All posts by Daniel Sandars

The purpose of Daniel Sandars' current work is to inform UK policy on biodiversity and arable agriculture by providing decision analysis methods and related quantified evidence base. The aim is to identify, develop as necessary, and apply methods which develop the linear programming approach to agricultural production planning to include effects on exemplar indicator species of farmland birds and mammals together with the associated decision making behaviour of farmers. The resulting approach will identify and quantify how farmers respond to changes in the financial, regulatory, climatic and technological environment, especially with respect to initiatives to promote biodiversity. It will be capable of rapid recalculation and easy adaptation to evaluate future, as yet unspecified, choices and changes. In general he applies a variety of modelling and operational research techniques, which often require considerable methodological innovation to succeed (be fit for purpose).

Citation Alert: Sustainability assessment of food supply chains: an application to local and global bread in Italy

They cite this work that I was involved in:

This citation, welcome though it is will probably not count in my Web of Science or Scopus metrics because the ‘journal’ “Agricultural and Food Economics” may be too new.

Agricultural and Food Economics (AFE) is an international peer-reviewed and open access journal published on behalf of the Italian Association of Agricultural Economics. AFE welcomes research articles from economists, scholars and researchers from all over the world to publish problem-oriented and high quality articles. AFE publishes only original articles from a wide variety of economic perspectives that address current and relevant issues related to the agricultural and food system. AFE publishes articles focused on applied analysis, the discussion of innovative results, and relevant policy and managerial implications. AFE seeks clearly written articles from experts in the field, to promote insightful understanding of the current trends in the agri-food system.

Topics of specific interest to AFE include agricultural and food market analysis, agri-food firm management and marketing, organization of the agri-food chains, consumer behavior, food quality and safety issues, economics of nutrition and food security, food and health economics, agri-food policy and trade, sustainable rural development, natural and marine resource economics, land economics.

All articles published by Agricultural and Food Economics are made freely and permanently accessible online immediately upon publication, without subscription charges or registration barriers. Further information about open access can be found here.

The full abstract of the citing article is here. I hope to find time soon to read their work carefully.  Watch this space

This paper has been selected as a best paper of the 51th SIDEA Conference in Benevento (18-20 September 2014). It has been accepted for publication in this journal following the usual revision process.

Abstract

Over the 2000s’, consumers’ food purchases have been increasingly informed by supply chain-related issues, with growing concerns about the sustainability of chains differing for their geographical scope. As a result, short food supply chains and local food systems have risen to policymakers and food chain stakeholders’ attention as more sustainable alternatives to mainstream food networks. However, associating food chain’s geographical scope and sustainability performance may not be straightforward. This paper aims at shedding lights on the connection between geographical scope and sustainability by comparing and discussing 19 attributes owing to different sustainability dimensions. The analysis anchors on the wheat-to-bread chain, due to its global relevance. Bread is a worldwide staple food and wheat is (generally) a commodity traded globally. However, wheat processing often occurs locally and baking is influenced by local heritage and consumption patterns, particularly in the EU and in Italy, where gastronomy is culturally embedded. The paper identifies critical aspects and provides a qualitative assessment of the performances of local vs global wheat-to-bread chains. The assessment is carried out on Italian case studies.

JEL: Q18 Agricultural Policy, Food Policy, Q10 General.

Keywords: Sustainability assessment; Food supply chain; Local; Global; Bread

About us | Publons

I get asked to review half a dozen times a year. I turn down a good few if I am under too much pressure at work or feel its is a shade out of scope.

The concept of Publons sounds great. Merit for hard work. Reviewing manuscripts is intellectually demanding, time consuming and unremunerated. It is generally thought of a part of your citizenry duties and partly`justified if you want a sneak peak at upcoming papers.

Reviewing is not fallible and journals do retract papers due to fraud, ethical violations, and plagiarism. I am not sure what happens to a reviewer’s reputation when that happens, especially if they have given up their anonymity.

Reviewers control how each review is displayed on their profile (blind, open, or published), and can add both pre- reviews they do for journals and post-publication reviews of any article.

 

Giving for peer review allows researchers to build their academic reputation through their peer review activity. The hypothesis is that when reviewers get official recognition for their work, they are more willing to accept review requests, more willing to prioritise time to do the review quicker, and more likely to do a comprehensive review. In short, they are more willing to put aside their own research to selflessly help with someone else’s.

 

Welcome to the Publons community! To get a feel for Publons, try adding a few reviews to get an idea of how your profile, stats, and official reviewer report will look. You could also start forwarding your review receipts, browse the top reviewers, and see where your university sits on the university leaderboard.

 

By default, when a review is added to your profile only the journal and the month of the review are shown (e.g. “Richard Feynman reviewed for Reviews of Modern Physics during December 1947”). All identifying information is kept hidden from the public, unless you explicitly choose to share it. You personally can see all additional details of your review record (and make changes to what is displayed for each review) from the review history tab on your dashboard.

 

We work with peer reviewers, editors, and publishers to motivate reviewers by giving credit for peer review. For peer reviewers, Publons provides a way to get credit for their contributions (without breaking reviewer anonymity) in a format they can include in job and funding applications.

 

 

Research Fellow Training: Publishing papers 28/08/2015

Fab training course. It is doing me the power of good to have a refresher, but also from this Professor. He is essentially a self made man who has dug deep to find very human answers in himself to push forward.

I am so glad that this paper writing course was not another re-hash of the hypothesis centred paper approach. This course gave you the behind the scenes approach to getting it done, giving strategic tips to write of any kind! Most of my work hinges on systems modelling. I’ve never seen a hypothesis formally stated in the literature that I read or even really figured out if it is implied. As a result I’ve mostly struggled and failed to operationalise earlier learning.

Part 1: Why publish and where?

  • I like the idea of focussing on a set of and consistent keywords to develop your .
  • I like the idea of a set of journal at impact factor 4+ to aim the best stuff at. A set at around 2 to fall back on and a final set of <1 further fall back on provided that have good readership. This is a better way to build a directed reputation than the more scatter gun approach.
  • I think for me I need to slant my outputs not at but more at Agri-environmental engineering, policy and . [Note to self if possible analyse my and peers for journal coverage]
  • Your quality bar on your papers defines your intellectual reputation (more than any other lever).

How to produce papers?

  • Guides to papers are like diets -develop the one that works for you!
  • I really like this killer idea. Separate the intellectual heavy lifting into a phase that takes time from the physical drafting and of the manuscript. Trying to think as you write means that you have to repeatedly return to the time consuming heavy lifting to move the paper on the next notch before you are yet again diverted to the more pressing aspects of the day job.
    • Intellectual phase
      • Define the message -one sentence
      • Define the structure
      • Determine the key information to include in then paper
      • Define the information needs in the introduction
    • Deliver
      • Write drafts
  • Plan of attack (Key to intellectual contribution -get balance of paper right)
    • Results
    • Discussion
    • Conclusions
    • Methods (& Materials)
    • Introduction
    • Abstract
    • Title
    • Keywords, Acknowledgements, References
  • F.O.C.U.S
  • The purpose of a paper is to be read and used [to communicate] (not to baffle, show off, prove hard work, to prove we are better). It is your sales pitch of your ideas and intellectual contribution.
    • “Do they see what you see, and understand what you understand? Is it easy and useful for them to read? What knowledge/ information do you want to leave them with?”
    • “If you cannot describe the message clearly and concisely you are not ready to write the paper”
  • The best structure is the simplest path for the story you want to tell. Clear redundant material off that path
  • Use a storyboard to organise the figures and tables into the story line you need for your message. What is missing? Are they needed at all? Use the storyboard as a research planning tool to target the graphs and thus work you need to do to support the story, but revise when a new story emerges. [Storyboard planning maybe very good for designing model runs for a paper if not building the model itself]
  • Allow time and have fun collaborating
  • Results: Describe, Compare, & Explain on each. Plant the hooks you will return to in the discussion. Be specific with comparisons and explanations never generic. Keep it to the points that add to your message
  • Key point: Do not start writing the papers until you have prepared the material. If the preps done then in half an hour snatch moments another bit can be written up.
  • Discussion: Bring out the main points first. Write a separate discussion to ensure you develop it well.
  • Materials and Method: the reader should be able to repeat your work. Include Quality assurance steps. Reference standard methods, describe what is different, but avoid referring to you own papers for basic details to help the paper stand on its own feet.
  • Introduction: What are the drivers of the work?, what is already known and done?, where are the gaps?, and what are we going to deliver?
  • Conclusions: Demonstrate delivery of the message, what is the point of the paper?, and each aim and objective should have a corresponding conclusion.
  • Title: This is the key hook. It is what people see first, if anything. Good titles are either short or contain colons and are brief, direct, and meaningful.
  • Abstract: Critical to further reading. Use 4 sentences: 1)The driver for the work, 2)The approach taken,  3)The key results, and 4)The main conclusion.
  • Visual/Audio-slide/video Abstracts: Important and no clear best practices
  • Keywords: Direct, meaningful, and consistent (Inconsistent keywords = lower citations as you become harder to find. Find a couple of key signature keywords and use them everywhere
  • Acknowledgements: funders, helpers and legal issues. Keep it brief
  • References: Follow the formatting instructions and check citation and reference list agree in both directions.
  • Basic rules: Keep to word limits, rules, and format guidelines. Do not flood journals -spread papers around if coming in a batch else be forced two rite one all singing paper. Don’t self plagiarise. If it is needed and it is published refer to it or come at it from another direction. If resubmitting post rejection to a new journal explain why and what you ave done to improve the article.
    • Have high standards of internal proof reading.
    • Handle referee comments constructively, properly, be timely.
    • Be a completer finisher!
  • Recieving criticism and rejection. Calm down and read and re read and re read the feedback until you feel more composed to respond positively. Keep at it as the light at the end of the tunnel never goes out.
http://thesociologicalcinema.tumblr.com/post/116085199545/most-scientists-regarded-the-new-streamlined

ReadCube for Researchers

“Because I have seen both the difficulties of researching topics while struggling to stay organized and the ease of organization after ReadCube – I feel that writing, researching, and just keeping up with current practices has become so much easier when using this awesome program!”

 

“I have been using ReadCube for over past two years successfully. I am really impressed with software – user friendly, very fast and compatibility with pubmed, acrobat and endnote. I’ve even presented this software in our journal club to all the researchers in the lab and even convinced my prof to start using this software :).”

 

“I think that ReadCube is the best academic application I have ever used. It encompasses everything I need in a but in a very simple and stylish way, which is why I avidly recommend ReadCube to all my work colleagues.”

 

“I think that ReadCube is the best product on the market for managing a collection of papers. I have tried managing my collection of articles manually, and I have also tried using other management programs, and I believe that ReadCube is the best tool out there. I love that it will let me use my campus proxy wherever I have access to the internet. I find that it’s UI is intuitive and powerful.”

 

“I love that everything is inline! The enhanced PDF allows me to use the more easily-readable and more organized PDF format while retaining (and even improving) the functionality of an online-accessed, full-text article with hyperlinked references and supplements”

 

 

Application of operations research in agriculture decision making – Springer

Z. Zhang and C. Wang, Cluster analysis and optimization model of the structural distribution of aquatic industry in Huantai county, J. Qufu Teacher’s University 1(1986).

 

Z. Zhang, Present situations and prospects on the structure of agriculture and animal husbandry optimized by system engineering, J. Qufu Teacher’s University 4(1986).

 

A survey is given of applications of operations research in the area of agriculture in China, which includes farming, forestry, stock-raising, fishery, etc.

 

 

Farm Planning and Control | Industrial Economics | Cambridge University Press

A comprehensive treatment of farm business and control, with many examples drawn from farming practice.

Although there are many motives for farming, the achievement of a worthwhile financial return, coupled with a good standard of living, ranks high among them. This implies the need for sound business organisation – the more so as holdings become larger, more specialised and more capital intensive. The present book offers a comprehensive treatment of farm business organisation and control. Although designed primarily as an intermediate text for students in universities and agricultural colleges, it is of interest and value to all those concerned with farm business, including business advisers, land agents, accountants and bank managers. The book’s wide coverage is made possible by a mainly non-mathematical presentation coupled with a liberal use of examples drawn from farming practice. The book is divided into four parts: the organisation of resources, the organisation of enterprises, the combination of enterprises and the control of resources and enterprises. The overtaking theme is that, in order to make the most economic use of the resources at his disposal, the farmer has to decide what resources to use, how to organise their use within individual enterprises and how to combine the enterprises into an integrated farming system. Lastly, if these efforts are not to be largely wasted, he must initiate the keeping of suitable records to provide both planning data and a system of checks and controls when his plans are put into practice.

Notice to readers Preface to the first edition Preface to the second edition Selected metric conversion factors Part I. The Organisation of Resources:1. The planning environment and the managerial function 2. Basic principles and concepts of planning 3. The organisation of capital – general 4. The organisation of capital – machinery, buildings and land 5. The organisation of labour Part II. The Organisation of Enterprises:6. An introduction to enterprise organisation 7. Livestock yield and fixed costs 8. Yield, variable costs and optimal feed conversion 9. The selection of feedstuffs 10. The influence of season on livestock production 11. The provision of replacements 12. Crops and cropping Part III. The Combination of Enterprises:13. Principles and procedures in planning enterprise combination 14. Budgeting and programme planning 15. Linear programming 16. Uncertainty and farm organisation and planning 17. Further programming techniques 18. Matrix construction Part IV. The Control of Resources and Enterprises:19. Data recording 20. Data analysis 21. Methods of control Index.

 

Although there are many motives for farming, the achievement of a worthwhile financial return, coupled with a good standard of living, ranks high among them. This implies the need for sound business organisation – the more so as holdings become larger, more specialised and more capital intensive. The present book offers a comprehensive treatment of farm business organisation and control. Although designed primarily as an intermediate text for students in universities and agricultural colleges, it is of interest and value to all those concerned with farm business, including business advisers, land agents, accountants and bank managers. The book’s wide coverage is made possible by a mainly non-mathematical presentation coupled with a liberal use of examples drawn from farming practice. The book is divided into four parts: the organisation of resources, the organisation of enterprises, the combination of enterprises and the control of resources and enterprises. The overtaking theme is that, in order to make the most economic use of the resources at his disposal, the farmer has to decide what resources to use, how to organise their use within individual enterprises and how to combine the enterprises into an integrated farming system. Lastly, if these efforts are not to be largely wasted, he must initiate the keeping of suitable records to provide both planning data and a system of checks and controls when his plans are put into practice.

 

 

Handbook of Operations Research in Natural Resources | Andres Weintraub | Springer

Natural resources has been an application in numerous Operations Research papers; however, there have been few, if any, books that organizes and discusses the OR models in this area

 

Andrés Weintraub is the very top person in Natural Resource research. Moreover, he has an international reputation in OR and a former president of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS).

 

Handbook of Operations Research in Natural Resources will be the first systematic handbook treatment of quantitative modeling natural resource problems, their allocated efficient use, and societal and economic impact. Andrés Weintraub is the very top person in Natural Resource research. Moreover, he has an international reputation in OR and a former president of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies (IFORS). He has selected co-editors who are at the top of the sub-fields in natural resources: agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and mining. The book will cover these areas in terms with contributions from researchers on modeling natural research problems, quantifying data, developing algorithms, and discussing the benefits of research implementations. The handbook will include tutorial contributions when necessary. Throughout the book, technological advances and algorithmic developments that have been driven by natural resource problems will be called out and discussed.

 

 

Citation Alert: The pyrolysis and gasification of digestate from agricultural biogas plant

Google told me about this new citation to my work. It is a short Polish paper that refers to work I did using environmental () on the manures and slurries produced by pig and dairy farm and various technologies for handling, storing and using them.

This new work builds on from results where  I show that following anaerobic digestion (AD) the resulting is far more potent as a , but is also far more likely to lose ammonia by volatilisation if not managed better. The added potency is due to the digestion fermentation step breaking down complex organic structures and releasing nutrients into the liquor whilst releasing the carbon (drymatter) as methane gas.

The high moisture content of digestate is also a transport burden. One way the my Polish friends look at to manage it better is to dry the digestate 10% moisture content and subject it to pyrolysis and gasification. This has the advantage of getting more and producing biochar or ash as a readily transport fertiliser.

What I really like about this work was that they are looking at an important questions and that they are publishing hard analytical data on digestate and its performance in these processes.

To elaborate on the importance of the question. Improvements on environmental performance in systems such as is akin to chasing bubbles in a carpet. As soon as you introduce one technology, such as an you soon or alter have to think out how you are going to mange the digestate with its increased potency, These still in not one right idea about that and an open question on at least one project I am currently involved with. Intervening into agricultural systems (or any system) has to be done systematically at multiple points to avoid environmental burdens moving to another part of the system or one burden swapping for another.  The environmental Life Cycle Assessment method is tool to use in these cases

Life Cycle Assessment

If you want a tip about win wins with an intervention into a complex system then think along the lines of productive efficiency where you are trying to either  a) obtain the same from fewer inputs, or b) obtain more from the same inputs.

Whilst I am glad this paper is published there is an opportunity to set it within the context of systems thinking and LCA. A couple of things make me think so:

  • The author’s mention that the proliferation of large scale plants in areas where there are restricted opportunities to apply digestate leads to active consideration of drying digestate to ease the transport burdens of shipping it.  I suspect that recycling disposal problem already existed in those area as ADs don’t create mass that was not already there. The problem maybe that now that it is being processed in an AD it is officially visible as a ‘waste’ and of course more potent.
  • An important gap in the life cycle thinking is the drying step of the digestate. In this case a thermal step is used, but not detailed. The question is what happens to the ammoniacal nitrogen during thermal drying? They authour’s correctly identify the risk of losing 70 or so percent of the nitrogen following land spreading, but don’t say what happens under thermal drying.
  • If one was to further apply life cycle thinking we would be thinking of the net energy balance with the thermal drying and pyrolysis and gasification steps. We would also want to be sure flue gases and evaporative gases didn’t carry additional environmental burdens. Finally, we would want to know the agricultural fertility value of biochar (carbonizate) or ash especially if there are heavy metals or persistent organic contaminants.

Overall I enjoyed giving this paper a good read. It tackles an important areas, but I suspect we are still chasing bubbles in the carpet.

It went down very well aided by a bottle of real ale from a recently discovered micro brewery called Hornes located about 10 miles from where I sit. 

Hornes Real Ale, From Bow Brick-hill, Milton Keynes