Scientists are talking, but mostly to each other: a quantitative analysis of research

OB

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PS: If you're up for it, I can get you that introduction, creatively.
 

Stavros

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California passes groundbreaking open textbook legislation

Timothy Vollmer, September 27th, 2012

It’s official. In California, Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills (SB 1052 and SB 1053) that will provide for the creation of free, openly licensed digital textbooks for the 50 most popular lower-division college courses offered by California colleges. The legislation was introduced by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and passed by the California Senate and Assembly in late August.

A crucial component of the California legislation is that the textbooks developed will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY):

The textbooks and other materials are placed under a creative commons attribution license that allows others to use, distribute, and create derivative works based upon the digital material while still allowing the authors or creators to receive credit for their efforts.
The CC BY license allows teachers to tailor textbook content to students’ needs, permits commercial companies to take the resources and build new products with it (such as video tutorials), and opens the doors for collaboration and improvement of the materials.



Access to affordable textbooks is extremely important for students, as textbook costs continue to rise at four times the rate of inflation, sometimes surpassing the cost of tuition at some community colleges. So, in addition to making the digital textbooks available to students free of cost, the legislation requires that print copies of textbooks will cost about $20.

This is a massive win for California, and a most welcome example of open policy that aims to leverage open licensing to save money for California families and support the needs of teachers and students. We’ll continue to track this initiative and other Open Education Policies at our OER registry.
 

DWhatley

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as textbook costs continue to rise at four times the rate of inflation, sometimes surpassing the cost of tuition at some community colleges
I don't think it is SOMETIMES I believe it is 100% of the time and close to 200% of tuition for the state assisted schools.
 

Stavros

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Stavros;180006 said:
This person, Aaron Swartz, committed suicide on Friday. While the reason for his decission is not known as of now, he was suffering from depression. He also faced a 50-year prison sentence for downloading massive amounts of journal articles off MIT's servers and then sharing them online. He was big on open-access. I think all academics have done this from time to time, not to the same degree but certainly with the same intent, that is, share paid-for articles with people that would have had to pay for them otherwise. It's worth looking more into this story and how academics react to the news.
 

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Mathematicians aim to take publishers out of publishing
Episciences Project to launch series of community-run, open-access journals.

by Richard Van Noorden

Mathematicians plan to launch a series of free open-access journals that will host their peer-reviewed articles on the preprint server arXiv. The project was publicly revealed yesterday in a blog post by Tim Gowers, a Fields Medal winner and mathematician at the University of Cambridge, UK.

The initiative, called the Episciences Project, hopes to show that researchers can organize the peer review and publication of their work at minimal cost, without involving commercial publishers.

“It’s a global vision of how the research community should work: we want to offer an alternative to traditional mathematics journals,” says Jean-Pierre Demailly, a mathematician at the University of Grenoble, France, who is a leader in the effort. Backed by funding from the French government, the initiative may launch as early as April, he says.

Many mathematicians — and researchers in other fields — claim that they already do most of the work involved in publishing their research. At no cost, they type up and format their own papers, post them to online servers, join journal editorial boards and review the work of their peers. By creating journals that publish links to peer-reviewed work on servers such as arXiv, Demailly says, the community could run its own publishing system. The extra expense involved would be the cost of maintaining websites and computer equipment, he says.

That cost is not small, but it could eventually be provided in part by the journals' users. The arXiv server, for example, costs about US$826,000 a year to run, and is funded by the Cornell University Library in Ithaca, New York; the Simons Foundation in New York and institutional members.

Demailly says that he first thought of open-access electronic journals that overlay arXiv eight years ago, but the concept became a reality only last June, when he was contacted by the Centre for Direct Scientific Communication (CCSD), based in Villeurbanne, France. The CCSD, a unit of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, develops open-access repositories such as the multidisciplinary archive HAL, which mirrors the arXiv site.

For the Episciences Project, the CCSD plans to create a publishing platform that will support online peer-reviewed journals. Each journal, or ‘epijournal’, would have its own editor and editorial board, and authors could submit their arXiv-posted papers to their journal of choice. The journal would then organize peer review, perhaps using workflow software provided by the CCSD. Peer-reviewed papers would be posted on arXiv alongside their un-reviewed versions. A central committee (led by Demailly) would manage new journal candidates and make recommendations on paper formatting, but each journal would be free to set its own policies (including whether to charge for publication).

Gowers plans to start a journal in the interdisciplinary field of additive combinatorics; Demailly would not say what other early epijournals might be. Gowers has strong views on shaking up research publishing — last year, he kick-started a boycott of the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier (see also Nature’s profile of Gowers).

The idea of overlaying arXiv is not new: some mathematics journals tried it in the early 2000s but scrapped the idea because libraries began dropping print subscriptions, says Demailly. Meanwhile, there are already some free, community-organized mathematics journals, such as Documenta Mathematica, funded by the German Mathematical Society. “They are doing things on their own with a small website; we will have a global platform capable of drastically reducing an individual journal’s administration costs,” Demailly says.

Demailly says that he expects to adjust the concept with feedback from the mathematics community. “If people want larger reviews linked to papers, or the possibility of online comments and blogs, we can offer this with only minor changes to the platform,” he says. At the moment, the model's success or failure hinges on buy-in from mathematicians — but the involvement of Gowers and other prominent mathematicians, such as Terence Tao of the University of California, Los Angeles, may help to build support.

Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2013.12243
 

DWhatley

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Nice to see governments PROMOTING open access to the works often paid for by taxes. Hopefully our government (and not our lawyers) will start rethinking this and follow the French. This is the good way to create new government jobs and spend some of our tax money, serving the people as a whole as is the intent of taxation.
 

DWhatley

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I found an interesting site that will let independent researchers read an article for 5 minutes free, rent 5 articles for 30 days with $20 prepaid tokens (expiration unknown) or join for access to 40 articles for $40/month. They also have a browser app that will take you to their copy of an article if it is found on Pubmed or in a Google search. I timed out on my first use but will post restrictions as I find them (I think I can continue reading the same article tomorrow but don't know if tomorrow is 24 hours or the next day after midnight)

www.deepdyve.com
 

DWhatley

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Scientists On the Loose! My AAAS Talk, Carl Zimmer 2014

Carl Zimmer is one NatGeo's Phenomena groups of science writers. I follow Ed Yong only but Ed has a propensity for promoting others so I will read some of his recommendations when time allows. Zimmer is more active on other papers and often has only snippets and links in the NatGeo blog but this is a full article a video link of the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (Chicago), Communication Science talks, reviewing the progress of open-access reporting.
 



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