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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

What a Million Syllabuses Can Teach Us

Until now. Over the past two years, we and our partners at the Open Syllabus Project (based at the American Assembly at Columbia) have collected more than a million syllabuses from university websites. We have also begun to extract some of their key components — their metadata — starting with their dates, their schools, their fields of study and the texts that they assign.

This past week, we made available online a beta version of our Syllabus Explorer, which allows this database to be searched. Our hope and expectation is that this tool will enable people to learn new things about teaching, publishing and intellectual history.

From What a Million Syllabuses Can Teach Us - The New York Times

Will BookBots be the revolution libraries are looking for?

Lucia is overseeing the creation of what he hopes will be the library of the future. The building, budgeted for $170 million, is now little more than a hole in the ground across the street, but by 2017, the new library will hold the same number of books in roughly the same square footage, but do it completely differently. 

From Will BookBots be the revolution libraries are looking for? — NewsWorks

Should scientific papers be anonymous?

Hanel, a psychologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, posted a manuscript recently calling for anonymity in science articles. More than that, Hanel suggests stripping identifiers from virtually all academic output: doing away with name-based citations, CVs on researchers’ web sites, author names on book chapters, titles on academic journals, and more.The immodest proposal — made available on arXiv, a preprint server, before peer review — is akin to destroying the academic village in order to rid it of pests. But while some of what Hanel recommends is impossible at best, and perhaps even counterproductive, his overarching point seems pretty solid. When it comes to protecting the scientific literature from bias, the safeguards that academics now use are sorely inadequate.­

From Should scientific papers be anonymous? - STAT

Scholarly HTML: interoperable exchange of scholarly articles

Abstract
Scholarly HTML is a domain-specific data format built entirely on open standards that enables the interoperable exchange of scholarly articles in a manner that is compatible with off-the-shelf browsers. This document describes how Scholarly HTML works and how it is encoded as a document. It is, itself, written in Scholarly HTML.

From Scholarly HTML — Markedly Smart

When will the librarians start to throw offline literature away?

Libraries cost money.  Do we need large buildings, heavily staffed, full of paper, if “everything of importance” is online, in databases, collections, and so forth?  For a university accountant, the answer is self-evidently not.  A generation may be needed, but those volumes will be sold, the staff dismissed, and the building repurposed.

Such changes in information technology have happened before.

From When will the librarians start to throw offline literature away? at Roger Pearse

College libraries install desks on which students can study and cycle

First comes the elementary school desk, cramped and rigid (cursed by lefties everywhere), then the desk desk, in your own room in high school or college, and its cousin, the library carrel. After that, if you were lucky, maybe an office desk or cubicle. Then, of course, standing desks burst onto the scene, along with their overeager cousins, treadmill desks. Now, popping up in dozens of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, is another step in desk evolution -- a stationary bike and desk combination called the FitDesk.
Most recently, Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina installed two FitDesks in its library in order “to have a little something different that gets [students] excited about coming to the library,” President Stephen Scott told the News Observer. “A little sizzle on the steak.”

From College libraries install desks on which students can study and cycle | Inside Higher Ed

Mandatory open-access publishing can impair academic freedom

Those who advocate for OA with CC BY argue that there is no reason for authors to object to it: scholars and scientists (the argument goes) have already been paid for the work they're writing up, and since they have little if any expectation that their writings will generate additional revenue for them, why not make their work freely available to those who may be able to find ways to add value to them through reuse and “remixing,” and maybe even to profit from doing so? In any case (the argument continues), authors retain their copyright under a CC license, so what's the problem?
The problem, for many authors, is that their copyright becomes effectively meaningless when they have given away all of the prerogatives over their work that copyright provides.

From Mandatory open-access publishing can impair academic freedom (essay) | Inside Higher Ed

Altmetric – Top 100 Articles – 2015

The Christmas tree is up in the Altmetric office and it’s Top 100 time again! We’ve queried the Altmetric database to find out which academic articles got the most attention from the mainstream media, blogs, Wikipedia and social networks, as well as amongst a more academic audience in post-publication peer-review forums and research highlights.

Data was collected from the Altmetric database on November 16 2015 and a downloadable file can be found on figshare. News and comment pieces are excluded, as are articles that were published before November 2014.

Remember, this list in no way reflects the quality (high or low) of the articles included; it just provides an indicator of what was widely discussed and shared online.

From Altmetric – Top 100 Articles – 2015

U of M Libraries receives 540 year old book containing first printed maps

A rare example of the Rudimentum Novitiorum, a chronicle of the world printed in 1475, containing the world's first printed maps, has been acquired by the James Ford Bell Trust for the benefit of the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota.

“The Rudimentum Novitiorum is one of the rarest and most significant pieces we have,” said Dr. Ford W. Bell, trustee and the grandson of James Ford Bell, who was the founder of General Mills. “We are thrilled to have acquired it and are looking forward to sharing it

From U of M Libraries receives 540 year old book containing first printed maps | Discover | University of Minnesota

Nature And ReadCube Say Journal Article Sharing Trial To Go On

In December 2014, a 12-month content sharing trial was set up to enable subscribers to 49 journals on nature.com to legitimately and conveniently share the full text of articles of interest with colleagues without a subscription via a shareable web link on nature.com, enabled by publishing technology company, ReadCube. The trial was also extended to 100 media outlets and blogs around the world that report on the findings of articles published on nature.com, allowing them to provide their own readers with a link to a full text, read-only view of the original scientific paper.

From Press release archive: About NPG (Via The Great And Powerful Gary Price

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

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