Academic Libraries

Robot-written reviews fool academics

Using automatic text generation software, computer scientists at Italy’s University of Trieste created a series of fake peer reviews of genuine journal papers and asked academics of different levels of seniority to say whether they agreed with their recommendations to accept for publication or not. In a quarter of cases, academics said they agreed with the fake review’s conclusions, even though they were entirely made up of computer-generated gobbledegook – or, rather, sentences picked at random from a selection of peer reviews taken from subjects as diverse as brain science, ecology and ornithology.
From Robot-written reviews fool academics | THE News

On Refusing to Read

My small act of countercultural scholarly agency has been to refuse to continue reading or assigning the work of David Foster Wallace. The machine of his celebrity masks, I have argued, the limited benefits of spending the time required to read his work. Our time is better spent elsewhere. I make this assessment given the evidence I have so far accumulated — I have read and taught some of his stories and nonfiction, have read some critical essays on Wallace’s work, and have read D.T. Max’s biography of Wallace — and without feeling professionally obligated to spend a month reading Infinite Jest in order to be absolutely sure I’m right. If I did spend a month reading the book, I would be adding my professional investment to the load of others’ investments, which — if we track it back — are the result of a particular marketing campaign that appealed to a Jurassic vision of literary genius.
From On Refusing to Read - The Chronicle of Higher Education

How Did That Make It Through Peer Review?

Yet, I suspect these kinds of situations are relatively rare. Having been involved in enough papers, and, yes, being party to papers where I didn’t catch something in the review or editorial process, I have the ultimate answer: Reviewers, editors, and authors are human. What I mean by this is that scientific papers are complex beasts. A single manuscript may weave together disparate groups of organisms, unfamiliar pieces of anatomy, far-flung reaches of the globe, and multiple statistical techniques. A typical paper is usually seen by a single editor and two to four reviewers. It is extremely unlikely that every facet of the paper will be seen by an appropriate expert on that given facet. How likely is it that every error will be caught and addressed?
From How Did That Make It Through Peer Review? | PLOS Paleo Community

France: Open Access law adopted

In France, the final text of a new law on Open Access has been adopted on June 29, 2016. On July 20, the Assemblée Nationale has approved the bill, and it still needs to be voted on by the Sénat on September 27. 
From France: Open Access law adopted | Newsletter items

A Challenging Future Awaits Libraries Able to Change [From 2001]

Conclusions from the International Summer School on the Digital Library Fundamental changes are occurring in society, education, technology and publishing. If academic/research libraries want to survive, they must also change. Libraries should, of course: Provide electronic access to scholarly material; Customize and personalize information services. But, more importantly, they should: Experiment on distribution and business models together with publishers (preferably via library consortia, which should be more than just buying groups); Support universities and research communities to develop document servers and open archives for their own scientific output; Stimulate universities to change their cost allocation models in such a way that the library budget is centralized, and decisions about scientific information are no longer made by individual faculties.
From A Challenging Future Awaits Libraries Able to Change: Highlights of the International Summer School on the Digital Library

Academic Torrents

Welcome to Academic Torrents! Making 15.47TB of research data available. We've designed a distributed system for sharing enormous datasets - for researchers, by researchers. The result is a scalable, secure, and fault-tolerant repository for data, with blazing fast download speeds.
From Academic Torrents

US College Libraries in a Digital Age

The days of musty books on shelves, bound journals, card catalogs, long tables and rules governing behavior are gone. Now many campus libraries have cafes, group study areas, where talking is permitted, and sofas designed for taking a short nap. Some are even open 24-hours a day.
From US College Libraries in a Digital Age

Failed fee and budget cuts cause changes at MU Libraries

Changes at campus libraries are a result of a failed library fee proposal, as well as a 5 percent cut in MU’s general operating funds. The proposal would have implemented a fee per credit hour that would have begun at $5 per credit hour and slowly increased to $15 per credit hour by 2022. Last year, 54 percent of MU students who voted on the fee voted against the proposal.
From Failed fee and budget cuts cause changes at MU Libraries – The Maneater

The Up to Date College Library

An article in Voice of America discusses changes to campus library design.

Here for example is the Rain Garden Reading Lounge inside the Hunt Library at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC: Light & airy with a coupla books.

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