Get LISNews via email! Enter Your Email Address:
Experts question rankings of journals
Peer review may be a good way to assess research papers, but it can fall short in ranking the journals themselves. That's the reaction of some metrics experts to the first such journal rankings, launched this week by the Faculty of 1000 (F1000) in London. Critics question the method, which relies on scores awarded to individual papers by the F1000 'faculty' of 10,000 scientists and clinicians. Such scores, they claim, could be skewed by the interests and enthusiasms of individual reviewers.
Cites & Insights 11:9 (October 2011) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ11i9.pdf
The 28-page issue (PDF as usual, with HTML versions of each essay available, either from the C&I home page--which will, incidentally, remind you that contributions or sponsorship are both welcome and might help keep this nonsense going--or from the title links below) includes:
Some notes on sampling public library websites (2,406 of them in 25 U.S. states) as part of the research for my 2012 book, a few idle thoughts on public library websites, and a Making it Work roundup and commentary on librarians and social networks.
Remember Cuil? Remember Knol? Oddly enough, the latter's still around--but the former may have been a Bigger Deal as a one-week web wonder. Looking back and sideways with a little bemusement.
Better than the Legends of Horror multipack, with occasional flashes of brilliance (and occasional flashes of stereotyping and schtick). -- Read More
Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist
"What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it. Another term for it is economic parasitism. To obtain the knowledge for which we have already paid, we must surrender our feu to the lairds of learning."
See Also: Response to George Monbiot’s Rant against Academic Publishers
"No one doubts that commercial publishers are in the business of making money. But the way they make money is by doing something that academics value but that they would not do for themselves, left to their own devices. What I mean is captured in two words: ‘innovation’ and ‘extension’. "
Cites & Insights 11: 8 (September 2011) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ11i8.pdf
The 32-page issue (PDF as usual, but each essay is available as an HTML separate) includes:
Bibs & Blather (pp. 1-2)
Requests for help if your public library uses Facebook, Twitter or both, and a quick note about another tweak to C&I.
The Diigo tag for the items discussed here was "eb-vs.-pb," but that's not quite right. The bulk of this lengthy Perspective considers items that, to one extent or another, either favor ebooks over print books, vice-versa, or--better yet--compare the two complementary textual forms of book (not that there aren't others, e.g., audiobooks).
As lagniappe, the first 3.3 pages offer a future of books and publishing (not the future, but a future)--one set of possibilities that I might personally find desirable, looking ten years out and "while I'm still alive"--say 35 years out.
19,000 papers leaked to protest 'war against knowledge'
A critic of academic publishers has uploaded 19,000 scientific papers to the internet to protest the prosecution of a prominent programmer and activist accused of hacking into a college computer system and downloading almost 5 million scholarly documents from an archive service.
The 18,592 documents made available Wednesday through Bittorrent were pulled from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, a prestigious scientific journal that was founded in the 1600s, the protester said.
Cites & Insights 11:7 (August 2011) is now available.
The 18-page issue, PDF as usual, includes three sections, each also available in HTML form (and, for two of them, with live links as appropriate):
Bibs & Blather pp. 1-2
The state of the ejournal, such as it is.
A mixed bag of notes on relatively recent items related to the growth (or non-growth) of the public domain.
Notes on movies (and early TV shows) on discs 18-24 of the 60-disc, 250-movie Mystery Collection.
The Bits Blog online with The New York Times reports that programmer Aaron Swartz was indicted for allegedly stealing 4 million documents from MIT and JSTOR. According to documents posted to Scribd, the arrest warrant cites alleged violation of 18 USC 1343, 18 USC 1003(a)(4), 18 USC 1003(a)(2), 18 USC 1003(a)(5)(B), and 18 USC 2.
The Boston Globe summed up the charges stating:
Aaron Swartz, 24, was charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. He faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Activist group Demand Progress, of which Swartz previously served as Executive Director, has a statement posted. Internet luminary Dave Winer also has a thought posted as to the indictment. Wired's report cites the current Executive Director of Demand Progress as likening the matter to checking too many books out of a library.
In late 2008, the University of Oregon's library faced a financial double punch. The recession meant belt tightening across the university at a time when the rising cost of journal subscriptions had already put a strain on the library's budget. "We were faced with a two-pronged financial attack here," recalled David C. Fowler, the library's head of licensing, grants administration, and collection analysis.
Something had to give. That something, as it turned out, was Oregon's so-called Big Deals with two heavyweight publishers, Elsevier and John Wiley & Sons. Big Deals provide large collections of journal articles but also lock institutions into multiyear subscriptions at rising prices that many libraries say they can no longer afford. At Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, another institution under pressure to make ends meet, those deals were eating up 40 percent of the library's materials budget.
What is wrong with Scientific Publishing: an illustrative “true” story
In closing I should make it clear that Open Access in its formal sense is only a small advance. More people can read “it”, but “it” is an outdated, twentieth century object. It’s outlived its time. The value of Wikipedia and Nature Precedings for me is that this has enabled a communal journey. It’s an n<->n communication process rooted in the current century.
Unless “journals” change their nature (I shall explore this and I think the most valuable thing is for them to disappear completely) then the tectonic plates in scholarly publishing will create an earthquake.