after a rocket launching

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases

The study suggests a new approach to predict major atmospheric pollutants emissions after a Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) launching, using a weather/air quality computational model. Propellant combustion may release a huge amount of hydrogen chloride (HCl), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter, posing risk to the environment. … Read More →... Read more »

  • May 26, 2017
  • 01:14 PM

How to find articles in open access – tips from my favorite nerd

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Scholarly communication available online, whether in journals or repositories, adds up to millions, and this figure grows every year. What browser efficient tools are available to researchers, librarians, students, and the like to find the open-access versions of the articles that interest them? … Read More →... Read more »

  • May 22, 2017
  • 09:37 AM

Meteorological Tsunamis: should we worry about them?

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases

Have you ever heard about meteorological tsunamis? Why it should be important to better understand these natural phenomena? Dr. Iael Perez and Dr. Dragani Walter from the Servicio de Hidrografia - CONICET, Argentina, explain these phenomena in detail after investing on an interesting study conducted in Mar del Plata. … Read More →... Read more »

  • May 10, 2017
  • 05:29 PM

Gender disparities in science persist despite significant advances

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The participation of women as authors in academic publications has been increasing significantly worldwide and in all areas of knowledge, reaching 49% in Brazil and Portugal, followed by Australia (44%) and the European Union (41%). Gender equity in science, however, still has a long way to go, especially in the editing and peer review functions. A study of more than 41,000 articles published between 2007 and 2015 shows that male editors - who are majority - preferentially select same gender referees. … Read More →... Read more »

Markus Helmer, Manuel Schottdorf, Andreas Neef, & Demian Battaglia. (2017) Gender bias in scholarly peer review. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.21718.001  

Lerback, J., & Hanson, B. (2017) Journals invite too few women to referee. Nature, 541(7638), 455-457. DOI: 10.1038/541455a  

  • May 8, 2017
  • 02:25 PM

Health systems in Brazil and regionalization policies

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases

There is currently a crucial moment in the implementation of the Unified Health System (SUS), since its performance is questioned on all sides, in general, magnifying a superficial view of its failures and denying many of its successes. … Read More →... Read more »

  • May 2, 2017
  • 11:20 AM

Openness is the only quality of an academic article that can be objectively measured

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Quality of scientific research articles is a widespread preoccupation in academic circles. The most used proxy is based on citation counts, not of the article itself, but of the averages of articles appearing in the same journal during a given time window. This is known as the Journal Impact Factor, which may be objective within its own definition, but utterly lacks objectivity with regard to scientific quality of individual articles. Only some technical qualities of articles can be assessed at the time of their publication, and, significantly, their openness, the degree to which the research results they describe can be immediately and universally shared. … Read More →... Read more »

  • April 25, 2017
  • 02:46 PM

Editors of Brazilian journals – a hard life that is getting harder! [Originally published as the editorial in Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências vol. 89 no. 1]

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The financing of journals of Brazil can be improved by extending the validity period of research grants, in order to allow publishers a better plan for articles publication. An editorial written by Alexander Kellner in the first issue of 2017 of Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências examines the challenge faced by editors of journals of Brazil and highlights their hard work in attracting relevant manuscripts, seeking to achieve ever greater levels of excellence and internationalization. … Read More →... Read more »

CORDEIRO, Y., & SCHUCK, P. (2015) Hot Topics in Biomedical Sciences. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 87(2), 1271-1272. DOI: 10.1590/0001-376520158722  

Vasconcelos, S., Sorenson, M., Watanabe, E., Foguel, D., & Palácios, M. (2015) Brazilian Science and Research Integrity: Where are We? What Next?. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 87(2), 1259-1269. DOI: 10.1590/0001-3765201520150165  

  • April 23, 2017
  • 12:30 AM

Intrinsic Motivation Is Caused by Achievement

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Education interventions (specifically those dealing with mathematics education) designed to increase achievement may be better uses of time than those designed to increase intrinsic motivation.... Read more »

  • April 17, 2017
  • 02:00 PM

The emergence of the alternative metric that can make the measurement of world academic production more fair and egalitarian

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases

The growing use of social networks for various purposes, including the dissemination of scientific communication, has required the creation of a new method of measuring and analyzing the flow of information in these environments. Altmetria emerged as a subarea of Metrics Information Studies to meet this need, and can complement traditional methods of evaluation, thus making it more fair and egalitarian. … Read More →... Read more »

  • April 7, 2017
  • 04:02 PM

Outsourcing and precariousness of work in the social assistance policy

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases

This paper presents the work conditions of psychologists hired by private organizations to work at the Sistema Único de Assistência Social (Unified System for Social Assistance). Among other things, it concludes that this “outsourcing” process has been allowing temporary contracts, high turnover rates, late payment of salaries, dismissal of large groups of employees and lack of continuing education, which impacts the health of the workers and the quality of the services offered. … Read More →... Read more »

  • April 7, 2017
  • 03:18 PM

Are we in the GSM Radar?

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

Google Scholar Metrics (GSM) offers alternative metrics to the JCR Impact Factor and the SJR, namely the h-5 index. To enter this world ranking that covers more than 40,000 journals it is only necessary to publish an average of 20 articles per year and be cited. However, there are hundreds of journals (our journals) that are not being indexed in GSM. They're off Radar. … Read More →... Read more »

Enrique Ordua-Malea, Alberto Martín-Martín, Juan M. Ayllón, & Emilio Delgado López Cozar. (2016) La revolución Google Scholar: destapando la caja de Pandora académica. Universidad de Granada. info:/

  • April 3, 2017
  • 02:00 PM

Medical practice precariousness at the Unified Health System — SUS

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases

The medical practice in the Unified Health System is a study topic published in the journal Estudos de Psicologia (Campinas), which reveals the working conditions of these professionals and the impacts on personal health, analyzed through interviews and self-confidence. … Read More →... Read more »

  • April 1, 2017
  • 03:30 PM

Educational Achievement and Religiosity

by Joshua Fisher in Text Savvy

Religiosity may be correlated with lower educational achievement because people have a finite amount of time and attention, and spending time learning about religion or engaging in religious activities necessarily takes time away from learning math and science.... Read more »

  • March 31, 2017
  • 06:07 PM

I wrote this… I did not write this… now I write something else…

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective

The emerging system of online scholarly communication incorporates a technological and ideologically approach different from the traditional one, where the articles initially appear as preprints versions and are modified until reaching the final version. In case of errors, these same technologies provide efficient opportunities to make partial or total corrections and even retractions, associating to the path of a document the history of its versions. It is time, therefore, to establish methodologies that allow to obtain the maximum of more updated information to support the scientific undertakings. … Read More →... Read more »

  • March 27, 2017
  • 04:12 PM

Pregnant women modify the labor progress when use warm bath and Swiss ball

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases

Research demonstrates the use of warm shower and perineal exercises with Swiss ball alone or combined during labor improves fetal well-being, stimulates uterine contractions, reduces labor time and accelerates progression to outcome in normal birth. … Read More →... Read more »

  • March 27, 2017
  • 11:04 AM

Being multilingual in school

by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira in Being Multilingual

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } Schooling nurtures development of academic ways of talking about things. This has come to be called ‘education’, in the sense that an ‘educated’ person is able to use language in this way. Schooling teaches us how, why and with whom our languages can be used to acquire knowledge formally, about history, chemistry, or geography, things that not all of us will have encountered at home, by these or any other names. It also teaches us that knowledge, of these and other things, can come to us from strangers, not just from people whom we’ve been familiar with from birth.Since all of us must be schooled in some language, those strangers will use their language(s) to us. This means that we’ll be facing new ways of using our old languages, or new ways of using new ones. For some children, the ability to switch use of their language(s) appropriately, according to purpose, topic or interlocutor, won’t be new at school start. Preschoolers know how to deal with linguistic register (the technical term for this) both passively, as Laura Wagner and colleagues report in Development in children’s comprehension of linguistic register, and actively, as Melissa Redford and Christina Gildersleeve-Neumann show in The development of distinct speaking styles in preschool children. For all children, however, using languages in school-bound ways will be new, because school will be a new environment to them. For multilingual and monolingual children alike, home and school uses of language won’t match. Tradition has it that we label such monolingual uses ‘language varieties’ (or dialects, or registers) and multilingual ones ‘languages’, although what the children will need to learn is exactly the same: to sort out their linguistic resources appropriately. All of us, young and old, learn to manage register switches on the job and because of different jobs. Children will acquire school uses of language by being exposed to those uses and practising them in a school environment, just like they acquired home uses of language through exposure and practice at home. Exposure and practice is what teaches us linguistic skills, and what generates awareness that our languages offer differentially appropriate choices to what we wish to say. We’re not born knowing how to use our languages before we start using them.Home and school uses of language are, indeed, differentially appropriate, each befitting its environment qualitatively. They do not represent the gradable quantities of linguistic competence that popular and very unfortunate labels such as ‘basic’ (for home uses) and ‘academic’ (for school uses) appear to imply, whether applied to languages or language varieties. In the case of multilinguals, reliance on judgemental labels such as these has meant repression of all their languages except the ‘good’, ‘rich’, worth-developing school language. Forbidding the use of the home language not just in class but in school premises may no longer involve the physical violence it once did, for both spoken and sign languages, but advice to parents to switch to the school language at home, in order to “enhance” their children’s academic performance still abounds. Such advice may include threatening assertions of dire consequences, for the children, of continued use of “too many languages at home”. Parents in multilingual families keep writing to me agonising over what to do about this, given their inability to use the school language in school-bound ways, or to use it at all, or their unwillingness to comply, objecting to what they deem an intrusion: just like school language practices are decided in school, not at home, home language practices are decided at home, not in school. School recommendations of this kind reflect an intriguing view that multilingual schoolchildren must strive to become monolingual both in school and at home. They come not only from local schools in places traditionally associated with monolingualism, but also from international schools, whose designation itself traditionally associates with multilingualism. Why should multilingualism be undesirable for academic achievement? The answer might lie in simple ignorance of what multilingualism is.There is, first, the myth that multilingualism is subtractive by definition, whereby learning a new language means losing other languages. Second, the myth that only one language can promote ‘higher’ academic goals. And third, the myth that only school languages and school environments support intellectual sophistication. What’s ‘basic’, I wonder, about cooking dinner with our children, say? This is likely to take place at home rather than in school, through home languages rather than school ones, and this is doing science, besides being an excellent (and fun) way of honing cultural, gastronomic and maths skills. Other reasons to promote mainstream monolingualism, equally rooted in zero-sum ideologies, relate instead to power relations within communities. Entitlement to one’s languages (and to calling them languages rather than, say, dialects) carries entitlement to what those languages represent, and therefore threatens the entitlement of the powers that be to decide who is entitled to use which languages. Do we want to pursue the scenario described in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451? On first suspicion of Guy Montag’s deviation from standard book burning rituals, Captain Beatty lectures him: “We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, [...] but everyone made equal.” And he adds: “[T]he home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That’s why we’ve lowered the kindergarten age year after year until now we’re almost snatching them from the cradle.” Or do we want to make it clear to ourselves and the children in our care that there is no conflict between home and school uses of language because they serve distinct environments? To my mind, school would be an ideal environment to teach children both that using language(s) at home and in school is a matter of appropriate choices, and why these choices matter. Where else, in fact, can we be educated about this? Simply suppressing inappropriate home uses of language in school won’t work, because we can’t make choices if we don’t know that there are choices to make. School-bound linguistic resources are not synonymous with ‘linguistic resources’, whether we’re monolingual or multilingual. We can talk about anything in any language, if we so wish, because the languages aren’t in charge: we are. If using the same language at home and in school were the key to enhanced academic accomplishment, children growing up in monolingual environments would outperform their multilingual peers academically. I’m sure that the parents who worry about these school recommendations would be very interested to know about research supporting this. So would I.In contrast to mythical beliefs in redemption through ‘higher’ monolingualism, what research does show is that nurturing the learners’ full linguistic repertoire in school favours academic achievement. Virginia Scott and María José de la Fuente show this in their paper What’s the Problem?, and so does Joana Duarte in ... Read more »

  • March 25, 2017
  • 02:06 PM

Native multilinguals

by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira in Being Multilingual

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } Some of my language teaching students sometimes express out loud their heartfelt desire to become native speakers. I was quite baffled the first time I heard this: we’re all native speakers, surely, and we can’t become natives, if we take the word “native” to mean what I supposed it is meant to mean, ‘from birth’. But does it? It turned out that my students’ previous teacher training had included the mantra that “native” means ‘flawless’ in this collocation, and flawless, whatever we take this word to mean, is certainly something that all of us can at least aspire to become. This latter meaning of the word “native” has in fact been made quite explicit in the literature about “second” (or “foreign”) languages – with my profuse apologies for the scare quotes that will crop up all over this post: I’ve no idea what the scared words might mean, in this literature. This meaning explains, for example, why some of us think it a worthwhile endeavour to compare school language learners to “native speakers”, for purposes of language quality assessment. But there is a snag: if learning languages from birth entails flawless use of those languages, how come multilinguals across the board, including simultaneous multilinguals who learn more than one language from Day One, go on being compared to “native speakers”? The thing is that “native speaker” has yet a third meaning, ‘monolingual’, this time a covert one, which nevertheless heeds the overt, systematic practice of comparing any multilinguals to monolinguals. This meaning explains, for example, the virtual absence of acknowledgement that multilinguals can be “native” users of their languages. If we accept that multilingual proficiency should be assessed through comparison with “native” proficiency, then we’re saying that multilinguals and natives are two distinct kinds of language users, since we can’t compare a thing to itself.But there is another snag. If multilinguals aren’t native users of their languages, then they must be “non-native”, by the logic of the assumedly useful labels which populate research on language uses. However, they aren’t, because multilinguals get compared to non-natives, too. In addition, simultaneous multilinguals can’t be “non-native”, if their languages are there for them from Day One, which is one of the meanings of “native”. Multilinguals, in sum, appear to inhabit a Linguistic No Man’s Land.“Day One”, unfortunately, may not be what clinches the issue either. If the language(s) in which we’re brought up from birth happen to be imported languages, then those languages aren’t “ours”. And if we learn a new language in early childhood, though not exactly from Day One, how many days should we count to count as a native user of it? Can I, for example, claim French as native language, having lived with it from just before age 3? Or was I then already way past my native learning prime, as I must have been when I learned my other languages several years later? If you’re interested in the mysteries of “critical periods” which snipe at “native” language learning abilities, Carmen Muñoz and David Singleton’s state of the art discussion, A critical review of age-related research on L2 ultimate attainment, is a must-read. Scare-quoted terminological acrobatics about multilingualism would be hilarious, of course, if it didn’t appear in “serious” research, thereby proving that we’ve no idea what we’re talking about. Have a look in my article First language acquisition and teaching, to see what I mean. The muddle got compounded when researchers developed a preference for labelling the languages of a multilingual by means of numbers, possibly on the belief that identifying things by numbers makes them look scientifically unquestionable. There’s always some “L1” lurking in there somewhere, which means that there must be rankings of L2, ... Ln, where the numbers apparently serve the purpose of showing that languages either politely follow one another or should do so. But what do these numbers mean when, say, simultaneous multilinguals learn one or more new languages in school? Not much, it seems, because we prefer to stick to labels rather than acknowledge their undefinable uselessness. Since “L1” represents an inherently singular concept (in more than one sense of “singular”), the logic of cardinal and ordinal numbering requires that L1 = “first language”, whereby everyone must have a single “first” language, endowed with rights of primogeniture associated with other firstborns. If there’s no single chronological first language, no problem: we just assign one to children, for reasons of administrative expediency, and call it their “mother tongue”. Finally, by the logic that first = “best”, we end up talking about “dominant” and “balanced” languages, and about all the other hopeless labels which do no more than betray our hopeless beliefs that multilinguals are, in fact, funny monolinguals. This state of affairs may well explain why multilingualism goes on being blamed for anything that deviates from monolingualism, to which I’ll return some other day. Meanwhile, the next post, a guest post, goes back to where this post started, to report vivid encounters with “nativeness” from a language teacher who’s also had plenty of reasons to wonder about the meaning of this word.... Read more »

  • March 25, 2017
  • 01:40 PM

Sign-speech multilinguals

by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira in Being Multilingual

P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } Opinions and decisions about multilingualism involving sign languages suffer from the same resilient fantasies which have plagued multilingualism in general over the past 100 years or so. With sign languages, however, there’s the aggravating factor that fantasies about them join the chorus. Only the other week, for example, I had a couple of (speech-speech) multilingual friends wonder why all the fuss about sign languages among linguists like me, since these languages are but a set of universal gestural primitives, like rubbing your tummy to indicate you’re hungry, as they put it. Aren’t they?, they nevertheless asked at the end of their reasoning. No, I replied. This would be roughly equivalent to saying that spoken languages are but a set of universal groany primitives to indicate your mood, as I put it. I took this chance to dispel their other illusion, that sign languages are straightforward fingerspelling systems, which draws on the interesting assumption that all signers must be literate. Many sign languages do include fingerspelling components, but the fact that, say, BSL (British Sign Language) and ASL (American Sign Language) use two-handed and one-handed spelling, respectively, for the same printed language, should help reassess the presumed straightforwardness of fingerspelling. In addition, BSL and ASL are as mutually unintelligible as other sign languages around the world. My friends are well educated, cosmopolitan professionals. Their take reflects the overarching myth that sign languages really aren’t languages at all, which goes on shaping policies devised by other professionals, those who have been empowered to deal with language education and who therefore aren’t in the habit of asking questions at the end of their reasonings. In a book chapter discussing The British Sign Language community up to the early 1990s, Paddy Ladd gives a distressing review of the ignorance and associated prejudice which, among other rulings, sanctioned physical violence to ‘cure’ deaf children of their signing ‘compulsion’. Just like, as I reported elsewhere, multilingualism came to be beaten out of hearing schoolchildren, the hands of deaf schoolchildren were tied behind their backs in order to force them to use spoken language. Just like, as I also reported elsewhere, multilingualism came to be medicalised, the language of deaf people was “pathologised” (Ladd’s word). Small wonder, then, that sign-speech multilinguals came to be viewed as doubly ‘handicapped’. When sign languages finally became legitimised, as it were, as objects of linguistic enquiry, sign multilingualism turned out, unsurprisingly, to match speech multilingualism. It comes complete with mixes, as David Quinto-Pozos reports for LSM (Lengua de Señas Mexicana) and ASL in Sign language contact and interference, for example, and with a lingua franca, International Sign, which Anja Hiddinga and Onno Crasborn discuss in Signed languages and globalization. But sign multilingualism remained the business of signers, so hearing communities needn’t bother with the eccentricities of deaf communities. Dealing with sign-speech multilingualism, however, appears to invite regression to hand-tied Fantasy Land: sign languages may be languages after all, but they are less so than spoken ones and should therefore not take priority in (so-called) multilingual education. It may help to understand that we’re talking about difference here, not winner-takes-it-all competition of gradable merits. It is as useful to compare the contexts of use of distinct linguistic modes as it’s useful to compare multilinguals and monolinguals. Insisting on doing so fails to recognise one of the many paradoxes reflecting our perennial difficulty in defining what languages are: do we want to say that speech beats sign, hands down, because we’re persuaded that auditory resources rank higher than visual ones in linguistic sophistication? Or should we rank those resources the other way around, because we believe that spoken languages are subsidiary to spelt ones? Language is as independent of the modes we’ve found to represent it – whether natural, sense-bound ones like sight, hearing, touch, or artificial ones like print – as music is independent of the instruments (our voice included) through which we produce it. What’s more, our senses seldom serve us to the exclusion of other senses. Manual gestures, for example, are intrinsic to spoken interaction, where attention to both visual and sound clues necessarily assists (de)coding. There’s even evidence that adequate gesturing enhances learning, as Martha W. Alibali and colleagues showed for a speech-based maths class in Students learn more when their teacher has learned to gesture effectively. In this sense, speakers and signers alike are multimodal users of language, and so are all of us, speakers or signers, who are literate. There may be some overlap between gestural uses in spoken and signed interaction, as Trevor Johnston argued for pointing gestures in Towards a comparative semiotics of pointing actions in signed and spoken languages, but the fundamental issue is that signs and speech belong to two different linguistic modes, each with their rules, standards and practices. Precisely for this reason, sign-speech multilinguals can avail themselves of means of linguistic expression which monomodal interaction lacks, in that “distinct modalities allow for simultaneous production of two languages”, as Karen Emmorey and colleagues discuss in Bimodal bilingualism. This means that sign-speech multilinguals, like any language users, must draw on the whole of their linguistic resources in order to be able to develop as human beings. The Position Statement on Early Cognitive and Language Development and Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, adopted by the NAD (National Association of the Deaf, USA) in June this year, makes for as engrossing reading as Paddy Ladd’s chapter – with many thanks to Beppie van den Bogaerde, who brought this publication to my attention on Twitter, @HU_DeafStudies. The document examines the relationship between sign, speech and print modes, debunking the usual myths about minority languages causing delayed development of mainstream languages (why never the other way around, one wonders?), about the primacy of spoken languages over signed ones, about reading abilities presupposing “... Read more »

Alibali, M., Young, A., Crooks, N., Yeo, A., Wolfgram, M., Ledesma, I., Nathan, M., Breckinridge Church, R., & Knuth, E. (2013) Students learn more when their teacher has learned to gesture effectively. Gesture, 13(2), 210-233. DOI: 10.1075/gest.13.2.05ali  

  • March 24, 2017
  • 02:00 PM

Lines that do not meet? Different perspectives of psychology upon organizations and work

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases

Is it possible to attach a single label to the different approaches and professional practices of Psychology regarding work? Are there irreconcilable differences between psychology approaches, for example, an approach with a concentrated focus on management and another focused on the health of workers? … Read More →... Read more »

  • March 22, 2017
  • 03:37 PM

Study shows that malocclusion has a negative impact on adolescents’ quality of life

by SciELO in SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases

A study carried out at Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) has shown that malocclusion (badly positioned teeth) may affect adolescents’ quality of life in a negative way. According to what was reported by parents and caregivers, youngsters with more serious alterations show more impaired aspects of emotional and social well-being than individuals without alterations or with minor ones. … Read More →... Read more »

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