Monday, July 16, 2012

MediaWeek (V5, N29): UK Frees Journal Articles, Amazon in Japan, Revising HigherEd, Blackboard Myths, Translations + More

UK is about to open up academic publishing.  (Guardian):
Though many academics will welcome the announcement, some scientists contacted by the Guardian were dismayed that the cost of the transition, which could reach £50m a year, must be covered by the existing science budget and that no new money would be found to fund the process. That could lead to less research and fewer valuable papers being published.
British universities now pay around £200m a year in subscription fees to journal publishers, but under the new scheme, authors will pay "article processing charges" (APCs) to have their papers peer reviewed, edited and made freely available online. The typical APC is around £2,000 per article.
Tensions between academics and the larger publishing companies have risen steeply in recent months as researchers have baulked at journal subscription charges their libraries were asked to pay.
More than 12,000 academics have boycotted the Dutch publisher Elsevier, in part of a broader campaign against the industry that has been called the "academic spring".
Why Amazon will have a hard time in Japan.  I guess we'll see if they're right.  (JapanTimes):
The problem they’re having in Japan is trying to negotiate that same kind of deal with domestic publishers. Like any long-established industry in Japan (or almost anything for that matter, from the nation’s government to even its foster care system), they are resistant to change. They don’t want to rock the boat, or experiment with new things. They don’t like the idea of cutting back on their wholesale prices, and thus reducing their profits. Especially to a big, foreign company from the U.S. Not after they’ve been doing things their own way for so long.
While Amazon is struggling to get publishers signed on for e-book distribution, Rakuten already has deals with a majority of them. A big part of that could be that Rakuten is a domestic Japanese company. They know what the publishing companies of their own country want and how far they’ll be willing to bend. Another factor could be that they’re not after drastically reduced wholesale pricing like Amazon is. Rakuten knows Japanese customers are used to paying high prices for media like books, music, and movies, and they’re not trying to change that. Besides, they’re already the equivalent of Japan’s own They don’t need to revolutionize the book selling market to make their name, they’re just trying to break into the e-book market.
Interesting piece from Fast Company about revising the HEd curriculum (FastCo):
The opposition of “liberal arts” and “vocational education” carries with it a lot of residual 19th-century class snobbery as well as 20th-century quantitative bias. In the real world of the 21st century, there aren’t “two cultures.” We need both. As a cartoon circulating on Facebook would have it, “Science can tell you how to clone a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Humanities can tell you why this might be a bad idea.”
To get us thinking about the possibilities of real educational reform, I propose a Start-Up Core Curriculum for Entrepreneurship, Service, and Society (hokey, yes: SUCCESS). Neither a Great Books common core (which, however profound, rarely connects to a student’s specialized major) nor the duck, duck, goose model of distribution requirements (where students are left to make coherence from a welter of rhetoric, statistics, art appreciation, natural science, foreign language or other course offerings), the Start-Up Core Curriculum isn’t just about content mastery, but about putting deep knowledge along with basic skills into practice to address intractable real-world global problems.
Stop complaining: Five Myths about Blackboard (Inside HigherEd):
Myth #4 - Blackboard's Challenges Are Around Technology: It is easy to look at Blackboard's core Learn product, compare the platform against modern LMS's designed solely for cloud delivery (such as Instructure's Canvas), and conclude the Blackboard has a technology problem. The reality is that Blackboard has a large number of skilled developers and the capabilities to quickly design next generation cloud based learning services. Learning platforms that would benefit from all the Blackboard has learned about scalability, usability, and reliability. Blackboard's challenge is an installed user base of educational institutions that are reluctant to make big changes (for good reasons).   Everyone at Blackboard knows that mobile learning, interconnected platforms, and software as a service e-learning is the future. The key is figuring out how to help higher ed clients build that bridge between a legacy and modern e-learning infrastructure.  This is where the Services division will be so important, as change management is the most important and difficult component of increasing productivity (supported by technology) in higher ed.
From the Economist a look at book translations in Stories from Elsewhere (Econ):
The Illinois-based Dalkey Archive Press, which has been publishing international literature in English for 25 years, says the lack of literature in translation is a cultural crisis that is growing worse. Faced with such a homogeneous reading culture in her adopted Britain, Meike Ziervogel, a German native, started Peirene Press in 2008 in her north London home. She joins a handful of publishing pioneers such as New York’s Europa Editions and Rochester University’s Open Letter, which are working to chip away at the navel-gazing literary culture of Anglo-American letters. She publishes three novellas (each shorter than 200 pages) a year in English by celebrated European authors who are barely known outside their home countries.
From my twitter feed this week (slow week);

Hands-on: nearly instant photofinishing direct from your smartphone ArsTechnica

Library Groups, EFF Hit Back in HathiTrust Case

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