19 October 2012

Information Research - reader survey

I've been conducting a survey of Information Research readers. For various reasons the respondents are largely self-selected, so no thorough statistical analysis is possible. However, 58 persons report having published in Information Research and one of the things I was interested to learn about was the extent to which authors are being pressured in their institutions into submitting only to certain 'high quality' (i.e., high Impact Factor) journals.

Twenty-six of the respondents said that they were subject to such pressure (51% of those responding to the question) and, of these, twenty-one, or 81%) said that Information Research was on the list of recommended journals.

I am fundamentally opposed to the idea that only high Impact Factor journals publish 'high quality' papers, but, given the trend, it is good to know that the quality of contributions to the journal is recognized. Perhaps the availability of this kind of information will provide a lever to exert some pressure on those institutions that do not at present recognize the quality of the journal.

06 October 2012

The Apple Maps disaster

What on earth possessed Apple to dump Google Maps in favour of its own system, which they appear to have bought from a Canadian company without any due diligence? If any quality testing had been done it would have revealed the numerous problems that people have already experienced. Apparently, if you live in New York, or San Francisco, it's fine. Anywhere else and you are likely to find that noted local landmarks don't exist, or have moved 20 miles down the road. I'm no apologist for Google and there is always the problem, as we have seen with iGoogle, that the company can pull a service without any regard for how many people depend upon it, so perhaps Apple is right to find an alternative. But finding an alternative without adequate testing is so sloppy as to make one wonder whose decision it was. As an example of the problems: the city of Boras in Sweden is about the 7th biggest in the country and yet Apple Maps can't locate the public library - although it does so without difficulty in other parts of the country, and it does locate the art gallery, which is in the same building. (It has to be said, however, that Google Maps locates it about a kilometer away in a temporary location it moved from a year ago.) The restaurants and cafes shown are out of date and the university is shown in three locations, one of which is completely wrong - the location of one of its schools, the Textilhogskolan is not shown at all, although it is the leading textile school in Sweden and is in a separate location. In other words, if you live in New York - fine; if you live pretty well anywhere else in the world, go back to Google Maps in your browser and wait until they have their own app for the iPad.