Academic Libraries

Spamferences thrive; junk journals prosper

Spamferences are conferences with no academic value that accept every paper offered and charge high enough fees to make serious commercial profit provided at least some people turn up to present their papers. You book a block of space in a huge hotel in a pleasant place, send out a few million invitation-to-submit emails to scholars in a slew of popular fields, automate the business of accepting and listing all papers submitted, and charge the credit cards of the vain, gullible, deluded, or corrupt academics who decide to attend.
From Language Log » Spamferences thrive; junk journals prosper

Let’s make peer review scientific

So what now? In my field, and perhaps in many others: follow the triallists. First, develop evidence-based lists of items to be included in reporting (mission-sort-of-accomplished for many clinical journals). Journals must accept and promote these guidelines and ensure that reviewers hold authors to them; perhaps they should facilitate training in peer review, which has been shown to improve performance. Finally, manuscript editors and copy editors must uphold the standards. For example, we now routinely reject trial reports that cannot prove registration before inception. This change is large for all involved — authors, reviewers and journal staff — and it is taking years.
From Let’s make peer review scientific : Nature News & Comment

How publishing in open access journals threatens science and what we can do about it

The last decade has seen an enormous increase in the number of peer-reviewed open access research journals in which authors whose articles are accepted for publication pay a fee to have them made freely available on the Internet. Could this popularity of open access publishing be a bad thing? Is it actually imperiling the future of science? In this commentary, I argue that it is. Drawing upon research literature, I explain why it is almost always best to publish in society journals (i.e., those sponsored by research societies such as Journal of Wildlife Management) and not nearly as good to publish in commercial academic journals, and worst—to the point it should normally be opposed—to publish in open access journals (e.g., PLOS ONE). I compare the operating plans of society journals and open access journals based on 2 features: the quality of peer review they provide and the quality of debate the articles they publish receive. On both features, the quality is generally high for society journals but unacceptably low for open access journals, to such an extent that open access publishing threatens to pollute science with false findings. Moreover, its popularity threatens to attract researchers’ allegiance to it and away from society journals, making it difficult for them to achieve their traditionally high standards of peer reviewing and of furthering debate. I prove that the commonly claimed benefits to science of open access publishing are nonexistent or much overestimated. I challenge the notion that journal impact factors should be a key consideration in selecting journals in which to publish. I suggest ways to strengthen the Journal and keep it strong.
From How publishing in open access journals threatens science and what we can do about it - Romesburg - 2016 - The Journal of Wildlife Management - Wiley Online Library

Student catalogs VCU Libraries’ collection of pre-1800 books, greatly enhancing their research value

Over the past year, Neuhauser has been cataloging VCU Libraries’ trove of books published before 1800, allowing researchers to not only search by author, title and subject, but also now by a wide variety of material features. “Especially with older books, one thing that’s interesting to book historians like me is the material aspects of the books,” Neuhauser said. “Now that we have opened up the catalog to be searched by material terms, you can, say, look for all of VCU Libraries’ books that have a certain type of paper, or that have a specific type of binding, or have gold tooling, or have gilt edges and things like that.”
From Student catalogs VCU Libraries’ collection of pre-1800 books, greatly enhancing their research value

Scientific journal subscription costs in Finland 2010-2015: a preliminary analysis

Detailed information on journal subscription costs paid to individual publishers by the Finnish research institutions has been released by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, and its Open Science and Research Initiative funded 2014–2017 (Kustantajahintatiedot Suomessa 2010–2015). With this, Finland becomes to our knowledge the first country where annual subscription fees for all individual publishers and all major research institutions have been made available, spanning the years 2010-2015. Similar information has been previously released for some, but not all publishers and research institutions in the UK and US; and related activities are ongoing in several countries (see the recent blog post by Stuart Lawson).
From Scientific journal subscription costs in Finland 2010-2015: a preliminary analysis — rOpenGov

Employee Copy Rights: maximize our copy rights

It’s a basic fact: you own what you create unless you sign it away. However, a lot of people don’t realize that just about every employer asks you to give up at least some of your rights, and just about every working librarian is an employee of some sort. As such, it behooves us to maximize our copy rights.

http://letterstoayounglibrarian.blogspot.com/2016/06/employee-copy-rights-by-michael.html

Retro video games invade space at university libraries

Braydon Beaulieu stares intently at a screen as he plays a game on the Nintendo Entertainment System inside the U of C library. The 27-year-old PhD student wasn't even born when the system was released in 1983. "These things are like ancient artifacts to me, something I would expect to see in a museum, so it is really fun to play them." 
From Retro video games invade space at university libraries - Calgary - CBC News

It’s the Data, Stupid: What Elsevier’s purchase of SSRN also means

The data produced by SSRN is not terribly sophisticated stuff: number of papers and authors, number of downloads, number of citations, per paper and per author. Lots of other companies and services attempt to collect the same kind of data. But what makes SSRN specific is that it is a well known node in the network—we might say, in the discourse or mind-space—of social science.
From It’s the Data, Stupid: What Elsevier’s purchase of SSRN also means | Savage Minds

New library shelves 3,400 bottles of wine at Cornell

The newest library on campus contains no books and offers no borrowing privileges. Located in the basement of Stocking Hall, it lacks the soaring windows and grand views of other locations. Students can’t access the library, and since it’s kept at a constant 54 degrees, it would not offer much of a study refuge anyway.
From New library shelves 3,400 bottles of wine | Cornell Chronicle

Cancellation of subscriptions to 2,116 Springer journals

“We are trying to best meet the needs of our community despite budget cuts in the last few years, the greediness of commercial publishers, and the weak Canadian dollar,” said Stéphanie Gagnon, Collections Director.
From Communiqué - Cancellation of subscriptions to 2,116 Springer journals - Bibliothèques - Université de Montréal - English Version

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