Academic Libraries

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

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


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