Deal impasse severs Elsevier access for some German universities

In December, talks broke down, with the German side accusing the publisher of unfair pricing and not doing enough to make papers openly accessible. With no last-minute deal struck before the new year, and about 60 research organisations seeing their individual contracts expire at the end of 2016, German researchers are beginning to lose access to journals.

Bird watchers discuss changes in trends at annual Christmas bird count

This is a great example for citizen science with tradition.

According to the Audubon Society’s website, orinthologist Frank Chapman organized the first Christmas bird count in 1900. The activity was an alternative to the “side hunts” which were popular at the time, the goal of which was to shoot as many animals as possible. The first count featured 27 birders and stretched from Canada to California. The birders made note of about 90 species. The tradition has since continued.

Setting up crowd science projects

In this reserach paper Kaja Scheliga, Sascha Friesike, Cornelius Puschmann and Benedikt Fecher deal with the setup of crowd science projects.

Crowd science is scientific research that is conducted with the participation of volunteers who are not professional scientists. Thanks to the Internet and online platforms, project initiators can draw on a potentially large number of volunteers. This crowd can be involved to support data-rich or labour-intensive projects that would otherwise be unfeasible. So far, research on crowd science has mainly focused on analysing individual crowd science projects. In our research, we focus on the perspective of project initiators and explore how crowd science projects are set up. Based on multiple case study research, we discuss the objectives of crowd science projects and the strategies of their initiators for accessing volunteers. We also categorise the tasks allocated to volunteers and reflect on the issue of quality assurance as well as feedback mechanisms. With this article, we contribute to a better understanding of how crowd science projects are set up and how volunteers can contribute to science. We suggest that our findings are of practical relevance for initiators of crowd science projects, for science communication as well as for informed science policy making.