Making Mathematical Research Data FAIR: A Technology Overview

Authors : Tim Conrad, Eloi Ferrer, Daniel Mietchen, Larissa Pusch, Johannes Stegmuller, Moritz Schubotz

The sharing and citation of research data is becoming increasingly recognized as an essential building block in scientific research across various fields and disciplines. Sharing research data allows other researchers to reproduce results, replicate findings, and build on them. Ultimately, this will foster faster cycles in knowledge generation.

Some disciplines, such as astronomy or bioinformatics, already have a long history of sharing data; many others do not. The current landscape of so-called research data repositories is diverse. This review aims to perform a technology review on existing data repositories/portals with a focus on mathematical research data.

URL : Making Mathematical Research Data FAIR: A Technology Overview

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Preprints as accelerator of scholarly communication: An empirical analysis in Mathematics

Authors : Zhiqi Wang, Yue Chen, Wolfgang Glänzel

In this study we analyse the key driving factors of preprints in enhancing scholarly communication. To this end we use four groups of metrics, one referring to scholarly communication and based on bibliometric indicators (Web of Science and Scopus citations), while the others reflect usage (usage counts in Web of Science), capture (Mendeley readers) and social media attention (Tweets).

Hereby we measure two effects associated with preprint publishing: publication delay and impact. We define and use several indicators to assess the impact of journal articles with previous preprint versions in arXiv. In particular, the indicators measure several times characterizing the process of arXiv preprints publishing and the reviewing process of the journal versions, and the ageing patterns of citations to preprints.

In addition, we compare the observed patterns between preprints and non-OA articles without any previous preprint versions in arXiv. We could observe that the “early-view” and “open-access” effects of preprints contribute to a measurable citation and readership advantage of preprints.

Articles with preprint versions are more likely to be mentioned in social media and have shorter Altmetric attention delay. Usage and capture prove to have only moderate but stronger correlation with citations than Tweets. The different slopes of the regression lines between the different indicators reflect different order of magnitude of usage, capture and citation data.


Authorship in top-ranked mathematical and physical journals: Role of gender on self-perceptions and bibliographic evidence

Authors : Helena Mihaljevi, Lucía Santamaría

Despite increasing rates of women researching in math-intensive fields, publications by female authors remain underrepresented. By analyzing millions of records from the dedicated bibliographic databases zbMATH, arXiv, and ADS, we unveil the chronological evolution of authorships by women in mathematics, physics, and astronomy.

We observe a pronounced shortage of female authors in top-ranked journals, with quasi-stagnant figures in various distinguished periodicals in the first two disciplines and a significantly more equitable situation in the latter.

Additionally, we provide an interactive open-access web interface to further examine the data. To address whether female scholars submit fewer articles for publication to relevant journals or whether they are consciously or unconsciously disadvantaged by the peer review system, we also study authors’ perceptions of their submission practices and analyze around 10,000 responses, collected as part of a recent global survey of scientists.

Our analysis indicates that men and women perceive their submission practices to be similar, with no evidence that a significantly lower number of submissions by women is responsible for their underrepresentation in top-ranked journals.

According to the self-reported responses, a larger number of articles submitted to prestigious venues correlates rather with aspects associated with pronounced research activity, a well-established network, and academic seniority.


Effectiveness of OER use in first-year higher education students’ mathematical course performance : A case study

Authors : Werner Westermann Juárez, Juan Ignacio Venegas Muggli

This chapter aims to understand the impact of Open Educational Resources (OER) on first-year mathematics students at the Instituto Profesional Providencia (IPP) in Santiago, Chile, where more than half (52%) of first-year students typically drop out of their studies. In order to address this, the institution established an innovation fund and a project to profile, assess and monitor student performance through an early warning system.

IPP stakeholders envisioned that a strategy to promote OER uptake could complement these efforts. By looking at an OER intervention amongst firstyear students, this study seeks to identify ways in which OER can provide new tools, opportunities, and contexts to improve student performance and lower dropout rates by answering the following research questions: What is the effect of OER use on firstyear students’ mathematics course performance? In face-to-face instruction, what is the effect of OER use on first-year students’ class attendance? What are teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the OER adoption process?

To answer questions one and two, this study used a quantitative method to estimate the effect of OER use on students’ mathematical course performance and class attendance. Five groups of first-year students were compared based on the analysis of two scenarios.

In Scenario 1, a control group and two treatment groups were in a traditional face-to-face classroom setting. The control group relied on a proprietary textbook; the first treatment group was taught with the help of a Khan Academy OER collection; and the second treatment group was taught by means of a custom-designed Open Textbook.

Scenario 2 compared two classes in blended-mode Algebra and Calculus courses. The control group relied on a proprietary resource, and the treatment group used a Khan Academy collection of OER in addition to the proprietary resource. In order to estimate the effectiveness of OER use on students’ mathematical performance, the impact analysis focused on three result variables: (1) students’ marks before the final exam, (2) students’ final exam marks, and (3) students’ final course marks after the exam.

To answer research question three, a mixed-methods approach was applied in the form of a series of semi-structured interviews, a focus group discussion and a student survey. The students who used the Khan Academy OER collections or the Open Textbook were asked to participate in this study in order to better comprehend learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of OER.

Students in Scenario 1 who used Khan Academy resources obtained statistically significantly better exam grades than those who used the proprietary resource or the Open Textbook, suggesting that not all kinds of OER have the same effect on student performance.

In Scenario 2, there was no improvement in mathematical course performance amongst students using OER. In terms of student attendance, face-to-face mode students who used Khan Academy OER had significantly lower attendance levels than those who relied on the proprietary textbook, which may be due to the fact that when students have access to the infrastructure required to access OER remotely they tend to work more from home.

With regard to student and teacher perceptions of the OER adoption process, the qualitative and quantitative data confirmed the assumption that OER can be relevant and useful to Chilean students.

The chapter concludes with the insight that “openness” does not necessarily produce an impact in and of itself, but is instead part of a greater set of tools and practices in which many variables exert an influence. Neither the intrinsic nature of information and communication technologies nor openness are tools or instruments that can be said to result in a specific outcome.

URL : Effectiveness of OER use in first-year higher education students’ mathematical course performance : A case study