Popular Science Apps : Chemistry

The Griffith Sciences team know our students love to use their mobile devices so over the next few months we will cover some apps we think are worth your time and effort to download.   Where possible we have selected free apps for iPad, iPhones and Android devices, however we’ve also included some that require payment, simply because they have been highly rated. You are sure to find one of interest to help you in your studies.

iPad and iPhone

"Coffee and Internet" by Ulf Bodin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Coffee and Internet” by Ulf Bodin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Quick Periodic Table of the Elements (Quick Learning LLC). Price: Free

Quick Elements gives you rapid access to information on the elements. It features four colour-coded tables summarizing a variety of information on each element. You can decide on the table view or a searchable list of all 118 elements with property data. You can organise the list of elements by atomic number, symbol or name. Four different views of the table are available:

  •  chemical categories
  • classes
  • representative elements
  • orbital blocks


Periodic Table (Socratica). Price: Free

This popular app contains the periodic table of elements with over 30 facts about each element and audio clips to help you with pronunciation. You can test yourself in a quiz and it has search and browse functions to help you find information about each element. It also directs users to relevant YouTube videos to help you learn chemistry terms. It is available in many languages.

iPad and iPhone

Khan Academy (Khan Academy). Price: Free

This popular iOS app allows you to freely download over 4000 videos, articles and other learning material from the Khan Academy, a popular provider of Open Access resources, free on the web. You can watch many videos and view other resources on a range of essential science subjects including basic and advanced tutorials on chemistry. You can download the videos for later viewing when you don’t have network connection.


Viewer for Khan Academy (Concentric Sky Inc.). Price: Free

This app is very similar to the equivalent Khan Academy app for iPhone and iPad in providing 4000+ videos and other free educational resources from the Khan Academy.

If you want to learn how to create mobile apps, some useful information can be found from databases on the Multimedia library guide accessible from the Engineering and IT subject library guide from the library home page.

Library opening hours extended in the lead-up to exams

  • Nathan and Gold Coast libraries will be open 24 hours, Monday – Thursday in the lead-up to exams.


It’s that time again! With exams approaching fast it’s time to batten down the hatches, stock up on snacks and get comfy in your favourite library spot. To help you over the next three weeks, the Nathan and Gold Coast libraries will be open 24 hours from Monday to Thursday. Here’s the lowdown on the Nathan and Gold Coast library opening hours for weeks 13, 14 and 15:

Monday – Thursday: 24 hours (Services and collections 8am – 10pm)

Friday: 7am – 12am (Services and collections 8am – 6pm)

Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 8pm (Services and collections 9am – 5pm)

Check out the opening hours for the Logan, Mt Gravatt and South Bank campuses here. 

Does exam prep leave you feeling overwhelmed? Have a peek of our resources. Have you done this, looked through this or booked a session with one of these? Good luck!

Perspectives in an Energy-Secure Future

Energy Perspectives

Photo taken by thinkpanama (2008) (CC By-NC 2.0)

The manufacturing industry in China is increasing as the country aims to improve its energy security. An article in The Conversation highlights the policies that China is putting in place to invest in renewable energy. The key motivator is to meet the energy requirements for the entire population. For those students undertaking studies in Engineering and Technology, there is positive news for those that have an interest in renewable energy and how this industry is currently thriving internationally. India, South Korea and Germany are other countries that are investing in renewable energy industries.

Energy security has historically been viewed largely through fossil fuel resources. So while currently policy in Australia and the United States is more concerned with fossil fuel energy markets, there are improving opportunities in renewable energy overseas. Australia’s investment in fossil fuel exports may be of limited benefit with Australia’s main export destination increasingly relying upon their own renewable sources. The predominant view in Australia has been to reduce fossil fuels to reduce carbon emissions, which can be viewed as a reactionary response. Whereas the approach in China and other countries has taken a positive view of increasing their energy security with renewable energy, thus ultimately assisting in building their manufacturing industries and reducing carbon emissions.

This article highlights the different perspectives that may be required in looking for solutions. Whether you are trying to make a Mouse Trap car more efficient for an Engineering assignment or searching for a solution to an IT problem, there is always another aspect to consider. The approach China is taking shows that the benefits of alternative solutions are widespread. The costs of many components are significantly cheaper, which encourages more investment and makes renewable energy more affordable. It then follows that when undertaking research or assessment tasks, always consider alternative perspectives. The new ideas and perspectives you consider could have amazing possibilities.

If you require assistance getting started or planning and structuring your assignments, book a consultation with a Learning Adviser or click on the following links to get a head start:

Unpacking the Assignment

Planning and Structuring the Assignment

Academic Skills: Postgraduate

Manage your research profile through open access publication

  • Bring your research more freely into the public domain through open access

Bm4aA6eCMAAg8Bt.jpg-mediumOpen Access promotes the free, immediate, online access to peer-reviewed scholarly research, theses, scholarly monographs and book chapters, and the right to use and re-use them.

The benefits of open access, including increased citation rates, were explored in a recent article. This article focuses on how to make your research openly accessible.

How to make your research available as open access?

There are two main ways to make research open access:

  1. Depositing work in an institutional and/or publications repository with an open licence.

Griffith Research Online (GRO) is Griffith’s institutional repository for published research material. It is open access and viewed by people all around the world. To place your work in GRO please refer to the GRO website.

Did you know that:

  • The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) require any publication arising from NHMRC or ARC supported research to be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a twelve month period from the date of publication. 1
  • More than 74% of journal publishers now allow you to deposit a copy of the accepted manuscript in an institutional repository. 2
  • Search services like Google Scholar and the National Library of Australia’s Trove harvest information from Australian repositories. You only need to deposit your work to be promoted through all these different channels.
  • More than 60,000 Australian theses have been deposited in institutional repositories and harvested by Trove. The theses are widely used – the Griffith Digital Theses Collection is viewed over 3000 times every month.
  1. Publishing in open access journals.

Did you know that:

  • In 2013, more than 13% of the journal articles published by Griffith researchers were in open access journals.
  • The Directory of Open Access Journals contains over 10,008 journals which can only be included if peer-review or editorial quality control is exercised. 3
  • Most of the open access journals published by Australian universities are fully open access and do not charge publication fees.
  • Journal participation in PubMedCentral (PMC), the largest open access archive, is increasing at the rate of 15% per year. PMC journals providing immediate free access is growing by 20% per year, and journals with all articles open access is increased at a 17% annual rate. 4

Help with open access publication

Information Services provides extensive services to assist academics and students with open access.

Advisory services

  • Library Services provides advice on publishing strategy including open access journals and repositories. It works with staff to identify open educational resources that can be used in courses.
  • Information Management provides advice on funding agency mandates for open access publications, troubleshooting copyright issues with publishers in the context of open access, open licensing frameworks and how they relate to copyright, creating your own open access journal and a range of other publications-focused topics.
  • eResearch Services provides advice on open access to research data.

Technical solutions

INS develops and maintains repositories at Griffith that support open access including:

  • Griffith Research Online provides access to research publications.
  • Theses Collection, containing 2,172 higher degree by research theses, out of which 92% is available as open access with full text.
  • Research Data Repository makes data accessible via a web browser.
  • ePress helps researchers publish their own journals using an open source journal management and publishing software including the high-profile peer-reviewed publication, Pneumonia.

Policy and Guidelines

For further information on how to publish in open access channels, and relevant policies, please see the Open Access website at http://www.griffith.edu.au/library/open-access



1 https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/grants/policy/nhmrc-open-access-policy and http://www.arc.gov.au/applicants/open_access.htm

2 http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/statistics.php

3 http://doaj.org/

4 http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.ca/2014/10/dramatic-growth-of-open-access.html

Generation Open: Open Access Week 20 October – 26 October

  • Griffith University celebrates Open Access Week, an international event

Open lock ©Jisc and Matt Lincoln CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

Open lock ©Jisc and Matt Lincoln

Open access enables the sharing of knowledge by making research results freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

Open access can raise your research profile and increase your citation rates

Open access has many benefits. Disseminating research through open access channels brings your research to a wider audience than subscriber-restricted publications. This increases the visibility of your research and makes your articles easier to find, which can lead to an increased citation rate when published in open access repositories. Importantly, practitioners and policymakers can access your work, whereas when it’s behind a paywall they’re less likely to.

Griffith Research Online (GRO) is an institutional repository for published research material. It is open access and viewed by people all around the world. Indexed by google and google scholar it allows for your research to be found through search engines. GRO provides valuable statistics on every item published, such as the number of views and downloads and from which countries. These statistics can be a valuable indicator of the impact your research is having in your field and raises your profile by giving merit to the impact of your work rather than the journal in which it is published.

There is evidence that open access publication results in increased citation rates. It has been coined the ‘Open Access Citation Advantage’ and is believed to be the result of many factors such as:

  • Open access articles are downloaded significantly more and are therefore cited more; and
  • Open access articles are in competition with non-open access articles and as they are more accessible than non-open access articles they can be used and cited more.

In the UK an academic sought to quantify the results of publishing her research in an institution repository and actively promoting the research via blogs and twitter. She proved an increase in downloads and dissemination of her research. In Australia QUT academic, Ray Frost, demonstrably improved his citation rate as a result of making his work open access.

Open access benefits studentsBm4aA6eCMAAg8Bt.jpg-medium

Open access textbooks and other educational resources allow students to access knowledge without the restrictions imposed by the Copyright Act. In addition it can reduce textbook costs for students to zero. In the United States 31% of students do not register for a course they’re interested in because of the textbook cost. That’s a loss for society as well as for that individual. 1 A ‘Textbook Zero’ model has been successfully piloted in the United States with Tidewater Community College launching a ‘Textbook Zero degree’ developed by Lumen Learning. Other educational institutions have incorporated open educational resources into their courses, cutting textbook costs and improving student success. 1, 2

Griffith’s Library has over 31,000 open access journals and over 12,000 open access books available to students through its library catalogue. Sharing knowledge is fundamental in education and open access enables sharing. Open access journals and books can be accessed and used by anyone, anywhere, anytime and direct links to open access resources can be emailed to colleagues or individuals outside of Griffith University anywhere in the world for their access.

A number of webinars are being run throughout open access week. Attend these free webinars to learn more about open access and how to create and publish open access materials.

Free Webinars
Open access 101 Tuesday 21 October 12.30pm – 1.30pm AEDT Find out more and register
Funder OA policies & requirements Wednesday 22 October 12.30pm – 1.30pm AEDT Find out more and register
Understanding publisher agreements Wednesday 22 October 2:30pm – 3.15pm AEDT Find out more and register
The changing publishing landscape Thursday 23 October 12.30pm – 1.30pm AEDT Find out more and register


1 http://bccampus.ca/2014/06/03/textbook-zero/

2 http://www.affordablelearninggeorgia.org/about/numbers

Write to the Point

The Learning Advisers working in our Griffith Sciences team often hear comments that Science writing is very different from areas such as Business or the Social Sciences. Certainly, there are many issues that need to be considered when constructing your writing in a science area but it must be remembered that the ultimate goal does not change – the written message must be clearly understood by the reader. Developing good writing skills is essential for any university student, and particularly for science students who aspire to become published researchers with a view to progress scientific thinking in their specific area. All research, be it undergraduate or postgraduate, should be presented to its best advantage; clearly and concisely in well-structured sentences.

Write_reducedTherefore, any chance to write should be considered as an opportunity to practise and apply writing skills to produce work that is coherent.The most common mistake for many writers (including those in the sciences) is the overuse of words when constructing a sentence. When a writer begins to gather their thoughts on a page, it is usual to end up with an excess of words. A good writer will always review their work critically and assess the intent of their message and how it has been conveyed. This takes a lot of practice and generally several rewrites.

Consider the following example:

‘Coagulation of the egg white protein occurred due to the fact that the water in the test tube was heated to boiling point before it was dropped in.’

This sentence certainly delivers the factual information but the message is weighed down by too many words. Sending a message that is concise and succinct is always the best course of action. It also keeps the reader interested. Following some basic principles of sentence construction will simplify the text, reduce the word count and send a clearer message. The previous sentence has now been reworked and the result is clear:

‘Egg white protein coagulated because the water in the test tube was heated to boiling point.’

Working with words takes time, effort, trial and error but the end result is worth it – and your readers will appreciate it!

Some basic tips for eliminating wordy phrases from text can be found here.

If you need further assistance with your writing and expression for your assignments on any topic in any discipline, you are welcome to book an appointment with a Learning Adviser.

Version 4.0 of Adobe Digital Editions : Security and privacy implications

Griffith University is committed to protecting the privacy of staff and students. The University is concerned by the security and privacy implications of reports that Version 4.0 of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE 4.0) collects data about user reading habits and transmits this data to Adobe’s servers without encryption. 

Many staff and students download this software for reading e-books that are provided as part of the library’s collections. The library e-books that are affected are those from the ProQuest EBL and ebrary collections. 

Information Services is consulting a range of organisations about this issue, including the providers of our e-book packages, the Council of Australian University Librarians, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. 

If you are concerned about using ADE 4.0 to access e-books, you can take one of the following steps: 

1.        Read e-books from the ProQuest EBL and ebrary collections online without downloading them, or 
2.        Uninstall Version 4 of Adobe Digital Editions and install an earlier version. You can download earlier versions from http://www.adobe.com/support/digitaleditions/downloads.html. 

Please note, this issue relates to Adobe Digital Editions only. It does NOT relate to the use of Adobe Reader.  

Linda O’Brien 
Pro Vice Chancellor, Information Services
University Librarian, Griffith University


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