Monday, November 01, 2021

Media Week (Vol 9, No 10): Supply Chain Issues, Elsevier, Cengage, Wikipedia, AP & Blockchain + More

Elsevier and American Chemical Society remove 200,000 articles from ResearchGate (ChemistryWorld)

The academic social networking site ResearchGate has removed about 200,000 files from among the research papers it publicly shares, prompted by a spate of new copyright complaints from Elsevier and the American Chemical Society (ACS). ResearchGate, which is based in Germany and has more than 20 million users, says the majority of these files were Elsevier articles.

While requests to delete material from ResearchGate are not new, these most recent requests were notable because of the number of articles involved. ‘In the context of a community of over 20 million researchers this is unfortunate, rather than existential, but it has sparked an acute reaction from many of our members who believe in the importance of open science.

Also - Deadline looms as UK Universities reject Elsevier deal (TimesHEd)

Cengage launches "Cengage Infuse" to support faculty with digital instructional materials (PressRelease)

Cengage Infuse is a first-of-its-kind, digital learning solution that leverages LMS functionality for course set up and management. From set up to assignments and quizzes, no one ever needs to leave the LMS, which eliminates confusion for students on where they need to go to locate materials and complete assignments.

Developed with the input of more than 600 faculty and 400 students across 500 institutions, Cengage Infuse was created using a human-centered design approach. The collaborative process began with discussions to understand instructor needs and pain points, especially those who were not using digital tools, and led to the formation of an advisory board and Development Partners program which informed the iterative design, development, and testing of Cengage Infuse.

Wiley has acquired an editorial services company (Wiley)

J&J Editorial provides expert offerings in editorial operations, production, copy editing, system support and consulting, allowing more than 120 clients to publish world-class titles that power the global knowledge ecosystem.

What's going on with the book supply chain?  (Vox)

According to industry tracker NPD Bookscan, printed book sales have increased 13.2 percent from 2020 to 2021, and 21 percent from 2019 to 2021.“Usually a good year means going up maybe 3 or 4 percent,” says NPD books analyst Kristen McLean. “The growth that we saw last year and this year is pretty unprecedented.” McLean says it’s clear that the pandemic is what’s driving the growth in book sales, in part because of what kind of books are selling well and which aren’t. As global lockdowns began in March of 2020, sales of traditionally high-performing categories like self-help books and business books plummeted, while sales of educational books for home-bound kids and first aid books for emergency preppers took off


Paper, ink, and printing presses are all at a premium right now. There’s not enough of any of them, and what we do have costs a lot.

How do you turn casual, infrequent visitors to your website into subscribers. Take note of the newspaper industry (NiemanLab)

Cater to light readers. Stories and topics that attract your light readers will succeed with your heavy readers, too. But it doesn’t work the other way around. “Almost by definition, light-reading subscribers are more selective in what they read on the website than heavy users,” the INMA report notes. “It seems clear that it’s better to concentrate on boosting the engagement of lighter readers rather than maximizing the engagement of those who are already heavily invested in your product.” Heavy readers and fans bring the highest lifetime value and help fund future growth, the report notes. But the majority of subscribers will be light readers. Every publisher, INMA argues, should be segmenting and studying this audience.

Ever wondered how Wikipedia works and doesn't turn in to a personal promotional vehicle?  You can't just write what you want.  (WAPO)

In a world of inequality, we are well accustomed to rich, powerful, connected people getting preferential treatment, whether a good table at a restaurant, admission to a selective college for their offspring or a torn-up speeding ticket. Despite its countercultural tendencies, the digital world has wound up in a quite similar place. On large platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, the most important, newsworthy users are given VIP treatment. Their voices are amplified; their misdeeds are excused; they are, up to a point (see: Trump), freed from the automated policing that the rest of us have to endure. The notable exception is Wikipedia. There, VIPs have been shouting “Do you have any idea who you are dealing with?!” for years, only to be told either, not really, or, don’t care, and then instructed, as Eastman was, to take their objections to a Talk page where the community can weigh in.

Is Amazon Changing the Novel? In the new literary landscape, readers are customers, writers are service providers, and books are expected to offer instant gratification. (NewYorker)

Hence McGurl’s focus on the explosion of genre fiction—the bulk of fiction produced today. Here we find the estuary where books merge with Amazon’s service ethos, its resolve to be “Earth’s most customer-centric company.” Genre has, of course, always been an organizing principle in book marketing. The shiny embossed titles of the books on the spinning rack at an airport kiosk promise a hit of reliable pleasure to readers craving a Robert Ludlum thriller or a Nora Roberts love story. But Amazon brings such targeting to the next level. Romance readers can classify themselves as fans of “Clean & Wholesome” or “Paranormal” or “Later in Life.” And Amazon, having tracked your purchases, has the receipts—and will serve you suggestions accordingly. These micro-genres deliver on a hyper-specific promise of quality, but also end up reinforcing the company’s promise of quantity. What else does genre guarantee but variations on a trusted formula, endlessly iterated to fill up a Kindle’s bottomless library?

From Australia, a review of different publishing model experiments (ArtsHub)

AP is making its reporting data available on the blockchain via Chainlink (AP)

The availability of AP’s datasets via Chainlink comes as smart contracts — tamper-proof computer programs that trigger outcomes when certain conditions are met — are growing in popularity, especially in industries like decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFTs.

“Chainlink technology is the ideal way to provide smart contract developers anywhere in the world with direct, on-demand access to AP’s trusted economic, sports, and race call data” said Dwayne Desaulniers, AP director of blockchain and data licensing. “Working with Chainlink allows this information to be compatible with any blockchain. The open-source software is reliable, secure, and widely used across leading blockchain networks.”

More from my Flipboard magazine.


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