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Admittedly, a March 2012 sample is now four years out-of-date, and things may have changed since.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.
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.
The DOAJ removed 3,300 open access journals yesterday, because the editors didn’t re-apply…
“We will add a third tab to our spreadsheet ‘DOAJ: journals added and removed’ that will list all of the journals removed.”
The DuckDuckGo search-engine has given $225k to a range of worthy open-source projects working on privacy, free speech and snoop-free communications.
I’ve just heard about the museum fire in Delhi, the capital of India…
“A huge blaze gutted India’s Museum of Natural History Tuesday, destroying six floors of the building and possibly countless collections of the country’s flora and fauna […] The museum is the first and only natural history museum in India [and was] also home to a reference library for scholars [with] more than 15,000 books.”
One hopes that there were no un-scanned unique archival runs of vintage paper journals, or unique notebooks, in the Library.
While the Museum’s traditional ‘stuffed animals’ style of presentation may have appeared antiquated to many Western and (it appears) a few Indian curators, its steady educational work seems to have encouraged real interest in the natural world among receptive young people in the city. One Indian wrote of the fire online…
“We have all been here, and knowing that this beautiful place — with its host of priceless artefacts — doesn’t exist any more is heart wrenching.”
The newly-discovered book-length text by Walt Whitman, Manly Health and Training, has very kindly been published in full today in open access at the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review.
A new Medium article, from the head of Ingenta Connect, “Is the Open Access discoverability problem solvable? And whose problem is it?”. It’s a cursory look at the problem, but even then it’s interesting for what it doesn’t say…
* For “institutional librarians” the author seems to imply that their future role is only to be in one-to-one “mentoring and facilitation” of researchers. No mention of anything else, like the big publishers working with librarians to craft and adopt universal OA-status tagging code for discoverability.
* For “scholarly authors” he only suggests academics might become marketeers for their own papers. Frankly, this seems like a waste of their valuable time. Given the salaries that full-time research academics get, they can afford to hire a virtual assistant. To promote four or five papers a year outside of one’s own disciplinary niche, simply go to UpWork (or similar) and hire your personal marketeer at $180 a paper (to get someone of quality, for a day and-a-half of work). One could probably find a way to write the $900 bill off against tax each year. Of course that assumes one is publishing something worth reading, rather than academic shovel-ware intended to tick boxes inside one’s own institution.
* For the big “publishers” the article vaguely suggests they need to embrace openness. Though perhaps only in order to capture it for their own purposes, via a… “drawing-together of all the dispersed OA content silos into one place”. Well, for their own limited set of OA content, the big publishers can solve that on Monday morning if they really want it. They just have to allow the seemingly-stalled Paperity to import the OA-only article feeds of Elsevier, Brill, Degruyter, Wiley and others, so that Paperity has full coverage of all OA articles from the big publishers.
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.
1.2Mb, just to load Bing’s front page? Ooof.
Update, 12th May:
The new VPN now only works when you open a “Private Window” in Opera…
“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.”
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?
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…
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.