Category Archives: Open Access

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QuickWire: College and Library Groups Petition FCC on Net Neutrality

[Update (7/15/2014, 5:31 p.m.): The FCC has extended the public-comment period until Friday, and for that reason the college and library group has not yet officially released its comments.]

[Update (7/18/2014, 1:53 p.m.): The coalition officially filed its comments with the FCC this morning. There are now 11 groups signed onto the document.]

A coalition of seven university and library organizations on Tuesday filed comments asking the Federal Communications Commission to preserve net neutrality….

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Digital Public Library of America Celebrates Its Birthday

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Like most youngsters, the Digital Public Library of America has been growing fast. Officially a year old, it now encompasses more than seven million items, three times what it started with 12 months ago.

Designed to be a gateway to information rather than a final destination, the DPLA doesn’t actually ingest digitized books, manuscripts, photos, moving pictures, recordings, or other materials. Instead, it works with a nationwide network of institutions to aggregate the metadata that describes …

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Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money…

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New Syllabus Archive Opens the ‘Curricular Black Box’

Course syllabi are a potentially valuable source of information for teaching and scholarship. Their contents could shed light on the evolution of fields (How has Foucault’s popularity changed over time?) or help professors develop new courses (What are best practices for teaching digital humanities?). But gathering and sharing syllabi can be a messy business. Privacy concerns, legal uncertainty, fragmented and inconsistent sharing practices—all present challenges.

A group of scholars is taking a…

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QuickWire: Anthropology Journal Moves to Open-Access Model

The journal Cultural Anthropology has just published its first free, open-access issue, which it says will help in “returning publishing to the commons, where academic life begins.”

“The editors hope this move will expand the audience of the journal to curious readers—academic or not—who would not normally have access to the latest research in anthropology,” the journal said in a news release. The release also said that the Society for Cultural Anthropology, which publishes the journal, hopes th…

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Ruling Could Drive FCC Forward on Net Neutrality

A court ruling this week that seemed on its face to be a defeat for advocates of net neutrality might actually include a road map for how to ensure equitable access for users, according to legal experts and open-Internet advocates.

The 2-to-1 ruling, handed down on Tuesday by a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., allows Internet-service providers to create tiered pricing for certain types of online traffic. It’s the latest turn in a years-long battle over the Federal Communications Comm…

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QuickWire: Elsevier Joins University College London in Big-Data Project

The publishing giant Elsevier and University College London said on Wednesday morning that they were joining to create a Big Data Institute “to explore innovative ways to apply new technologies and analytics to scholarly content and data.”

The new institute will have access to Elsevier’s vast trove of scholarly research and public data, which the British newspaper The Independent estimates at some 200 terabytes’ worth. Elsevier said the new partnership would also benefit from the publisher’s pur…

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Many Colleges Can’t Track Completion Rates, Online-Course Survey Finds

Students are somewhat less likely to complete online courses than those taught in classrooms, a survey of online programs by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education has found. But the survey also found that many colleges have trouble keeping track of how many students complete courses of either kind.

Among 225 responses included in the survey, 65 percent “were not able to provide an on-campus rate and 55 percent did not report an online rate” for course completion, according to a …

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Posting Your Latest Article? You Might Have to Take It Down

Guy Leonard received an unpleasant surprise in his inbox early this morning: a notice from Academia.edu saying it had taken down a copy of an article of his that he’d posted on the research-sharing platform. The reason? A takedown request from Elsevier, which publishes the journal in which the paper had appeared.

Mr. Leonard, a research fellow in the University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, tweeted his dismay and posted a link to a screengrab of the notice.

“Unfortunate…

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Academics to Udacity Founder: Told Ya

In a new magazine profile of Sebastian Thrun, the Udacity founder calls his company’s massive open online courses a “lousy product” to use for educating underprepared college students. That assertion has prompted a chorus of I-told-you-sos from his critics in academe.

In interviews for the Fast Company profile, Mr. Thrun reflected on the discouraging results of an experiment at San Jose State University in which instructors used Udacity’s online platform to teach mathematics. Some of the stude…