elsevier

Elsevier: "It's illegal to Sci-Hub." Also Elsevier: "We link to Sci-Hub all the time."

Yesterday, I wrote about science publishing profiteer Elsevier's legal threats against Citationsy, in which the company claimed that the mere act of linking to Sci-Hub (an illegal open-access portal) was itself illegal. Read the rest

Elsevier sends copyright threat to site for linking to Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub (previously) is a scrappy, nonprofit site founded in memory of Aaron Swartz, dedicated to providing global access to the world's scholarship -- journal articles that generally report on publicly-funded research, which rapacious, giant corporations acquire for free, and then charge the very same institutions that paid for the research millions of dollars a year to access. Read the rest

University of California system libraries break off negotiations with Elsevier, will no longer order their journals

Elsevier (previously) is one of the titans of academic and scientific publishing, a wildly profitable and politically potent corporation whose market dominance has allowed it to extract ever-larger sums from the universities whose researchers provide the vast majority of the material it publishes -- material it does not have to pay for, and in some cases, material it charges money to publish. Read the rest

ISP that protested being ordered to block Sci-Hub by blocking Elsevier and government agencies now under threat for "Net Neutrality" violations

Bahnhof is the Swedish free-speech-oriented ISP that was finally forced to block access to Sci-Hub (a site providing principled access to paywalled scientific literature) retaliated against science publishing giant Elsevier and the Swedish Patent and Market Court by blocking access to their sites for Bahnhof customers, redirecting requests to a page explaining why the block was in place. Read the rest

Europe's massive plan to require open access for all science gets two new backers: Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation

In September, a consortium of 11 of Europe's largest science funders announced, "Plan S," whereby they would no longer fund research unless the grantees promised that the results would be published in an open access journal, which anyone could read and copy for free. Two more funders quickly signed up after the announcements, bringing the total to 13. Read the rest

Swedish ISP punishes Elsevier for forcing it to block Sci-Hub by also blocking Elsevier

The Swedish ISP Bahnhof has a strong historic commitment to free speech, so when the notoriously corrupt science publishing giant Elsevier (previously) sought to force the ISP to censor connections to the open access site Sci-Hub (previously), the ISP went to court to resist the order. Read the rest

Why For-Profit Academic Publishers Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank

If you’re not an academic or scientist, then you probably have no idea how off kilter research scholarship has become.  Read the rest

The citation graph is one of humankind's most important intellectual achievements

When researchers write, we don't just describe new findings -- we place them in context by citing the work of others. Citations trace the lineage of ideas, connecting disparate lines of scholarship into a cohesive body of knowledge, and forming the basis of how we know what we know.

Study finds that for-pay scholarly journals contribute virtually nothing to the papers they publish

In the open access debate, advocates for traditional, for-profit scholarly journals often claim that these journals add value to the papers they publish in the form of editorial services that improve their readability and clarity. Read the rest

Who may swim in the ocean of knowledge?

I've written an op-ed on The Wire, a prominent nonprofit publication in India about access to knowledge. Access to scientific knowledge has been colonized by a few publishers who have improperly laid claim to the ocean of knowledge. This situation is morally untenable and contrary to law. It must change because education is a fundamental right.

The parallels between companies such as Reed Elsevier and the exploiters of old such as the East India Company are remarkable. Scientists are the new indigo farmers. Journals are the railroads built, not to benefit the population of scholars, but to ship raw materials back to England and high-priced goods back to the universities. Paywalls and DRM are the new salt taxes.

The decolonization of knowledge is a great opportunity for our times and I believe India is poised to lead that revolution.

In India, the principle that copyright does not apply for materials used in the course of instruction was recently affirmed by the Delhi high court in the Delhi University copy shop case. The Rameshwari Photocopy Shop is located on the premises of Delhi University, and was selling students course packs with copies of journal articles. At the behest of three large publishers, the shop was raided by armed police and charged with high crimes for violating copyright. After an intervention by an association of students and an association of academics pointed to the “for the purposes of instruction” exception to the copyright, the court said no wrongs had been committed. The right to education triumphed over the baseless claims of the publishers.

Read the rest

Price of 40-year-old cancer drug raised from $50 to $768 a pill

The cost of lomustine, a veteran cancer drug, have skyrocketed after a startup bought the rights to it and hiked prices 1,400 percent.

According to the Wall Street Journal, lomustine was sold by Bristol-Myers Squib for years under the brand name CeeNU at a price of about $50 a capsule for the highest dose. The drugmaker sold lomustine in 2013 to a little-known Miami startup called NextSource, which proceeded to hike lomustine's price nine times since. It now charges about $768 per pill for the medication.

According to an analysis done for the Journal by Truveen Health Analytics and Elsevier, NextSource this year raised prices for the drug, which it rebranded as Gleostine, by 12 percent in November following a 20 percent increase in August.

Nextsource CEO Robert Dicrisci, pictured, says they base pricing on "product-development costs, regulatory-agency fees, and the benefit the treatment delivers to patients." As it didn't develop the drug and regulatory fees are not up 1,400%, that leaves the last part of his formulation. It is, in all fairness, a good way of suggesting that your life is surely worth every penny you have. Read the rest

Some thoughts on whether intelligence is linked to anxiety and depression

In High intelligence: A risk factor for psychological and physiological overexcitabilities, a group of academic and industry neuroscientists survey a self-selected group of 3,715 MENSA members about their mental health history and find a correlation between high IQ and clinical anxiety and depression disorders, an effect they attribute to "overexitabilities" -- "the same heightened awareness that inspires an intellectually gifted artist to create can also potentially drive that same individual to withdraw into a deep depression." Read the rest

Germany-wide consortium of research libraries announce boycott of Elsevier journals over open access

Germany's DEAL project, which includes over 60 major research institutions, has announced that all of its members are canceling their subscriptions to all of Elsevier's academic and scientific journals, effective January 1, 2017. Read the rest

Elsevier buys SSRN

Elsevier is one of the world's largest scholarly publishers and one of the most bitter enemies that open access publishing has; SSRN is one of the biggest open access scholarly publishing repositories in the world: what could possibly go wrong? Read the rest

Scholars and activists stand in solidarity with shuttered research-sharing sites

This week, the scholarly publishing giant Elsevier filed suit against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis, two sites where academics and researchers practiced civil disobedience by sharing the academic papers that Elsevier claims -- despite having acquired the papers for free from researchers, and despite having had them refereed and overseen by editorial boards staffed by more volunteering academics. Read the rest

Yet another study suggests prolonged sitting kills

A report on sedentary behavior among middle-aged Korean men links prolonged sitting to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Published in the Journal of Hepatology, the research will increase attention to the effect of spending hours a day upon one's arse, working, watching TV or fooling around with phones and computers.

Elsevier, via r/science

In the current study researchers examined the association of sitting time and physical activity level with NAFLD in Korean men and women to explore whether any observed associations were related to the amount of body fat. They studied records of nearly 140,000 Koreans who underwent a health examination between March 2011 and December 2013. Physical activity level and sitting time were assessed using the Korean version of the international Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form. The presence of fatty liver was determined using ultrasonography.

Of the people studied, nearly 40,000 had NAFLD. Importantly, the researchers found that both prolonged sitting time and decreased physical activity level were independently associated with increasing prevalence of NAFLD. Remarkably, these associations were also observed in patients with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 23.

Read the rest

Gates Foundation mandates open access for all the research it funds

Effective January 17, all research funded in whole or in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation must be published in journals that are immediately free-to-access, under a Creative Commons Attribution-only license. Read the rest

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