Independent study guide to logic for philosophers and mathematicians

Retired Cambridge professor Peter Smith has distilled his experience in teaching philosophers and mathematicians about formal logic into a free, frequently updated (last updated: 2017) study guide to logic, constructed to be easily accessible, with quick-start guides for different kinds of learners, written on the assumption of very little education in either maths or philosophy. Read the rest

New Scientist calls for the end of the scholarly publishing industry: "more profitable than oil," "indefensible"

In a stirring unsigned editorial, the New Scientist calls the scholarly publishing industry "indefensible," noting that the business of publishing tax-funded research and then selling it to tax-funded institutions has produced the most profitable industry in the world, where 40% margins dwarf those commanded by oil or finance. 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

The EU's new Link Tax bans the use of Creative Commons and open access for news

One of the most controversial elements of the EU's new Copyright Directive is Article 11, the "link tax," which requires paid licenses for links to news stories that contain "excerpts" (more than a single word from the story or its headline, depending on which draft you're reading). Read the rest

Last chance to back the Kickstarter for our interdisciplinary seminar series on censorship today and in the Renaissance

I have been collaborating with science fiction writer, singer, librettist and Renaissance scholar Ada Palmer and science historian and piracy expert Adrian Johns to put on a seminar series at the University of Chicago called Censorship & Information Control In Information Revolutions: every Friday, we gather a panel of interdisciplinary scholars to talk about parallels between censorship regimes during the Renaissance and the dawn of the printing press and the censorship systems that have arisen since in response to other new forms of information technology. Read the rest

A sensible, free guide to negotiating book contracts

The Authors Alliance is a nonprofit that advocates for authors, libraries, readers and scholars (I'm on their advisory board); they've done a ton of great work, notably a tool for authors to claim their copyrights back from publishers, even when the original contract specified that the rights were signed away "in perpetuity." Read the rest

MIT Sloan Management Review suspends its paywall for two days

Sara from MIT Sloan Management Review writes, "MIT SMR is unlocked for all visitors on October 2 and 3. For almost 60 years, MIT Sloan Management Review has been dedicated to providing evidence-based insights to your most pressing and complex business issues. To celebrate our history and our readers, we’re unlocking our site for 48 hours. Every article, report, video, and webinar is free to access. Don’t know where to start? We’ve put together a list of article recommendations for you." 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

Georgia Republican introduces legislation to kill PACER, the outrageous paywall around the US justice system

PACER (previously) is a paywall that charges you every time you look up the US's public domain Federal court records; for years, activists have railed against its existence, liberating key documents from it and putting them online for free, calling on Congress to eliminate it altogether. Read the rest

Consortium of the largest science funders in Europe announce that they'll only fund open access research

Eleven of Europe's largest scientific research funders, responsible for €7.6B in annual grants, have announced "Plan S," whereby scientists will only be able to get research grants if they promise to first publish all their work in open access, no-cost journals. Read the rest

The Open Revolution: the vital struggle of open vs closed, free vs unfree

Rufus Pollock’s new book The Open Revolution: rewriting the rules of the information age, reimagines ownership in a digital age and its implications from the power of tech monopolies to control how we think and vote , to unaffordable medicines, to growing inequality. Get the book and find out more at openrevolution.net. - Cory

Lecture videos from MIT's "The Human Brain" undergrad course

MIT 9.11, "The Human Brain," is taught by Nancy Kanwisher, the Walther A. Rosenblith Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, MIT; Kanwisher is an engaging and lively science communicator and has posted videos of the complete course lecture series for your perusal; her own speciality is neuroimaging, and the introductory lecture is a fascinating (and, at times, terrifying) tale of her colleague's neurological condition and what she learned from it. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Germany's scientific texts were made free during and after WWII; analyzing them today shows the negative effect of paywalls on science

In 1942, the US Book Republication Program permitted American publishers to reprint "exact reproductions" of Germany's scientific texts without payment; seventy-five years later, the fate of this scientific knowledge forms the basis of a "natural experiment" analysed by Barbara Biasi and Petra Moser for The Center for Economic and Policy Research, who compare the fate of these texts to their contemporaries who didn't have this semi-public-domain existence. Read the rest

Thousands of prominent AI researchers tell Nature they won't have anything to do with its new paywalled journal

It's 2018, and the Open Access debate has been settled: institutions, researchers, funders and the public all hate paywalled science, and only the journal publishers -- whose subscription rates have gone up several thousand percent in recent decades, despite the fact that they don't pay for research, review, editing, or (increasingly) paper -- like locking up scholarship. Read the rest

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

RIP John Sulston, open science hero and father of the Human Genome Project

John Sulston has died at the age of 75; I worked with him through the Wellcome Sanger institute, where he undertook the Human Genome Project, where a fully sequenced human genome was decoded and published as open-access science that anyone could study and use. Read the rest

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