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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. 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). More importantly, universities are locked into buying their products. Related:  Open Access versus public closed gardens of Academic Publishers

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. “Proclaiming the virtuousness of one way of forming a “j” over others is a trope that occurs throughout handwriting’s history. “In the American colonies, a “good hand” became a sign of class and intelligence as well as moral righteousness.” “Only wealthy men and businessmen learned to write.” “It was not until the beginning of the 19th century — a scant 200 years ago — that schooling became universal. “This is what typing does for millions.

Iedere klik op Science kost een fortuin Terwijl de universiteit op veel plekken flink moet bezuinigen, is er één kostenpost die elk jaar maar blijft groeien: wetenschappelijke tijdschriften. Uitgevers vragen steeds hogere bedragen voor toegang. Open access-voorvechters leggen deze week uit dat het anders kan. Wetenschappelijke uitgevers als Elsevier, Springer en Wiley-Blackwell zijn de meest “meedogenloze kapitalisten”, vele malen erger dan banken, oliemaatschappijen en zorgverzekeraars, schreef een columnist van de Britse krant The Guardian onlangs. Het door de columnist zo verafschuwde systeem werkt als volgt: academisch onderzoek, betaald door u en ik, wordt in de vorm van artikelen onbezoldigd aangeleverd door wetenschappers aan wetenschappelijke tijdschriften. Maar waar de wetenschappers gratis werken, daar vragen uitgevers van wetenschappelijke tijdschriften astronomische bedragen voor (digitale) toegang tot heel gespecialiseerde journals met namen als Biochimica et Biophysica Acta.

World's Dumbest Editor Incurs The Wrath Of The Internet Rejoice, webizens, for today will forever be remembered in the annals of crowdsourced Internet vengeance! When writer Monica Gaudio discovered that a magazine she'd never heard of, Cooks Source, had reprinted an article from her web site about medieval apple pies without her permission, she wrote to the editor asking for an apology and a $130 donation to the Columbia School of Journalism. Here's what world-class bonehead idiot Judith Griggs, editor of Cooks Source, had to say in response: "...honestly Monica, the web is considered 'public domain' and you should be happy we just didn't 'lift' your whole article and put someone else's name on it!... If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Yes, Griggs actually asked the writer to pay for the privilege of being ripped off!

A Higgs Setback: Did Stephen Hawking Just Win the Most Outrageous Bet in Physics History? | Guest Blog Large Hadron Collider proton-proton collision in which two energetic electrons and two energetic muons are observed—the type of event that the decay of a Higgs boson might produce, although there are other explanations as well. © 2011 CERN A few years ago, celebrated British physicist Stephen Hawking was widely reported in the press to have placed a provocative public bet that the LHC (along with all particle accelerators that preceded it) would never find the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle” believed responsible for having imbued massive particles with their mass when the universe was very young. In fact, informal polls of physicists over the last decade have shown that an overwhelming majority believed that the existence of the Higgs was a foregone conclusion and that all that was needed was simply to run the LHC long enough: the Higgs would eventually show up. Hawking—known for controversial and contrarian pronouncements—was seen as simply throwing around his weight.

DOAJ -- Directory of Open Access Journals Electronic Literature Organization FoliaWeb: open access vs big science publishers Wetenschap25 oktober 2011 7:15 |Wetenschappers die subsidie ontvangen van de Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), moeten hun data voortaan openbaar maken. De NWO, met een budget van ruim een half miljard euro de grootste onderzoeksfinancier van Nederland, wordt mede-eigenaar van de gegevens. ‘Wetenschappers hebben ten onrechte het idee dat de onderzoeksgegevens van henzelf zijn,’ zei Ron Dekker, directeur Instituten bij NWO onlangs in NRC Handelsblad. Naar aanleiding van de affaire rond Diederik Stapel, de Tilburgse gedragswetenschapper die ervan wordt verdacht op grote schaal fraude te hebben gepleegd door het verzinnen van onderzoeksdata, heeft NWO voorstellen gedaan om herhaling te voorkomen. Ook wil NWO dat wetenschappers het auteursrecht op hun artikelen niet langer aan tijdschriften overdragen. UvA-rector magnificus Dymph van den Boom wil nog niet reageren op het voorstel van NWO.

Online law man: Virtual worlds need real laws Samantha Murphy, contributor (Image: Jo Ito)Tens of millions of people live, work and play in virtual worlds where anything goes. Greg Lastowka thinks we need to police these lawless frontiers What prompted you to write your new book, Virtual Justice? I've always been interested in technology law, and the issues surrounding law in virtual worlds are like canaries in a coal mine. Do you think we need laws covering things like electronic commerce, freedom of speech and defamation in the virtual world? Yes, we definitely do. What kinds of laws do you think we need most? We need to give careful consideration to how copyright operates in virtual worlds, where everything is mediated by the software. Then there's the question of virtual property. Have there been cases of people coming to grief over virtual theft? One that I talk about in the book is the case of a Chinese gamer named Qiu Chegwei. Surely technology has always influenced law. Yes, I think so.

The Forced Suicide of Field Marshall Rommel, 1944 The Forced Suicide of Field Marshall Rommel, 1944 For a time, Erwin Rommel was Hitler's favorite general. Gaining prominence in 1940 as a commander of a panzer division that smashed the French defenses (see "Blitzkrieg, 1940"), Rommel went on to command the Afrika Korps where his tactical genius, ability to inspire his troops and make the best of limited resources, prompted Hitler to elevate him to the rank of Field Marshall. In 1943, Hitler placed Rommel in command of fortifying the "Atlantic Wall" along the coast of France - defenses intended to repel the inevitable invasion of Europe by the Allies. By the beginning of 1943, Rommel's faith in Germany's ability to win the war was crumbling, as was his estimation of Hitler. On July 17, 1944, British aircraft strafed Rommel's staff car, severely wounding the Field Marshall. Rommel's son, Manfred, was 15 years old and served as part of an antiaircraft crew near his home. "...I arrived at Herrlingen at 7:00 a.m. 'Do you believe it?'

The Official PLoS Blog The three award recipients for the Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP) were announced today in Washington, DC at the Open Access Week kickoff event hosted by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the World Bank. ASAP recognizes the use of scientific research, published through Open Access, that has led to innovations benefiting society. Major sponsors include the Wellcome Trust, PLOS and Google. From left: Carlos Rossel of The World Bank, Robert Kiley of Wellcome Trust, Daniel Mietchen, Alex Kozak of Google, Nitika Pant Pai, Elizabeth Marincola of PLOS, Matt Todd, Heather Joseph of SPARC (click photo to view) The award recipients, along with the challenges they address and their innovative approaches, include: Global Collaboration to Fight Malaria (Matthew Todd, PhD): At least one child dies of malaria every minute of every day, mainly in Africa and Asia.