PhilPapers tries new access model

PhilPapers is the free index and search tool that comprehensively tracks philosophy papers online (paywall, open, and ‘citations only’). They’re now calling for supporting subscriptions from academic institions, and will restrict feature access for those who don’t subscribe…

“To sustain PhilPapers in the long run, we need financial support for new technical and administrative staff. … the best way forward is a model involving annual subscriptions for large institutions. Starting on 1st July 2014, the PhilPapers Foundation requires that research and teaching institutions offering a B.A. or higher degree in philosophy subscribe to PhilPapers in order to have the right of access to its index. … Access … remains free for individuals accessing PhilPapers from home. Institutions that do not subscribe will have their access limited in various ways.”

Great idea. It’ll be really interesting to see what they restrict, how they do it, and if it actually works.

Cast out your dead

When mooching around the Web I quite often land on fairly newly minted college and university library guides to online research. Many of these seem to be made by copying and pasting old link lists from their older pages, or are perhaps even copied from other libraries. What’s worrying is that some librarians are obviously not even clicking through on the old links, to check the services are still there. The giveaways are usually the inclusion on a new list of dead sites like Open J-Gate, Scirus, or links to internal DOAJ pages that vanished in the reorganisation at the end of December 2013.

Added to JURN

Techne Series (Crafts education and science)

InFormation : Nordic Journal of Art and Research

Information Standards Quarterly

Anemoi Journal (“Classics, Medieval and Renaissance, and Early Modern”)

Res Cogitans (Philosophy)

Essays in Philosophy

Zoosystematics and Evolution

Zoological Research (China)

Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management (effects of toxic chemical pollutants)

6th Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing

The 6th Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing is to be hosted by UNESCO in Paris, 17th–19th September 2014. The 2013 conference presentations are online free as video and audio.

For the 2014 event it’d be great to hear someone talking frankly about “the spectre at the feast” of open access, by which I mean search discoverability. Imagine the citation advantage and impact OA could have, if only more people could easily find it.

JURN group test: what is history carr

Spurred by my recent musings on Future Studies, software bots, and ‘predictive intelligence‘, I’ve done a quick survey test by running JURN against other search tools. For the test I picked this search for E. H. Carr’s famous What is History?

what is history carr

… intending to evaluate the ability to deliver semantic-deductive quasi-predictive search results based only on a very fuzzy ‘possible print title’ + ‘a hint at a possible surname’. A hat-tip to Musings About Librarianship (Aaron Tay) for this search idea.

JURN group test: what is history carr
April 2014, using unmodified Internet Explorer 11, not signed in to Google.
Searching for free full-text scholarly articles, theses or book chapters related to historian E. H. Carr. Clicked through on results, and evaluated.
Google Scholar 0 Examined first 50 results. Google Books links were not counted.
DOAJ 0 Used ‘Article’ search. The single result was a false positive for “Carr, L. G.”
JournalTOCS 0 Only 13 results
Ingenta Connect 0 Only 13 results
NDLtd 0 Only 7 results. Appears more generally to have a great many “404 Not Found” links.
Journal Seek 0 “No results” message was surrounded by Google ads.
Mendeley 0 Search ‘Articles’ only, then filtered for Open Access articles only. Mendeley ignored ‘Carr’ totally, and appeared to search only on ‘What’ + ‘History’. Examined first 20 results, 19 of which were science.
OATD 0 Looked at first 30 results. The No.1 result Politics at Its Demise: E. H. Carr, 1931-1939 looked promising, but this thesis proved to have been deleted or moved. All other results were way off mark.
Microsoft Academic 0 Examined first 50 results. Lots of paywall articles, on or from just about every Carr except A. H. Carr!
Digital Commons Network 0 Searched Arts and Humanities portal, then filtered results by ‘History’ facet. Appears to use the same system as OALib, giving many false positives for caricature, carrying and career etc.
CORE 1 Search not filtered. Examined first 50 results. Only the first topmost result was good.
OAlib 1 Examined first twenty results. Many false positives for caricature, carrying and carry. Switching to ‘Author’ search failed to surface A. H. Carr in first 10 results.
BASE 1 Searched ‘Verbatim’ on ‘Entire Document’. Examined first 50 results. Several promising early results proved to be repository records with no link to full-text. From the second page onward there were false positives for history + what and perhaps for carried.
OPENDoar 8 Examined first 50 results. Several valid results arose from approaches to understanding Carr in relation to Trotsky, in old leftist journals.
Google Search 9 Forced verbatim. Examined first 50 results. Didn’t count erudite blog posts (of which there were about a dozen, inc. a couple with footnote references) or Google Books links. Five of the nine counted results were sorry-looking unofficial scans of the famous work itself.
JURN 11   Checked first 50 results. First page of results has seven relevant results. Later false positives were nearly all for other academics named Carr.

CONCLUSION: So JURN is certainly not a magic wand for this tricky search, but it is performing much better than other search tools and vastly better than Google Scholar or the DOAJ. The results do especially well in terms of the accuracy of the first seven results, but thereafter they struggle (yet do at least focus mostly on people named Carr). Across all the search tools it was surprising to see so little cross-talk in the results from academic articles and chapters on Star Carr, a very famous archeological site in the UK. I noticed no cross-talk at all from the history of cars (vehicles) despite my lack of capitalisation on carr.

DATA: The relevant results list from JURN is…

1. Alun Munslow, Book review of E.H. Carr: A Critical Appraisal, History in Focus, Autumn 2001 (Institute of Historical Research at the University of London)

2. Alun Munslow, Review of What is History?, Reviews in History, November 1997.

3. Unofficial scan from What is History?.

4. Richard J. Evans, The Two Faces of E.H. Carr, History in Focus, Autumn 2001 (Institute of Historical Research at the University of London) (Based on his introduction to a new Palgrave edition of What is History?)

5. Table of Contents for the special What is History? edition of History in Focus, Autumn 2001 (Institute of Historical Research at the University of London)

6. Micheal Cox, Will the real E. H. Carr please stand up?, International Affairs, 75, 3 (1999). (Review of The Vices of Integrity, E. H. Carr, 1892-1982).

7. David Freeland Duke, Edward Hallett Carr: Historical Realism and the Liberal Tradition, Past Imperfect, Vol.2, 1993.


14. De Lamar Jensen, What is History? Edward Hallett Carr, Brigham Young University Studies, Vol.5, No.2 (1964).


26. Philosophy of History article in Internet Encyclopedia of Philisophy. (Mentions Carr in passing)

27. Ann Talbot, Chance and necessity in history : E.H. Carr and Leon Trotsky compared, Historical Social Research, 34 (2009).

28. Political Realism in International Relations article in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Carr has his own section in this, “E. H. Carr’s Challenge of Utopian Idealism”)

Why no Open J-Gate in this group test? It died years ago. Scirus also died more recently, at the start of 2014. Google News was tested, but for this search it proved to be useless at this moment in time — although it can sometimes be surprisingly useful.

Good Judgment

The Good Judgment Project is a four year study organized as part of a government-sponsored forecasting tournament. It is currently moving its 3,000 signed-up citizen ‘future forecasters’ toward the close of its season three, in which…

Thousands of people around the world predict global events. Their collective forecasts are surprisingly accurate.

They have to do a whole load of research of course, it’s not fortune-telling. Hope they know about JURN. They tend to work in teams of about twelve, but the delightfully named Dart-Throwing Chimp is one of those leading the pack. He…

would have qualified for ‘superforecaster’ status in Season 3 had he not joined our research team [to help craft better questions]

The background to this is the broad failure of intelligence-led prediction based on closed information, a topic that can be explored in an accessible manner by listening to the 90-minute Long Now Foundation talk “Why Foxes Are Better Forecasters Than Hedgehogs”.

The Good Judgment Project seems to suggest the best results may come from finding ways to reliably blend the aggregated ‘wisdom of the crowd’ + human-curated Big Data computer models + autonomous bots + time-served human experts. I predict that the area of practical ‘predictive intelligence’ is one that the average researcher is going to be hearing a lot more about over the coming years.

And it might be a field for the Arts and Humanities to pitch a tent in, re: the abilities of creative industries in cultural trend spotting and meme tracking, our advanced ethical tools, the skill-sets of digital humanists, the abundant lessons to be distilled from history, the insights of ethnography and suchlike.

Liverpool University Press journals, all free during April

Added Liverpool University Press journals to JURN following the news that…

“To celebrate its tenth birthday, Liverpool University Press is making all of its journal content free for the month of April 2014:

Australian Journal of French Studies
British Journal of Canadian Studies
Bulletin of Hispanic Studies
Catalan Review
Contemporary French Civilization
Essays in Romanticism
European Journal of Language Policy
Historical Studies in Industrial Relations
International Development Planning Review
Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies
Labour History Review
Modern Believing
Music, Sound, and the Moving Image
Popular Narrative Media
Quebec Studies
Romani Studies
Science Fiction Film & Television
Sculpture Journal
The Byron Journal
The Modern Churchman
Third World Planning Review
Town Planning Review

Access comes in the form of straightforward open clickthroughs to the full PDF.


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