Saturday, February 17, 2024

Be both Anthony G. and Αντώνης Γ. Καφάτος as a scientist and have an ORCiD identifier

Anthony G. Kafatos is a co-author on many papers that are part of the "Seven Countries Study". When you want to know about the many papers he was involved in, it helps when they are all linked. The papers known at Wikidata are linked to his item. When papers are still known as a string, an "author name string", they are hard to spot AND they may be spelled differently AND even be in a different script.

Anthony was also spelled as Antony.. Both work in the same department at the same University making it safe to consider them the same. Someone has to decide, this time it was me. That is not great because what do I know. One alternative is that nothing gets decided but it is much better when scientists themselves are involved.

Data is an ecosystem. Best is when any and all scientists have one ORCiD identifier and authorise the institutions they trust to update their profile with their latest and greatest work. This has profound implications. This data will now be available for many applications including Wikidata. It will become easier to understand what the neutral point of view on a subject is.

This is the Scholia for Mr Kafatos. At this time there are 18 links to papers on the "Seven Nations Study", four more than for Mr Ancel Keys the architect of the study. 

Thanks, GerardM

Friday, February 16, 2024

Food for thought; statistics and Wikidata - DONT BE A KARELIAN

The lumberjacks in Karelia Finland got all the physical activity you can expect for lumberjacks, they looked the part and they died in droves before their fifties. This was as well known in the world of health scientists as well as the fact that in Japan people had the least problems with heart failure. Epidemiologists started one of the most famous studies, the "Seven Countries Study" to learn about these phenomenon. The Karelians ate a lot of meat and butter, this caused arthrosclerosis and it was identified as the cause of all these early demises. 

The Finish government wanted this to change, the lumberjacks loved their meat but their wives loved their hubbies more and they started them on a different diet. The government did a double blind research project and the fine Karelian gentlemen started to outperform their fellow Fins... As a consequence the Finnish government promoted healthy food to all Fins.

In Wikidata we have MANY scientific publications with "Seven Countries Study" in the name of the publications. With more than 100 such publications tagged, many authors, publications and subjects have become apparent. This can be seen in the Scholia for the Seven Countries Study. Statistically it is likely that when another 100 publications are added, the patterns found may slightly differ. Additional authors may be represented but the relative weight of existing authors is likely to remain the same. 

Ancel Keys is the architect of the Seven Countries Study, he authored both papers and books with many publications and publishers and he collaborated with many of the most prominent scientists in his time. The results of all these published studies are profound and not only for the Karelian lumberjacks. Not everybody is happy with the results. Influencers have us believe that Mr Keys misrepresented the facts of the study. However, when you look at the co-author graph, Mr Keys is not really central to all the collaborations. It is also obvious that there were many different publishers involved. 

The meat of the matter is obvious. Don't be a Karelian of centuries past, be smart, be there for your nearest and dearest and understand that a traditional Japanese diet or the Mediterranean diet gives you more mileage. The Seven Countries Study had a run for over fifty years, it knows about what people ate and the mortality that is the consequence of their diet. You can ignore this at your own peril :)

Thanks, GerardM

Saturday, January 20, 2024

A #Netflix documentary, #Youtube reviews and a more #NPOV @Wikidata reaction

I really enjoyed watching "You are what you eat", a Netflix four part documentary based on research of the differences found between a vegan and an omnivorous diet in identical twins. The results of this research can be found in a paper called "Cardiometabolic Effects of Omnivorous vs Vegan Diets in Identical Twins". 

The documentary has several story lines, one is about the research itself, another informs about participants in the study and finally we are informed about the industry that produces our food. The chosen participants are a vehicle for the story, there were chefs, athletes cheese aficionados and people from other cultures (seen from an US-American perspective). What people eat is produced so we are informed about the food industry. The picture painted is not pretty but based in facts.

On YouTube there are several "reviews" and now some reviews as well. All of the "reviews" are really disappointing because they express expectations that are not realistic. The program is NOT about only the science and it is NOT giving equal weight to the production of fish or meat. The results of the research are favorable to a vegan diet and the documentary provides information on what is available when less or no meat is eaten. It is why we learn about the quality of vegan cheese and meat products. Great cheeses and a biltong that is not meat based are explored by participants of the study. 

I found the YouTube "reviews" disappointing because they came across as hatchet jobs. When they consider the documentary biased, it finds its basis in the bias of the reviewer and not necessarily on the results of the research. When it is said that these reviews were requested by "so many people", it feels like that people in the agro business exposed their hand. 

Wikipedia has the article on the documentary and it has an article on the principal author of the paper. They have an appropriate neutral point of view.

My Wikidata reaction is that I added the paper to Wikidata, I added many of its authors and many of the papers cited as references and to be brutally honest, seen from within Wikidata it looks awful, it is one dimensional, it is unusable. However thanks to tools the full impact of available information becomes available. Scholia is my preferred tools for science. This is the Scholia for the paper.
Thanks,
      GerardM

Saturday, January 06, 2024

A Scholia for "water fluoridation"

Some topics are poisonous. People have a set point of view; hell or high water they will budge from their position. Even Wikipedia with its "neutral point of view" makes no dent in their preoccupation. So why argue?

Wikipedia is known for its references to sources and Wikidata is great at connecting these sources together. Particularly scholarly papers with a "DOI" may link to authors, cites works and works citing a paper. When a paper is of particular interest, you can expand the information in all these ways.

So I did not get into an argument about "water fluoridation", I included papers mentioned to Wikidata. I linked some papers with "water fluoridation" in its title to the subject. I attributed papers to authors including one by the Surgeon General of the United States..

Everything that was done on the subject is reflected in the Scholia for the subject. It suffices for me as my participation in an endless argument.

Thanks, GerardM 

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Covid enquette in the Netherlands ..

 

Dutch politicians will have their day in an "enquette commissie" coming up with their version of what there is to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic. The result will probably mirror the composition of the mainly right wing commission. It is not as if we do not know what there was to learn; a recent research paper commissioned and paid for by the Dutch government lays out the effects of vaccination on mortality in the Netherlands. It does even refer to a study on religion and vaccination coverage in the Netherlands.

Given the composition of the committee, they will have a hard time convincing people of their outcome. Nobody is really interested in my opinion, but I do believe in proper science. Given the qualification of the people writing the commissioned paper, I added the paper to Wikidata, author strings were replaced by author identifiers, known publications were linked to the authors, I linked the cited papers and ensured that the primary author is known to Wikidata as well. The result is that anyone can find this enriched information in its Scholia.

Given that some Dutch politicians express that they not understand the scholarly process, the best I can do is open up information that has a scholarly foundation, particularly in a field where I do trust politicians to come up with a report that reflects their political bias.

Thanks,

      GerardM

Thursday, May 18, 2023

For Dr @ashadevos there are 14 @Wikipedia articles

 

Hardly a "woman in red", Dr De Vos has many accomplishments chronicled in these Wikipedia articles. She presents herself with her colleagues on Facebook and, the graph of her co-authors should paint a similar picture, initially it did not. At first there were only a few publications to her name, they have been expanded to 26 at present. It introduced many co-authors and there are now some 112 co-authors missing.

Obviously, there is much more that could be done. Adding more papers and co-authors adds complexity to the Scholia of Dr de Vos. More distinctions could be added, talks at conferences and papers that were cited. I typically restrict myself to papers with a DOI and authors with an ORCiD identifier as they have the biggest network effect. 

I was reminded by Greenpeace that some people give themselves nothing for their birthday. So I updated this Wikidata item. Who will notice or care.. Like Greenpeace, Dr De Vos cares about whales; it is her specialty.

Thanks,
     GerardM

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Gender balance at @Wikipedia, deletion; a rear guard action.

 A recent Wikipedia Research article aims to prove that the English Wikipedia deletion process is not biased. For some that is a loaded question because it  centers on the question if Wikipedia is equitable.

As so often the article is all about English Wikipedia and it has its own bias. English Wikipedia does not serve half the public of the Wikimedia Foundation and much of the other half does not read English. The gender balance in English Wikipedia is however improving; the percentage of articles about women is slowly but surely increasing.

At issue in the article is whether the English Wikipedia deletion policies effectively harm gender and race biases. Obviously there are more biases; you may be male and white but when you are not from an Anglo-american background chances for Wikipedia recognition are slim. When you care to research this, check out Wikidata, it includes a super set of what Wikipedia includes and it is biased in this way as well.

When a Wikipedia article about a scientist is deleted, it does not follow that its Wikidata item is deleted and given enough identifiers, it is likely that its related subset increases over time tilting the "notability" balance. Even so, many important scientists are "scientists in red", an example is Prof Emily Fairfax her prominence is for instance in her explaining and demonstrating that beavers feature prominently in the fight against forest fires

When English Wikipedia defends its own policies, it follows that they rely on the base assumptions in those policies. When those assumption are questioned, their arguments are lost. Given that English Wikipedia represents a subset of "the sum of all knowledge" that is included in Wikidata, it follows that much of Wikipedia can be understood from such a perspective. 

Wikidata has no "red links"; when a relation exists for an recipient of an award, there must be an item for both the award and the recipient. Wikipedia has one link in black to the "SIRS Lifetime Achievement Award". while Wikidata has a link to all recipients. They are linked to identified publications and other awards and consequently the Scholia for the award is really informative. 

Based on information like this improved information is available that must wait for a Wikipedia volunteer. English Wikipedia is a victim of its success, it cannot fully maintain its information. The same can be said for Wikidata. It is however a superset and it does not necessarily require a mastery of English.

With new technologies becoming more relevant, there is an avenue to improve the quality of any Wikipedia, inform people based on the data in Wikidata and improve on the quality of the information that we provide. 

Thanks,

     GerardM