TED has the full set of statistics from Coursera, one of the leading MOOCs…
Got Big Data? Need to offer really fast download for that? Academic Torrents is built on BitTorrent, a new… “community-maintained distributed repository for datasets and scientific knowledge”.
Also look at Terasaur from iBiblio, up to 2Tb of free space + torrent distribution, for hosting files too big for regular archiving services.
Michelle Brook of the Open Access Working Group is seeking speakers in the UK, for… “a number of events around the UK”.
Cool new Radio search engine. Indexes 400,000 radio station streams in real-time, tags artist metadata to the songs they’re streaming, then lets you search and load those streams. Works fine, and is an excellent method of discovering online radio stations playing artists you like. Would be great to see this technology extended to intelligent speech radio and intellectual podcasts. It serves as a sort of podcast-and-BBC search at present, but my search for “economy” showed it to give very poor results when it strays outside of music.
A frank summary report of a recent open access event in the UK…
“The publisher-led proposal [apparently in a very limited trial] to offer walk-in access in UK public libraries to a majority of [their commercial database] journals was also dismissed as ‘lip-service’, an experiment intended to fail in order to show that there was ‘no demand’ for wider access.”
NISO’s Open Access Metadata and Indicators draft is out for consultation. They’ve sensibly decided against designing a set of swishy graphic icons. Their proposal now seems to be for two simple bits of XML, that will each flag up a document as being open access…
““free to read” and “license reference” metadata will be encoded in XML, and included in existing metadata distribution channels and with the content itself where appropriate.” [...] for example, in HTML META tags and in PDF files where bibliographic and other metadata are being included.”
Consultation deadline is 4th February 2014.
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.