Monday, January 20, 2014

MediaWeek (V8, N3): Canadian Copyright, Peer Review Challenge, Open Access Directive, Visual Storytelling + More

In an inevitable but still significant decision, The University of Toronto has declined to renew a controversial licensing deal with Access Copyright (Varsity):
“This is a significant victory that will save students over $1.5 million annually and is the result of a campaign led by students and faculty,” said Agnes So, vice-president, university affairs of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU). “I am glad that the University of Toronto has listened to our concerns and ended the collection of a fee that many students saw as a cash grab.”
In a press release, the university stated that it was unable to reach an agreement with Access Copyright at a price that was fair for the services the company provided. It cited changes in copyright regulation — including the alterations to the Copyright Act made in 2012, the Supreme Court’s expansive approach to fair dealing, changing technology, and increased availability of open access material — as reasons for why the price of the license was no longer fair. Other universities have decided to end their license with Access Copyright, including the University of British Columbia (UBC), Queen’s University, and York University. Access Copyright sued York in April 2013; the case is being closely watched across the education sector, as it is widely seen as the first real test of two competing interpretations of recent changes to the law.
Peeling back the peer review process: It just wasn't true.  (Guardian)
Suddenly a plethora of positive psychology books began to appear, written by eminent psychologists. There was Flow: The Psychology of Happiness by Mihaly Csizkszentmihalyi, who with Seligman is seen as the co-founder of the modern positive psychology movement; Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realise Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment by Seligman himself. And of course Fredrickson's Positivity, approved by both Seligman and Csizkszentmihalyi. Each of them appeared to quote and promote one another, creating a virtuous circle of recommendation.
And these books were not only marketed like a previous generation of self-help manuals, they often shared the same style of cod-sagacious prose. "Positivity opens your mind naturally, like the water lily that opens with sunlight," writes Fredrickson in Positivity.
Then there was the lucrative lecture circuit. Both Seligman and Fredrickson are hired speakers. One website lists Seligman's booking fee at between $30,000 and $50,000 an engagement. In this new science of happiness, it seemed that all the leading proponents were happy.
But then Nick Brown started to ask questions.
Appropriations bill codifies Obama Administration Open Access directive (SPARC)
Progress toward making taxpayer-funded scientific research freely accessible in a digital environment was reached today with Congressional passage of the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.  The bill requires federal agencies under the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education portion of the Omnibus bill with research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to articles reporting on federally funded research no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
“This is an important step toward making federally funded scientific research available for everyone to use online at no cost,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).  “We are indebted to the members of Congress who champion open access issues and worked tirelessly to ensure that this language was included in the Omnibus.  Without the strong leadership of the White House, Senator Harkin, Senator Cornyn, and others, this would not have been possible.”
The additional agencies covered would ensure that more than $31 billion of the total $60 billion annual U.S. investment in taxpayer-funded research is now openly accessible.
SPARC strongly supports the language in the Omnibus bill, which affirms the strong precedent set by the landmark NIH Public Access Policy, and more recently by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Directive on Public Access.  At the same time, SPARC is pressing for additional provisions to strengthen the language – many of which are contained in the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act – including requiring that articles are:
  • Available no later than six months after publication;
  • Available through a central repository similar to the National Institutes for Health’s (NIH) highly successful PubMed Central, a 2008 model that opened the gateway to the Human Genome Project and more recently the Brain Mapping Initiative.  These landmark programs demonstrate quite clearly how opening up access to taxpayer funded research can accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, lead to both innovative new treatments and technologies, and generate new jobs in key sectors of the economy; and
  • Provided in formats and under terms that ensure researchers have the ability to freely apply cutting-edge analysis tools and technologies to the full collection of digital articles resulting from public funding.
Scientific America: Open Access 2013

The Golden Age of Visual Story Telling (Psychology Today):
Considering most people today are too busy to read long articles anymore, do you think infographics could be a more efficient way for them to acquire information?
Infographics take advantage of our visual intelligence. So when they are done well they allow us to make sense of a large amount of information quickly. They can have real advantages over text. But writing is powerful in different ways. They are two different ways of conveying information and telling stories. One is not better than the other.

From Twitter
BBC News - Fridge sends spam emails as attack hits smart gadgets

Academic publishing: No peeking…

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