Archive for: June, 2012

Friday Fun: University of Virginia Rector Dragas Aims to Remove God from Notre Dame

Jun 29 2012 Published by under friday fun

One thing you have got to give to the more-than-slightly unhinged staff at The Cronk of Higher Ed is that they have a bizarre and hilarious take on the most important issues in higher education.

And sort of dead-on too.

This is a case of So Funny It Hurts.

U-Va. Rector Dragas Aims to Remove God from Notre Dame

“Notre Dame has been operating like an exceptional university of higher learning,” said Dragas in her announcement. “Unfortunately the world has changed and colleges need CEO-minded leaders. God is a great motivator, but He’s no CEO.”

As an example, Dragas explained that God had been given second and third chances to revive Notre Dame’s underperforming football program, but failed to show quantifiable results.

You might also find another related Cronk post amusing: Thomas Jefferson Rolls Over in His Grave.

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Around the Web: More on the University of Viginia controversy

Jun 29 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

A follow up to my post from a couple of days ago. It's nice to know that sometimes these stories have the potential for happy endings.

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Around the Web: Archives as discovery zones, Khan Academy reconsidered, Credit for datasets and more

Jun 27 2012 Published by under around the web

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Around the Web: University of Virginia controversy

Jun 26 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

This collection of posts is only the tip of the iceberg of reaction to the ongoing controversy at the University of Virginia. For more, see the first item in the list for a digital archive.

I consider this particular crisis a very interesting one to follow, one with implications for all universities and similar in scope and importance as the McMaster and Harvard Libraries controversies were for libraries. I guess I'll have to come up with one of these posts for the Harvard reorganization too. The current crisis at the Library and Archives Canada seems to have larger implications as well, so there's another topic where I may do a compilation post.

I may redo this list chronologically at some point, but not right now.

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Around the Web: Potternomics, PeterSuberNomics, #ScholPubNomics and more

Jun 23 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

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Friday Fun: Family of Graduate Sets New Standard in Love-Showing Unruliness

Jun 22 2012 Published by under friday fun

Since it's convocation season, I thought I'd share this one from the ever-amusing, never-lets-me-down-late-on-a-Friday-afternoon-looking-for-something-anything-to-post-for-Friday-fun.

Family of Graduate Sets New Standard in Love-Showing Unruliness

Families at Kennebunkport State University’s commencement ceremony left in shame, realizing they had failed to show enough love for their respective graduates.

“After watching the Forrester family’s display of support for their son Lester, we realized the unworthiness of the flowers and gifts we brought for our graduating daughter Jessica,” said Samantha Anderson.


“Instead of the normal air horn, the Forresters rented an authentic Civil War era cannon and a fireworks launcher,” said Director of Alumni Affairs Tracy Wilkins. “How they sneaked them into the auditorium is still a mystery, but it shows that Lester comes from a family that values analytical problem-solving, just as our Kennebunkport mission promotes.”

And there's more...

(Disclosure: my older son's graduation was last night and this post in no way reflects what our plans were for celebration.)

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Is it ok to get paid to promote Open Access?

The title of this post might be a bit misleading. I don't really think it's much of a question.

Of course it's ok to get paid to promote open access.

My university pays me to be a librarian. I have faculty status. I can decide what I think are the most important issues in my field. I can advocate for solutions to those issues. I have decided that one of the most important issues in my field of science librarianship is the broken scholarly communications system. I have come to the conclusion that a system of open access to the scholarly literature is much fairer and probably ultimately much less expensive than the current system dominated by subscription-based publishers. So in my professional capacity as a science librarian I promote and advocate for open access.

And there are many others who get paid to promote open access -- other librarians, faculty, people that work for open access publishers, people that work for foundations, institutions, consortia and other non-profits that advocate and promote for various things. And others, I'm sure.

Perhaps one of the most renowned promoters of open access is Peter Suber. And he has written a book on open access, the publication of which he has announced here.

My book on open access is out.

I'm very happy to announce the publication of my new book, Open Access, from MIT Press.

The Kindle edition is available today <>. Digital editions in a dozen other formats will roll out over the summer.

The paperback edition is available for pre-order now from MIT Press <> and Amazon <>, and will ship in early August.

Before you ask: The book will become OA one year from now. If you can't wait that long, everything I've said in the book I've said in some form or another in an OA article over the years <>, probably more than once.

I plan to launch some kind of page where I can respond to reader comments and post updates. I welcome suggestions about the best way to do that.

Peter is getting paid to write the book, the publisher is charging people to read it. After a year, the book will become open access, although presumably people will still be able to pay for it if they want.

Is it moral and ethical for him to do this? Is he compromising his principles? Is Peter Suber the biggest hypocrite on the open access planet?

Yes, it is moral and ethical for him to do this. No, he is not compromising his principles and most emphatically Peter Suber is not a hypocrite.

Why do I have to say this?

Well, there have been a completely disgusting attach on Suber's character over at The Scholarly Kitchen: Money Talks — How Audience Priorities and Publishing Incentives Can Lead to Unusual OA Behaviors. The SK crowd is notoriously anti-open access but are usually easily ignored but this is a new low. I won't quote the post, but you can go read it for yourself. The comments are particularly enlightening.

And now, brass tacks.

Why is writing a book about open access, getting paid for it and having it published by a publisher that charges for the book not hypocritical?

First of all, the core goal of the open access movement is to remove toll access barriers to the primary scholarly literature.

This book is not part of the primary scholarly literature. It is a general introduction to a topic, almost a textbook if you will. As such it is more of a professional trade publication. But it is not a scholarly monograph.

As such it is perfectly legitimate for the author to be fairly compensated for her or his time and for the publisher to recoup their costs and a fair profit by selling the book to potential readers.

But isn't this action just Suber acknowledging that publishers have a role in preparing, editing and promoting works to the public, roles that add value to what they publish are roles that are worth supporting with real money in the publishing ecosystem? Isn't open access against that idea?

No, the open access movement isn't against the idea that publishing costs money. The open access movement readily acknowledges that publishers can and do add value to the works they edit. The goal of the open access movement is to remove the burden of paying for that added value from the public and shift it somewhere else, either to granting agencies, institutions or some other open access business model. No one denies that publishers can add value and that value is worth money.

Many books have been written promoting or explaining open access or one of its variations like open source software or open science. Most have been aimed to a general audience and have been published by regular trade and professional publishers who sell their books to readers and libraries. Probably the vast majority of those authors were paid for their time. In each case, it is perfectly legitimate.

Peter Suber has made a deal with the publisher to make his book open access after a year and that's a fantastic idea, one for which he and MIT Press should be congratulated. It's certainly an interesting experiment in business models and one that I hope works out for both of them financially.

I actually kind of feel bad writing this post. Suber certainly doesn't need me to defend him as I imagine he's taking this more in the "I've been called worse things by better people" mode. I usually just ignore the anti-open access posts on The Scholarly Kitchen. But I think this had to be said.

If you wish to add more reasons why Peter Suber isn't a hypocrite in the comments, please feel free. Oh yes, and please feel free to disagree with me as well.

Update 2012.06.25: Peter Suber has responded on Google+ and in the Scholarly Kitchen comments.

(Disclosure: I have requested a review copy of the book from the publisher and they'll be sending me one as soon as the print copies are ready. I intend to review the book here.)

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Around the Web: Why Twitter matters, Using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities and more

Jun 21 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

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Around the Web: Debating the NYPL renovation, Journal editor ethics and more

Jun 19 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

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Friday Fun: The scientist’s guide to insulting other scientists

Jun 15 2012 Published by under academia, friday fun

I always thought Wolfgang Pauli's famous remark was the ultimate insult to scientists, but apparently I was wrong. Perhaps I was not even wrong given the plethora of scientific insults you can find out there.

In any case, many "thanks" to the Knoepfler Lab blog for their descriptive, specialized, perhaps overly ambitious but somewhat derivative middle-author list of insults. The moderate length list shows their solid commitment to being good science educators. They seem to be very good scientists to have come up with such a list, but their trainees don't seem as rude and insulting and besides, I've never heard of them insulting anyone at an international meeting. Oh yeah, and I've heard they are all very fine parents and committed to their life partners and caring for their elderly parents.

Without further ado: The scientist’s guide to insulting other scientists: elephant in the lab series

  1. Mostly publishes in specialized journals
  2. Moderate productivity
  3. Attends few international meetings
  4. Papers are mostly descriptive
  5. Trainees are not attaining academic positions
  6. Overly ambitious
  7. Mostly middle author publications
  8. Outstanding educator
  9. Very good scientist
  10. Science is derivative and/or incremental

Some of them seem to sound like they are nice things to say about someone, but if you head over to the original post you'll see why they are really insults. The lab, again showing that they might be overly ambitious and very keen on educating the public, have come up with a supplemental list for all of our enjoyment: Insults 2.0: more, even nastier ways scientists skewer & roast each other over the coals.

I wonder what the equivalent list of librarian insults are? "Loves books?"

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