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September/October 2005

Sigma Xi International Newsletter
Volume 4, Number 9/10
September/October 2005

This electronic bulletin is designed to keep subscribers updated on developments in Sigma Xi’s international activities and to provide links and articles on topics of interest to researchers around the world. To submit an item to the newsletter, contact the Manager of the International Program at international@sigmaxi.org. You can also download and print a PDF version of this issue. To subscribe to this newsletter, please use this online form.

Past Issues

In This Issue

Publishing Considerations
Authors have several decisions to make when choosing the journal to which they will submit their manuscript. Here we briefly mention several factors to consider when choosing a journal. One of the first decisions is the type of journal—would the paper fit better and be more effective in a specialty journal or in a general or multidisciplinary one? Is the journal peer-reviewed or not? In most cases, it is preferable to publish in a journal which uses the peer review system. A researcher should also consider the number and location of people who will have access to his or her work. This can involve checking whether the circulation is national, regional or international; whether the journal is print only, print & online or online only; and where the journal is indexed. Open access journals are beginning to gain acceptance as an alternative to traditional, subscription-based journals, some of which now offer open access themselves after a restricted period. In some instances, the author must pay a publication charge, particularly for open access journals or the inclusion of color figures. However, author fees for manuscripts originating in developing and transitional countries can often be waived or sponsored by another organization. The impact factor of the journal can be important to the author’s institution, particularly if he or she is in a tenure-track academic position. With the event of electronic peer review, the time-span from submission to publication is shrinking, but the author may still consider how long it will take the manuscript to be reviewed, resubmitted if necessary, edited and published. Finally, a factor that is growing in importance is the copyright/archiving policy of the journal. Now that search engines are increasingly capable of finding articles in online archives, it is important to consider whether the journal permits archiving pre-prints and/or post-prints in personal or institutional online repositories. Thinking about these issues before submitting a manuscript can prevent problems and optimize how one’s research is introduced to the scientific community.

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Photovoltaics as a Cottage Industry
Adapted from an article by Richard Komp
One of the more exciting new developments in photovoltaics (PV) is the widespread introduction of this technology to developing and transitional countries. I will summarize my work with a group in Nicaragua and our joint dissemination of the technology in other countries.

PVs, also known as solar cells, use sunlight to generate electricity. Ideally, the maximum solar radiation near the equator is ~1000 W/m². Therefore a 1 m² solar cell with a typical efficiency of 10% can power a 100 W light bulb. Because PVs are semiconductor devices, they share many of the same processing and manufacturing techniques as other semiconductor devices (e.g., computer chips). However, the stringent requirements for cleanliness and quality control are more relaxed for the production of solar cells; this is a great advantage in non-industrialized communities. For a detailed explanation of the theory behind PVs, see the Wikipedia article on solar cells: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cells .

Nine years ago, Susan Kinne, an electrical engineer working at the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (UNI) in Nicaragua, contacted me after reading my book, Practical Photovoltaics, to ask if it was possible to manufacture PV modules in Nicaragua. Thus began a collaboration that has lasted nearly a decade. I eventually went to Nicaragua to work with Kinne and Grupo Fenix, which was then a small student club at UNI. One of the primary results of this collaboration is a pair of small workshops in Nicaragua which make, sell and install PV modules of up to 75 watts. The workshop in Managua has become an independent renewable energy business. The second cottage factory in northern Nicaragua, started as a result of Grupo Fenix’s work with landmine victims, is also making small solar battery chargers and other PV modules to run portable radios and electric fences for the local farmers. The members of both workshops concluded that it was not feasible to make large power modules, but that smaller 25–35 watt modules could be profitably made from broken pieces of solar cells. They have now made and installed over 200 systems and have wired an entire village of 45 homes for solar electricity. As knowledge of Grupo Fenix’s work spread, we were asked to help replicate this work in other countries. First, two Grupo Fenix members and I went to Haiti to teach villagers the basics of solar energy, solar microdrip irrigation and how to start their own PV factory. There are now three grass-roots groups in Haiti making the small PV modules, including their own ½-watt light emitting diode lights to serve as reading lamps. Our most recent work was in Mali, teaching the local people to make their own PV modules to power small solar water pumps. The next challenge is to optimize the introduction of solar cookers. For more information on this project, please contact Richard Komp.

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Top Universities Form New Partnership
Eight of the world’s top universities, as ranked by the The Times Higher Education Supplement, have signed a memorandum of understanding to form the Global Research Intensive University Alliance, which will be officially launched in January 2006. The objective is to establish a consortium of leading research universities that will assist those institutions in “creating and supporting global learning communities on their campuses” by leveraging complementary strengths. The partnership will bring new opportunities for global research, teaching and learning through some combination of faculty collaboration and exchange, research training cooperation, undergraduate and postgraduate student exchange, joint/double degree programs, exchange of best practices and protocols, and benchmarking. Participating universities currently include: The Australian National University, National University of Singapore, Peking University, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), University of California, Berkeley, University of Copenhagen, University of Tokyo and Yale University. Membership in the Alliance will be limited to ten institutions for the first three years, after which additional members may be added to widen geographic representation. [Source:
World Education News & Reviews]

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South-South Exchange Traveling Workshop
The MS Swaminathan Research Foundation is hosting a South-South Exchange Traveling Workshop from 28 November to 5 December 2005. The workshop, supported by the Global Knowledge Partnership and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, is designed to provide an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and perspectives between village communities in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry in southern India and non-governmental organizations from developing countries with a specific focus on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled development. The traveling format of the workshop allows the participants to visit a number of Indian development initiatives and exchange information and experience with the local project members. Participants should be familiar with ICT and community development and should be in a position to make immediate use of what they learn in their projects. Applications to participate in the workshop are due by 23 September 2005. See the
online announcement for more information. [Source: Bellanet]

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New Research Campus to Open in Virginia
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is in the process of constructing a new collaborative, interdisciplinary research center in Virginia to study how information is processed by neuronal circuits and to develop imaging technologies and computational methods for image analysis. The Janelia Farm Research Campus (JFRC), featuring research, conference and housing facilities, is scheduled for completion in Spring 2006, and HHMI expects to occupy the buildings in July 2006. The PhD student and visiting scientist programs are slated to begin in 2007. A core goal of Janelia Farm is to free scientists from the need to write grant proposals and to allow them the freedom to change research direction without concern for the impact on their funding. HHMI plans to provide all the resources needed for research carried out at Janelia Farm. Up to 300 resident staff will include 24 group leaders, fellows, postdocs, graduate students and support staff. In addition to resident staff, approximately 100 visiting scientists will be on site at any given time for stays of one week to as long as two years. HHMI is currently soliciting applications for group leader and other positions from individuals at all career stages, as well as coordinated applications from groups of individuals. See the
online competition system for more details.

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Local Management Sought for Network Node
The International Open Source Network (IOSN) is a Center of Excellence for Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) in the Asia-Pacific Region. It shapes its activities around FOSS technologies and applications. An initiative of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Asia Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP), IOSN is supported by the International Development Research Centre of Canada. UNDP-APDIP is seeking expressions of interest to initiate and manage a sub-regional node of the IOSN. Expressions of interest should be submitted to
sunil@apdip.net by 20 September 2005. [Source: Bellanet]

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National Committee for CODATA Survey
The Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) is an interdisciplinary scientific committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU). The US National Committee for CODATA is currently compiling an inventory of US public-sector scientific and technical (S&T) activities that, directly or indirectly, respond to the action items proposed in the Agenda for Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in 2003. Designed to present and highlight the important role of US public sector institutions in promoting the advancement of S&T information-related activities around the globe, especially in the developing countries, the inventory will be formally submitted to the WSIS Summit meeting in Tunis this November. The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2005. The survey can be accessed
online; for further information, please contact either Paul Uhlir or Raed Sharif.

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European Knowledge Exchange Collaboration
The Knowledge Exchange is a collaboration between the Joint Information Systems Committee, United Kingdom; the SURF Foundation, The Netherlands; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Germany; and Denmark’s Electronic Research Library. Aiming to promote the use of information and communication technology (ICT) within research and higher education, this collaboration is intended to add value to the activities currently undertaken by Europe’s Knowledge-Exchange-sponsoring organizations, which have responsibility for ICT development in education and research within their respective nations. Some of the main areas for cooperation are: identification and implementation of standards to support interoperability; development and deployment of portals and other information gateways (within and across national boundaries); and management of sustainability issues relating to the development of e-learning, e-research and supporting services. For the first three years, the central Knowledge Exchange Office will be located in Copenhagen. [Source:
Open Access News]

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Did You Know?
Australasian Science seeks nominations for the
2005 Australasian Science Prize for outstanding achievement by an Australasian scientist or small research team. The award recognizes world-class science by Australasia’s most inspiring minds. Nominations should comprise a single-page abstract summarizing work conducted by the nominee in Australasia and its relevance to the public. Also naming an independent referee, the nomination should be signed by first and second nominators and the nominee, giving full contact details for all. The deadline is 16  September 2005.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation provides individual fellowships for advanced professionals in all fields (including natural and social sciences) except the performing arts. There are two separate competitions, one for the US and Canada, and the other for Latin America and the Caribbean. Fellowships to Assist Research and Artistic Creation are awarded to men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. Applications are due by 1 October 2005 for the US/Canadian competition and by 1 December 2005 for the Latin America/Caribbean competition.

The Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme has announced the October 2005 competition for the Pan Asia Information Communication Technology Research & Development (ICT R&D) Grants. These grants are for projects that find innovative ways to use ICT applications for sustainable development within Asia-Pacific on a national or regional level. Practical and replicable solutions are emphasized. This competition welcomes proposals in several areas, including research and development of innovative ICT applications; research on Internet infrastructure design and performance; development of practical solutions based on the application of proven and readily available Internet technologies; technology-related issues such as broadband connectivity, “last mile innovation,” mobile and wireless technologies for the developing world, and increasing the capacity or efficiency of existing network infrastructures. Interested organizations or institutions from the Asia-Pacific region may apply for either one-year grants for up to US$9,000 or two-year grants for up to US$30,000. The application deadline for this round is 15 October 2005. The grants committee will screen all proposals, and the results will be announced by mid-December 2005. [Source: Bellanet]

The Weizmann Institute of Science sponsors two summer science programs each year for undergraduate, university-level students who have completed at least two years of study. Both of the programs sponsor research visits of 10 weeks up to 4 months. The Karyn Kupcinet International Science School for Overseas Students accepts ~35 students each year from countries around the world, and the Emma and Oscar Getz Summer Science Program for Israeli Students accepts ~35 students each year from within Israel. Overseas students from the Southern Hemisphere may apply by 31 October 2005 for research visits during the winter 2005–2006 program; applications for Israeli and international students to participate in the summer 2006 program are due by 31 January 2006. [Source: GrantsNet]

The US National Academies administers research awards through its Research Associateship Programs (RAP). The programs are sponsored by federal laboratories and NASA Research Centers at over one hundred locations in the US and overseas. The RAP awards are given for the purpose of conducting research at a specific laboratory chosen by the applicant. Researchers within five years of obtaining their doctorate may apply for the Postdoctoral Awards, and those five or more years beyond their doctorate may apply for Senior Awards. Applications for the next quarterly review are due on 1 November 2005. [Source: Chronicle of Higher Education]

The Open Society Institute has issued a call for proposals for the Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching (ReSET) through its International Higher Education Support Program (HESP). Academic institutions, associations and groups of individuals with demonstrated potential for and commitment to promoting teaching excellence and lending support to regional faculty and departments are invited to submit proposals of multi-year projects to start in 2006. Projects considered for funding will target young faculty teaching in the social sciences and humanities at the undergraduate level in the institutions of higher education in Central, Eastern, Southeastern Europe, the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia. The deadline for 2006 proposals is 15 November 2005.

The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) encourages the organization of high level international and regional scientific activities in developing countries through its Grants for Scientific Meetings Held in Developing Countries. The program normally offers modest travel grants (usually no more than US$3,000) for principal speakers from abroad and/or participants from other developing countries. Grants are offered for meetings in the agricultural, biological, chemical, engineering, geological and medical sciences. Applications for meetings to be held in July–December 2006 are due by 1 December 2005.

The US National Science Foundation is currently accepting applications for the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for US Graduate Students (EAPSI) to take place June–August 2006. Participants in the EAPSI program gain: research experience in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, or Taiwan; an introduction to the science and science policy infrastructure of the respective location; and an orientation to the society, culture and language over a period of eight weeks. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents who are enrolled in MS, PhD or MD programs. The application deadline is 13 December 2005.

The UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi Research Fellowship Program is currently accepting applications for the next round of research fellowships in fields including the environment and information and communication technology. Young, developing country researchers with a master's degree or equivalent should submit their applications to their country’s National Commission for UNESCO, each of which may then forward a maximum of two applications to UNESCO Headquarters prior to the 13 January 2006 deadline. [Source: SciDev.Net]

European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Short-Term Fellowships were designed to help scientists visit another laboratory for one week up to three months in order to use techniques not available in their home institution. Either the laboratory of origin or the receiving host institution must be located in a member state of the European Molecular Biology Conference. These fellowships are not restricted to candidates with a PhD degree or the equivalent, and there is no age limit. Applications are accepted at any time but should ideally be submitted three months before the proposed start date. [Source: GrantsNet]

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Additional Readings of Interest
“Improving Impacts of Research Partnerships”
This recent publication from the Swiss Commission for Research Partnership with Developing Countries (KFPE) is based on analyses of a number of case studies encompassing a wide variety of research partnerships between the North and the South, discussions held during the various workshops and the conclusions derived. The report focuses on potential impacts of such research partnerships beyond the scientific advances, namely attitudinal changes and impacts on capacity-strengthening, society and/or decision-makers. The report is available in English and French. [Source: Bellanet]

“Towards Good Practices of Copyright in Open Access Journals: A Study among Authors of Articles in Open Access Journals”
838 KB pdf
This report is the first output of the “JISC-SURF partnering on copyright” project, carried out by the UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and SURF, the Dutch higher education and research partnership organization for network services and information and communications technology.

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Upcoming Meetings
Fifth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication; Chicago, Illinois, US; 16–18 September 2005

International Seminar on Open Access for Developing Countries; Salvador, Bahia, Brazil; 21–22 September 2005

11th Seminar of Technology Management—ALTEC 2005; Salvador, Bahia, Brazil; 25–28 October 2005

Global Access Project (GAP) Inaugural International Forum; North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia; 29–30 September 2005

Sustainability as Security: Engaging Education, Business, and Technology; Austin, Texas, US; 5–9 October 2005

International Research Cooperation and European Know-How; Brussels, Belgium; 6–7 October 2005

International Sustainability Conference 2005: Strategies for a Sustainable Society; Basel, Switzerland; 13–14 October 2005

CERN Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (OAI4); Geneva, Switzerland; 20–22 October 2005

Improving Public Policy to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Africa; 7–8 November 2005

World Science Forum Budapest 2005: Knowledge, Ethics and Responsibility; Budapest, Hungary; 10–12 November 2005

2nd HealthWorlds Asia Medical Congress; Singapore; 11–13 November 2005

World Summit on the Information Society; Tunis, Tunisia; 18–19 November 2005

United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 11 and COP/MOP 1); Montréal, Quebec, Canada; 28 November–9 December 2005

3rd International Conference on Energy Research & Development; Kuwait City, Kuwait; 21–23 November 2005

2nd International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society; Hyderabad, India; 12–15 December 2005

New Zealand Bioethics Conference: Making People Better; Dunedin, New Zealand; 10–12 February 2006

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For more information on any of the programs mentioned in this newsletter, please contact:

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
P. O. Box 13975, 3106 East NC Highway 54
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 USA
Telephone: +1-919-549-4691 or +1-919-547-5246
Fax: +1-919-549-0090
E-mail: international@sigmaxi.org

 

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