background preloader

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist

Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist
Who are the most ruthless capitalists in the western world? Whose monopolistic practices make Walmart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch a socialist? You won't guess the answer in a month of Sundays. While there are plenty of candidates, my vote goes not to the banks, the oil companies or the health insurers, but – wait for it – to academic publishers. Theirs might sound like a fusty and insignificant sector. It is anything but. Everyone claims to agree that people should be encouraged to understand science and other academic research. You might resent Murdoch's paywall policy, in which he charges £1 for 24 hours of access to the Times and Sunday Times. Of course, you could go into the library (if it still exists). Murdoch pays his journalists and editors, and his companies generate much of the content they use. The returns are astronomical: in the past financial year, for example, Elsevier's operating profit margin was 36% (£724m on revenues of £2bn).

Related:  Open Access versus public closed gardens of Academic PublishersHistory of Information & Knowledge

Academic Journals: The Most Profitable Obsolete Technology in History  The music business was killed by Napster; movie theaters were derailed by digital streaming; traditional magazines are in crisis mode--yet in this digital information wild west: academic journals and the publishers who own them are posting higher profits than nearly any sector of commerce. Academic publisher Elsevier, which owns a majority of the prestigious academic journals, has higher operating profits than Apple. In 2013, Elsevier posted 39 percent profits, according to Heather Morrison, assistant professor at the University of Ottawa's School of Information Studies in contrast to the 37 percent profit that Apple displayed. This lucrative nature of academic publishing comes at a price--and that weight falls on the shoulders of the full higher education community which is already bearing the burden of significantly decreasing academic budgets. Where To Go:

Why Handwriting Must Die Associate professor Anne Trubek argues that handwriting will soon be history, because writing words by hand is a technology that’s just too slow for our times, and our minds. A copy-paste summary from her essay: “Handwriting has been around for just 6,000 of humanity’s some 200,000 years. Its effects have been enormous, of course: It alters the brain, changes with civilizations, cultures and factions, and plays a role in religious and political battles.” “Most of us know, but often forget, that handwriting is not natural. We are not born to do it.

Transcript for Ann Blair on Information Overload Jim Fleming: Information overload may seem like a quintessentially 21st century problem, but more than 2000 years ago people complained about the very same thing. The rise of the printed word and the creation of the printing press also flooded the world with vast new streams of information. And it took people a while to figure out how to store and manage all the new knowledge. Home - CLOCKSS A Trusted Community-Governed Archive Our Mission CLOCKSS (Controlled LOCKSS) is a not-for-profit joint venture between the world’s leading academic publishers and research libraries whose mission is to build a sustainable, geographically distributed dark archive with which to ensure the long-term survival of Web-based scholarly publications for the benefit of the greater global research community.

Robert Maxwell Ian Robert Maxwell, MC (10 June 1923 – 5 November 1991) was a Czechoslovakian-born British media proprietor and Member of Parliament (MP). He rose from poverty to build an extensive publishing empire. His death revealed huge discrepancies in his companies' finances, including the Mirror Group pension fund, which Maxwell had fraudulently misappropriated. He escaped from Nazi occupation, joining the Czechoslovak Army in exile in World War II and then fighting in the British Army where he was decorated.

Royal Society journal archive made permanently free to access 26 October 2011 Around 60,000 historical scientific papers are accessible via a fully searchable online archive, with papers published more than 70 years ago now becoming freely available. The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific publisher, with the first edition of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society appearing in 1665. Henry Oldenburg – Secretary of the Royal Society and first Editor of the publication – ensured that it was “licensed by the council of the society, being first reviewed by some of the members of the same”, thus making it the first ever peer-reviewed journal. George Monbiot "Show Me The Money" We have a democratic right to know who is funding public advocacy. By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 18th October 2011

Information Overload Is Not a New Problem There is a wonderful essay in The Hedgehog Review about the promise and perils of information overload. Titled Why Google Isn’t Making Us Stupid…or Smart, this essay written by Chad Wellmon explores the history of information overload and explores its implications. But Wellmon also spends some time demonstrating that information overload is far from a new problem: These complaints have their biblical antecedents: Ecclesiastes 12:12, “Of making books there is no end”; their classical ones: Seneca, “the abundance of books is a distraction”; and their early modern ones: Leibniz, the “horrible mass of books keeps growing.” After the invention of the printing press around 1450 and the attendant drop in book prices, according to some estimates by as much as 80 percent, these complaints took on new meaning. Go Back to Top.

Association of American Publishers The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is the national trade association of the American book publishing industry. AAP has more than 300 members, including most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies. Former U.S. congresswoman Patricia Schroeder served as the association's CEO from 1997 until 2009.

peer_review_in_public_james_hansen_s_climate_predictions_released_as_a_draft Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters The latest predictions from the usually dire climate scientist James Hansen made a lot of people sit up and take notice. The Washington Post ran a story about the study with the headline, “The world’s most famous climate scientist just outlined an alarming scenario for our planet’s future,” and Slate called it a “bombshell sea level warning.” Most coverage paid attention to, among other things, Hansen’s prediction that climate change is “triggering major sea level rise in a time frame of 50 to 200 years.” But what also stood out to some—including us—was that the eye-catching study had not yet been reviewed by outside experts before being published. At most journals, editors ask three or more experts—“peers,” in the parlance of science—to evaluate a paper and recommend for or against publishing it based on soundness of the study design, quality of the data, and strength of the analysis.