Opera browser has a free, built-in, VPN

The latest Developer version of the Opera browser offers a built-in free VPN with 256-bit encryption. This is very easy to set up and use and enables users to pretend to be in the U.S., Canada or Germany, and thus to get around region-blocking of Web content. The Developer version is 38.0, compared to the mainstream 36.0. Seems to work fine on a quick test — getting me to a version of Bing with German language news insets, via a German IP address.

enablevpn6

germany

1.2Mb, just to load Bing’s front page? Ooof.

Google wins on Google Books

“Google wins long US court battle” over Google Books…

Google’s massive book-scanning project has cleared what may be its final legal hurdle, with the US Supreme Court denying an appeal that contended it violates copyright law. The top US court on Monday denied without comment a petition from the Authors Guild to hear the appeal of a 2013 federal court ruling seen as a landmark copyright decision for the digital era. […] Google said in a statement after Monday’s decision, “We are grateful that the court has agreed to uphold the decision of the Second Circuit [appeals court] which concluded that Google Books is transformative and consistent with copyright law.”

Added to JURN

Frontiers of Biogeography (International Biogeography Society. Not to be confused with a journal from the publisher Frontiers)

JURN’s A-Z List of eco/nature journals now lists over 700 titles, open access or otherwise free to the public. That total does not include the additional lists of hybrid OA titles and mapping titles, found at the foot of the main A-Z list.

The BBC and the case of the curiously missing research

The BBC has splashed ‘new research’ that is said to show that in the UK “Around 50% ‘hold authoritarian views'”. A big claim. So, where’s the big evidence? Erm… the research paper in question is simply not available anywhere. No host journal is mentioned in the report on the BBC news website, or on the flagship Today programme. No impending publication date, no mention of so much as an article title. I searched hard for the research, but there’s no sign of it, not even a pre-announcement. I found departmental publications listing pages for two of the researchers, but neither had been updated since 2014.

Readers are told that the data used was from… “YouGov panel surveys conducted between 2011 and 2015”. The methodology is vaguely claimed to have been… “sifting through data from surveys of panels”. So, that’ll be the same 2011-15 political polling and panels which proved to be so utterly wrong about the nation’s sentiments, on the day after our recent General Election? One has to suspect that’s so, but… no-one can know. Because the research is not publicly available.

Why do media outlets report such private “our journalist has been shown the paper, but no-one else has” research as news, and often do so in a big scary manner? Probably because such coverage is tacitly ideological and slanted toward hurrying along some allegedly ‘urgent’ agenda. In this instance the BBC’s story can be presumed to be a part of the pro-EU ‘Project Fear’ campaign (update for non-UK readers: the UK is set to have a public referendum vote on leaving the EU). As such it seems meant to insinuate that anyone who votes to leave the EU has a secret shrine to Hitler in their basement.

Added to JURN

Ars Medica : a journal of medicine, the arts and humanities

Victorian, The (Victorian period)

Leeds African Studies Bulletin

PaleoBios (University of California, Museum of Paleontology)

Palaeohistoria (archaeology and carbon dating)

Asia Research Institute, Working Paper Series

JD : Journal for Deradicalization


Canadian Field-Naturalist, The

eJIM : ejournal of Indian Medicine (traditional medicine, history of plant use)

Open Music Library – beta

Alexander Street Press’s new Open Music Library has launched in beta. I gave it a 30 minute test. The OML uses a very odd definition of “Open”, once one gets to the actual fulltext link on a purportedly OA item. To the OML “Open” seems to mean either “erm, actually it’s behind a paywall” or “hey, it might be on Google Scholar, go look there…”. I’m guessing that this may be due to the curators building the OML from within an academic campus office. So perhaps they see items as open, whereas the outside world only sees a paywall?

oml

The OML icons also contribute immediately to the sense that something is awry with the OML. People going to a public site called Open Music Library will expect to see friendly orange Open Access symbols, not forbidding black padlock-key signs (which are on the majority of the journals listed) indicating paywalls…

omlpaywalled

Of the 94 journals listed on OML, 28 lack the padlock-key symbol. JURN indexes all of the latter, and a few hundred more on aspects of music and musicology.

More vaccines madness at OMICS

More vaccine-conspiracy nuttiness has been published by the OMICS Publishing Group, aka OMICS International. Galalae, K. (2016) “Turning Nature against Man: The Role of Pandemics, Vaccines and Genetics in the UN’s Plan to Halt Population Growth. Epidemiology, 2016 6:232. The article claims a total global eugenics conspiracy by the U.N….

“All epidemics and pandemics of the past 30 years are fabrications of the UN system and its partners in crime at the national level for the purpose of lowering births below the magic line of replacement level fertility and, more recently, also for limiting life to an economically acceptable and environmentally sustainable age.”

The last such article got pulled by OMICS after a while (I hear the whining about such things, regrettably, because I take a daily glance at the raw feed for “open access” via Twitter Live) so I guess this article may also be pulled soon. Although it seems to have been up for a month now, judging by the dates on the PDF.

There are no OMICS journals indexed in either the DOAJ or JURN, though it appears that their journals are indexed in JournalTOCs and Google Scholar in substantial numbers, and “Turning Nature against Man” is currently discoverable via Google Scholar.

loons

Lukol.com

Thanks to The Register for pointing out a search-engine that’s new to me, the Russian Lukol.com. Lukol claims to be a wholly anonymous search engine. So how is Lukol different from the non-tracking and privacy measures offered by DuckDuckGo? Lukol claims that…

“When we obtain enhanced results from Google, we tunnel your search query through our proxy servers, without exposing your search data.”

I’ve given it a quick test, and it seems to work fine and supports filetype:pdf. Basically it seems to be Google Search + URL-matched pictures + news down the side. I’m thinking Lukol might be useful for academics who want to search the Google Search index, in-depth and in very complex ways, without triggering anti-robot countermeasures from Google’s bots?

lukol

On the growth rate in OA

Some new figures today on open access growth from the Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics blog. Imaginary Journal reports that Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) is now at… “just under 89 million documents”. However a quick filter of BASE, for journal articles in English in OA, shows a figure of only 3.1m. And the vast majority of those are in medicine and science…

3mill

It’s interesting to hear that PubMed has recently made… “a transition in indexing practice (from manual to automatic)”. Hopefully that won’t affect the quality of the intake.

The DOAJ reportedly added “540 journals” this last quarter.

JURN isn’t counted by Imaginary Journal’s tally, but I’ve done a quick count via the ‘Added to JURN’ blog posts. JURN added 133 new journal titles (published in English) to the index in the first quarter of 2016. That would probably be more like 200, if the newly added non-English journals were also being counted on the blog.

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