a day for everything

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Open Access journals and archives assist me greatly in my research for work, study and various interests. Peer reviewed scientific articles freely accessible online are available to everyone with an internet connection.

I am fortunate that as an enrolled student that I have access to much scientific literature through the university subscriptions, and many are available online either on campus or through a proxy server from my place of study.

However, Open Access journals are preferred and often found first as I am able to search open archives and repositories without needing to go through various proxies and gateways. The huge benefit is that I am able to share my research with others and link to appropriate articles online.

Publications held in databases such as ScienceDirect and Web of Science, I can only share with others that have access through academic and professional libraries. Whereas publications in Public Library of Science or. BioMed Central (BMC) or any of the others listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) are accessible by everyone.

For more information about Open Access, see Peter Suber’s A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access, the Open Access Day web site, and browse journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Happy Open Access Day.

Encyclopedia of Life

1.8 million known (identified and named) species are to form part of the Encyclopedia of Life. Key components of this massive online resource are to become available to the general public sometime in 2008. That is, freely available to anyone who has access to the internet.

The Encyclopedia of Life has been described as a “mash-up” and using the same search engine as Google to seek out scientific material on the internet to be reviewed by expert curators. Initial potential contributors have been listed, and some institutions have offered to digitise their print collections, for example, the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL).

The web site was launched Thursday 10 May 2007. Demonstration pages include expert views of Amanita phalliodes (Death Cap Mushroom), Oryza sativa (Rice), Kiwa hirsuta (Yeti crab), and novice and expert views of the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) including the original description scanned from the BHL.

The FAQs describe the main goals of the expected 10 year project, audiences, and contributors. The FAQs answered one question that I had, that is, What about Wikipedia?

I have read that the public may contribute to the Encyclopedia of Life, but initially this is simply to comment and register your interest in the project.

“The democracy of science can’t be overemphasized.” — Cristian Samper, Smithsonian Institution.

Source: eSchool News.

itch to scratch

OK, I could not bear it any longer. I had to tweak the Wikipedia Numbat page.

I was going to do it anonymously, but then I noticed that something else needed editing on the page. I could do all changes anonymously, but the item that I still feel the need to change, as opposed to my addition which was straight forward, has already attracted a wee bit of discussion.

So I now I have a Wikipedia account.

Once I have got some work and my current assignment out of the way, I will ‘proceed’ to fix the anomaly. That is, under the Reproduction heading, a previous Wikipedia editor refers to a ‘pouch’.

What I have learnt from the research for my assignment, and interviewing a Perth Zoo Docent and Senior Numbat Keeper of the Native Species Breeding Program at the Perth Zoo, is that numbats don’t have a pouch. They have a swelling that the young attach to and suckle, and at best can be referred to as a fold or folds of skin. The young numbats just seem to hang in there.

Numbat suckling young
Numbat suckling young.
Source: Perth Zoo Native Species Breeding Program Numbat brochure.

I don’t see any evidence of a pouch surrounding the teats. So even though numbats are marsupials, they do not have a pouch.

Vicki Power, Senior Numbat Keeper said that when they formed Project Numbat, and on checking online references to numbats that there were a number of web resources that were inaccurate and just plain wrong. Hopefully, I can contribute in a small way by improving the accuracy of Wikipedia by consulting with experts such as Vicki and providing supporting evidence or references.

After all, it is our state mammal emblem.