e-manuscripta is a unified portal for finding manuscript material from Swiss libraries and archives. Not just bare records either, but PDFs of scans for public download. It includes over 1,000 maps and plans.
“Google Scholar is Filled with Junk”… and now, what-claims-to-be porn, even. The aptly-named iPensatori investigates.
I’d noticed this problem starting to creep in as long ago as 2014, by another route, even before Scholar began to be being targeted by SEO spivs. When searches for ‘Lovecraft’ (seeking new scholarship on the 20th century’s greatest horror/sci-fi writer) on Google Scholar started bringing up ebooks of explicit sex-stories listed on Google Books, as well as other more dubious sources. Here’s my screenshot of a Google Books entry in Google Scholar, from 2014…
Many more occurrences since then, too.
My quick tickle of ‘naked’ ‘celebrities’ in JURN suggests there’s no such content to be found via JURN.
D-PLACE, which stands for ‘Database of Places, Language, Culture, and Environment’. Just launched, with records for 1,400 societies. My test search for ‘Dance’ in ‘Northern Europe’ gave three results, for Icelanders, the Irish and the Sami.
And… after two weeks it seems to be more or less over, bar some futile shouting. At least for now. To paraphrase Churchill, “this may be the end of the beginning” of Brexit.
Leave won the Brexit debates before the vote, against huge opposition. Then Leave won the biggest popular vote in British history. Now Osborne and Javid have belatedly come on board for Leave, nicely capping the way that Leave has also won the last two weeks of post-vote media skirmishing.
So the UK is leaving the EU, and probably sooner rather than later. My bet is for an April 2018 Leave, with all the trailing loose ends tied off by June 2019.
I can’t see that it’ll have any real impact on our open access journal publishing, which already seems well aligned with the free-booting outward-looking post-Brexit worldview. Beyond that, Brexit looks set to present a huge opportunity for our higher education, science, data and publishing sectors — once they stop the futile moaning and biting-of-carpets, and look to the future.
Problem: You’re sent a Microsoft Publisher .pub file, and need to extract the pictures, for re-use in another publication or academic paper. But the pictures all have Publisher’s fancy border effects applied to them. How to remove these border effects from the pictures in Microsoft Publisher 2013?
Barriers: You right-click on the pictures, but there’s no “Remove all effects” option. You look under Insert | “Borders and Accents”, but there’s no way there to “Remove all effects”. For some reason, perhaps because the file is from an older version of Publisher, the text cannot be copied, pictures cannot be moved or changed, and the file can’t even be re-saved. The file did not become read-only in the transfer. You remember that you probably need to activate the Pictures tab in MS Publisher 2013, which is normally hidden, and only shows up in certain activity states. But you can’t get to that Pictures tab. Nor can you save out a portable assets pack from the .pub file.
Solution 1: Download and install the free Libre Office suite, a fork of Open Office. The Draw module in this opens Microsoft Publisher files. Open the .pub in Libre Office, and extract the pictures. Didn’t work for me — Libre couldn’t even open the file.
Solution 2: Save a .pdf from the .pub. Then use Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not the free Reader) and its Tools sidebar option to ‘Save all images…’ from the .pdf. That’s the images on the pages, not images of the pages. This worked for me, for all but those images that had a sort of ‘ice crystals’ or ‘grunge-dotted’ border applied to them by Publisher.
While African research universities often have better commercial journal database access than their counterparts in the West, what of public access to African-focused research? Great to hear an African voice on this, as Africa starts to buckle up for growth and international access. Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr. of Nigeria says that there is an…
“overwhelming call for the accessibility of African research [about Africa, but that this] has stretched traditional archiving methods.”
With a substantial increase in population and wealth now happening on the continent, he asks if there is now an opportunity…
“for archiving and digitising African-focused research [in order to] make African research accessible on a global scale.”
Let’s hope so. Although the author also suggests a commercial option, seemingly more in terms of access to contemporary and commercial data…
“monetising the whole process through a subscription model for online hosting of knowledge resources – books, research papers, journals, dissertations, and reports to investors, product and policy developers. [With African researchers getting] “a revenue share for each download”.
That might work for useful locally-created data — one might get the article or substantial data summary for free, anywhere in the world. But if you’re outside Africa then you’d buy the data download direct from the researcher, and in affluent nations your university would require you do that as part of your ethics code as a researcher. Though I’m not sure a commercial pay-per-download model would be useful for things like folklore, the arts, oral history and natural history, which might be better funded by a big pan-African consortium of nations, philanthropists and donors. And thus kept freely available.
Retraction Watch needs a part-time editor. Sadly there’s no pay, but lots of kudos.
Electrum (classical antiquity)
Terminus (seems to be about early modern print cultures, is partly in English)
Hermes (Cairo University Center for Language and Translations, is partly in English)
Santander Art and Culture Law Review (protection of cultural heritage, markets in historical art)
Open Scholarship Initiative Proceedings (seems to be taking a journal-like form, with Vol. 1 now available)
The Inaugural Conference of the Open Scholarship Initative (above) seems to have missed the opportunity to establish a strand on ‘public search and discovery of OA’. But the paper “Information Overload & Underload” is the closest — a usefully concise overview of search, clearly given in broad brush strokes, and I’d suggest that it’s a primer that could be usefully passed on to an eager undergraduate or two.
In passing, this paper usefully highlights the potential to produce many more “The Year’s Work in X” survey articles…
…efforts that compile and promote the best publications over a specified period, whether selected by an expert jury or on the basis of post-publication use and citation metrics, alert investigators to impactful work in venues they might otherwise have overlooked.
Indeed, one could imagine a set of annual OA journals in the humanities, devoted only to such scholarly survey articles. Each long article would authoritatively survey the year’s work in one facet of a well-defined field of study. Such a journal might be preferable to the easier and more humdrum option of pushing out a bare hyperlinked ‘overlay journal + editor’s intro’, although it would be vastly more work. Nevertheless, I guess that some retired academics might welcome the opportunity to support their field in such a substantial manner, and memorial bequests might then support the ongoing financing of such time-consuming journals. Writing one 30,000-word annual survey essay for a friendly collegiate OA journal might be a more rewarding and public activity for many retirees, compared to continuing to grind out ten unpublished solo peer reviews of unpublishable papers for commercial journals.
A few such journals already exist deep within the subscription system, though in literary/historical studies the articles tend to be shorter and broader than I’d like, while focussing only on what can be found via an academic library’s discovery database (omitting grey literature, fannish works, independent scholars, items in small print-only society journals, OA items etc). Anyway I’ve never found one that’s ongoing and published in Open Access. If a wealthy philanthropist or foundation wanted to make a sustained splash, they might do worse than to set up a string of six such OA journals in their favoured field. Plus a trust to fund the retired academics who would run the journals, with a remit that they should prefer quality and deep scholarship while raising a sceptical eyebrow at fashionable easily-gamed metrics and superficial claims of ‘impact’.
Personally I would love to see, for instance, an annual OA journal of long survey essays titled The Year’s Work on Weird and Supernatural Fiction, with a table of contents that might include long surveys such as “The Year’s Work on H. P. Lovecraft and his circle” etc. Admitted there would be a high cost in simply acquiring the material for such an essay, if one wished to read everything — including the relevant essays locked away in expensive $80 academic anthologies or in collectable small-press titles (for the latter, miss the initial launch window and ooops… the vital book is then out-of-print and only available for $120+ on the collectables market). Alternatively, and far more cheaply, the journal might only survey content that’s freely and publicly available in OA.
The increasingly excellent Retraction Watch now has a spin-off, Embargo Watch. At present Embargo Watch seems to be mostly about tracking naughty media organisations which prematurely break embargoes on the reporting of new scientific papers.
There’s also a recent mention of press officers who refuse to write up new papers that have no embargo. I guess maybe the officers rightly think that any daily editor they send the story to will frown and say: “Old news. It was covered yesterday, elsewhere. Next story…”. Hence their work will have been wasted.
I don’t see Embargo Watch doing any tracking of advocacy groups — groups that use a press release about embargoed science to spin their alarmist news agenda across the media and blogosphere, days or even weeks weeks before the paper’s release, while avoiding awkward scrutiny of the actual paper. That sort of coverage in Embargo Watch, and perhaps even before/after comparisons, would also be welcome.
Flickr is no longer honouring Creative Commons searches for those not logged in as members of Flickr. Likewise, following a Google Search link to an album of someone’s photographs will just get you a blunt “404 Not Found” page — but if you log in to Flickr then the album will appear as usual.
In the first half of 2016 JURN added 210 new journal titles (published in English) to the search index.
Occasional Papers of the LSU Museum of Natural Science (Louisiana State University)
Eastern European Countryside (was lost, now located again)