Category Archives: Reblogs

“Impact factor is a scam”, argues Curt Rice

Curt Rice, the head of the Board for Current Research Information System in Norway (CRIStin), recently published an interesting article on his blog, discussing the uses and abuses of the impact factor. This is reproduced, by kind permission, below:


Quality control in research: the mysterious case of the bouncing impact factor

Research must be reliable and publication is part of our quality control system. Scientific articles get reviewed by peers and they get screened by editors. Reviewers ideally help improve the project and its presentation, and editors ideally select the best papers to publish.

Impact factor is a scam. It should no longer be part of our quality control system.

Perhaps to help scientists through the sea of scholarly articles, an attempt has been made to quantify which journals are most important to read — and to publish in. This system — called impact factor — is used as a proxy for quality in decisions about hiring, grants, promotions, prizes and more. Unfortunately, that system is deeply flawed.

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A factual account of bilingualism and multilingualism in our personal and professional lives

A great post by Eugenia Loras, answering the following questions:

  1. At what age should a child start an additional language?
  2. How frequently should the child be exposed to the additional language?
  3. Will the child get confused?
  4. Should a parent speak to the child in the additional language?
  5. Should the new language start when they start learning it at school?
  6. Is there something more we must do as parents and / or teachers?

Eugenia Loras

This post is a summary of my talk on ‘A factual account of bilingualism and multilingualism in our personal and professional lives’ during our 1st International Loras Workshop in Zug, Switzerland.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We would like to thank all those who were present at our 1st International Workshop on Sunday, 22 September 2013. We would also like to thank all those who were not able to attend but supported us online, offline or any other way possible, sending a wish or a kind word. We greatly appreciated the presence and support of our exceptional speakers, Dr MA Sipra, Mr Alex Rawlings and Ms Claudia Buzzoni. Our friends and family deserve a huge thank you for all their support throughout our personal and professional lives.

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The theme of the year at this workshop was ‘Bilingualism and Multilingualism in Families and Language Learning’.  We decided to start off our…

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C is for Contrastive analysis

An A-Z of ELT

Charles-BridgeAn article in the latest Applied Linguistics (Scheffler 2012) makes a robust defence of some discredited classroom practices, including the use of translation. While lamenting the lack of research into the effectiveness of translation, Scheffler reports a couple of studies that suggest that learners exposed to cross-linguistic comparison (also called contrastive metalinguistic input) out-perform those who have had grammar presented to them solely in the target language. The author concludes that ‘teachers who resisted the ban on [translation] in the classroom may have known what they were doing’ (p. 606).  In this wise, Scheffler echoes the thrust of Guy Cook’s (2010) book, discussed in this blog here.

Interestingly, neither Scheffler nor Cook reference the work of the ‘Prague School’ of linguistics, and especially of its founder, Vilém Mathesius, whose application of cross-linguistic comparison to the teaching of foreign languages seems to have been a methodological staple in (then) Czechoslovakia…

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