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Joseph Kraus

Joseph Kraus's Public Library

about 16 hours ago

"African-American students’ college readiness is lagging compared with that of other underrepresented students, according to a new report released on Monday by ACT and the United Negro College Fund. Sixty-two percent of African-American students who graduated from high school in 2014 and took the ACT met none of the organization’s four benchmarks that measure college readiness, which was twice the rate for all students.

“To help African-American students, we need to improve the quality of education they are receiving,” said Jim Larimore, ACT’s chief officer for the advancement of underserved learners, in a news release announcing the report. “The report shows that even when they are doing what they are supposed to — in terms of taking the recommended college-preparatory curriculum and earning a high-school diploma — too many lack sufficient preparation for first-year college courses.”

Past ACT reports have also focused on the racial achievement gap in college readiness, prompting criticism from some observers for a lack of consideration of social class."

about 16 hours ago

"African-American students’ college readiness is lagging compared with that of other underrepresented students, according to a new report released on Monday by ACT and the United Negro College Fund. Sixty-two percent of African-American students who graduated from high school in 2014 and took the ACT met none of the organization’s four benchmarks that measure college readiness, which was twice the rate for all students.

“To help African-American students, we need to improve the quality of education they are receiving,” said Jim Larimore, ACT’s chief officer for the advancement of underserved learners, in a news release announcing the report. “The report shows that even when they are doing what they are supposed to — in terms of taking the recommended college-preparatory curriculum and earning a high-school diploma — too many lack sufficient preparation for first-year college courses.”

Past ACT reports have also focused on the racial achievement gap in college readiness, prompting criticism from some observers for a lack of consideration of social class."

about 16 hours ago

"For academics, the information in books designed for general consumption can be too basic. On the other hand, academic books aren't exactly appealing to the general public.

A new grant program at the National Endowment for the Humanities hopes to bridge that gap. The first recipients of the Public Scholars program are being announced today, in an attempt to present more research in the humanities to the general public. Professors who do serious scholarship are receiving grants to help them on book projects intended for more than just academics.

The Public Scholars are part of an initiative launched by the NEH earlier this year, called “The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square,” that hopes to bring more of its funded research to nonacademics and relate it more closely to everyday life."

Jul 14, 15

"Critics argue that although they are merely representative of the overall academic reputation of a journal, impact factors are damaging the scholarly system and can often lead to questionable practices amongst researchers. That said, the impact factor seems to have become such an ingrained part of scholarly work that any attempts to limit its popularity and use as a proxy for quality and impact face many challenges.

Despite this, the limitations of such a measure have not gone unnoticed. Funders and institutions (particularly in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia) are increasingly looking and actively asking for other indicators of impact, as well as a more evidence-based representation of the broader dissemination, reuse and application of academic work.

One of the many limitations of the impact factor is that it represents the reception of the work only amongst the academic community; providing no insight into how the work is received by a broader audience.

With more and more scholarly content now published under an open access model, free to anyone who cares to read it, the way that the general public consumes and interacts with academic research is changing."

Jul 13, 15

"Bethel's statement, based on views of the Missionary Church with which the college is affiliated, says that “We believe that the first man, Adam, was created by an immediate act of God and not by a process of evolution.” The statement affirms that “faculty are supported to investigate and teach all viewpoints on origins.”

While professors have praised the pledge to uphold their rights in the classroom, many are concerned about another part of the new policy.

That part, at the end of the policy, states: “This statement does not intend to suppress faculty opinions about origins, but prevent public contradiction or disparagement of this corporate commitment. This permits faculty to participate in academic communities which might be at variance with the position statement in order to learn from that community, but faculty are not to advocate for, nor hold leadership positions for, nor sustain a contractual relationship with an academic community which may be at variance with the statement.”

Effectively, this means faculty members can attend scientific meetings, but play no public role with them if they extend to evolutionary theory or if scientific groups back evolution. And specifically, the statement appears to make it impossible for faculty members to be involved with BioLogos, a group that promotes the idea that one can be a Christian believer and also embrace modern science, including evolution."

Jul 09, 15

"We believe that this is the core opportunity. Fixing structural flaws in science is labour intensive. It requires extensive lobbying of policy makers and professional bodies; close analysis of evidence on flaws and opportunities; engaging the public to exert pressure back on professionals; creating digital infrastructure to support transparency; open, public audit of best and worst practice; and more. If we do not regard this as legitimate professional activity - worthy of grants, salaries, and foreground attention from a reasonable number of trained scientists and medics - then it will not happen. The public, and the patients of the future, may not judge our inaction kindly."

Jul 09, 15

"As proof positive that, even with their superior powers of observation and vision, librarians can’t predict the future, the planners for the American Library Association 2015 annual conference definitely underestimated how many people would be attending the program Look into the Crystal Ball: Future Directions for Higher Education and Academic Libraries, sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries University Libraries Section (ACRL ULS). Every seat was filled, as well as all available floor space, with attendees eager to hear the panel’s thoughts on what the future may hold for academic libraries.

The panelists—Chris Bourg, Massachusetts Institute of Technology director of libraries; Janice Jaguszewski, director and associate university librarian of health sciences at University of Minnesota (U of M) libraries; Deanna Marcum, managing director at Ithaka S+R; and Mitchell Stevens, associate professor of education and sociology at Stanford University—represented a variety of institutions. And while they all agreed that academic libraries were in a time of flux and needed to keep their eyes on the horizon, each had a different take as to how."

Jul 09, 15

"The "free college" idea is back in the headlines. Last week Oregon lawmakers passed legislation similar to Tennessee’s to make community college free. And on Wednesday in the U.S. Congress, several Democratic lawmakers and the U.S. secretary of education, Arne Duncan, are expected to unveil the America’s College Promise Act of 2015, a federal proposal to make two years of community college free."

Jul 09, 15

"The average amount that college students spend on course materials appears to be declining. But not necessarily because textbooks are cheaper. A growing number of students, surveys show, simply skip buying required course materials.

A survey of undergraduates on 23 campuses by the National Association of College Stores, expected to be released on Thursday, found that students spent an average of $563 on course materials during the 2014-15 academic year, compared with $638 the year before.

The decrease is due in part to the rise of textbook-rental programs, which cost less, association officials note. But of those students who did not buy textbooks, the report noted, a greater percentage than in the past said it was because "they believed them to be unnecessary."

Another recent survey of college students, by the Book Industry Study Group, found a similar change in attitude, says Nadine Vassallo, a project manager for the group. "Students say, We see the materials as recommendations rather than requirements," she explains.

A separate survey of professors on the same campuses, meanwhile, found that they almost never see the course materials as optional. "What we think is happening is students are waiting to see how much the material is used before they buy them," Ms. Vassallo says.

In most courses, students are still assigned paper textbooks. Many are available in digital form as well, but print is still preferred by most students, according to the group's survey."

Jul 09, 15

"The scholarly record is increasingly digital and networked, while at the same time expanding in both the volume and diversity of the material it contains. The long-term future of the scholarly record cannot be effectively secured with traditional stewardship models developed for print materials. This report describes the key features of future stewardship models adapted to the characteristics of a digital, networked scholarly record, and discusses some practical implications of implementing these models.

Key highlights include:

As the scholarly record continues to evolve, conscious coordination will become an important organizing principle for stewardship models.
Past stewardship models were built on an "invisible hand" approach that relied on the uncoordinated, institution-scale efforts of individual academic libraries acting autonomously to maintain local collections.
Future stewardship of the evolving scholarly record requires conscious coordination of context, commitments, specialization, and reciprocity.
With conscious coordination, local stewardship efforts leverage scale by collecting more of less.
Keys to conscious coordination include right-scaling consolidation, cooperation, and community mix.
Reducing transaction costs and building trust facilitate conscious coordination.
Incentives to participate in cooperative stewardship activities should be linked to broader institutional priorities."

Jul 08, 15

"For some academics, the social network Reddit is becoming less of a guilty pleasure and more of a credible platform to discuss academic interests with people whom they otherwise would not have had a chance to debate.

Because of Reddit’s decentralized structure, any user is free to create a community, or subreddit, around any topic. That structure has spawned everything from forums organized around broad subject areas such as politics, technology and video games to catalogs of bizarre memes and safe havens for racism and misogyny. But more tightly moderated communities have also sprung up, including subreddits where anyone can post questions and receive answers from people with relevant educational or professional backgrounds."

Jul 08, 15

"ABSTRACT Information seeking in the workplace can vary substantially from one search to the next due to changes in the context of the search. Modeling these dynamic contextual effects is an important challenge facing the research community because it has the potential to lead to more responsive search systems. With this motivation, a study of software engineers was conducted to understand the role that contextual factors play in shaping their information-seeking behavior. Research was conducted in the field in a large technology company and comprised six unstructured interviews, a focus group, and 13 in-depth, semistructured interviews. Qualitative analysis revealed a set of contextual factors and related information behaviors. Results are formalized in the contextual model of source selection, the main contributions of which are the identification of two types of conditioning variables (requirements and constraints) that mediate between the contextual factors and source-selection decisions, and the articulation of dominant source-selection patterns. The study has implications for the design of context-sensitive search systems in this domain and may inform contextual approaches to information seeking in other professional domains. "

Jul 08, 15

"The motivation for this study was to better understand academics’ searching and sensemaking processes when solving exploratory tasks for which they lack pre-existing frames. We focus on “influence” tasks because, although they appear to be unfamiliar, they arise in much academic discourse, at least tacitly. We report the processes of academics at different levels of seniority when completing exploratory search tasks that involved identifying influential members of their academic community and “rising stars,” and similarly for an unfamiliar academic community. 11 think-aloud sessions followed by semi-structured interviews were conducted to investigate the roles of specific and general domain expertise in shaping information seeking and knowledge construction. Academics defined and completed the tasks through an iterative and interactive process of seeking and sensemaking, during which they constructed an understanding of their communities and determined qualities of “being influential”. The Data/Frame Theory of Sensemaking was used to provide sensitising theoretical constructs. The study shows that both external and internal knowledge resources are essential to define a starting point or frame, make and support decisions, and experience satisfaction. Ill-defined or non-existent initial frames may cause unsubstantial or arbitrary decisions, and feelings of uncertainty and lack of confidence."

Jul 08, 15

"Although the information-seeking literature has tended to focus upon the selection and use of inanimate objects as information sources, this research follows the more recent trend of investigating how individuals evaluate and use interpersonal information sources. By drawing from the structural, relational, and cognitive elements of social capital theory to inform antecedents to information quality and source accessibility, a research model is developed and tested. For interpersonal information sources, information quality is the key determinant of source use. Perceptions of information quality and accessibility of an interpersonal source are shown to be influenced by boundary spanning, transactive memory, and content type. Implications and prescriptions for future research are discussed."

Jul 08, 15

"Visualization of scientific results using networks has become popular in scientometric research. We provide base maps for Mendeley reader count data using the publication year 2012 and Web of Science data. Example networks are shown and explained. The reader can use our base maps to visualize other results with the VOSViewer. The proposed overlay maps are able to show the impact of publications in terms of readership data. The advantage of using our base maps is that the user does not have to produce a network based on all data (e.g. from one year), but can collect the Mendeley data for a single institution (or journals, topics) and can match them with our already produced information. Generation of such large-scale networks is still a demanding task despite the available computer power and digital data availability. Therefore, it is very useful to have base maps and create the network with the overlay technique."

Jul 08, 15

"This study examines patterns of dynamic disciplinary knowledge production and diffusion. It uses a citation data set of Scopus-indexed journals and proceedings. The journal-level citation data set is aggregated into 27 subject areas and these subjects are selected as the unit of analysis. A 3-step approach is employed: the first step examines disciplines' citation characteristics through scientific trading dimensions; the second step analyzes citation flows between pairs of disciplines; and the third step uses egocentric citation networks to assess individual disciplines' citation flow diversity through Shannon entropy. The results show that measured by scientific impact, the subjects of Chemical Engineering, Energy, and Environmental Science have the fastest growth. Furthermore, most subjects are carrying out more diversified knowledge trading practices by importing higher volumes of knowledge from a greater number of subjects. The study also finds that the growth rates of disciplinary citations align with the growth rates of global research and development (R&D) expenditures, thus providing evidence to support the impact of R&D expenditures on knowledge production."

Jul 08, 15

"This article introduces the Multidimensional Research Assessment Matrix of scientific output. Its base notion holds that the choice of metrics to be applied in a research assessment process depends upon the unit of assessment, the research dimension to be assessed, and the purposes and policy context of the assessment. An indicator may by highly useful within one assessment process, but less so in another. For instance, publication counts are useful tools to help discriminating between those staff members who are research active, and those who are not, but are of little value if active scientists are to be compared one another according to their research performance. This paper gives a systematic account of the potential usefulness and limitations of a set of 10 important metrics including altmetrics, applied at the level of individual articles, individual researchers, research groups and institutions. It presents a typology of research impact dimensions, and indicates which metrics are the most appropriate to measure each dimension. It introduces the concept of a meta-analysis of the units under assessment in which metrics are not used as tools to evaluate individual units, but to reach policy inferences regarding the objectives and general setup of an assessment process. "

Jul 07, 15

"This report uses seven case studies to understand how researchers in the physical sciences find, access, use and share information.
Information Practices in the Physical Sciences

Centred around users of a resource, members of a department or participants within a research field, each case presents several viewpoints on the changing nature of research.

The study suggests that new technologies are widening access to information and making computation faster. But their effects upon researcher practice are more subtle, and there are interesting tensions between new behaviours and existing infrastructure.

As technology enables bigger and broader collaborations, even including the general public, how can traditional publishing systems acknowledge the specific contribution of each collaborator?

In the disciplines where pre-print archives have trumped Google Scholar as a first point of call for information, is what is the future role of the library?"

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