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Disseminating biomechanics knowledge

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  • Disseminating biomechanics knowledge

    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
    Date: 08/26/96
    Time: 11:57:45