Archive for June, 2013

He’s Not A Scientist? – Get Him Out of Here

June 21, 2013
Originally posted on January 11, 2012 on Science3Point0 (now deceased)

Illustration by Adrian Forrow

I’ve just read the great piece (and very interesting comments thread) “Scientists, Share Secrets or Lose Funding: (by) Stodden and Arbesman” It reminded my of a bizarre incident that I came across myself a few years ago that I started writing about a few days ago and it ties in rather well.

What follows is factually correct.

Some background context

In my spare time, I acted as Vice-Chair for a small UK Charity 2001 – 2005.  Like many other such organisations, we didn’t have an official HQ other than (in our case) “the office” which was a spare bedroom in one of our Trustees place of residence.

We met on a bi-monthly basis at

As I reside in Glasgow, traveling through to Edinburgh was a breeze.  Getting to Sheffield was OK, traveled either by car or by train. With regards to London, back then, I would normally fly down as opposed to train these days.

By year three of my four year stint, whilst I was settled into my routine, it occurred to me that rather than flying all the way down to London and back for a two – three hour long meeting, wouldn’t it save time and money simply to join in the discussion remotely by webcam?

Given the fact that the majority of these discussions (in all three locations) were largely pretty much routine/informal in nature, this made perfect sense to me, and all my fellow Trustees fully agreed.


So this would surely proceed along the lines proposed.


I was advised by one of our three Co-opted Members (our Medical Advisors)  at that time that a certain Prof John Collinge – Director of the MRC Prion Unit also based at UCL Institute of Neurology – London strongly objected to this !!

I don’t recall the exact words as to why, but it was along the lines of “John does not allow camera’s in here”.


Armed with hindsight, I should have challenged this right away and to this day, don’t know why I didn’t.

Why was this objection so wrong?

  1. Our meetings at UCL (as the did in the other two venues) took place in a meeting room, not in a wet/dry lab room
  2. I is no grass spy
  3. All Trustees of the Charity were members of the public who had lost or were losing a relative to the disease in question who were working to a common good
  4. I could go on…

Part of the reason I think can be explained by the well known (to those who know the disease well) fact that there has been an ongoing feud between certain researchers at the Unit’s in London and Edinburgh going back over 25 years or so. Cue this Lancet piece by James Butcher in 2004. 

Now if this is how Collinge (and others like him) view members of the public, heaven only knows what his/their views are an how they treat other scientists, generally.

Moreover, it took Collinge & colleagues several years to reveal the unpublished data from their failed PRION-1 Clinical Trial  – initially at a Conference in 2007 but it took a further TWO YEARS to actually publish the data behind a paywall, naturally.

To me, the pull quote from the Stodden/Arbesman piece is:-

“As Jon Claerbout, a professor emeritus of geophysics at Stanford University, has noted, scientific publication isn’t scholarship itself, but only the advertising of scholarship. The actual work — the steps needed to reproduce the scientific finding — must be shared”.



I strongly support initiatives like AllTrials

3 guys, one camera, 4 days make history

June 18, 2013

From the old blog here.


Now, I remember playing “dead man falling” as a child. These three graphic designers recently had a lot of fun over four days on a shoestring budget.

The real action starts at 2.50, but you must watch from the beginning.

Great comment from this reviewer:-

Think of how close they are to Spielberg’s opening scene for Saving Private Ryan (minus some of the HQ sound effects, acting and close ups). In perspective that was; “Filmed in Ireland, the Omaha Beach scene cost $11 million and involved up to 1,000 extras”

Admittedly, after learning that this is a BBC production, this was probably not a low budget production. That said, when you consider that this was made in 4 days by 3 people, using one camera and a green bedspread, I found this stunningly impressive.

Bigger picture.

I noted that the BBC’s Richard Hammond appears during the introduction.

This footage was used for a recent BBC “Timeline” episode called “Bloody Ohama”. The hour long episode can be watched here although you may require to install the BBC iPlayer.

“BBC Two

Bloody Omaha
Duration: 60 minutes

History series. Researchers and historians are still arguing about why Omaha Beach was the hardest beach to capture in the D-day landings. Presented by Richard Hammond.”

Hat tip to blogger ‘Stupid Evil Bastard’ for posting this blog.



Frank said…

Call me

19 March 2009 14:07

McDawg said…

@ anon Frank. Why should I call you??

19 March 2009 14:10

The Making of PeerJ

June 18, 2013

Originally posted here.

So, as of 12th June 2012, a blue long-tailed primate was finally out of the rucksack with regards to the newest and potentially next ground breaking Open Access Publishing Company/Industry, PeerJ.
With hindsight, let’s step back in time to 2009 when an early seed (may have been planted) for what turned out to be PeerJ was finally announced in May 2012.
The Co-Founders of PeerJ, Pete Binfield (Publisher) and Jason Hoyt (CEO) first met in August 2009 for an episode (episode 14 to be precise) of Dr Kiki’s most excellent This Week in Science show. The full episode was online at  the original source (I know because I watched it a couple of times), it’s probably on the web somewhere although there is a short section of it here on YouTube and there is also this rather cool mash-up version also on YouTube.
During the process of writing up this post, I noted that in 2009, I downloaded the video from the original source and uploaded it to my account on Vimeo. Here is episode 14 in full, farts warts and all. It’s a great watch.

PLoS & Mendeley live on the Web! Science Hour with Leo Laporte & Dr. Kiki from Graham Steel on Vimeo.

It’s probably fair to say (understatement) that at that time, the pair of them didn’t exactly “sit down and plan a new venture” together back then !! Based upon the Dr Kiki show however, it was clear that they got on really well and Jason touched upon the show in this interview he recently did with Mendeley’s William Gunn:-
“We first met when I was living in San Francisco and working for Mendeley (whilst Pete was working for PLoS) and our first real interaction was when we appeared together on TWiS (This Week in Science) with Kiki Sanford in 2009. Bootleg copies of that appearance can still be found, and Kiki plans on interviewing us again later in June to follow up with us”.
Jason continues:-
“The idea really dates back to my graduate school days. PLoS didn’t exist when I started grad school and I was shocked at the “sticker price” for publishing with existing subscription journals. They really aren’t all free to authors if you start including very high charges for color images, page limits, etc. When OA and PLoS did arrive, I thought it was great, but that we could still do better. When I decided to leave Mendeley to start something new I said, “Screw it. Everyone seems to be waiting around for either the government or publishers to drop costs, so why not just do it and see what happens?” The world shouldn’t have to wait any longer than is necessary.”
Whilst I had had contact with Jason and Pete by then namely through social media, whilst I had met Jason, I didn’t meet Pete until mid 2010. I found out he was due in Scotland to speak at an event and asked if it would be possible to meet up. “Sure, contact me nearer the time” or words to that effectuate.
We did meet and conversed in a bar in Edinburgh for a couple of hours and had a “belter of a  blether”.

On September 16th 2011, Pete gave a short talk entitled “The Transformation of Academic Publishing”. Slides here on SlideShare and video below on YouTube.

The first mention of PeerJ & Pete appeared out of the deep blue sea on Twitter on May 8th via this tweet from Catriona MacCallum of PLoS Biology:-
@p_binfield leaves @PLoSONE to co-found new ‪#OA‬ publishing company  – sad for PLoS but more evidence that OA unstoppable”.
One was the first however to share it but, I wanted to make sure that the news was indeed factually correct. As such, I tweeted Catriona who tweeted back with “@McDawg yes, it’s official !”
Cue this thread on FriendFeed.

About 40 minutes later, PLoS released this official statement.

Blimey, so Pete Binfield was indeed leaving PLoS ONE after all. WOW. I was certainly not the only one who had their breath taken away. Cue this section of a blog post by The Blogfather Bora Zivkovic from his recent post about PeerJ:-
I am sure I was just one of many who was taken completely by surprise by the announcement that Pete is leaving PLoS to start a new project. His partner in this project is Jason Hoyt, up till now Chief Scientist and VP of R&D of Mendeley, also a ScienceOnline veteran”.
During that time period, someone I know online tweeted that a certain Jason Hoyt was the other Co-Founder of PeerJ. Another WOW. I wanted to know how they knew as there was nothing on the web at that time (that I could find) to verify this. My friend from Japan (oops, there’s a small clue) had spotted that on Jason’s Linkedin Profile, it stated clearly that he was part of PeerJ.
On May 18th, on his last day at PLoS, Pete posted this farewell message on the PLoS ONE blog.
Until 12th June, there was no real “devil in the detail” about PeerJ and I for one was not going to speculate. Others did. Surprise surprise, those “lovely” folks at The Scholarly Kitchen ripped PeerJ apart EVEN BEFORE anyone knew the details. This again shows them for their true colours, IMO.

And so it came to pass that June 12th was the official launch date for PeerJ. News spread fast (as one can imagine).

I started this thread on Google Plus (G+)
John Dupuis created this linkfest
Bora Zivkovic created this one
John then posted another one
Finally, PeerJ themselves created this one
During that period, the blog posts started coming (contained within links above). Given the fact there has already been so much coverage, I’m not going into much detail here.
To me however, this is a significant milestone not only in Open Access publishing, but STM publishing generally. We don’t currently know, as it’s far too early, but if the business model deployed by PeerJ works (as the Co-Founders and indeed no doubt Tim O’Reilly who is on the PeerJ Board and has bankrolled out PeerJ), this will be a remarkable achievement. If it works, it clearly will have ramifications for other publishers.
RT @jasonHoyt So @p_binfield‘s 5yr-old drew our new @thePeerJ logo. FTW
@McDawg @iainh_z Yes, the message is “we are not the same as every other publisher and that is a good thing” A tweet from @thePeerJ.
During the process of writing this post, I emailed Pete and Jason and asked if they would consider answering two short questions about PeerJ to be included in this post:-
1) It was pleasing to see all of the mentions of the launch of PeerJ via social networking sites and also blog coverage. What is your own take on the reaction/feedback received post launch?
JASON “It’s been overwhelmingly positive. No one out there is a fan of the current situation, so they seem to be extremely happy that a credible set of people is taking aim at freeing research. And most people who I’ve spoken with seem to understand the need to try out new models within Open Access. There is still a lot of innovation (both the business model and technical) to be had in OA, a relatively young science communication philosophy. Although we of course hope that PeerJ succeeds, we also view it a success if OA as a whole is pushed further. Pete, Tim, and I have personal motivations beyond PeerJ to see science become more open”.
2) What are the short, medium and long terms goals of PeerJ
JASON “We are looking to open for submissions in September. We’ll spend a little longer than usual getting our first publications out in order to ensure it is done well for everyone involved. So, we aim to first publish before the end of the year, and thereafter work to have one of the fastest, yet thoroughly peer-reviewed, turnarounds from submit & publish in the industry. It’s not enough to be open; scientific communication needs to be rapid as well”.
This is also why we’ve introduced PeerJ PrePrints, to act as an even more rapid vehicle of dissemination amongst peers (either privately or more publicly). It’s an optional, non peer-reviewed ‘preprint’ similar to what physicists have with arXiv. There is no waiting time for getting your manuscript into preprint. We believe that bio and medical communities will start to embrace such preprints once they recognize the valuable feedback it provides, in addition to being able to stake a claim long before the peer-reviewed formal publication is ready. You can then submit for peer-review, either with PeerJ or another journal, once you’re ready”.
Posted by at 03:15
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Conference Report – Open Access style

June 17, 2013

Originally posted here in 2007 on my old personal blog.

(Also see “Guerrilla OA” done right by Dr Bill Hooker).


This is a personal blog which is completely unrelated to any of the writers’ formal activities with any of the organisations that they are associated with.

Here is a report in relation to my attendance of a recent Conference.


A Conference that I attended as it was close to home and at that time, I acted (in my spare time) as Information Resource Manager for the CJDISA which I became a part of namely due to the loss of my brother to Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease (CJD).

Personal mission INCLUDING raising awareness about Open Access/archiving to the delegates present.

As this analysis is written post conference – let’s start from the beginning, without reflection. To me, I think this remains a good example for others, so my note is comprehensive in nature. Parameters are likely to vary but some commonalities will/may remain.

IMPORTANT NOTE – Before reading, please note:-

1) I was formally in attendance at this event and the organizing committee waived registration costs for all family members attending such as myself as per my request. I also was lucky to have had the cost waived for the Gala Dinner

2) Since I had no *Paper* documentation about IR’s/self archiving, it was impossible on this occasion to physically distribute information in this regard. I did however mention DEPOT/eprints/ROAR/ROARMAP etc. etc.


Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Since I had never been to such a large conference before, it took some time to take everything in. Given the approximate number (~ 800), clearly, it would not be possible to cover Open Access/IR’s with many on a one-on-one basis as originally planned. Having unfortunately previously lost my short podium slot, I started to consider other methods of getting my message across (second passage). Thankfully, with “Research Made Public” brazened on the front of my t-shirt all that day, this set the tone. A large proportion of delegates noticed this and I was the only person present with any message carrying clothing on that I was aware of.


Having never seen a poster session before, I thought this might be a good opportunity. Of the ~ 150 posters, hardly any of the researchers involved were standing next to them as I would have thought would have been the case during poster sessions. You live – you learn.

I had to return home with my packs of OA promotional material completely intact.


I chose my “I’m Open” t-shirt for day 2 since it was a much more visible and striking one.

More familiar with the surroundings/set up, I noted that there was a 2 hour lunch/poster session which appeared to be, on paper at least, the best time to swoop into action. One hour in though, the only manned booths were commerce diagnostic related – so I had to quickly think of something else. Gut reaction in most situations is always useful but not 100% specifically correct.

Since I clearly couldn’t “post” on posters, I rapidly started to leave some basic “Open Access” posters and postcards on the tables where all the delegates were in discussion with one another. Process took only a few minutes and then……. *I vanished*.

Initial seeds planted.

The ~ 950 were all on the lower floor with only two means of exit to ground level:- stair or escalator. I decided to leave a trail of the same “Open Access” postcards meaning that almost all (delegates) of them would see them. Precision timing (v. important) meant that by the time they were noticed by staff their purpose had been fully served. On the tables on the ground floor, I chose to leave some more of the same posters along with a few dozen DOAJ postcards. Again, this process was most swift.

To a smaller extent, a few seeds were dropped up to level 3 where the main auditorium is situated. Whilst not a watch wearer, I had around 40 minutes left before the empty auditorium (other than one lone delegate) was filled again. I still had ~ 800 leaflet/poster/postcard & misc. items left. Within 20 minutes, I managed to place something on ~ 800 seats/armrests. Armrests are great since they cover two seats at once. I left out most end of row seats in case such items simply got bumped to the floor.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

(A fraction of the content of my rucksack)

A trickle of delegates started to arrive just as I was finishing so *I vanished* again.

Delegates were arriving in droves now. Time to nip outside for a quick cigarette (filthy habit I know).

Upon my return, I could see hundreds of delegates reading/looking at what had *appeared* whilst they were away. The conference was now split with a sub-conference in a much smaller suite. The content of the smaller session was quite specific to a topic of personal interest. When I returned to the main auditorium, without invasively “snooping around” mid-session, it was impossible to judge how much material was likely to be taken away by the delegates – we’ll never know. Bearing in mind the earlier seeds though, I remain hopeful. At the very least, they will have been looked at/read.

Open Access Stall

Since the entrance area to both suites was quiet – I set up an “Open Access” stall on the most prominently placed empty (nice fluke) table. One of the most eye catching goodies I had was the blue/silver PLOS goblet which I proudly placed at the centre of *my stall* which contained a broad selection of what I had left. I also left a couple of our glossy “CJD Alliance” ring-bound brochures briefly on display so that passers by got the connection to what I was doing. It was cool to sit at my stall with the ever so fitting “I’m Open” message across my chest.

I then vanished again.

My ‘activities’ calmed down during afternoon tea/coffee break. My final activity was to clear my stall and then stick up a final Open Access poster on the back of the prominently placed entry sign to the main auditorium. This meant that when all left it that day, they had their final reminder.

All took the evening off to attend the Gala Dinner/Ceilidh at the rather grand venue.



Despite my ‘unconventional methodologies’, I achieved much more than I set out to do. At a rough guestimate, I would say that > 60 % of the delegates fall into the age-bracket that are much more likely to seriously consider choosing an OA Journal/Publisher as matters stand.

We now know that this was the largest ever conference in this particular field with ~ 950 delegates present.

Of those that I was able to discuss OA/IR’s with, almost all of the feedback was positive in nature. I was easily able to respond to any less positive feedback

A large proportion of these delegates are involved in STM research generally so any knock-on effect applies across the board.

Gate of entry to Conference = £350

Gate of entry to Conference Gala Dinner = £50

Reasonably priced located Hotel accommodation = £120 @ night x 3 = £360

Transportation costs = £35

TOTAL = £795

Actual cost for me to participate in this instance = ~ £35

I would like to equally thank DOAJ, Biomed Central and PLoS for kindly supplying me with all of the OA promotional material. I also wish to thank a number of contacts from the OA Movement, friends and colleagues for their full support and excellent advice ahead of the event itself.




coturnix said…

You rock!
29 September 2007 17:56

Matt Hodgkinson said…

Great work Graham, thanks for the support! Glad you like the “I’m Open” t-shirts.Cheers,Matt Hodgkinson
Senior Editor
BMC-series Journals
BioMed Central
1 October 2007 17:33

Liz said…

Can I see the “I’m open” tee shirt? I am curious…Thanks for getting the word out for us all, much appreciated.Liz
Marketing and Business Development Director, PLoS
8 October 2007 16:19

Bill Hooker said…

Graham, this is just great stuff!
13 September 2009 15:47

The Cost of Open Access ?

June 16, 2013

Originally posted here 2010.

++All of the information that follows is already in the public domain other than a few anecdotes from myself today++
(Sourced from Flickr)The last time I visited the University of Glasgow, I was 16/17 years of age when my first band played their first ‘proper’ gig there in the Student’s Union Bar during freshers week.

(May I throw in this pic of my brother, Richard from with the ‘Biotechies’ in TBS (Technology and Business Studies) year of ’88 at Strathclyde University? I think I can) !!

(Unrelatedly uploaded and sourced from Flickr)

My second visit was today at the Sir Charles Wilson Building which is directly opposite the above (building, not photos). !!

The reason for returning was to attend the first of four UK workshops organised by the Centre for Research Communications (CRC), University of Nottingham and Alma Swan of Key Perspectives. I enquired from the onset (of today) if it would be OK to tweeet during the event. Given that these events will be collating brand new unpublished data, the answer was no. Fair enough.

(Sourced from Flickr)

At the end, I asked if it would be OK to blog about it, no problem although for the reason mentioned, those present won’t be able to go into finite detail.

Great information pack I have to say. Loads of good stuff in there that I haven’t had a chance to properly read, but from a ‘scan over’ this is goooood.

EG How to build a case for university policies and practices in support of Open Access – JISC 2010

The format for this one was intense but informal/relaxed, which was nice.

A brief Welcome/Introduction by Bill Hubbard, Director of the CRC.

Next up was a really excellent PPT talk/presentation by Susan Ashworth, Library Assistant Director, University of Glasgow entitled:- “Implementing Open Access”. (note, must contact Susan to see if this one can be archived on the web).

Took some notes though 😉

Now it was time to get ours brains really into gear with Alma’s “the economic model: introduction and practical session”.

The primer to all of this was The Houghton Report (2007) published in January 2009.

From the blurb here:-

“The cost of open access?

Disseminating the results of scholarly research through open access may benefit your institution – but what would it cost?

We’d like to invite you to an event that will help you find out.

Your VC or PVC for Research may be planning to attend an event on June 15 at Woburn House in London organised by Universities UK and JISC, where evidence will be presented on the business case for open access publishing and repositories. The Houghton Report last year identified significant sectoral savings (over £200M pa) possible from the adoption of Open Access, but it was not clear of the implications for individual institutions. What is the balance of cost and benefit for research-led institutions? does the size of an institution alter the projections? Consultant Alma Swan, from Key Perspectives Ltd, will be introducing an economic model at this event to help individual institutions identify the costs and savings involved.

To discover how the figures work out for your own particular institution, you would be very welcome at one of our four regional follow-up events. These workshops are aimed at Research Support Offices and financial modellers, who are asked to collect certain data to bring with them to build their own customised models. All data used will be kept confidential to each institutional delegate”.

At the event in Glasgow today, we split ourselves into three groups:-

University of Glasgow
University of Nottingham (plus muggins)
University of Edinburgh

Nice lunch was provided for all and before we knew it, back into the nitty gritty.

Cutting a two hour-ish story short, by the end, all three ‘groups’ came up with differing results as one might expect, but (I think) I am allowed to say that these were indicative that (and I’m watching what I’m saying) whilst I know it’s a cliche, ‘the times are a changin’.

During the whole process, we ironed out some wee minor niggles in the enhanced version of the model used in the Houghton Report which will make the next three events run even more smoothly than this one, great as it was.

Despite my layman status, this was a really worthwhile event to have attended and I think that I am allowed to say that this will cause a ‘ripple effect’ at least in Scotland so far. But this gig (three more) only started this afternoon !!!

So, to conclude. The CRC are holding/hosting three more of these events in the coming weeks in London, Birmingham and Leeds. If you are at all interested in any of this, please do make contact with the folks in charge and consider attending these free of charge events.

* Glasgow – 15th July – Booking & Programme >> (COMPLETED)
* London – 21st July – Booking & Programme >>
* Birmingham – 23rd July – Booking & Programme >>
* Leeds – 29th July – Booking & Programme >>


For further information on these events, please contact Mandy Hodgson (email:, phone: 0115 84 68601).

Posted by at 08:57
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Who gives a shit about “Green v Gold” Open Access? Not me. Just make your stuff >>Open<<. – thank you !!

June 16, 2013

“Lord Percy turns his hand to alchemy and succeeds in creating something green. Hilariously funny clip from the BBC comedy Blackadder”.

Playing Ball With Publishers

June 16, 2013

Originally posted here

ball with publishers1


Towards the end of October 2007, I was alerted to a particular article of interest published in the subscription based magazine, Scientific American (Sci Am). I was unable to freely access it. I contacted the leading author (*) to see if they would consider self archiving a copy in an Institutional Repository. It transpired that Professor Aebischer (*) “has been President of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne (EPFL)in Switzerland for the past seven years”.

The Swiss are OA compliant !!

A rather helpful Librarian at EPFL (David Aymonin) after a few weeks, managed to obtain express permission from Sci Am to archive a version of the article. This was done yesterday and I was provided with a note of the relevant url by David.

I have now been able to make a large (and growing) number of people potentially interested in reading the article aware of how to freely access it.

“Playing Defense Against Lou Gehrig’s Disease” can now be accessed via two methods:-

Open Access


Toll Access

The message here is that I would encourage people generally to (where there is no mandate in place to do so), encourage individuals to archive their work regardless if it is published via the TA or OA model.



Stevan Harnad said…

NOT ALL THAT GLITTERS…Self-achiving your paper, free for all, in your institutional repository, immediately upon acceptance for publication is the (green) OA model!

(The most widespread misconception about OA is that OA = gold OA publishing only, or mainly…)

3 November 2011 20:01

Graham Seel said…

Yes, I am fully aware of that, Stevan.
2 April 2012 09:49

The F(l)inch Report

June 16, 2013


Originally posted here 19th July 2012.

In the early hours of today the eagerly awaited Finch Report was released on the web CC-BY.

The report itself is 140 pages long and is a complex document. I’ve only skimmed through it but there are some good blog posts about it already on the web. See this, this, and this for starters. 
I’ve been following events unfold namely under #finchreport on Twitter.
One bit of it that I certainly gets my beef is as follows.
Around four weeks ago, the UK’s Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts gave a speech in which he mentioned the following.
One measure that was being explored by The Finch Working Group was to work with Traditional Publishers to “provide” access to scientific research via the internet (I assume) in Public Libraries. The only sense in which this makes sense to me, is for people who are looking for this material but do not have internet access. Now I don’t know what percentage of the UK population do not have internet access but as a guess, I would say probably well under 10%. But for those people and those people alone, I guess this should be welcomed.
For everyone else who does have internet access, let’s see how this would work.
If you are looking for peer reviewed scientific literature that is Open Access, one click and you’ve got it. In most cases, there are not many restrictions as to what you can do with it. AMEN. 
If you are looking for peer reviewed scientific literature that is not Open Access, off to a Public Library ??? In 2012 ??????
So if I was to do this for example, 30 minute walk to get there. I don’t have an account anymore, so would need to get one set up and from memory, it doesn’t kick in on the day. 30 minute walk back home. Do it again, account has been activated, try to find what I’m looking for. Then what? Maybe see if I can print it out? What if I want 10 or so PDF’s?? Then walk back home. That’s two hours already.

Or one click if it was Open in the first place !!!

I was hoping that this IDEA would be dropped but according to Willett’s today, he supports it:- “…making peer-reviewed journals available for free at public libraries would foster innovation…”  
I immediately voiced my disapproval on Twitter.
Back in 2007, “weblebrity” Ben Goldacre voiced his own concern about a very similar situation.
“The Colloquium was a fascinating day – the many highlights included Ben Goldacre discussing why taking the London Underground to get to a public library is not his idea of an information superhighway”.
Go check it out……

Posted by at 10:17
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Saturday night is…….Balti Night

June 16, 2013
Previously appeared at my old McBlawg.
Inspired in part by @cromercrox who recently livetweeted a cookery sketch about chutney making, I post herewith the following.When McDawg gets home from a hard days work, the last thing they want to do is to slave over a hot stove preparing dinner for the night. As such, usually once a month now, I spend a Saturday afternoon/evening preparing and cooking a large batch of meals for future enjoyment. Here’s what happened last night.


8 chicken breasts
3 beef fillets

4 large onions
1 bunch of spring onions
one bunch of fresh coriander
2 bulbs of garlic
2 medium sized stems of fresh ginger
3/4 carton of passata
vegetable ghee
vegetable oil
sesame oil
12-14 chillis
2 limes
5 – 6 mixed peppers
roasted cashew nuts
1.5 packets of chinese curry sauce mix
3 pints of water
balti curry paste
balti cooking sauce
2 other chinese cooking sauces
light & dark soya sauce
2 egg whites
salt and freshly ground pepper

In rough order.

Dice and slice the meat. Marinate and chill according to dishes being prepared.

Whisk together the water and chinese curry mix, bring to boil and set aside for later.

Slice and dice all vegetables other than garlic and ginger.

During the above process, take some of these:

and roast them in sesame oil and a pinch of salt for about 20 mins, turning from time to time.

Finally, finely chop the garlic and ginger. Personally, I tend to go for a 40% ginger/60% garlic mix:

Right. That’s all the prep done so time for a break and a beer.

For Indian dishes, a Karahi works miles better than a wok.

For the Balti dishes, after you’ve sealed the marinated chicken and added all of the (required) ingredients, you want to seal and simmer for about 30 mins. At the very end, add the juice of 1 – 2 limes and garnish with freshly chopped coriander:

That’s 4 dishes prepared, 10 still to go !!

Time for another beer break.

With the chinese curry sauce already prepared, it doesn’t take long to make half a dozen or so chicken and beef dishes. The methodology in the following video is slightly different from what I do but produces the same end result:

You’ve guessed it, another beer break.

Almost all done. There should be sufficient ingredients left to make a further 3 – 4 dishes. With variety being the spice of life, time to whip up a few different dishes using the yet to be used sauces.

Since I cook at a leisurely pace, after about 5 hours, one reaches the finishing line:

Allow to cool completely (I usually leave overnight) before freezing:

Oh, I guess these will come in handy laters….

Posted by at 05:56
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“Get Lucky reimagined for every decade since the 1920s”

June 16, 2013

“This is what singles should be from now on…you get the original song, a 30s jazz version of the song, a 1800s classical version, an 80s new wave version, and so on”.