View Full Version : Disseminating biomechanics knowledge

Brian Davis
08-26-1996, 04:57 AM
Dear Biomch-L (especially students with a foreign language requirement)

When a person thinks of the adaptation of bone to external forces,
the name that immediately comes to mind is that of Wolff--as in "Wolff's
Law of bone remodelling". When one thinks of pioneering work in gait,
the names of Braune and Fischer come to mind. Recently at Penn State
University, there was a conference dedicated to the work of Nicholas
Bernstein. If these and many other researchers had lived at a time
when their work had to be published in English, we might not be in a
position where we know of their discoveries.

One of the goals of the International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) is
to disseminate scientific knowledge in the area of biomechanics. One
method the ISB is actively pursuing is to utilize electronic media--
specifically the internet. Another method which I (as someone
coordinating new initiatives of the ISB) am considering involves
translating articles from a foreign language into English.

The "plan" is as follows: Ph.D. students who have a so-called "foreign
language requirement" may be able to translate an article written in
a foreign language into English. This may meet the requirements
set by their University in terms of the foreign language requirement.
The article (and its original) will then be read by a second person (see
note below) who is familiar with both English and the foreign language
and if the two agree, the article will be sent to a peer-reviewed
journal and reviewed in the standard way.

If, after the review, the article is rejected, or needs major changes,
the process will stop. If, however, the article needs only minor
changes, either the original student, or another student with a foreign
language requirement will interact with the authors and handle the
resubmission. If and when the article is accepted, the student(s)
will be acknowledged in a footnote.

At this stage only selected topics will be considered--generally work
that is known by biomechanics researchers in the foreign country to
be of superior quality. With this in mind, I need to know if there
are PhD students who are interested in pursuing this option. Please
note that the responsibility for determining whether this meets the
"foreign language" requirement rests with the student.

Once I know what students (and languages) are available, I will act as
a "biomechanics matchmaker" and communicate with both the student(s) and
with people who are interested in writing an article in a foreign language.
Since this may take a few months, students are encouraged to consider
this option well before they need to complete the coursework requirements
for their Ph.D.

Since this is a new venture, and there are no doubt problems that still
need to be addressed, I would welcome any comments from the biomechanics

Summarizing: While there may be problems with getting foreign articles
translated and published in a timely manner, I believe there are many
reasons to go ahead with this initiative--at the very least, students
with a foreign language requirement would be doing something constructive.
In addition there may be opportunities for the English speaking world to
learn of breakthroughs made by foreign scientists.

Regards, Brian Davis

Footnote: In the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Cleveland
Clinic Foundation, we have researchers and engineers from 18 different
countries (excluding USA) who would probably be able to read an article
and its translation and determine if the two were in agreement.
Name: Brian L. Davis, PhD
E-mail: davis@bme.ri.ccf.org
Date: 08/26/96
Time: 11:57:45