Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Isaac Newton Project

Currently over 3.9 million words are available in the Isaac Newton Project, hosted by the University of Sussex, in collaboration with institutions at Cambridge University. "Our aim is to make it possible, for the first time in history, to grasp the organic unity of Newton's writing by garnering all his astonishingly diverse productions into a single, freely accessible electronic edition."

The Project's vision is ambitious. Among the goals are:
•complete text-encoded transcripts, in both 'diplomatic' and 'normalized' versions - the former recording all the deletions, additions, errors and alterations made in the original document, the latter edited to yield something more like a 'finished' text;
•high-resolution facsimile images of all the papers, and of the marginal annotations made by Newton to the books in his library, most of which still survive.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cell Death & Disease, New Open-Access Journal from Nature Publishing Group

Nature Publishing Group has introduced its first all open-access, peer-reviewed journal, Cell Death & Disease, from the editorial team of Cell Death and Differentiation.

From the Cell Death and Disease web site:
Cell Death & Disease makes all content freely available to all researchers worldwide, ensuring maximum dissemination of content through the platform. Content is published online on a weekly basis to provide timely communication to the community and keep publication times to a minimum.
Authors can choose either the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence or a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 licence. Publication is funded by article-processing charges of £2,000 / $3,000 / €2,400 for original articles and unsolicited reviews. Correspondence articles and other unsolicited articles are published at a reduced fee (£670 / $1000 / €800).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are Young Scholars Conservative re. Dissemination of Their Research?

UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education recently published the 733 page report Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines.

"Since 2005, the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), with generous funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has been conducting research to understand the needs and practices of faculty for in-progress scholarly communication (i.e., forms of communication employed as research is being executed) as well as archival publication. The complete results of our work can be found at the Future of Scholarly Communication's project website. This report brings together the responses of 160 interviewees across 45, mostly elite, research institutions to closely examine scholarly needs and values in seven selected academic fields: archaeology, astrophysics, biology, economics, history, music, and political science."

In this extremely long, comprehensive report it is probably silly to pinpoint just one finding. However, the report concludes that many young scholars are still quite conservative with respect to publishing and the dissemination of their research. This conclusion probably runs counter to the idea commonly adduced that young scholars brought up in a digital environment are more likely "are more likely to change the social landscape of scholarship".

From the Executive Summary:
Conservatism of Young Scholars
In all fields, many young scholars, and particularly graduate students, are especially leery of putting ideas and data out too soon for fear of theft and/or misinterpretation. Given these findings, we caution against assumptions that “millennials” will change the social landscape of scholarship by virtue of their facility with cell phones and social networking sites. There is ample evidence that, once initiated into the profession, newer scholars—be they graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or assistant professors—adopt the behaviors, norms, and recommendations of their mentors in order to advance their careers. Of course, teenagers eventually develop into adults. Moreover, given the complex motivations involved in sharing scholarly work and the importance of peer review as a quality and noise filter, we think it premature to assume that Web 2.0 platforms geared toward early public exposure of research ideas or data are going to spread among scholars in the most competitive institutions. These platforms may, however, become populated with materials, such as protocols or primary data, that established scholars want to disseminate in some formal way but without undergoing unnecessary and lengthy peer review. It is also possible, based on our scan of a variety of “open peer-review” websites, that scholars in less competitive institutions (including internationally), who may experience more difficulty finding a high-stature publisher for their work, will embrace these publication outlets. Time will tell.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Napoleonic Wars Exhibit

The European Library has a fascinating online exhibit on the Napoleonic Wars. The exhibit is divided into five sections.
  • Wars: "Battles, grenadiers, artilleries, attacks, victories and defeats! Napoleonic Wars were portrayed differently across Europe."
  • Portraits: "Dresses, headgears and sideburns from 1802 to 1896. This selection of portraits immortalizes public figures, sumptuous houses, crowds & daily life."
  • Maps: "Military maps, city plans and magnificent representations of the well documented assaults launched by Napoleon Bonaparte in Europe."
  • Texts: "Rare letters, books, manuscripts and other prints chronologically displayed. Discover the handwriting of Napoleon Bonaparte or the original 'Charte Constitutionelle'".
  • Specials: "Playing cards, comics, music scores, coins, Napoleon Bonaparte’s marble bust."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Online Guide to Open Access Journals Publishing

The Directory of Open Access Journals has published an Online Guide to Open Access Journals Publishing:
"The online guide is directed to small independent teams and provides practical information on planning, setting up, launching, publishing and managing an open access scholarly journal. Users can take advantage of additional resources in the form of links to related information, samples of applied practices and downloadable tools that can be adapted. The guide seeks to be interactive, allowing users to share their own best practices, tips and suggestions through a comment field. Although the guide contains some information that is specific to the Nordic region, most of its content can be applied internationally."
Click here for the guide.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Interview with Open Access advocate Stevan Harnad

In Information Today Richard Poynder interviews the Open Access advocate Stevan Harnad. In the interview Harnad discusses the state of OA today as well as pinpointing some important milestones in its recent history. Though somewhat disappointed in the slowness of the movement, he is still "hopeful that in 2010 we will finally see the tipping point needed to usher in universal OA."

The interview may be accessed here:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February SPARC Open Access Newsletter

Peter Suber has posted the February issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. "This issue takes a close look at four analogies between the political fortunes of open access and the political fortunes of clean energy. The roundup section briefly notes 116 OA developments from January."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Report on Scholarly Communication for Research in Progress in Selected Disciplines

The Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of California Berkeley has just published (January 2010) a new report on scholarly communication issues related to research in progress across selected disciplines: archaeology, astrophysics, biology, economics, history, music and political science. Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines reflects responses from 160 participants located at 45 primarily elite, research institutions. Findings indicate that opportunities for innovative use of technology and dissemination of information exist in all of these fields, but are still overshadowed by the existing publication and communication cultures for advancement in the given field. The report consists of a synthesis chapter as well as individual chapters on each discipline.