The Electronic Thesis and Dissertations Conference 2014 will take place from July 23rd to 25th 2014 in Leicester, in the English Midlands of the UK.
The DOAJ has just launched a radical web design makeover. The DOAJ seems to have morphed into a single-box search engine, with all their records made dynamic. The lack of the old Directory might be a problem for student searchers unsure of the correct keywords and spellings, or even of the existence of a journal. There is a sidebar, which sort of serves as a filterable directory — but the usability is rather poor and it is only really usable in conjunction with a keyword search. I suspect the new dynamic results approach also presents problems for Google, since it effectively (unless they do something clever with OAI-PMH harvesting) blocks the Google Search bots from indexing any of the DOAJ’s records as static Web pages?
It appears that Web of Science will be offered…
“in conjunction with Google’s Library Links, article-level links to subscription full text [in Google Scholar search results] for patrons affiliated with a participating library”
Which means that…
“Thomson Reuters is pulling its Web of Science content from discovery services such as Summon, EBSCO Discovery Service, and Primo as early as the end of this year .”
Perhaps this is partly a logical market recognition of the superiority of Google and Google Scholar over web-scale discovery services? That’s what I hear in reviews and tests. [Primo vs. Scholar | Primo, Summon, EDS, WorldCat Local vs. Google, Google Scholar]. One of the biggest differences seems to be that web-scale discovery assumes the data it uses is correct, whereas Google’s bots actively check/harvest/discard on a constant basis. I guess the downside of that is that over-zealous bots can occasionally suck dodgy links into the index.
A downside of the Web of Science integration into Scholar may be that university users will more than ever assume that Google Scholar + Google Library Links is all they need, not realising how much it leaves out. For instance, a 2011 study of Scholar by art historians found that Scholar was indexing only half of the DOAJ’s 30 art history titles. Adding WoS to Google Scholar doesn’t seem likely to cure that problem.
“libraries pledge a maximum of £1,100 to ‘unlatch’ a collection of 28 humanities and social sciences books. If at least 200 libraries from around the world sign up for the collection by 31st January 2014, these books will be made free for anyone in the world to read on an open access basis.”
More news about how academic journal corruption works in China…
“… a report in the U.S. journal Science [told of how] “China’s publication bazaar,” as it is described, allows unscrupulous scientists to pay big money — up to $26,300 — to become authors of scientific papers they didn’t write. [...] They don’t do any experiments or research either [but are catered to by China's] “flourishing academic black market involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists and compromised editors — many of them operating in plain view,” according to Science.”
Some of these dodgy papers are not simply published behind the Great Firewall of China. For instance, one was found in a legitimate western journal called the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.
“Publishing in journals — especially those with international credibility — is often key to academic promotion and is seen as critical in China. “People are sparing no expense in order to get published in international journals,” Fan Dongsheng, a neurologist and former vice-president of Peking University Third Hospital, told Science.
The latest EconTalk podcast is a fascinating long interview with Lant Pritchett (Professor of the Practice of International Development, Harvard). The first third of the programme discusses the widespread and systemic falsification of educational outcome statistics in the developing world, which is detailed in Pritchett’s new book The Rebirth of Education. I might also add that in some parts of the declining world, such as Russia, the educational and other statistics are also suspected to be diverging from reality.
Academia.edu has been hit with thousands of DCMA takedown notices from commercial publisher Elsevier, because academics had posted their own papers on the site.
Marvin Minsky’s book The Society of Mind (1987) is now free under Creative Commons.
WordPress.com is increasingly seeing the improper use of DCMA taketown notices…
“… we’ve seen an increased number of improper notices. … [and one example is]…
“Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus are experienced science journalists who operate Retraction Watch, a site that highlights and tracks situations where published scientific papers may not be everything they seem. One reader apparently disagreed with a critique published on Retraction Watch – so he copied portions of the Retraction Watch site, claimed the work as his own and issued a DMCA takedown notice against the original authors.
While there are no legal consequences (like fines) under the DMCA for copyright abusers, there is a provision that allows victims of censorship (and their web hosts) to bring legal action against those who submit fraudulent DMCA notices.
So today, we’ve [...] take a small strike back at DMCA abuse. We’ve filed two lawsuits for damages under Section 512(f) of the DMCA, which allows for suits against those who “knowingly materially misrepresent” a case of copyright infringement.”
Excellent news. The BBC is reporting that…
“Google has defeated a legal action mounted to stop it scanning and uploading millions of books. In 2005, the US Authors Guild sued Google alleging that its plans to create a digital library amounted to massive copyright infringement. In its defence, Google said its plans constituted “fair use” because it was only putting excerpts of texts online. U.S. judge Denny Chin has now sided with Google and dismissed the case brought by the Guild.”
Wired has the full text of the ruling.
Read a lot of news feeds? My desktop RSS reader FeedDemon has sadly just stopped development, with a new final 4.5 version. But the developer Nick Bradbury has very kindly made the latest FeedDemon Pro 100% freeware…
“As promised, this last version of FeedDemon is completely free. All of the features of the Pro version are available, and ads are no longer shown in the bottom left of the screen.”
It looks like I’ll be switching back to Firefox as a Web browser, over Christmas, as Google Chrome is set to block install of all extensions that don’t come from its own extension store. There is no way I could tolerate Google Search without GoogleMonkeyR, or Facebook without F.B. Purity. After The Deadline is also not on the Chrome extensions store.
A useful new roundup of open access ejournals published from Australia.
Nice inclusion of Jurn.org in a new survey of Google alternatives for search, from France’s National Network of Hospital Librarians. In this instance they’re pointing to JURN’s usefulness for biomedical search, which JURN really isn’t intended for. But they find that…
“the biomedical field is still relatively well covered” [by JURN]
Which a few of my own tests just now found is true, and that’s kind of cool.
They also report that their No.1 choice, Elsevier’s Scirus search engine, will…
“unfortunately be abandoned in January 2014 [Scirus] indexes more than 575 million records of scientific content from the open web”
Academia.org has purchased purchased the Plasmyd search-engine, and it plans to integrate Plasmyd into its own site. Plasmyd is a combo search and discussion platform.
Spiked debate event in London on 11th November 2013, Academic freedom in illiberal times…
“in association with Academics for Academic Freedom and Times Higher Education, will debate the impact of the closing down of debate and free thinking on campus. Join us for this important and timely discussion in the Palace of Westminster, which will continue informally afterwards over free drinks with the panel and the Spiked editorial team.”
Perma CC is set to provide… “a central archive for important webpages referenced in scholarly works and legal documents”. Legal citations only, at first.
TextTeaser, a new open source text-summation algorithm. I tried it out with the opening section of Lovecraft’s “Supernatural Horror in Literature”. TextTeaser is just picking out whole sentences and bullet pointing them, rather than doing any rewriting.
Supernatural Horror in Literature
* Man’s first instincts and emotions formed his response to the environment in which he found himself.
* With this foundation, no one need wonder at the existence of a literature of cosmic fear.
* This type of fear-literature must not be confounded with a type externally similar but psychologically widely different; the literature of mere physical fear and the mundanely gruesome.
* The true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule.
* If the proper sensations are excited, such a “high spot” must be admitted on its own merits as weird literature, no matter how prosaically it is later dragged down.
Supernatural Horror in Literature (first section)
THE OLDEST and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form. Against it are discharged all the shafts of a materialistic sophistication which clings to frequently felt emotions and external events, and of a naïvely insipid idealism which deprecates the æsthetic motive and calls for a didactic literature to “uplift” the reader toward a suitable degree of smirking optimism. But in spite of all this opposition the weird tale has survived, developed, and attained remarkable heights of perfection; founded as it is on a profound and elementary principle whose appeal, if not always universal, must necessarily be poignant and permanent to minds of the requisite sensitiveness.
The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from everyday life. Relatively few are free enough from the spell of the daily routine to respond to tappings from outside, and tales of ordinary feelings and events, or of common sentimental distortions of such feelings and events, will always take first place in the taste of the majority; rightly, perhaps, since of course these ordinary matters make up the greater part of human experience. But the sensitive are always with us, and sometimes a curious streak of fancy invades an obscure corner of the very hardest head; so that no amount of rationalisation, reform, or Freudian analysis can quite annul the thrill of the chimney-corner whisper or the lonely wood. There is here involved a psychological pattern or tradition as real and as deeply grounded in mental experience as any other pattern or tradition of mankind; coeval with the religious feeling and closely related to many aspects of it, and too much a part of our innermost biological heritage to lose keen potency over a very important, though not numerically great, minority of our species.