Academic Libraries

San Jose State University library attack highlights safety issues

“Academic libraries, in particular those that are at public institutions, want to allow walk-in access, certainly,” said Ann Campion Riley, president of the Association of Research and College Libraries and acting director of libraries at the University of Missouri at Columbia. “But we do have to balance that with security concerns for students and other users.”

From San Jose State University library attack highlights safety issues

Handful of Biologists Went Rogue and Published Directly to Internet

It was a small act of information age defiance, and perhaps also a bit of a throwback, somewhat analogous to Stephen King’s 2000 self-publishing an e-book or Radiohead’s 2007 release of a download-only record without a label. To commemorate it, she tweeted the website’s confirmation under the hashtag #ASAPbio, a newly coined rallying cry of a cadre of biologists who say they want to speed science by making a key change in the way it is published.

From Handful of Biologists Went Rogue and Published Directly to Internet - The New York Times

Should All Research Papers Be Free? - The New York Times

Possibly the biggest barrier to open access is that scientists are judged by where they have published when they compete for jobs, promotions, tenure and grant money. And the most prestigious journals, such as Cell, Nature and The Lancet, also tend to be the most protective of their content.

“The real people to blame are the leaders of the scientific community — Nobel scientists, heads of institutions, the presidents of universities — who are in a position to change things but have never faced up to this problem in part because they are beneficiaries of the system,” said Dr. Eisen. “University presidents love to tout how important their scientists are because they publish in these journals.”

From Should All Research Papers Be Free? - The New York Times

At Calif. Campuses, A Test For Free Speech, Privacy And Cybersecurity

A controversy over a secretly installed data monitoring system is simmering at university campuses across California.

Last summer, hackers broke into the computer network at the UCLA medical center. A few months later, the University of California system's president quietly ordered a new security system to monitor Internet traffic on all UC campuses.

"And the people who had to put the box in place were ordered to do so and also ordered to keep quiet about it," says Ethan Ligon, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of California, Berkeley.

From At Calif. Campuses, A Test For Free Speech, Privacy And Cybersecurity : All Tech Considered : NPR

This renowned mathematician is bent on proving academic journals can cost nothing

But in the four years that have passed, little has changed. Despite a decades-old "open access" movement — which aims to put research findings in the public domain instead of languishing behind expensive paywalls — the traditional approach to publishing remains firmly entrenched.

So Gowers is now launching his second attack, this time with a lot more intention.

This week, he debuted a new online mathematics journal called Discrete Analysis. The nonprofit venture is owned and published by a team of scholars. With no publisher middlemen, access will be completely free for all.

From This renowned mathematician is bent on proving academic journals can cost nothing - Vox

The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain Text Social Science

As a beginning graduate student in the social sciences, what sort of software should you use to do your work? More importantly, what principles should guide your choices? These pages offer some answers. The short version is: you should use tools that give you more control over the process of data analysis and writing. I recommend you write prose and code using a good text editor; analyze quantitative data with R or Stata; minimize error by storing your work in a simple format (plain text is best), and make a habit of documenting what you’ve done. For data analysis, consider using a format like RMarkdown and tools like Knitr to make your work more easily reproducible for your future self. Use Pandoc to turn your plain-text documents into PDF, HTML, or Word files to share with others. Keep your projects in a version control system. Back everything up regularly. Make your computer work for you by automating as many of these steps as you can.

From The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain Text Social Science

The manuscript-editing marketplace

Launched in October 2015 and still in beta testing, Peerwith is a forum through which researchers can find and negotiate with service providers such as editors, translators, statisticians and illustrators to improve their research papers. The site boasts “hundreds of experts”, most of them with expertise in the social sciences and humanities. Users post a job request detailing the subject area of the document, its length and the desired turnaround time. Experts then bid for the job, and both experts and users rate each other afterwards. Peerwith's business model is akin to freelance marketplaces such as Upwork, says co-founder Joris van Rossum, who left the journal publisher Elsevier to start his firm, except with a strictly academic focus.

From The manuscript-editing marketplace : Nature News & Comment

Libraries are Leading the Charge in Open-Access Publishing Revolution

There are always ways to free your work for less money, of course. You could start a Wordpress blog and post the whole thing there, or publish with a print-on-demand independent press, or even self-publish on Amazon. Like the rest of the publishing industry fringe, this is a wild and woolly world where things like review standards aren’t always up to academic snuff. Getting people to actually read your stunning work of self-published genius can be something of an uphill battle because you don’t have a big, well-respected name behind your book to certify that yes, this thinker is thinking worthwhile thoughts. Free open access has potential, of course—scads of it—but until a large institution throws its weight behind the concept, it’s likely to remain a fun social theory set in a hypothetical world where things don’t cost money.

From Libraries are Leading the Charge in Open-Access Publishing Revolution — Blog — Foreword Reviews

Yahoo Webscope: A reference library of interesting and scientifically useful datasets

The Yahoo Webscope Program is a reference library of interesting and scientifically useful datasets for non-commercial use by academics and other scientists.

All datasets have been reviewed to conform to Yahoo's data protection standards, including strict controls on privacy. We have a number of datasets that we are excited to share with you.

Yahoo is pleased to make these datasets available to researchers who are advancing the state of knowledge and understanding in web sciences. The datasets are only available for academic use by faculty and university researchers who agree to the Data Sharing Agreement.

From Webscope | Yahoo Labs

When does peer review make no damn sense?

The part of the above quote I want focus on, though, is the phrase “non-peer-reviewed.” Peer reviewed papers have errors, of course (does the name “Daryl Bem” ring a bell?). Two of my own published peer-reviewed articles had errors so severe as to destroy their conclusions! But that’s ok, nobody’s claiming perfection. The claim, I think, is that peer-reviewed articles are much less likely to contain errors, as compared to non-peer-reviewed articles (or non-peer-reviewed blog posts). And the claim behind that, I think, is that peer review is likely to catch errors.

And this brings up the question I want to address today: What sort of errors can we expect peer review to catch?

From When does peer review make no damn sense? - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

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