Tens of thousands of academic papers from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society are being shared via BitTorrent thanks to the work of someone going by the name Greg Maxwell. All of the papers are out of copyright — they date from the time of Newton up through 1923. Nevertheless, they have until now been locked up behind a paywall. Hopefully others in possession of such troves will follow suit. Scientific publishing is long overdue for this kind of shakeup.
Many academic journals require their library subscribers to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep their pricing structures secret. This is obviously anti-competitive, and precludes any kind of free market from forming. Cornell has decided it’s had enough of this, and will refuse to sign any such agreement in the future, while making the (often exorbitant) prices it pays for journal subscriptions public.
If you want to follow my shared links in real time instead of as a weekly digest, head over to Delicious. You can search them there easily too.
Continue reading Links for the week of August 20th, 2009
- Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable – A good epitaph for the newspaper, by Clay Shirky. Now if only Elsevier would go bankrupt too. (tagged: technology economy history internet copyright publishing newspapers )
- Will Banks Start to Walk Their Talk? Don't Hold Your Breath – I thought that whole spiel about how Citi and friends were suddenly going to be profitable sounded suspicious. All they had to do was redefine the word "profit" to mean whatever they wanted it to mean! Brilliant! The innovations that flow from our Commanding Heights never fail to amaze. (tagged: baiilout finance economics policy politics banks citi )
- Our Pigs, Our Food, Our Health – Massive overuse of antibiotics in livestock feed breeds bacteria resistant to antibiotics? Whodathunkit! WTF is this article doing on the Op-Ed page? Shouldn't someone be out there in Iowa winning a Pulitzer over this? Or is it too obvious to even warrant investigation. We're going to look back in 100, or 50, or 25 years and deeply regret squandering the limited miracle of antibiotics on cheap bacon. This is what we get for refusing to teach evolution. (tagged: health evolution antibiotics agriculture food mrsa livestock farms )
- Obama Tells Business Roundtable: “If You’re Giving Away Carbon Permits For Free … It Doesn’t Work” And “The Science Is Overwhelming” – Joe Romm usually bugs the crap out of me, but this is actually a decent piece, trying to get across the point that Obama really, actually appears to understand what would be required to get carbon pricing implemented and functional, both from a policy and a political point of view. The sooner industry starts planning around this, the better it'll be for everyone. (tagged: climate carbon economics auction policy obama energy )
- Hussman Funds – Weekly Market Comment: Buckle Up – I don't see any reason to trust Hussman more than the normal investing talking heads who do about as well as chance would predict, but he can do division:
The course of defending the bondholders of insolvent institutions is not sustainable. Do the math. The collateral behind private market debt is being marked down by easily 20-30%. That debt represents about 3.5 times GDP. That implies collateral losses on the order of 70-100% of GDP, which itself is $14 trillion. Unless Congress is actually willing to commit that amount of public funds to defend the bondholders of mismanaged financials so they can avoid any loss, this crisis simply cannot be addressed through bailouts. Bondholders have to take losses. Debt has to be restructured. There is no other option — but the markets are going to suffer interminably until our leaders figure that out. (tagged: finance crisis banks investing bailout )
- Tent City Rapidly Growing in Sacramento – Wow, a tent city forming within Sacramento? What proportion of people ended up living in shantytowns and similar impromptu dwellings and communities during the Great Depression I wonder. Ironic and sad, given the absurd oversupply of housing is what in large part triggered this economic mess. (tagged: homeless economy depression sacramento california shanty )
- Wikileaks cracks NATO's Master Narrative for Afghanistan – For the love of god, even the Pentagon can't get its users to pick decent passwords? Classified messaging (propaganda) documents regarding Afghanistan posted on publicly accessible website, encrypted with the super-secret ultra-secure key: 'progress'. (tagged: propaganda transparency war pentagon military security internet )
- Nationalization for Beginners – A nice short readable set of the possible definitions of "Nationalization" in the context of the banking crisis. Opponents usually mean Soviet style State Banks, proponents generally mean FDIC style conservatorship. What we've got now is a horribly opaque mishmash. (tagged: bailout crisis finance fdic economics )
- Rep. John Conyers: A Reply to Larry Lessig – Conyers replies to Lessig's fairly aggressive critique of HR801 in public. Not convincing. (tagged: politics science openaccess hr801 lessig conyers publishing )
- Talk on China and the Global Internet at Harvard – Rebecca MacKinnon gave a talk on the future of China within the context of the global Internet. Haven't watched it yet, but downloaded to my iTunes, and her blog is good. Ethan Zuckerman blogged it. Interesting to see how different cultures evolve their relationship with the machines independently (and how it mediates our interactions with each other) (tagged: china internet technology transparency censorship harvard )
- Astronaut's Video Satirizes NASA Bureaucracy – I'm impressed that NASA actually let this satire out, and forced a bunch of managers to watch it… not sure if they're actually capable of fixing themselves though. We can hope. (tagged: nasa bureaucracy youtube satire astronaut npr )
- Sexting Teens May Face Child Porn Charges – Can it really be kiddie porn if you took the photo yourself, and you're a (horny) minor? Seriously. This country is totally nuts. Maybe we should ban mirrors in teen bedrooms too. (tagged: sex technology porn sexting texting sms mms phone )
- H.R. 801 That Conyers bill again! – A roundup of responses to John Conyers' H.R. 801: "The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act", which would (despite it's ridiculous name) prevent the public from accessing the fruits of the research which they funded in the first place. We should be expanding NIH style open access requirements, not rolling them back (tagged: hr801 conyers PLoS open access copyright publishing science policy )
- Congress is trying to restrict public access to publicly funded research – Under pressure from publishers, Congress is considering outlawing open access requirements like the ones that NIH imposes on its grantees, meaning that the fruits of publicly funded research will not be publicly available. We should be expanding open access requirements across all public research funding agencies, not rolling back what little we've got. Write your rep! (tagged: copyright PLoS publishing open access NIH PubMed HR801 research science policy )
- Reports of Vélib’s Demise Greatly Exaggerated – How can one really ensure that public-private "partnerships" like the Velib program don't end up being subject to this kind of PR BS? Or alternatively, how can one ensure that such a program is efficiently and effectively administered purely by the public sector? (tagged: bicycle velib transportation pr cycling paris )