"A red dwarf and its brown dwarf companion buzzed through the outer Oort Cloud some 70,000 years ago, around the time when modern humans began migrating from Africa into Eurasia. "
"Data Science, where are we going? What impact can we expect? With a special introduction from President Barack Obama."
"If climate change is to be addressed effectively in the long run, nations of all descriptions must pursue mitigation and adaptation strategies. But poor countries face a potential hurdle when it comes to clean-energy technologies—most of the relevant intellectual property is held in the rich world. Many observers argue that it's unfair and unrealistic to expect massive energy transformations in the developing world unless special allowances are made. Yet intellectual property rights are intended in part to spur the very innovation on which climate mitigation depends. Below, authors from Argentina, Egypt, and the United States debate this question: In developing countries, how great an impediment to the growth of low-carbon energy systems does the global intellectual property rights regime represent, and how could the burdens for poor countries be reduced?"
"Analyzing hyperlink patterns has been a major research topic since the early days of the web. Numerous studies reported uncovering rich information and methodological advances. However, very few studies thus far examined hyperlinks in the rapidly developing sphere of social media. This paper reports a study that helps fill this gap. The study analyzed links originating from tweets to the websites of 3 types of organizations (government, education, and business). Data were collected over an 8-month period to observe the fluctuation and reliability of the individual data set. Hyperlink data from the general web (not social media sites) were also collected and compared with social media data. The study found that the 2 types of hyperlink data correlated significantly and that analyzing the 2 together can help organizations see their relative strength or weakness in the two platforms. The study also found that both types of inlink data correlated with offline measures of organizations' performance. Twitter data from a relatively short period were fairly reliable in estimating performance measures. The timelier nature of social media data as well as the date/time stamps on tweets make this type of data potentially more valuable than that from the general web."
"As open-access (OA) publishing funded by article-processing charges (APCs) becomes more widely accepted, academic institutions need to be aware of the ‘total cost of publication’, comprising subscription costs plus APCs and additional administration costs. This study analyses data from 23 UK institutions covering the period 2007 to 2014 modelling the total cost of publication (TCP). It shows a clear rise in centrally-managed APC payments from 2012 onwards, with payments projected to increase further. As well as evidencing the growing availability and acceptance of OA publishing, these trends reflect particular UK policy developments and funding arrangements intended to accelerate the move towards OA publishing (‘Gold’ OA). Whilst the mean value of APCs has been relatively stable, there was considerable variation in APC prices paid by institutions since 2007. In particular, ‘hybrid’ subscription/OA journals were consistently more expensive than fully-OA journals. Most APCs were paid to large ‘traditional’ commercial publishers who also received considerable subscription income. New administrative costs reported by institutions varied considerably. The total cost of publication modelling shows that APCs are now a significant part of the TCP for academic institutions, in 2013 already constituting an average of 10% of the TCP (excluding administrative costs)."
"GeneEd - Genetics, Education, Discovery. GeneEd Web, developed and maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Human Genome Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a safe and useful resource for students and teachers in grades 9 - 12 to learn genetics. The Web site allows the user to explore topics such as Cell Biology, DNA, Genes, Chromosomes, Heredity/Inheritance Patterns, Epigenetics/Inheritance and the Environment, Genetic Conditions, Evolution, Biostatistics, Biotechnology, DNA Forensics, and Top Issues in Genetics."
"Mark Twain declared that the Indian city of Varanasi was ‘older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend’. He was, of course, wrong. So which exactly is the world’s most ancient continuously inhabited city?"
"In Part 1, I wrote about my disillusionment with science from a systemic perspective. I wrote about how I believed that science was broken. It was broken because it had evolved into an unrecognizable system that was incompatible with what science, in an ideal world, could have been. Its heart wasn’t in the right place anymore. Science seemed to be more about prestige and personal gain, rather than a noble collective effort to expand knowledge.
I had become terribly cynical during my time as a graduate student, but a couple weekends ago, I realized that all was not lost — that science could be fixed. I was lucky enough to attend OpenCon, a conference for students and early career researchers to network, discuss, and learn about how open access and open data could provide novel solutions to the problems we currently face in scientific society. For three days, I was surrounded by pioneers of the open movement, ambitious graduate students and innovative post-docs, all bursting with ideas about how science could be better. Many spoke candidly about how re-thinking science could increase scientific efficiency and quality, increase discovery by embracing collaboration, and most importantly, result in a fundamentally more inclusive approach to knowledge distribution. "
"The reason these all connected for me is that librarians think a lot about how to help students find and evaluate sources. The emerging Framework for Information Literacy (now ready for prime time and all dressed up in html!) encourages us to think more about sources not as things to choose and then analyze but as a process of decisions we make within a negotiated and contextual world of competing and complementary expressions of ideas. We tend to focus on academic discourse – in fact, one of the frames is “scholarship as conversation” – but it’s not just in scholarly publications where ideas are debated. Most of the ways our students will interact with information will be in non-scholarly forms of discourse.
So I’m pondering, yet again, what practical ways we might help students embrace the ideals of scholarship – that we make careful observations, examine the sources used to build an argument, handle data with integrity, and allow our minds to be changed if our initial questions lead us in an unexpected direction – so that our graduates can call on those values when they are reading the paper or watching a YouTube video or thinking about what a witness said during Congressional testimony. None of these articles had an easily identified literature review, a clearly-labeled methodology section, or footnotes, which is the case with most of what we encounter as we try to make sense of the world. Still, we need to be able to critically evaluate evidence, track down sources (which all of these articles referred to one way or another) and make up our minds so that we can bring our own informed ideas to the conversation. That's information literacy at work. "
"The University of Denver has never been one of the many colleges where part-time, semester-to-semester faculty members lacking institutional support make up the majority of instructors. Denver employs relatively few part-time adjuncts, and those it does hire usually have other jobs and teach one or two courses based on their professional expertise. But the institution employs a good number of full-time, non-tenure-track faculty who, despite being compensated relatively well, with benefits, have little job security. Some lecturers and clinical faculty members, as they’re called at Denver, have worked there for more than 20 years but still work on annual contracts with no guarantee of renewal.
So when Denver’s faculty members undertook updating the institution’s more than a decade old appointment, promotion and tenure policies several years ago, they decided to take a somewhat radical approach: Why not establish professional pathways and long-term contracts for valued, non-tenure-track faculty members? Not everyone supported the idea at first -- a small but vocal minority of tenure-line faculty members continued to oppose the idea throughout. But by the time the university’s Board of Trustees approved Denver’s new Policies and Procedures Relating to Faculty Appointment, Promotion and Tenure document last month, more than 85 percent of the faculty was behind it."
"Despite the long shadow thrown by Nature and its other journals in basic science, Macmillan Science and Education is a pygmy in the scientific, medical, and technical publishing world with a mere 160 journals. Springer is actually number two, in terms of journal titles, with 2,987 behind number one Elsevier with 3,057. The Macmillan titles should move Macmillan-Springer into first place in the titles race. Unlike Science, which is published by the non-profit American Association for the Advancement of Science, Nature has always been a commercial venture, started in 1869 by the Scottish publisher Alexander Macmillan. The British branch of Macmillan was among the last major independent periodical publishers until 1999 when Holtzbrinck acquired the remaining family shares.
The deal between the London-based Macmillan and the Berlin-based Springer Science + Business is subject to the European equivalent of anti-trust approval but no dustup is expected. Interviewed by writer Dalmeet Singh Chawla in Science, Richard Anderson, a library dean at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, thought the merger between two massive private equity firms showed a lowering of financial expectations for science and technical publishing as the partners are expected to cash out soon by taking the merged Macmillan-Springer public. Anderson said that, “Publishers are fielding more and more submissions and chasing smaller and smaller budgets while also dealing with an increasingly complex scholarly communication environment. It’s a very tough position to be in.”"
"Complexity of journals’ pricing adds to tension between publishers and customers
By Lila Guterman
Department: ACS News
Keywords: ACS, journals, pricing
Rising prices and shrinking funds have strained library budgets.
The phrase comes up again and again in conversation with academic librarians about the price of science journals.
A profound mismatch exists, librarians say, between science journal prices and university library budgets. The recent economic recession only worsened the problem, flattening library budgets while the costs of scientific publications continued to rise. Since electronic journals became the norm in recent years, journal pricing has grown more complicated, which contributes to the difficulty libraries have in managing their needs versus their budgets.
“Many libraries like Penn’s see annual budget increases of 3 to 4% at most,” says Judith Currano, the head of the chemistry library at the University of Pennsylvania. But chemistry journal prices rise on average 5 to 8% every year, she says. “An 8% increase is not reasonable these days. Anyone who says that it is, isn’t aware of the true nature of university budgeting.”
The serials crisis has gone on for decades: In 1989, an American Library Association newsletter referred to it as “perhaps the greatest concern among academic libraries today.” In recent years, researchers have threatened boycotts of various commercial publishers including Elsevier and Nature Publishing Group, citing their high prices and steep rate increases.
In April, Harvard University’s Faculty Advisory Council published an open letter that said, “Major periodical subscriptions, especially to electronic journals published by historically key providers, cannot be sustained: continuing these subscriptions on their current footing is financially untenable.”
Most recently, some librarians have turned their attention to the American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN. The discussions began after a librarian blogged in September about her decision to cancel subscriptions to ACS journals.
Jenica P. Rogers, director of libraries at the State University of New York, Potsdam, said the price of ACS’s all-journals electronic licensing package would have consumed more than 10% of her 2013 acquisitions budget. It was, she said, outside the range of what her small university could afford.
Her blog posting received more than 100 responses in comments, Listserv postings, and blog posts by other librarians. In October, Rogers posted on her blog that other librarians had told her they intend to cancel as well. ACS says it has seen no uptick in cancellations in recent years.
ACS officials say they are sympathetic and aware of the library crisis but are not the cause of it. “Our price per article and price per published page are consistently below other publishers,” says Brian Crawford, president of the ACS Publications Division. “We strive to deliver higher-quality electronic content at prices … that compare favorably to other scientific publishers.”
Concerns about prices of chemistry journals have simmered over the years, and not surprisingly: Chemistry is the most expensive discipline among the sciences, according to a survey of journal prices that Library Journal undertakes every year.
ACS’s price increases in recent years, Crawford says, have been “well within scientific publishing industry norms.” For its all-journals package, the increases in both 2010 and 2011 were 7%; in 2012, the increase was 6%; and in 2013, it will be 5%—except for smaller academic institutions and community colleges, which will see no price increase. These price increases include the seven new journals ACS has introduced since 2010. However, customers seeking relief had the option to decline the new titles and, as a result, would have seen smaller increases of 5% in 2010 and 2011, and 4% in 2012. No new-title increment was added to the 2013 subscription fees.
Explaining the yearly increases, Crawford says, “Manuscript submissions for consideration continue to rise at double-digit rates, and our published article output increases upward of 5% annually, with concomitant costs.”
Over a similar time frame, the year-on-year price increase of the U.K.’s Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has averaged 6%, according to Stephen Hawthorne, executive director of sales, marketing, and strategic partnerships.
The complaints about ACS may have become louder since 2008, when the society changed its pricing model to reflect electronic journal usage patterns instead of charging flat fees. (Subscribers who choose print journals still pay flat fees.) ACS developed its Value-Based Pricing model, Crawford says, in close consultation with librarians. Some institutions’ subscription rates decreased as a result; others went up.
The model groups schools for pricing primarily on the basis of levels established in the Carnegie Classification, which sorts colleges and universities according to the degrees they grant and the extent of their research efforts. Within the Carnegie-defined tiers, ACS created sub-tiers based on historical downloads of ACS journal articles, student enrollment, and the number of degrees granted in chemistry. ACS adds that it does not adjust prices based on usage every year, in order to prevent volatility in any library’s pricing, and that it typically gives libraries a year’s notice when their usage requires them to move between sub-tiers.
Institutions in each sub-tier pay a set price, regardless of an institution’s or state’s budget, but with adjustments made for participation in large consortia and with discounts for purchasing multiple titles.
RSC, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics also use tiered pricing, often based on similar institutional characteristics. Elsevier has begun piloting tiered pricing but only for customers that do not subscribe to package deals. John Wiley & Sons did not respond to C&EN’s request for information, but its online price list includes some journals with pricing divided into three tiers and others with flat fees.
“We intend that schools with like characteristics should pay like amounts,” ACS’s Crawford says.
Librarians support that idea. C&EN interviewed 17 academic librarians representing institutions large and small, public and private, research heavy and undergraduate only. Everyone agrees that fairness in pricing is a worthy goal.
“ACS is working to standardize their pricing model,” SUNY Potsdam’s Rogers says. “That is something I respect.”
But the details haven’t worked out to everyone’s liking. Some small colleges, including SUNY Potsdam, say the pricing model puts ACS’s publications out of reach. As Bonnie J. M. Swoger, science and technology librarian at another small SUNY campus, Geneseo, puts it: “A local research university, when you do the math, they’re paying about a buck a download. When you do the math for us, we pay about $10 per download.” Her library downscaled in 2012 from ACS’s all-journals package to its Academic Core+ package of 15 journals.
ACS notes that the SUNY schools transitioned this year out of a consortial agreement, negotiated through the New York State Higher Education Initiative, into a contract just for SUNY. The result, Crawford says, was that fees for some campuses increased while those of others stayed the same or even decreased. Most SUNY campuses continued subscribing to ACS journals.
A. Ben Wagner, sciences librarian at SUNY Buffalo, the largest of the campuses, says large institutions also struggle with increases in science journal prices. “Yes, we have more money,” he acknowledges. “But we also have to cover the waterfront. We have a law school. We have a medical school. We have a music library. We offer practically everything except agriculture. We have more money, but we have to make it stretch.”
Ariel Neff is a librarian who has seen the pricing problems from multiple perspectives: Since February, she has been the chemistry librarian at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; previously, she worked at Benedictine University, a small college in Illinois. There, she saw a proposed price increase of 1,800% for 2011 compared with 2010, she says.
For 2010, the consortium Benedictine participates in had assessed the school “an extraordinarily low fee” of $1,500 for 34 journals, Crawford says. Because of a shift in how Benedictine’s consortium allots fees to align with ACS’s new pricing model, Benedictine’s price for 2011 would have soared. But ACS sales staff worked with the school to institute smaller price increases over five years. As part of the five-year stepwise increase in Benedictine’s fees, the school’s 2012–13 increase will be 70%.
Smoothing the transition to value-based pricing—by taking such steps as spreading changes over several years—is one of ACS’s guiding principles, Crawford says.
And not everyone complains about the new prices: Franklin & Marshall College, in Pennsylvania, will see its 2013 fees decrease. Christina McCawley, serials and acquisitions librarian at West Chester University, also in Pennsylvania, says that her library’s all-journals ACS subscription will go down in 2013 by $10,000, to roughly $35,000.
Even before receiving the 2013 proposal, McCawley says, “I have never felt that ACS was a particular problem.”
Many librarians say the increasing prices of science and technology journals would be difficult to sustain even with strong budgets. But libraries’ budgets have been anything but strong.
Library Journal reports that a survey of 395 predominantly academic libraries by EBSCO, a company that provides databases to libraries, found that more than two-thirds experienced flat or decreasing budgets in 2012, and nearly three-quarters expected flat or declining budgets in 2013.
Kelly Jacobsma, the director of libraries at Hope College, in Michigan, says her acquisitions budget has decreased 5.7% over the past five years. At California Institute of Technology, the budget has remained flat for six years, says Dana Roth, the school’s chemistry librarian: “We have to look around and find things to cut.”
“It’s entirely possible to see your acquisitions budget lose 15% purchasing power in a single year,” says Wagner of SUNY Buffalo. “The crisis is real.”
Librarians have tried to avoid canceling subscriptions by reducing book purchases, stopping the binding of print journals, and cutting student staffing. The University of California, Berkeley, has 90 fewer full-time library employees than it did five years ago, bringing its staff size to 321, says Bernie Hurley, who is responsible for the library collections budget.
For the past five years, he says, the UC system, which negotiates with ACS as a consortium, has seen a 6% increase per year in journal fees on average. By contrast, Berkeley has not seen an increase in its collections budget since 2001; other UC campuses have had library budgets cut.
“ACS products are excellent,” Hurley says. “That’s not the issue.”
Every library contacted by C&EN has had to pare subscriptions in recent years. For Rogers at SUNY Potsdam, that meant ACS titles. Many institutions have cut other publishers’ offerings. At Trinity Washington University, a 2,700-student institution in Washington, D.C., Jacob Berg, the director of library services, stopped subscribing to Nature in 2011. It was taking up 15% of the university’s serials budget, he says.
However, of the science journal publishers contacted by C&EN, none says it has seen a recent increase in cancellations.
Librarians decide what to cancel, they tell C&EN, by analyzing their faculty’s and students’ needs, the annual cost of journals, and the cost per download for each title.
At UW Madison, the lists of serials cancellations in 2011 and 2012 run to hundreds of titles.
A “real tragedy,” says SUNY Buffalo’s Wagner, hides beneath cancellations: Librarians struggle to add new journals and usually can’t.
“It’s very challenging to add subscriptions to new science titles,” he says. “You’d have to cancel existing journals that have a proven track record.” As a result, SUNY Buffalo has been unable in recent years to add many of the new titles from RSC or from the Nature Publishing Group. For example, the campus does not subscribe to Nature Chemistry or Nature Climate Change.
Many librarians contacted by C&EN also expressed frustration at what they see as ACS’s lack of transparency about pricing. Although ACS publishes its flat-price fees for print journals on its website, the tiered pricing for electronic journals is not available online.
Some society publishers, including the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society, do publish tiered institutional pricing online. Others provide partial information. RSC, for example, posts individual title costs but not package pricing. A commercial publisher, the Nature Publishing Group, allows librarians to enter on its website their institutions’ student body size, and it will calculate a licensing price—but only for individual titles, not including package discounts. Elsevier does not make its package pricing available publicly.
Caltech’s Roth expresses concern about ACS. “I don’t think they’re doing a good job of educating people,” he says about pricing models and reasons for yearly increases in subscription prices. ACS answers specific queries about pricing, he says, with general reasons to subscribe: “They keep talking about how good they are and how much stuff there is. It doesn’t seem to be the kind of detail we need.”
Crawford responds that the price tiers and arrangements with consortia are too complex to lay out in simple grids or formulas.
Several librarians interviewed by C&EN, including Roth, say ACS journals offer good value. “I look at cost per use, cost per page, cost per article, or cost per article per impact factor,” he says. “ACS is probably 10 times better than the commercial publishers.”
An online database of journal prices maintained by economists Ted Bergstrom of UC Santa Barbara and R. Preston McAfee of Google grades journals on price per article and price per citation. Nearly all ACS journals rank better than average in chemistry and related fields.
About communication, Crawford adds, “We are open to hearing more from our library customers about the additional transparency about our electronic pricing that they would find useful in their decision making.”
In an open letter posted in early October at the ACS Publications website and on librarian Listservs, Brandon A. Nordin, ACS vice president of sales and marketing, responds to criticism of ACS communication with librarians: “We value this partnership, and we apologize for our recent failure to make clear the importance we place on our dialogue with libraries and scholarly communications departments.”
ACS has a formal route to hear librarians’ concerns: twice-yearly meetings with its Customer Advisory Panel, a group of librarians from academe, government, and industry.
Two academic members of the panel, Pamela Snelson, college librarian at Franklin & Marshall College, and Andrew White, interim dean and director of libraries at SUNY Stony Brook, say the ACS Publications Division staff has been open to constructive feedback and hard questions. ACS held a conference call with members of the panel in October, White notes, to discuss the pricing controversy—an indication, he says, of the importance to ACS of hearing librarians out.
Reflecting on the controversies of the past two months, Snelson says she expects ACS to benefit from hearing the criticisms. “ACS Publications is grappling with this and I think will come out stronger at the end,” she says. “Having these conversations can only help.”
Chemical & Engineering News
Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society
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This page complements our policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework. It will be updated regularly to answer questions commonly asked by institutions. If these FAQs do not provide the information you need, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. "
""Open Content - A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licences" was published by Wikimedia Deutschland, the German Commission for UNESCO and the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Centre (hbz) in 2014. Its intention is to provide interested individuals and organisations with practical guidelines for the use and application of open content licences: How do open content licences work? How do I choose the most suitable licence for my individual needs? Where can I find open content online? These are only some of the questions which these guidelines try to answer. Thanks to Dr. Till Kreutzer for writing these valuable guidelines. "
"What’s on your Open Access Week wish list? What resources would be most helpful in organizing and hosting successful OA Week events? We want to know!
On Wednesday, February 11th at 1pm EST / 10am PST, SPARC will host an open conference call specifically for scholarly communications librarians to discuss your previous Open Access Week experiences, and how we can best support those on campus leading efforts during the week."
"According to academic libraries, there’s a just-over-the-horizon golden age in which “you always have whatever scholarship you need access to, at any time and wherever you are.” This quote comes from my library’s “welcome” page, but it could as easily come from many American university libraries.
Having e-books supersede and replace physical books is essential to the vision. Accordingly, libraries have made great advances in digitizing their paper book collections and making them available online through Google Books, HathiTrust and other digitized collections. These superb collections make the vision seem possible, enticing and even closer than we might imagine. Many university libraries have taken another step toward its realization by instituting policies that either prefer or require new book acquisitions to be in digital rather than paper format, when available.
But there is a fundamental difference between digitized versions of physical books and born-digital books. While the former move us closer to the “anyone, anytime, anywhere” future, the economics of the latter are pushing us in the opposite direction, toward a future in which access to digitally published titles is restricted and provisional. "
"New maps from ESA's Planck satellite uncover the 'polarised' light from the early Universe across the entire sky, revealing that the first stars formed much later than previously thought.
Polarisation of the Cosmic Microwave Background. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration
The history of our Universe is a 13.8 billion-year tale that scientists endeavour to read by studying the planets, asteroids, comets and other objects in our Solar System, and gathering light emitted by distant stars, galaxies and the matter spread between them.
A major source of information used to piece together this story is the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, the fossil light resulting from a time when the Universe was hot and dense, only 380 000 years after the Big Bang.
Thanks to the expansion of the Universe, we see this light today covering the whole sky at microwave wavelengths."
"Journal citations, which figure heavily in hiring, tenure, and grant-funding decisions, have traditionally been the most valued measure of an article’s impact. But as scientists increasingly discover and share the fruits of their research online, alternative assessment metrics, or altmetrics, have been developed to quantify views, downloads, and social media mentions. Commonly tracked altmetrics include the number of tweets and retweets on Twitter, likes on Facebook, and bookmarks in Mendeley, a social scholarly reference library. Similar metrics are also being tracked for other electronically accessible research outputs, such as books, book chapters, patents, policy documents, datasets, figures, audio and video files, and computer code.
In 2010 four information scientists posted the “altmetrics manifesto” ( http://www.altmetrics.org/manifesto). It introduced the term “altmetrics” and faulted citation-based indicators, such as the h-index and the journal impact factor, for being slow, narrow, or lacking in context. An article, for example, can be viewed by thousands and generate several tweets within days, but it may not be cited in another journal article for several years. The manifesto also argued that altmetrics would “track impact outside the academy, impact of influential but uncited work, and impact from sources that aren’t peer reviewed.”"
"Join us for the free ACRL Presents webcast, “Celebrating Fair Use Week: Does Fair Use Really Work?,” on Tuesday, February 24, 2015, from 1:00 — 2:00 p.m. Central time. Fair use seems obscure and difficult to many. Especially after the Appeals Court ruling in the Georgia State case, we may find ourselves wondering if it is really a workable approach to balancing the rights of creators with socially desirable uses. Yet many other countries are seeking to emulate what they see as the benefits of fair use. In this webinar, we will try to unwind some of the complexity of fair use. We will consider the role of context in making fair use decisions and suggest strategies for deciding when to turn to fair use and how to think through the analysis.
Learn about some of the rationale behind an open-ended copyright exception like fair use.
Gain a greater understanding of how fair use works and when it is applicable to a specific situation.
Gain greater confidence when making fair use decisions.
Presenter: Kevin Smith, Director, Copyright & Scholarly Communication, Duke University Libraries"
"This is what happens when the so-called sharing economy meets education—when the do-it-yourself spirit of Silicon Valley is applied to teaching. Much has been written about how Uber is disrupting the taxi business by letting people moonlight as taxi drivers using their own cars, and how Airbnb offers an alternative to hotels by helping people rent out their spare rooms. But little attention has been paid to emerging platforms that let people use the knowledge in their heads to teach occasional courses online, for a fee.
Such online services are growing fast. Udemy boasts more than five million students, more than 22,000 courses, and more than $48-million in venture-capital investment. And Google has announced a partnership with edX, the online-education nonprofit started by Harvard University and MIT, to open a similar platform, called MOOC.org, that will let anyone teach in what leaders call a "YouTube for courses.""