Academic Libraries

Academic B.S. as artificial barriers to entry

The supply of super-lefty people who are able to parse artificially dense text is limited, but not so limited that it's hard to find people who are willing to do it for $70,000 a year. Meanwhile, student demand for humanities, anthropology, urban studies, and sociology majors is probably pretty inelastic, so university demand for professors in these areas is probably inelastic. Hence, for departments and journals in these fields to make "critical theory" a soft requirement for professors is probably an effective way of keeping their salaries (and job perks) as high as they are.

From Noahpinion: Academic B.S. as artificial barriers to entry

Got just a single observation? New journal will publish it

Those ponderings eventually spurred the creation of Matters ( https://www.sciencematters.io/ ). Launched on 5 November, the open-access online journal aims to boost integrity and speed the communication of science by allowing researchers to publish discrete observations rather than complete stories.

“Observations, not stories, are the pillars of good science,” the journal’s editors write on Matters’ website. “Today's journals however, favor story-telling over observations, and congruency over complexity … Moreover, incentives associated with publishing in high-impact journals lead to loss of scientifically and ethically sound observations that do not fit the storyline, and in some unfortunate cases also to fraudulence.”

From Got just a single observation? New journal will publish it | Science/AAAS | News

Rare King James Bible First Edition Discovered at Drew University

Now, a graduate student has discovered a treasure the library didn’t know it had: a first edition of the King James Bible.

The 1611 Bible, which surfaced in late October, is a so-called “He Bible,” named for a typographical error in the Book of Ruth that was corrected in the middle of the first printing. Of the fewer than 200 King James first editions known to survive, most are “She” copies.

From Rare King James Bible First Edition Discovered at Drew University - The New York Times

Publication delays at PLOS and 3,475 other journals: Calling for a journal review service

Calling for a journal review service
Acceptance and publication times are not the only factor to consider when selecting a journal. Traditionally, the impact factor — average citations for articles published in the two preceding years — has been a primary criteria. However, any single metric is insufficient to make an informed decision on where to submit. A host of other journal attributes matter such as readership, aesthetics, communication, friendliness, flexibility, features, and web nativity.

I propose a journal review service. Like yelp for scientific publishing except that author reviews will be CC-BY.

From Satoshi Village

NCSU Libraries use tweets to collect history

NCSU Libraries have recently collected more than 1.2 million tweets from more than 380,000 Twitter accounts as part of its “New Voices and Fresh Perspectives: Collecting Social Media” initiative.
This type of archiving can be used to supplement traditional data collection methods. With standard practices, a historian might use personal notes, correspondence or intellectual papers to generate a historical perspective of that time’s events. With the focus on social media, the research team hopes to supplement these traditional forms of data with data that may be more relevant in today’s society. 
“People aren’t writing formal letters anymore,” said Jason Casden, interim associate head of Digital Library Initiatives.

From NCSU Libraries use tweets to collect history - Technician: Features

Scholars and activists stand in solidarity with shuttered research-sharing sites

This week, the scholarly publishing giant Elsevier filed suit against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis, two sites where academics and researchers practiced civil disobedience by sharing the academic papers that Elsevier claims -- despite having acquired the papers for free from researchers, and despite having had them refereed and overseen by editorial boards staffed by more volunteering academics.

This is the latest salvo in a long-simmering battle between people who value scholarly and scientific knowledge as a commons that must be shared to be valuable, and multinational corporations that see returns to shareholders as their first duty, with academic advancement and knowledge creation taking a back-seat.

From Scholars and activists stand in solidarity with shuttered research-sharing sites / Boing Boing

Journal Impact Factor Shapes Scientists’ Reward Signal in the Prospect of Publication

The incentive structure of a scientist’s life is increasingly mimicking economic principles. While intensely criticized, the journal impact factor (JIF) has taken a role as the new currency for scientists. Successful goal-directed behavior in academia thus requires knowledge about the JIF. Using functional neuroimaging we examined how the JIF, as a powerful incentive in academia, has shaped the behavior of scientists and the reward signal in the striatum. We demonstrate that the reward signal in the nucleus accumbens increases with higher JIF during the anticipation of a publication and found a positive correlation with the personal publication record (pJIF) supporting the notion that scientists have incorporated the predominant reward principle of the scientific community in their reward system. The implications of this behavioral adaptation within the ecological niche of the scientist’s habitat remain unknown, but may also have effects which were not intended by the community.

From PLOS ONE: Journal Impact Factor Shapes Scientists’ Reward Signal in the Prospect of Publication

Video: Campus Libraries Rethink Focus as Materials Go Digital

Sari Feldman, president of the American Library Association, sees a coming transformation of academic libraries thanks to technology. She says they are taking on greater roles in creating teaching materials and scholarship — and preserving tweets as well as books.

From Video: Campus Libraries Rethink Focus as Materials Go Digital - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Paperscape: A map of 1,089,837 scientific papers from the arXiv

A map of 1,089,837 scientific papers from the arXiv

Paperscape is a tool to visualise the arXiv, an open, online repository for scientific research papers. The Paperscape map currently includes all (non-withdrawn) papers from the arXiv and is updated daily.

Each paper in the map is represented by a circle, with the area of the circle proportional to the number of citations that paper has. In laying out the map, an N-body algorithm is run to determine positions based on references between the papers. There are two “forces” involved in the N-body calculation: each paper is repelled from all other papers using an anti-gravity inverse-distance force, and each paper is attracted to all of its references using a spring modelled by Hooke’s law. We further demand that there is no overlap of the papers.

From Paperscape

The Glacial Pace of Scientific Publishing: Why It Hurts Everyone and What We Can Do To Fix It

In fact, the situation with extreme delays in scientific publication is likely to be even worse than it appears from this informal and nonscientific survey. It is common practice at many journals to discard the date of initial submission and reset the submission counter to the final submission prior to a positive decision. Add to this the reality that many manuscripts are subjected to serial submission, rejection, and resubmission at multiple journals. This means that years not months can elapse between the initial submission at the first journal until the ultimate publication of the same paper at the final journal that accepts and publishes the work.

From The Glacial Pace of Scientific Publishing: Why It Hurts Everyone and What We Can Do To Fix It

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