January 2015 edition
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Publishing Reform Conference

Planning is now underway for a fall 2015 or spring 2016 Open Science Initiative conference. This goal of this conference — the first of 10 annual conferences on this subject — will be to reach a high-level agreement between key stakeholders in scholarly publishing about the future of publishing. Many conferences have already explored the issues involved in scholarly publishing reform. These OSI conferences will focus on creating a sustainable path forward, and on refining agreed-upon reforms as they are rolled out over the coming years.

UNESCO has tentatively offered to host the first OSI conference. More details will be announced in February. Email nSCI if your organization is interested in helping support this important effort.

All-Scholarship Repository

Work is also progressing on developing the world's first all-scholarship repository (ASR). This repository would replace the current network of hundreds of institutional and government journal repositories with a single, high-functioning, global warehouse of all science information and data. Several key participants are already on board to lead the development effort. More information on this project will be released in the next newsletter.

Contact nSCI if you're interested in helping with this project — development, outreach, participation, funding, or some other task.


The OSI conferences and all-scholarship repository will require widespread participation from the science community and long-term investments of millions of dollars annually from governments, businesses, research institutions, science societies, and others. Email nSCI if you're interested in helping with these and/or other important nSCI projects. Thank you.

News desk

Colleges Reinvent Classes to Keep More Students in Science

Max Whittaker for The New York Times Hundreds of students fill the seats, but the lecture hall stays quiet enough for everyone to hear each cough and crumpling piece of paper. The instructor speaks from a podium for nearly the entire 80 minutes. Most students take notes. Some scan the Internet. A few doze. In a nearby hall, an instructor, Catherine Uvarov, peppers students with questions and presses them to… Read more

For Sale: “Your Name Here” in a Prestigious Science Journal

Klaus Kayser has been publishing electronic journals for so long he can remember mailing them to subscribers on floppy disks. His 19 years of experience have made him keenly aware of the problem of scientific fraud. In his view, he takes extraordinary measures to protect the journal he currently edits, Diagnostic Pathology. For instance, to prevent authors from trying to pass off microscope images from the Internet as their own,… Read more

Gods and Truths for Other Inhabited Worlds

A star appeared in the East. Following it, so the biblical story goes, three Magi urged on by a nervous King Herod arrived at a stable in Bethlehem and discovered the news that many of us celebrate with bells, lights and too much sugar and alcohol every year at this time: The son of God had come to die for our sins. Peace on earth and good will to men… Read more

Greenpeace helps quash new European science policy office

Was the recently scrapped role of European chief scientific adviser (CSA) position, held by Anne Glover, doomed to fail from the outset? Clearly it was a role that was under resourced and not clearly defined, at no fault of Glover’s, who was clearly full of the right stuff coming from the post of chief scientist in Scotland. And what role did the lobbying by a coalition of NGOs—including Greenpeace and… Read more

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, by Cory Doctorow. Available from McSweeney’s. Copyright © 2014. Is This Copyright Protection? The people who make digital locks sell them as “copy protection” (that is, protection against having a file copied), and sometimes as “copyright protection.” We can debate their claim to the former, but we should certainly reject the idea that digital locks protect copyright. As things… Read more

Cancer patients using “mouse avatars” to customize treatments

Scientists often test drugs in mice. Now some cancer patients are doing the same — with the hope of curing their own disease. They are paying a private lab to breed mice that carry bits of their own tumors so treatments can be tried first on the customized rodents. The idea is to see which drugs might work best on a specific person’s specific cancer. The mice may help patients… Read more

Has “publish or perish” become “publicize or perish”?

At the recent STM Innovations meeting, a number of new initiatives were discussed along a similar theme — promoting the works of authors, essentially marketing their papers to drive citations, public awareness, and chances for academic recognition. While one aspect of these networks is a basic narcissism (my profile with my picture about my papers and my data promoting my career), another aspect is that in an increasingly crowded publishing… Read more

UNESCO on the global future of open access

The mission of UNESCO, which was founded in 1945, is to “contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.” An important plank in that mission is a commitment to help build inclusive and equitable knowledge societies. We should not be surprised, therefore, that UNESCO supports the Open Access movement, we should not be surprised that… Read more

Recent study links productivity slowdown to IT bubble

The following paper may be of interest to this group: John Fernald: Productivity and Potential Output Before, During and After the Great Recession.   This is slated to be published in the 2014 edition of NBER Macroeconomics Annual, although it has not been issued as a working paper. The link to the Macroeconomics Annual is as follows, and the paper can be downloaded from this website:   The following… Read more

New IP handbook from ACRL

ACRL announces the publication of Owning and Using Scholarship: An IP Handbook for Teachers and Researchers by Kevin L. Smith, JD. Copyright and other types of laws regulating intellectual property create an increasing concern for contemporary scholarship. The digital environment has created exciting new opportunities and possibilities for scholars to work and distribute their work. But these new opportunities also create issues that did not arise in the analog world. Owning and Using… Read more

Are hybrid journals double dipping?

For the past several decades the research community has been bedevilled with the so-called serials crisis, the phenomenon by which the cost of scholarly journals continues to rise at an unsustainable rate. One of the most significant responses to this affordability problem was the open access (OA) movement, which in 2002 coalesced around the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Open access publishing, OA advocates have always argued, will be cheaper, and… Read more

Does the Creative Commons license need clarifying?

Yahoo!, owners of the photo sharing site Flickr, recently caused a storm of controversy by announcing plans to sell prints of photos that users had uploaded. Yahoo!’s plans included sharing 51% of revenue with users who had retained copyright on their photos. For those who voluntarily selected a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY) for their works, no compensation was offered. Despite the fact that Yahoo! was explicitly following the… Read more

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