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Lab Times



Thomson Reuters’ new evaluation tool

Deeper InCites

A good strategy is not only important in war

and video games but also in science. Admin-

istrators and funders have to allocate their

scarce resources in the best way possible.

Unfortunately, in the past they have rou-

tinely based their decisions on the well-in-

tentioned but often misused Journal Impact

Factor, provided by media and information

giant, Thomson Reuters, TR. With the re-

cent launch of the new platform, InCites,

TR promises a more elaborate and trans-

parent tool for the assessment of research


For InCites, two data sets Journal Cita-

tion Reports, JCR, which include the Im-

pact Factors, and Essential Science Indica-

tors, ESI, have been integrated. The 2014

edition of the JCR lists close to 11,000 jour-

nals in 237 disciplines, while ESI helps in-

formation professionals and administrators

to zero in on the hottest papers, the most in-

fluential institutions and scientists as well

as keep an eye on emerging trends and up-

and-coming researchers. “With the launch

of next generation InCites, we are advanc-

ing the approach to research evaluation by

providing users with the ability to measure

each piece of the research equation – at the

journal, article, individual, institutional and

regional levels,” says TR’s managing direc-

tor, Gordon Macomber in a press release,

accompanying the platform’s launch.

So, what exactly is new and improved?

In an interview with Angela Cochran for


Scholarly Kitchen

blog, Patricia Bren-

nan, vice president of Product and Mar-

ket Strategy at TR reveals that the “met-

rics are more dynamic as they are first cal-

culated at the article-level and refreshed

with much greater frequency than the an-

nual JCR compilation”. In addition, TR has

worked on its transparency: “This year, we

introduced a link in next generation InCites

that directly connects the JCR to the citable

item count from Web of Science. Our goal

with this step is to reduce the mystery about

the path from the source content to the cal-

culated metric,” Brennan says. But there’s

one thing InCites does not include: “At this

point we will not mingle scholarly citations

with the open web citations simply because

it is a case of apples and oranges. They are

different venues and we would be measur-

ing different attributes,” Brennan mentions.

Whether or not InCites really makes re-

search evaluation fairer remains to be seen.

But it seems as if TR is, at least, willing to

tap some of their Impact Factor’s power.

Science prints from the Royal Society

Home Decoration

Staring at a boring interior of white-paint-

ed walls? Do you fancy a change? Then,

the UK’s Royal Society might have some-

thing for you. On August 12


, it launched

a “print-on-demand” service for some of

its archived, historical illustrations. “The

library and archives of the Royal Society,

the UK’s national academy of science, con-

tain rich collections of printed books, man-

uscripts and paintings which have been

developed since the Society’s founding in

1660. Images from these sources have been

hand-selected for inclusion in this print

shop to offer a range of inspiring visual ma-

terial, including rare published plates, wa-

tercolour studies and pencil sketches from

across the history of science,” the Society

advertises its latest offer to the general and

academic public.

And there’s a wide variety of images to

choose from, over 2,500, neatly filed into 16

subject categories. Those include, for exam-

ple, Animals, Mathematics, Medicine and

Anatomy, Microscopy as well as Travel and

Explorations. Should you, for whatever rea-

son, need some visual inspiration for your

own research career, then how about a por-

trait painting of Charles Darwin or a silhou-

ette of Edward Jenner? Do you want to be

reminded of the dawn of cell biology? Rob-

ert Hooke’s world famous ‘cells in a sliver of

cork’ from 1665 will serve as a memory aid.

Or do you want to beautify your living room

with some aesthetically pleasing draw-

Recently Awarded

They might be one of the oldest hon-

ours for scientific achievements – the

Copley and Royal Medal

by the UK’s

Royal Society. Past winners include

Charles Darwin and Theodor Schwann

and now,

Sir Alec Jeffreys

’ name has

been added to the illustrious list. In

1984, Jeffreys (University of Leicester)

discovered and subsequently developed

a method that today is known as genetic

fingerprinting. This year’s Royal Medals

went to

Tony Hunter

(Salk Institute

for Biological Studies, California) and

Howard Morris

(emeritus professor at

Imperial College London). In the 1970’s,

UK-born, Tony Hunter, noticed that phos-

phate attaches not only to serine and

threonine but also to tyrosine residues in

proteins – the revelation of an important

step in signal transduction. Howard Mor-

ris, in the 1960s, kept himself busy with

developing instruments for biomolecular

mass spectrometry. Both medals come

with a “gift” of £5,000 (ca. €6,500).

With a ramped up prize money of

€100,000, the

Heinrich Wieland


by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foun-

dation has become even more desirable.

This year,

Reinhard Jahn,

director of

the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical

Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany was

chosen to be the winner. The neurobio­

logist’s seminal work on membrane

fusion, in particular, on the evolutionary

conserved SNARE proteins in the 1990s

has since become textbook knowledge.

In neurons, SNAREs mediate the exo-

cytosis of synaptic vesicles, filled with


Bacterial taxonomy is



’s (Leibnitz Institute DSMZ-

German Collection of Microorganisms

and Cell Cultures in Braunschweig,

Germany), forté and for his efforts, espe-

cially in the Sequencing Orphan Species

(SOS) initiative, completed in 2013,

and the ongoing Genomic Encyclopedia

of Bacteria and Archaea (GEBA) project

(see News article: pg. 14), he was hon-

oured with the

2014 Bergey Award




/Karen Arnold (frame), Royal Society (drawing)