Academic Libraries

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

Open-source textbooks gain in push for college affordability

An early adopter of open source textbooks, Neth said he turned to the new technology out of frustration with spiraling prices of commercial textbooks.
"It's seeing the costs go up every semester and almost feeling powerless," Neth said.
Universities and state governments are lining up behind the cause as a way to make college more affordable. The open textbooks, produced with publicly available material, are issued to students for free or a small fraction of the hundreds of dollars they typically spend annually on books.

From Open-source textbooks gain in push for college affordability

Project Seeks to Preserve the Digital Scholarly Record

“None of the individual institutions, including UVA, had a model that committed to long-term preservation solutions,” Sites said. “We each had a model in which we were keeping content until it broke, and we were faced with questions of how to preserve the digital works of our scholars for the long term.”

From Project Seeks to Preserve the Digital Scholarly Record | UVA Today

Deficit Threatens Stability of University of California

The chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, said Wednesday that the university had a “substantial and growing” deficit that could threaten its long-term stability and that it needed to reduce expenses and raise revenues to maintain its position as a premier public institution.

From Deficit Threatens Stability of University of California, Berkeley, Official Says - The New York Times

The Research Pirates of the Dark Web - The Atlantic

So why go through all this trouble to provide access to pirated academic research? In a letter submitted to the New York district court where she was being sued, Elbakyan said her experience as a student in Kazakhstan drove her to set up the website. Paying upwards of 30 dollars to access a paper is “insane,” she wrote, when researchers regularly need to access tens or even hundreds of articles.

Elbakyan says free access to academic research also helps promote researchers’ independence. “Today, subscription prices are very high; an individual person cannot pay them,” she wrote to me in an email. “You need to join one of the few available research institutions, and for that you need to conform to … standards that suppress creativity.”

From The Research Pirates of the Dark Web - The Atlantic

A look inside Harvard's Undergraduate House libraries

Each of Harvard’s 12 undergraduate residential Houses has a library, and despite their rich histories and outward grandeur, these are intimate spaces. Students spend long stretches clicking away on laptops or fall asleep draped over books during all-night study sessions.

For Taylor Carol ’17, who lives in Cabot House, “home base” is a corner desk in Eliot Hall Library, two floors below his dorm room.

From A look inside: Undergraduate House libraries | Harvard Gazette

'Research parasites' editorial moves NEJM in wrong direction

That’s wrong. With the exception of maintaining patient confidentiality — which isn’t the issue here — sharing data shouldn’t come with any strings. Attaching caveats here is a bit like saying: We’re interested in truth, but only in our truth.

From 'Research parasites' editorial moves NEJM in wrong direction

Lever Press new open-access, peer-reviewed press

As of December 4, 2015, nearly 40 liberal arts college libraries—most of them members of the Oberlin Group, and Allegheny College and Ursinus College participating from outside Oberlin’s membership—have committed to contribute more than $1 million to the work of Lever Press over the next five years. Librarians and faculty members at these institutions will also comprise the press’s Oversight Committee and Editorial Board. Supported by these pledges, Lever Press aims to acquire, develop, produce and disseminate a total of 60 new open-access titles by the end of 2020.

From News – Lever Press

Data Sharing

How would data sharing work best? We think it should happen symbiotically, not parasitically. Start with a novel idea, one that is not an obvious extension of the reported work. Second, identify potential collaborators whose collected data may be useful in assessing the hypothesis and propose a collaboration. Third, work together to test the new hypothesis. Fourth, report the new findings with relevant coauthorship to acknowledge both the group that proposed the new idea and the investigative group that accrued the data that allowed it to be tested. What is learned may be beautiful even when seen from close up.

From Data Sharing — NEJM

Pages

Subscribe to Academic Libraries