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Joseph Kraus

Joseph Kraus's Public Library

Mar 18, 15

"Science images are informative about the world around us, they are data as well as art. Perhaps, with a shift in perspective, the photo-using community might be convinced to share the costs of a public resource, as we do with other public services. NASA and USGS, for example, already make fantastic public domain images from taxpayer support. Could crowdfunding similarly serve as a copyright-free foundation for science imagery?

I don’t see why not. Neither does my new employer, the University of Texas at Austin, which has generously thrown their support behind our new, crowdfunded public domain initiative called Insects Unlocked.

We’ll be supporting a team of UT students as they produce thousands of public domain images, both of live animal behavior in the field and of detailed microscopic structures in preserved specimens. We hope you consider helping us as we create a stream of open science images, free for anyone to use."

Mar 17, 15

"No new trial. That's the response from lawyers for Georgia State University (GSU), who have asked judge Orinda Evans not to reopen the factual record in a key copyright case over the legality of digital course readings known as “e-reserves.” In a filing late last week, the GSU defendants argued that the previous trial record “was fully developed at trial and is complete,” and that reopening the record would “unduly burden" the court and defendants.

The opposition filing is the latest move in the ongoing GSU e-reserves case (Cambridge University Pres vs. Patton), and comes after the three publisher plaintiffs in the case (which was reversed and remanded by the Eleventh Circuit Court last fall), recently asked the court to use new evidence from the "most recent academic terms," to assess whether GSU’s e-reserve practices promote “continuous and ongoing” infringement. GSU attorneys have now countered that the Eleventh Circuit in fact “confirmed much of [Judge Evans'] fair use analysis,” and argue that the purpose of the appeals court’s remand is for Evans to revise her "legal analysis of certain fair use issues; not to rectify a purportedly incomplete or inadequate factual record.”"

Mar 16, 15

"Last month, Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin and a presumed Presidential candidate, delivered an address at Chatham House, an international-affairs think tank in London. For Walker, the point of the address was to bolster his foreign-policy credentials. That’s probably why the last question—“Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution?”—took him by surprise. “I’m going to punt on that one,” he said.

It’s obvious why politicians avoid the evolution question. A large fraction of the population—including more than fifty per cent of Republican voters—doesn’t believe in it. But politicians aren’t the only ones who punt. When it comes to questions that confront religious beliefs, many scientists and teachers do it, too. Recent studies—including a comprehensive national survey by researchers at Penn State University, in 2007—show that up to sixty per cent of high-school biology teachers shy away from adequately teaching evolution as a unifying principle of biology. They don’t want to risk potential controversy by offending religious sensibilities. Instead, many resort to the idea, advocated by the late Stephen Jay Gould, that science and religion are “non-overlapping magisteria”—separate traditions of thinking that need not contradict one another.

“Non-overlapping magisteria” has a nice ring to it. The problem is that there are many religious claims that not only “overlap” with empirical data but are incompatible with it. As a scientist who also spends a fair amount of time in the public arena, if I am asked if our understanding of the Big Bang conflicts with the idea of a six-thousand-year-old universe, I face a choice: I can betray my scientific values, or encourage that person to doubt his or her own beliefs. More often than you might think, teaching science is inseparable from teaching doubt."

Mar 11, 15

"Not only will journal editors for the International Studies Association continue to be free to blog, but last year’s debate about the professional value of blogging has spawned an initiative within the organization to explore how online media can benefit scholars in the field.

The association last year considered barring members affiliated with its five scholarly journals from blogging. Although the policy proposal was billed as a proactive move to strengthen what former association president Harvey Starr at the time called the “‘professional environment’ we expect our members to promote,” some political science scholars saw it as a “draconian” infringement of academic freedom.

Days after news of the policy blew up online, the association tabled the motion, sending it to the Professional Rights and Responsibilities Committee for a yearlong study. The committee presented its report during last month’s Governing Council meeting in New Orleans, and its recommendations, which quickly became policy, were “[a] clear win for the social media folks,” Stephen M. Saideman, Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University in Canada, fittingly wrote in a blog post."

Mar 09, 15

"As the open access train rolls towards the future more and more traditional scholarly publishers are jumping on board. When and how they do so is not an easy decision—as Wiley’s Alice Meadows pointed out recently on the Scholarly Kitchen. Nevertheless, OA is now inevitable, so the plunge has to be taken sooner or later.

The University of California Press made its move in January, launching two new open access programmes—Collabra and Luminos."

Mar 09, 15

"Charging a fee is not itself a marker of a predatory publisher: many reputable OA journals use APCs to cover costs, especially in fields where research is often funded by grants. (Many subscription-based journals also charge authors fees, sometimes per page or illustration.) However, predatory journals are primarily fee-collecting operations—they exist for that purpose and only incidentally publish articles, generally without rigorous peer review, despite claims to the contrary.

Of course, low-quality publishing is not new. There have long been opportunistic publishers (e.g., vanity presses and sellers of public domain content) and deceptive publishing practices (e.g., yellow journalism and advertisements formatted to look like articles).

It is also not unique to OA journals. There are many mediocre subscription-based journals, and even respected subscription-based journals have accepted deeply problematic submissions (e.g., Andrew Wakefield et al.’s article linking autism to vaccines in The Lancet1 and Alan Sokal’s nonsense article in Social Text).2"

Mar 06, 15

"March 5, 2015: Three-leaf clover plants abound everywhere: on lawns, in gardens, and in forests. But spotting a four-leaf clover is a rare, lucky find. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have found the equivalent of a four-leaf clover with the discovery of four images of the same supernova. The images are arranged around a giant foreground elliptical galaxy embedded in a cluster of galaxies. The arrangement forms a cross-shaped pattern called an Einstein Cross. The powerful gravity from both the elliptical galaxy and its galaxy cluster magnifies the light from the supernova behind them in an effect called gravitational lensing. The elliptical galaxy and its galaxy cluster, MACS J1149.6+2223, are 5 billion light-years away from Earth. The supernova behind it is 9.3 billion light-years away."

Mar 05, 15

"Serendipity is not an easy word to define. Its meaning has been stretched to apply to experiences ranging from the mundane to the exceptional. Serendipity, however, is consistently associated with unexpected and positive personal, scholarly, scientific, organizational, and societal events and discoveries. Diverse serendipitous experiences share a conceptual space; therefore, what lessons can we draw from an exploration of how serendipity unfolds and what may influence it? This article describes an investigation of work-related serendipity. Twelve professionals and academics from a variety of fields were interviewed. The core of the semi-structured interviews focused on participants' own work-related experiences that could be recalled and discussed in depth. This research validated and augmented prior research while consolidating previous models of serendipity into a single model of the process of serendipity, consisting of: Trigger, Connection, Follow-up, and Valuable Outcome, and an Unexpected Thread that runs through 1 or more of the first 4 elements. Together, the elements influence the Perception of Serendipity. Furthermore, this research identified what factors relating to the individual and their environment may facilitate the main elements of serendipity and further influence its perception."

Mar 05, 15

"The objective of this research was to investigate the institutional and individual factors that influence scientists' data-sharing behaviors across different scientific disciplines. Two theoretical perspectives, institutional theory, and theory of planned behavior, were employed in developing a research model that showed the complementary nature of the institutional and individual factors influencing scientists' data-sharing behaviors. This research used a survey method to examine to what extent those institutional and individual factors influence scientists' data-sharing behaviors in a range of scientific disciplines. A national survey (with 1,317 scientists in 43 disciplines) showed that regulative pressure by journals, normative pressure at a discipline level, and perceived career benefit and scholarly altruism at an individual level had significant positive relationships with data-sharing behaviors, and that perceived effort had a significant negative relationship. Regulative pressure by funding agencies and the availability of data repositories at a discipline level and perceived career risk at an individual level were not found to have any significant relationships with data-sharing behaviors."

Feb 27, 15

"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. "

Feb 27, 15

"Data Science, where are we going? What impact can we expect? With a special introduction from President Barack Obama."

Feb 23, 15

"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?"

Feb 23, 15

"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."

Feb 23, 15

"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)."

Feb 23, 15

"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."

Feb 17, 15

"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?"

Feb 17, 15

"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. "

Feb 17, 15

"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. "

Feb 17, 15

"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."

Feb 15, 15

"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.”"

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