The major new Chinese Google-alike Chinaso, just launched, has a Chinaso Theory for those eager to march down “The socialist road with Chinese characteristics”, joyously waving their copies of the Theory of Party Building journal…
Completed the addition of URLs from the open ejournals in ornithology list. JURN now has excellent coverage of free and open ornithology journals.
“The Music Composed By An Algorithm Analysing The World’s Best Novels”. Researchers at the National Research Council Canada have used software to automatically measure…
“the way the emotional temperature changes throughout a novel, and then [have] automatically generated music that reflects these moods and how they evolve throughout the book.”
Although perhaps it’s worth remembering that Eno says he doesn’t bother to sync his ambient music and images these days — since he finds that people experience them as being synced together, even when they’re not.
I’ve overhauled the code that’s driving search and display for JURN, plugging in newer v2 CSE code and and wrangling in some new CSS. JURN should now be a little faster than before, while giving Google a little less server overhead.
Changes, as seen above:
1. A spiffy new graphical “Search” button to click. Next to it is an X to click, which clears the search and starts over again.
2. Removed the confusing and misleading “Found 565,000 hits in 0.4 seconds…” notifications. Google was never providing JURN’s users that many hits anyway. It was just that valuable computational time was not being spent finessing down the main index numbers for the benefit of curated Custom Search users.
3. The search results page links — found at the very foot of the search results as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 — are now aligned left.
4. The faint dotted underline on links is now carried over onto the actual results links. Last week Google started taking underlines off search results altogether, though it was mostly tech-heads who spotted it being tested. For now, links are still underlined on the JURN results. But if underlines do get taken off Google links in the near future then I’d hope my faint dotted underline will remain to soften the blow for traditionalists.
5. A millisecond delay as the search-box loads, on first visiting the page.
I found a 2013 article from geoscientists who had tested Google Scholar: “Literature searches with Google Scholar: Knowing what you are and are not getting”. Although the body of the paper states that their test phrase was “wildfire-related debris flows”, the data shows they actually tested Scholar with the keywords wildfire-related debris flows. They reportedly found that…
“free articles were available in PDF format for 88% of citations returned by Google Scholar. They were available from open-access journals or via links to organizational sites where authors had posted their publications.”
However if you actually look at their linked search-results data file, then the above statement needs additional clarification. Since it’s clear that paywall articles from Elsevier, Springer and the like, appearing in their Scholar results, were being counted toward those “free articles”. It turns out that many of these were “free” only via a DigiTop proxy overlay for Scholar that is, in the words of DigiTop, “available to USDA employees only”. Nice if you work under the U.S. Department of Agriculture umbrella, but it seems that those outside have to pay.
Does Google Scholar perhaps need to add some kind of “paywall box detector” to its scraper bots? Then perhaps something like [PDF] [-||-] could be added on the right-hand column of the Scholar results, to indicate a PDF that’s “available maybe” — but which will prove to have a paywall that needs to be either backed out from or negotiated? And perhaps [PDF] [-~-] could indicate a genuine direct link to a bona fide PDF file?
Anyway… this is what geoscientists are talking about when they refer to wildfire-related debris flows. Seems like it might be a geological process that intelligent farmers, hiker-campers, and treeline homesteaders around the world would like to learn some precise details about…
Giant mudslides, basically.
Incidentally, the same wildfire-related debris flows search in JURN needs to be tightened up just a little for strong results. Using wildfire-related “debris flows” works better, though the first six pages of good results do stray just a little (to pick up what seem to be three articles about prehistoric ‘dinosaur-era’ debris flow events). Yet even on this test JURN appears to be doing about twice as well as Google Scholar in terms of getting open articles, once Scholar’s ‘false-positive’ paywall PDFs from Elsevier & co. are subtracted from Scholar’s results.
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 set at a low rate. 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 by 2015 we’ll see a 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.