The Trello service has long been very useful for anyone organising the production of a small magazine, or a journal publication or even a book, with a few collaborators. The free non-business account they offer is perfectly capable for magazine production purposes. Now Trello has just announced free Dropbox integration, even on the free non-business accounts…
The new free Mythlore Index covers issues 1-128 of the long-lived Mythlore journal, which hosts work on Tolkien and his circle. Also indexes the Tolkien Journal issues 1–18, though not the field-leading scholarship of the Tolkien Studies journal. Mythlore Index also includes a subject index, and is a whopping 420-page PDF. Sadly the back-issues then mostly come through the mail as “photocopies” — so I’d suggest there is scope for a Kickstarter to send the entire run into Open Access.
New from MIT, Ludwig Search is a hybrid between a grammar-checker and a search-engine. It compares your sentence with similar sentences found on major news sites and in PubMed.
MUSE Open is a planned “Open Access (OA) platform for monographs in the humanities and social sciences”, and has just been awarded, a “two-year $938,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop”.
Good news. But now I hope to hear that the other “42,000 books and 650 journals” locked away on MUSE will also be opened up, to the people who paid for their production.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A June 2016 study of the current incarnation of Microsoft Academic…
“It outperforms the Web of Science for nearly all articles and is an equal to Scopus.”
Regrettably I’m unable to give it a quick test, as http://academic.microsoft.com/ is totally down for me at present — despite my trying it in multiple Web browsers.
Sauropod Vertebra points to a 2013 paper today, “arXiv e-prints and the journal of record: An analysis of roles and relationships”. It seems to indicate that not all articles in certain fields are free on arXiv, as is popularly imagined. Much may be slipping through the sieve, even in fields professing to adore arXiv…
“Even in mathematics, the field that is most committed to arXiv, only a feeble 21.5% of published papers are also available on arXiv! In physics, it’s 20%, and ‘Earth and Space’ it’s a smidge under 12%. For everything else, it’s virtually nothing.”
Nor is everything on ArXiv reaching the Web of Science, it seems. I did a quick search and found a long abstract of another paper by the same research team, “On the scientific impact of ArXiv: A case study of astrophysics”. Using a large 1990 to 2012 trawl of arXiv, they found that…
“slightly less than 50% of arXiv submissions [on astrophysics] were also found in WoS [Web of Science]”
Admittedly, a March 2012 sample is now four years out-of-date, and things may have changed since.
Those who can do RSS have long been able to wrangle .MP3 audio of The Long Now’s series of Seminars About Long-term Thinking, without having to install iTunes. Now the video versions of the SALT talks are available to all to view — with a donation merely ‘invited’ and only the video file download and HD versions kept back for Long Now members.
These are long talks, not short TED-like skits. So there are a few SALT talks one might want to avoid, mostly because the speakers thought they could just trot out their usual spiel — Tim O’Reilly waffling and riffing on, as if he were at just another trade show. Anne Neuberger making a creaky attempt to sell the NSA to the Long Now crowd. But 95% of the talks are excellent.
The highlights of the SALT series, in my view, are:
* Stephen Pyne: Ecological wildfire (2016)
* Neil Gaiman: How stories last (2015)
* Stewart Brand, Paul Saffo: Pace Layers thinking (2015)
* Jesse Ausubel: Nature is rebounding (2015)
* Brian Eno, Danny Hillis: The Long Now, now (2014)
* Stefan Kroepelin: Civilization’s mysterious desert cradle – rediscovering the deep Sahara (2014)
* Stewart Brand: Reviving extinct species (2013)
* Steven Pinker: The decline of violence (2012)
* Matt Ridley: Deep optimism (2011)
* Rachel Sussman: The world’s oldest living organisms (2010)
* Peter Diamandis: Long-term X-Prizes (2008)
* Freeman Dyson and family: The difficulty of looking far ahead (2005)
* Brian Eno: The Long Now (2003. Poor audio, I seem to remember)
The website is obviously straining under the load, as the news of the free videos percolates through social media. Which, I suspect, means the above links may be unresponsive until the Twittergasm is over.
Ars Technica has a new 12,000-word article “Open access: All human knowledge is there — so why can’t everybody access it?”. For those already versed in open access, it’s only really interesting for the final kicker idea…
“As the price of storage continues to fall, and capacities increase, in the not-too-distant future it will be possible for most people to have a local copy of every academic paper ever written if they wish to.”
Otherwise the article seems a prime example of ‘Wikipedia Envy Syndrome’, an unfortunate trend increasingly common among long-form journalists. In which the reader is forced to work through page after page of potted history on the topic, in the hope that a few interesting insights or connections may eventually be made. Which entails skim-reading that is fairly tedious on a Kindle ereader, and probably similarly annoying when slipping down the pages on a tablet.
To overcome this problem might we not re-invent the sidebar, which is where such background matter really belongs? For instance, one click on the button titled “I Know All This Already, Just Get To The Point” and the umpteen-page history-lesson-for-dummies would be snipped out and shunted to the foot of the article.
The OAPEN Annual Report 2015 has been published. For an annual subsidy of around $350,000 the service added 330 new open titles in 2015. By the end of 2015 OAPEN offered 2,589 open access book titles.
The fine search-engine DuckDuckGo is getting sort-by-date filters and website sub-section links very shortly.
Also, Google is now back to honouring site: searches in full. Over the last month or so, a site: search (with no additional keyword or phrase) only ever returned one lone link. Now the full set of links is showing up again, as they used to.
And Yandex has started enforcing word substitutions, when it ‘thinks’ a word is spelled incorrectly. This change makes Yandex useless for academic search, because there’s no way around it. For instance…
The monthly magazine Starlog is now available free on the Internet Archive, from 1977 through to about 2008. A famous pre-broadband monthly U.S. magazine of cult media, Starlog tried to survey or note just about everything released commercially in non-literary sci-fi. Alongside (what looks today like) large slabs of 1970s-90s cheese there were longish survey-articles written by devoted fans, plus in-depth interviews with industry creatives.
The magazine’s current ongoing equivalent is the British Starburst magazine, although these days that title is only about 50% real sci-fi (if you leave out the post-apocalyptic shlock and horror movies).
There’s a major new multi-part Reuters Investigates investigation into an apparent “thriving underground economy”, said to enable mass cheating and deception in the U.S. university system, including having stand-ins take examinations. Also a 30 minute podcast on problems with the SATs system.
VizioMetrix: Search Engine of Scientific Visual Information, from the eScience Institute at the University of Washington.