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Screening of “The Internet’s Own Boy” at Filmscene

There will be a free screening of THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY at FILMSCENE on Saturday, September 27th, 2:30 pm, with a Q & A to follow. The film is the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. After the screening, please join two scholars in the fields of digital scholarship and internet-based creativity, University of Iowa professors Kembrew McLeod (Communications) and Stephen Voyce (English), to talk about open access, copyright, intellectual property, and other issues related to the free access of information. Organized by the University of Iowa Libraries, this event is free and open to the public.

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Open Access and the Public Good

A panel discussion on the topic “Open Access and the Public Good” will occur Friday, September 26th at   2 pm in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber. Professor Russell Ganim (Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures) will moderate a conversation between the Honorable James Leach (Law), Professor Christina Bohannan (Law), and Professor Bernd Fritzsch (Biology). Among the topics will be how research in the Humanities and Sciences is financed and conducted and who has the right to access its results.

Organized by the University of Iowa Libraries, this event is free and open to the public. We hope you’ll join us to talk about open access and related issues regarding publishing and the free availability of information.

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Frustration with Scholarly Publishing

Julian Stirling, a post-doctoral researcher from Great Britain, recently published an angry blog post recounting his frustration with scientific publishers, touching on their lack of transparency, their perceived unwillingness to change, and copyright law.  Read it on his personal blog here.

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Two Articles on Laboratory Fraud and Government-funded Research

First, from the New York Times, an opinion piece titled Crack Down on Scientific Fraudsters that hits particularly close to home: a researcher at Iowa State University faked lab results to make it seem that he had created a new and effective vaccine for the AIDS virus. The topic of federally funding scientific research amid widespread laboratory fraud, as well as the issue of whether and how the government should be reimbursed for grant money used to fake results, is a focus.

And, from BMJ.com, a more wide-ranging look at the same topic, titled Should Research Fraud be a Crime?

Particularly unfortunate events considering the recent acknowledgement by the federal government that free, public, open access to scientific research conducted with government grants is important, as it may be access to an indefinite amount of criminal fantasy.

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Update on the Open Access Fund

As many of you know, in April of 2013 the Libraries and the Provost’s Office launched the Open Access Fund to encourage UI authors to publish in Open Access platforms by covering the author processing charges typically associated with OA journals.   Use of the fund took off at a leisurely pace, but has increased slowly but steadily since.

Here are some statistics that folks may find interesting, from the inception of the fund to date:

  • 54 UI authors have applied for funding
  • 53 of these requests have been approved
  • Authors came from 27 departments, many from the hard sciences and medical campus, but also from Communication Studies and the UI Museum of Natural History
  • The funding requests represented 38 unique journals from 19 publishers
  • Article processing fees were paid for 41 of these applications (some are still to be published)
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The Plight of University Presses

Here is a very good article in The Nation outlining some of the challenges faced by university presses:

http://www.thenation.com/article/179712/university-presses-under-fire?page=0,0

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Interesting Articles on Altmetrics

Two thought-provoking articles on altmetrics were published last week.

The following two blog posts published in 2012 are also interesting. Make sure to check out the comments, which are equally interesting.

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Chronicle: Publisher threatens to sue blogger

Following up on a lawsuit attempt by Edwin Mellen Press to quiet its’ critics, Jeffrey Beall has been threatened with a $1 billion lawsuit from an Indian publisher, OMICS Publishing Group. Beall has achieved notoriety for creating and maintaining Beall’s list and popular blog Scholarly Open Access. Both attempt to assist scholars assess the credibility of Open Access publishing organizations, and identify publishers that authors should avoid.

See the full story at: http://chronicle.com/article/Publisher-Threatens-to-Sue/139243/

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More on PeerJ

Following is an edited press release from PeerJ which has quite a bit of detail about the journal:

PeerJ (https://peerj.com), a new academic journal publisher, founded on the principles of affordability, innovation, and Open Access, published its first articles today.

PeerJ, launched by Jason Hoyt (formerly at Mendeley and Stanford University) and Peter Binfield (formerly at PLOS ONE), has been shaped from the premise that ‘if society can set a goal to sequence a human genome for just $99 then why shouldn’t academics be given the opportunity to openly publish their research for a similar amount?’. By publishing its first 30 peer-reviewed articles today, PeerJ moves one step closer to realizing that vision.

PeerJ aims to establish a new model for the publication of all well reported, scientifically sound research in the Biological and Medical Sciences. To achieve that, the organization has built an economical and efficient peer review and publication system and assembled an Editorial Board of 800 esteemed academics, including an Advisory Board of 20 (five of whom are Nobel Laureates). A rigorous peer review process is operated, and the journal strives to deliver the highest standards in everything it does.

Uta Francke, an author on one of the launch day articles, PeerJ Advisory Board member; Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics, Emeritus, Stanford University School of Medicine; and Past President of both the ‘American Society of Human Genetics’ and the ‘International Federation of Human Genetics Societies’ said that she was “excited about the launch of PeerJ, which represents much more than just another Open Access publishing venture.

The innovative membership model, including a commitment to review the work of one’s peers, will ensure an interactive relationship of equals – authors, editors and reviewers – all striving for high quality research reports published in a totally transparent fashion after rigorous constructive peer review.”

Tim O’Reilly, the founder of O’Reilly Media and a thought leader in the Open Source movement, sits on the Governing Board of PeerJ Inc. and brings a wealth of knowledge, and passion, for the promotion of open, unfettered communication in academia. Tim had this to say about PeerJ: “It’s easy to forget that technological revolutions also demand business model revolutions. Open access is transformative for science publishing, not only because it spreads knowledge more efficiently, but because it slashes the cost of producing and consuming that knowledge.”

Authors wishing to experience the future of publishing can now submit their articles at: https://peerj.com/

Essential Features of PeerJ:

* PeerJ is a rapid, peer reviewed, ‘Open Access’ scholarly journal, using a Creative Commons license which means that all articles are entirely free to read, distribute, and reuse provided authors are properly attributed.

* Publication decisions are made only on scientific validity (not on perceived impact).

* PeerJ uses a ‘Membership Model’ whereby authors become lifetime members, giving them the ability to freely publish their articles thereafter. As a result, publication costs for authors are significantly lower than similar publications.

* PeerJ has 800 Academic Editors, including 20 Advisory Board members (of which 5 are Nobel Laureates). Full list at:

https://peerj.com/academic-boards/subjects/ and Advisors at:

https://peerj.com/academic-boards/advisors/

 

* * Learn more about PeerJ here: https://peerj.com/about/how-it-works/

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Amherst College launches no-cost digital only press.

Be sure to read this news story from Inside Higher Ed about an ambitious new plan from Amherst College.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/12/06/amherst-college-launches-open-access-scholarly-press

Amherst will emphasize high quality, peer-reviewed monographs in its new endeavor. They are currently hiring a press director and two editors to staff the press. Much of the initiative is coming from the Amherst College Librarian, Bryn Geffert.

“My grand dream — quixotic though may be — is that if enough libraries begin  doing what we’re doing, at some point there is going to be a critical mass of  freely available scholarly literature — literature that libraries don’t have to  purchase. And if they use those savings to publish more material, you reach a  tipping point.”