I found a fun 2013 article by Dorothea Salo, “How to Scuttle a Scholarly Communication Initiative”. Dorothea hilariously explores the festering tar-pits of institutional politics, amid which a fragile scholarly communication initiative is expected to bloom.
Paperpile has been reviewed by PC World magazine (4th March 2014). Paperpile is a browser-based competitor to Mendeley. It integrates tightly with Google services such as Google Scholar and Google Drive, and can also slurp academic PDFs “directly from Google search results”. I’d be interested to hear if it works with JURN. Once the found PDFs are in your Google Drive cloud storage, it’s reported that…
“Paperpile analyzes your papers and acquires all the necessary metadata by itself.”
Sadly it’s only for the Chrome browser, not Firefox. At present it seems to be just a personal workflow aid, since there’s no collective exposure of the found content to a single public search box (as is offered by Mendeley’s “Search papers” search box).
Most papers will be downloaded at speed, because they “seem they might be worth looking at later”. Yet if Paperpile were able to measure re-open rates, view duration and frequency, and the actual level of citation in a person’s finished project or work, then that would be an interesting basis for a bumping algorithm that could help power the results ranking in a public searchable catalog. Especially if Paperpile could broadly match or align your research interests with those of similar Paperpile users, in combination with a more standard citation analysis, to give you a tailored search experience. Although in practice I guess there would be huge and possibly unwanted feedback amplification loops generated by that approach, as search results could veer heavily toward the latest fashionable topics. Doubtless Google has this nailed down already, and there’s probably a Trendy Search Topic Surge Controller employed somewhere in the Googleplex.
“What were librarians thinking of?” A question I often ask myself, as I glance at various pointless and fruitless busy-work projects. But now there’s a new survey of the views of “academic library directors in the U.S.”, which gives some insight. Scholarly Kitchen has a handy digest of the report…
In 2010, 41% of library directors said that, if given a 10% budget increase, they would like to spend at least some of it on discovery tools. In 2013 only 16% said the same thing.
The South African government is reportedly about to enforce a blanket sales tax on all national/international e-commerce from 1st April 2014. South African ejournal subscribers report that, in combination with a weak currency, this will amount to an immediate cut of “about 40% of their purchasing power” when buying international ejournal subscriptions. It seems that anyone selling ejournals/ebooks, online music and other virtual goods (or even online services) into South Africa after 1st April is required to register for sales tax with the South African government, or face two years in prison.
Sales tax changes are also afoot in the UK and EU, and will affect academic e-content buyers. Most ebooks (and iTunes music, Xbox games, and VOD video) have previously been sold into the UK from the tiny nation of Luxembourg where VAT was 3 percent. The EU has scrapped that work-around, and is shifting control of taxing e-commerce back to the purchaser’s nation. For UK scholars this seems to mean that we’ll shortly see a swift 15%+ rise in the purchase price of individual ebooks from the likes of Amazon.
As for academic ejournals their sales tax in the UK is already set at a whopping 20%. And as far as I know no paywall publishers rushed over to Luxembourg, just in order to save our libraries a few pounds. UK government states that this 20% tax is not changing any time soon (unless we leave the EU)…
There is no scope with the existing EU VAT [sales tax] legislation to introduce a zero or reduced rate for ebooks or ejournals. (Hansard, the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, on 4th April 2013).
It seems that there’s little left to tax these days, and a South African style blanket sales tax on all ecommerce sales and services is going to be tempting many grasping governments around 2016.
A print history conference, Readers, Purveyors, Creators, and Users: Studying Victorian Print Consumption (Ireland, June 2014) is interested in papers on open access and paywalls…
* The planning, design, and use of digital resources in the study of nineteenth-century print culture, including debates surrounding open access and paywalls.
One of Google’s public data-driven prediction systems has caught a cold, according to weighty new research…
“Google Flu Trends, which launched in 2008, monitors web searches across the US to find terms associated with flu activity such as “cough” or “fever”. It uses those searches to predict up to nine weeks in advance the number of flu-related doctors’ visits that are likely to be made. The system has consistently overestimated flu-related visits over the past three years, and was especially inaccurate around the peak of flu season — when such data is most useful.”
The doctors prescribe taking a healthy dose of national health statistics…
“Merely projecting current CDC data [doctors' visits as recorded at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] three weeks into the future yields more accurate results than those compiled by Google Flu Trends. Combining the two resulted in the most accurate model of all.”
Although one has to wonder about prediction feedback loops here. What if Google Flu Trends was actually right? But that Trends-watching doctors, carers and the public all put into effect various extra measures that stopped the Trends prediction from coming true in the longer-term six-to-nine week window? Or what about some kind of media amplification loop: more media chatter hits the news as the epidemic surfaces into the public mood, meaning that non-sufferers start using the relevant keywords more in social media?
Knoth, Petr (2013). “From open access metadata to open access content: two principles for increased visibility of open access content”, conference paper presented at: Open Repositories 2013, 8th-12th July 2013, Charlottetown, Canada.
… only 27.6% of research outputs in repositories are linked to content that can be downloaded by automatic means and analysed (e.g. indexed). [...] the median repository will only provide machine readable content for 13% of its deposited resources. [but] it is likely that these statistics are in fact rather optimistic …
Bing has introduced a new one-click image match search feature…
More new research on Open Access ejournal penetration into commercial journal indexing databases: “Open Access Journals in Communication Studies: Indexing in Five Commercial Databases” (2014). Only…
32 percent of the 147 gold OA journals identified [in the field of Communication Studies] were indexed in five major commercial bibliographical databases commonly subscribed to by academic libraries [including Scopus, EBSCO Complete, Web of Science]
Joseph Esposito has usefully snagged a peek inside a very expensive commercial market report titled Global Social Science & Humanities Publishing 2013-2014.
Social/Humanities publishing is found to be perhaps 25% of the size of Science/Technology/Medicine, at around $5bn. That actually strikes me as something of an achievement, when you consider that we have far smaller research funding inputs and a smaller technical/training infrastructure to call on. But perhaps the $5bn figure is given a strong boost by teacher training textbooks, social work manuals and the like?
Joseph highlights the report’s finding of a highly fragmented market. This market fragmentation is one of the reasons I’m sceptical about the success of a ‘one metadata to rule them all’ solution to OA indexing and discovery. It seems that DOAJ-listed OA journal titles can’t even find their way in full-text into the largest of commercial databases (such as EBSCO Complete) at higher levels than just over 20%. When last heard of the Web of Science / Scopus seemed to be barely scraping 1,000 OA arts and humanities titles indexed. One art history study found that Google Scholar could index only half the DOAJ’s OA art history titles. A dastardly conspiracy to keep OA titles out of these big indexes seems unlikely. So I suspect it’s largely due to many OA editors in the arts and humanities not giving a fig about providing the means to automatically index their content. Their widespread lack of something as basic as RSS feeds seems to confirm that. Add to that the fact that only 56% of DOAJ journals can supply the DOAJ with article metadata. Persuading people to even glance at a new bit of metadata, let alone tag all their back-issue content with it, thus seems rather a long shot. Nor are librarians likely to be of much use, after the fact of publication — since they seem to have mostly failed to apply even their own metadata standards to open content, and open repository metadata is dire.
Very nice if you’re in the leafy Home Counties around London, not so useful for those in the industrial Midlands or the North. Although the use terms (“I can only use accessed information for non-commercial research and private study”) make such business access moot for people such as the cybersecurity boffins of Malvern or the ceramics R&D teams of Stoke-on-Trent.
Oh well, there’s always JURN, now with added business and science goodness.
“A study was conducted regarding the indexing of [DOAJ listed] open access journals in three large, commercially available full-text aggregation databases [EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete; Gale Onefile; and Proquest 5000 International]“
EBSCOhost Complete was the best of the three, claiming indexing of just over 20% of DOAJ-listed OA journals in full-text. As the author says, the marketing claims/lists on this were taken at face value, and were not verified. Nor was the indexing checked for being up-to-date.
Mapping Scientific Excellence is an interesting new infographic website. The dynamic maps are based on the number of academic papers that were well-cited and/or published in prestigious journals. The papers are from the sciences, plus psychology and social studies.
Above: distribution for papers in Medicine, by author university affiliation.
The Scholarly Stream, part of London Book Fair in early April 2014. Lots of short Open Access panels, and a focus on publishers.
Interesting sidelight from the THES, on the new UK trial of public access to 8,000 commercial paywall journals…
So perhaps not so useful for business research as had been hoped.
Access is to journals from Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, T&F, through selected public libraries in the more affluent parts of the UK.
Forbes muses on what’s known about DARPA’s planned Memex search-engine…
“what’s particularly interesting is that DARPA wants a search engine that can be used by commercial as well as government users”
The Amazon Public Data Sets service offers free data storage for useful public domain Big Data sets, on Amazon’s uber-servers. Analysis tools too, it seems.
Elastic Search 1.0 has just released. It’s a search-engine, open source, with four years of development under the hood. Aimed at big businesses, but free. Currently trying to swing itself around to head toward the gap that’s looming due to the shortage of human Big Data analysts. InfoWorld magazine has a straightforward overview.