Archive for the 'In the News' Category

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Elsevier Boycott, Open Access, University Responses, etc.

Earlier this year, Congress tried to pass legislation that would have ended the NIH Pub Med Central repository [link]. This legislation failed, but Elsevier was a big backer of it. There is an active boycott – mostly among mathematicians – of Elsevier journals (publishing, reviewing, etc.). In addition, both Harvard and MIT professors have written letters in protest of some of Elsevier’s policies:

Faculty Advisory Council Memorandum on Journal Pricing: Major Periodical Subscriptions Cannot be Sustained
Faculty Advisory Council | Harvard University
April 17, 2012

New Open Access Working Group Formed: Formulating Response to Elsevier’s Policy Change
Richard Holton | MIT Facultly Newsletter
March/April 2012

And, a blast from the past. This has been simmering for some time:

Libraries take a stand
Harvard University Gazette
February 5, 2004

Congress Considers Blocking Government’s Open Access Policy

The following is a compilation of articles discussing legislation in The House [H.R. 3699], which would block rules such as NIH Publication Reporting rules/requirements.

The bill seeks to prohibit federal agencies from conditioning their grants to require that articles reporting on publicly funded research be made accessible to the public online.

New Bill Would Put Taxpayer-Funded Science Behind Pay Walls
Lena Groeger | ProPublica
January 12, 2012

The Research Works Act Aims to Kill Open-Access Journals
David Banks | thesocietypages.org/cyborgology
January 11, 2012

Research Bought, Then Paid For
Michael b. Eisen | New York Times
January 10, 2012

Here we go again: Congress considers blocking government’s open access policy
John Timmer | Arstechnica.com
January 9, 2012

Around the Web: Some posts on the Research Works Act (Now chronological!!)
John Dupuis | scienceblogs.com
January 9, 2012

IP Contributions to Scientific Papers by Publishers: An open letter to Rep Maloney and Issa
Cameron Neylon | Science in the Open [online home of Cameron Neylon]
January 8, 2012

Science-Journal Publishers Take Fight Against Open-Access Policies to Congress
Chronicle of Higher Education

January 5, 2012

Katrina’s Impact On The Population Of New Orleans

NPR’s Robert Siegel talks to Mark VanLandingham, a professor of public health at Tulane University, about the changes in the makeup of the population of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina struck the city five years ago. Some ethnic groups have rebounded better than others. The Vietnamese population of East New Orleans has robustly returned to their old neighborhood, and the Hispanic population of the city has grown.

Broadcast August 23, 2010

Listen to the story or read the transcript

Wikipedia for academics? Peer review on the web

The following are articles that cover some experiments in web-based/transparent reviews of scholarly articles.

Academia tests crowd-sourcing: Journals are slowly moving toward open-online-peer reviews for scholarly work
Faith Merino | VatorNews
August 24, 2010

Time for Peer Review to Meet the Web?
Heather Horn | The Atlantic Wire
August 24, 2010

Scholars Test Web Alternative to Peer Review
PATRICIA COHEN | New York Times
August 23, 2010
The Internet is calling into question one of academia’s sacred rites: the peer- reviewed journal article.

The Stat Police

A story from NPR’s On the Media:

Politicians and journalists frequently cite statistics that are misleading, derived from dubious studies, or simply plucked out of thin air. So the U.K. has done something novel: they’ve created a new government agency to ensure that those all-important stats aren’t fudged for political purposes. Chairman of the U.K. Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar, explains what they do.

Listen here:

Transcript available here Monday (6/22/09) afternoon.

Political Manipulation of the Census has been Rejected throughout the course of American history

Report: Political Manipulation of the Census has been Rejected throughout the course of American history
Source: U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (GOP)

A report released by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Republican staff examining the Constitutional foundation and history of the U.S. Census concludes that while the latest attempt by the White House to politicize the Census, though not entirely unprecedented, is unlikely to succeed.

“When it comes to the Census, history demonstrates that political gamesmanship has always been the losing proposition,” the report concludes. “Dating from before the founding of the United States through the present, there have been Census debates over everything from Constitutional issues and types of ‘estimation’ to reapportionment. In each and every debate, however, the politics of interference in and manipulation of the Census lose out to independence.”

The report’s release comes in advance of the scheduled Friday confirmation hearing of Census Director nominee Robert Groves who must explain how his leadership will result in an apolitical count that fully meets all Constitutional requirements. Questions about Groves’ ability to lead the Census Bureau have recently been raised by his decision to single out Congressional Republicans – while excluding Congressional Democrats – for criticism in a May 7, 2009 Associated Press story.

Full report (PDF)

Rememberance for Calvin Beale, Rural Demographer

National Public Radio’s Sunday Morning Edition aired a remembrance for Calvin Beale, a longtime demographer in the Agricultural Department. Beale fundamentally changed Federal policy and funding in the 1970’s by testing his demographic data against reality. He found, by visiting over 2,400 counties during his 55 year career, that rural American was growing, not declining:

He saw that long before we saw it in the data, because he was out and about. And for a nation that was focused on growth, much of rural America had essentially been written off as a declining place. But what Calvin showed was that rural America was growing again. And it made policymakers on a lot of fronts begin to think about not just decline and how to cushion it, but about growth and how to help manage it.

– Kenneth Johnson, University of New Hampshire
You may hear the full story and watch a clip from Jim Wildman’s profile, “On the Rural Road”, here.

Survey Finds Citations Growing Narrower as Journals Move Online

New research shows that as more scholarly and research journals are available online, researchers cite fewer, newer papers. Findings appear in the July 18 issue of Science magazine.
Related article in the same issue.

Pam Smock Comments on Gender Gap in Housework

Pamela Smock, a University of Michigan sociologist, is quoted in a NYT article, “Men Who Do Housework May Get More Sex.” Commenting on the findings that men are assuming a greater share of housework, although they still lag women, she noted a persistent gender gap remains for ‘invisible’ household work — e.g., scheduling children’s medical appointments, buying the gifts they take to birthday parties, arranging holiday gatherings.