January 30, 2012, 6:50 pm
The eminent mathematician Timothy Gowers vows to do no work for Elsevier.
Elsevier, the global publishing company, is responsible for The Lancet, Cell, and about 2,000 other important journals; the iconic reference work Gray’s Anatomy, along with 20,000 other books—and one fed-up, award-winning mathematician.
Timothy Gowers of the University of Cambridge, who won the Fields Medal for his research, has organized a boycott of Elsevier because, he says, its pricing and policies restrict access to work that should be much more easily available. He asked for a boycott in a blog post on January 21, and as of Monday evening, on the boycott’s Web site The Cost of Knowledge, nearly 1,900 scientists have signed up, pledging not to publish, referee, or do editorial work for any Elsevier journal.
January 25, 2012, 9:32 am
The Association of Research Libraries might have a solution to what some librarians call “the VHS-cassette problem.”
Here’s the scenario: An academic library has a collection of video tapes that is slowly deteriorating, thanks to the fragile nature of analog media. A librarian would like to digitize the collection for future use, but avoids making the copies out of fear that doing so would violate copyright law. And the institution’s attorneys have advised the librarian that the fair-use principle, which might offer a way to make copies legally, is too flexible to rely on.
When the Association of Research Libraries and a team of fair-use advocates surveyed librarians to find out how they navigate copyright issues, many of them described that exact conundrum. But they may soon have a way out. Tomorrow the group will announce a code of best practices designed to outline ways …
January 9, 2012, 5:07 pm
Last month we asked for your help in identifying the top technology innovators in higher education. The response has been exciting. So far we received more than 200 nominations, pointing us to groundbreaking professors and administrators in various areas of education technology. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
We wanted to provide a quick update on our project. A team of reporters and editors here held a series of meetings to narrow down the list of innovators. We’ve selected 12 to profile in an upcoming issue of The Chronicle. As we said in our previous post, our goal is to focus on some of the most influential new ideas out there and to provide a sense of who their champions are.
Chronicle reporters are in the process of writing those profiles, which we hope to publish next month. We also plan to organize all the online nominations and share those in an easy-to-read format….
December 13, 2011, 4:19 pm
A page of calculations from Newton's "Waste Book" notebook. Image courtesy of Cambridge U. Library.
The Cambridge Digital Library has opened its virtual doors by posting more than 4,000 digitized pages from its collection of Sir Isaac Newton’s papers, the University of Cambridge announced this week. Online visitors can now browse through the scientist’s college notebooks and early papers; his notes on optics; his so-called Waste Book, a notebook he began using in 1664 when he fled Cambridge because of the plague, and which contains some of his breakthroughs in calculus; and an annotated first edition of his Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica, often called the Principia, which made him famous for his work on the laws of motion and gravity.
“Anyone, wherever they are, can see at the click…
December 5, 2011, 2:20 pm
The Online Computer Library Center today announced WorldShare, a tech platform and brand designed to emphasize “collaboration and app-sharing across the library community,” the group said in an announcement. OCLC is a nonprofit membership and research group that works on resource-sharing among libraries. It and its member libraries are responsible for WorldCat, the world’s largest public catalog of library records.
The driving idea behind WorldShare is Web-scale cooperation, according to the group. WorldShare is designed to “enable library developers, partners, and other organizations to create, configure, and share a wide range of applications” well beyond institutional boundaries. OCLC also announced the creation of new data centers in Europe, Canada, and Australia to support WorldShare and other services. The first such center, in Britain, goes online this week, according to the…
December 1, 2011, 12:41 pm
A major British library group announced today that it has struck new deals with Elsevier and Wiley-Blackwell, two of the largest publishers of academic journals. The group, Research Libraries U.K., had threatened to discontinue so-called Big Deal subscription arrangements with the two publishers because of what it called unsustainable price increases. U.S. libraries have also been re-examining whether Big Deals are really worth what they cost.
The new deals with Elsevier and Wiley-Blackwell “serve as new benchmarks for our relations with other publishers, as RLUK’s members will no longer accept massive unjustified price rises,” Phil Sykes, chair of the group, said in a statement. “We will continue to scrutinize all offers carefully in the future to make sure we get best value for money and to ensure that we do not pay for new, untested journal titles as part of…
November 4, 2011, 3:08 pm
Students’ use of electronic books has grown little, if at all, over the past three years, according to international surveys of more than 6,500 college students conducted in 2008 and again this year. The finding, from ebrary’s Global Student E-book Survey, surprised audience members when the survey report was previewed this week at the Charleston Conference, a gathering of librarians, publishers, and e-book vendors. Even so, presenters said they felt confident that the number of e-book users would grow more rapidly over the next six months, and that libraries and colleges must be ready to handle the demand. Other results from the survey showed that while students feel there is a need for both print and e-books, they would opt for the e-book if available. Respondents also said the availability of more titles in their areas of study would help make e-books more suitable for the classroom. …