Open search tools need sustainable funding – Research Professional News

“The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered an explosion of knowledge, with more than 200,000 papers published to date. At one point last year, scientific output on the topic was doubling every 20 days. This huge growth poses big challenges for researchers, many of whom have pivoted to coronavirus research without experience or preparation.

Mainstream academic search engines are not built for such a situation. Tools such as Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science provide long, unstructured lists of results with little context.

These work well if you know what you are looking for. But for anyone diving into an unknown field, it can take weeks, even months, to identify the most important topics, publication venues and authors. This is far too long in a public health emergency.

The result has been delays, duplicated work, and problems with identifying reliable findings. This lack of tools to provide a quick overview of research results and evaluate them correctly has created a crisis in discoverability itself. …

Building on these, meta-aggregators such as Base, Core and OpenAIRE have begun to rival and in some cases outperform the proprietary search engines. …”

We’re building a replacement for Microsoft Academic Graph – Our Research blog

“This week Microsoft Research announced that their free bibliographic database–Microsoft Academic Graph, or MAG for short–is being discontinued. This is sad news, because MAG was a great source of open scholcomm metadata, including citation counts and author affiliations. MAG data is used in Unsub, as well as several other well-known open science tools.

Thankfully, we’ve got a contingency plan for this situation, which we’ve been working on for a while now. We’re building a successor to MAG. Like all our projects, it’ll be open-source and the data will be free to everyone via data dump and API. It will launch at the end of the year, when MAG is scheduled to disappear.

It’s important to note that this new service will not be a perfect replacement, especially right when it launches. MAG has excellent support for conference proceedings, for example; we won’t match that for a while, if ever.  Instead, we’ll be focusing on supporting the most important use-cases, and building out from there. If you use MAG today, we’d love to hear what your key use-cases are, so we can prioritize accordingly. Here’s where you can tell us.

We plan to have this launched by the time MAG disappears at year’s end. That’s an aggressive schedule, but we’ve built and launched other large projects (Unpaywall, Unsub) in less time. We’ve also got a good head start, since we’ve been working toward this as an internal project for a while now….”

Next Steps for Microsoft Academic – Expanding into New Horizons | Microsoft Research

TLDR:

Microsoft Academic Website: No longer accessible after Dec. 31, 2020,
Microsoft Academic Graph: No longer providing updated data or access to old releases after Dec. 31, 2021; however, existing copies can still be used under license.

Microsoft Academic has been on a mission to explore new ways to empower researchers and research organizations to achieve more. The research project is characterized by two sets of technologies: one that reads all the Bing-indexed web pages and organizes the most up-to-date academic knowledge into a knowledge base called Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG), and the other that performs semantic reasoning and inference to serve that knowledge through the Microsoft Academic search website and API. We are proud that these data and web services have been found useful in numerous research projects around the world, and excited to see more community-driven, public efforts emerge.

One question that we are asked frequently, though, is how the technologies powering Microsoft Academic can be used by institutions outside of academia to make organizational knowledge more discoverable and accessible. Over the years, we have openly shared some of the building blocks, such as the language and network similarity packages, and the core search engine MAKES.  With the continued progress in data access, we believe now is the right time to fully explore opportunities to extend this technology to new industries and transition to community approaches for academic research.

Microsoft Research will continue to support the automated AI agents powering Microsoft Academic services through the end of calendar year 2021. During this time, we encourage existing Microsoft Academic users to begin transitioning to other equivalent services. Below are just a few of the many great options available to the community.

Aminer
CrossRef
Dimensions
lens.org
OpenCitations
Scopus
Semantic Scholar

Thank you very much for the years of support and encouragement. We are immensely grateful to have learned and grown from your feedback over the years. As we are passing the torch to the community-driven efforts, we invite you to join us in continuously contributing ideas and suggestions to nurture, embrace, and grow these platforms.

 

Open Call Webinar – Peer Learning Network for Data Collaborations | Register – Contact information

“The Open Data Institute has partnered with Microsoft to launch its Open Data Campaign, which aims to address the data divide and help organisations of all sizes to realise the benefits of data and the new technologies it powers. 

 

As part of the campaign, we’re launching a peer learning network that will convene organisations collaborating around data, providing them with financial and other support from the ODI and Microsoft. Ultimately this will enable them to more effectively address the challenges they face. 

 

On Thursday 29 October 2020, 9:00am PDT/ 4:00pm GMT / 5:00pm CET, join us for a live webinar to learn more about the peer learning network opportunity. We will go over the open call for applications in more detail and provide an opportunity for attendees to ask any related questions before the application deadline (17 November 2020 at 11:59pm PST / 18 November 7:59am GMT (8:59am CET). …”

Microsoft and the Open Data Institute join together to launch a Peer Learning Network for Data Collaborations – Microsoft on the Issues

“Today, in partnership with the Open Data Institute (ODI), we are delighted to announce an open call for participation in a new Peer Learning Network for Data Collaborations. Peer learning networks are an important tool to foster the exchange of knowledge and help participants learn from one another so they can more effectively address the challenges they face.

In April, with the launch of Microsoft’s Open Data Campaign, we committed to putting open and shared data into practice by addressing specific challenges through data collaborations. For a data collaboration to achieve its goals, there are many factors that must come together successfully. Oftentimes, this process can be incredibly challenging. From aligning on key outcomes and data use agreements to preparing datasets for use and analysis, these considerations require time and extensive coordination….

Awardees will have the opportunity to:

receive up to £20,000 for their time over the six months of the peer learning network
learn about and receive guidance from the ODI and Microsoft on different technical approaches, governance mechanisms, and other means for managing data collaborations
connect with peers also working on these challenges

For the purpose of the Peer Learning Network, data collaborations are defined as:

involving a collaboration of companies, research institutions, non-profits, and/or government entities
addressing a clear societal or business-related challenge
are working to make their data as open as possible in the context of the collaboration (collaborations working with restrictions related to privacy or commercial sensitivity are encouraged to apply)
ultimately demonstrate increased access to, and/or meaningful use of, data in reaching the specific goal …”

Open data: Your questions answered | Microsoft On The Issues

“Open data: The name alone can cause some confusion. Then there are some myths and misconceptions associated with it.

Organizations have questions about how and why they should make data freely available, or open.

We talked to Jule Sigall, Associate General Counsel, Open Innovation, in Microsoft Corporate, External and Legal Affairs, to explore this topic. Here are five of the most commonly encountered open data misconceptions, and responses to them….”

The Public Library Association and Microsoft announce initiative to help expand internet access in rural communities during COVID-19 crisis | News and Press Center

“he Public Library Association (PLA) and Microsoft Corp. announced a new initiative today to increase access to technology in rural communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Microsoft will provide funding to help public libraries in rural communities extend WiFi access by installing public WiFi access points on or near library grounds….”

The Public Library Association and Microsoft announce initiative to help expand internet access in rural communities during COVID-19 crisis | News and Press Center

“he Public Library Association (PLA) and Microsoft Corp. announced a new initiative today to increase access to technology in rural communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Microsoft will provide funding to help public libraries in rural communities extend WiFi access by installing public WiFi access points on or near library grounds….”

Microsoft commits patents to help fight COVID-19 – Microsoft on the Issues

“I am very pleased to announce that, today, Microsoft is committing to the Open COVID Pledge by making its patents available free of charge for use in efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic and minimize the impact of the disease.  This step joins our other efforts to use technology and innovation to help track the disease and develop solutions, such as mobilizing AI for Health to fight COVID-19 and the Bing COVID19 Tracker. Additional information about Microsoft’s COVID-19 efforts can be found here.

We are always looking for ways we can use our patents to contribute to positive outcomes, and the fight against COVID-19 is one of the most urgent issues of our time. Pledges and open licensing of this kind can help spur innovation, especially in a crisis like this one. Researchers, scientists and others working to fight the virus should be able to develop and deploy effective solutions at scale without obstacles such as being threatened with patent litigation….”

Microsoft is Launching an Open Data Campaign

“Today, Microsoft is launching an Open Data Campaign to help address the looming “data divide” and help organizations of all sizes to realize the benefits of data and the new technologies it powers. We believe everyone can benefit from opening, sharing and collaborating around data to make better decisions, improve efficiency and even help tackle some of the world’s most pressing societal challenges.

The goal of our campaign is to advance a much-needed discussion about how the world uses and shares data. To start, today we’re announcing three steps:

First, we’re publishing new principles that will guide how Microsoft itself approaches sharing our data with others.
Second, we’re committing to take action by developing 20 new collaborations built around shared data by 2022. This includes work with leading organizations in the open data movement like the Open Data Institute and The Governance Lab (GovLab) at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. And we’ll seek to lead by example by making our Microsoft social impact initiatives “open by default,” beginning with sharing data on broadband access from our Airband initiative and combining it with data from others to help accelerate improvements in broadband connectivity.
Finally, we’ll invest in the essential assets that will make data sharing easier, including the required tools, frameworks and templates….”

As technology like AI propels us into the future, it can also play an important role in preserving our past – Microsoft on the Issues

“Our new AI for Cultural Heritage program will use artificial intelligence to work with nonprofits, universities and governments around the world to help preserve the languages we speak, the places we live and the artifacts we treasure. It will build on recent work we’ve pursued using various aspect of AI in each of these areas, such as:

  • Work in New York , where we have collaborated with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MIT to explore ways in which AI can make The Met’s Open Access collection accessible, discoverable and useful to the 3.9 billion internet-connected people worldwide.
  • Work in Paris at the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, where we have partnered with two French companies, HoloForge Interactive and Iconem, to create an entirely new museum experience with mixed reality and AI that paid homage to Mont-Saint-Michel, a French cultural icon off the coast of Normandy.
  • And in southwestern Mexico, where we’re engaged as part of our ongoing efforts to preserve languages around the world to capture and translate Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomiusing AI to make them more accessible to people around the world….”

Microsoft Erases E-Library And Digital Rights Management Server : NPR

“Starting in July, Microsoft will be closing its e-book library and erasing all content purchased through the Microsoft e-bookstore from devices. Consumers will receive a refund for every e-book bought.

The company is able to shutter its store – which it launched in 2017 to compete with industry leaders Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble – due to a tool called Digital Rights Management or DRM.

DRM allows companies to control content to protect copyright holders and prevent piracy….”

Microsoft’s Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM | WIRED

YOUR ITUNES MOVIES, your Kindle books—they’re not really yours. You don’t own them. You’ve just bought a license that allows you to access them, one that can be revoked at any time. And while a handful of incidents have brought that reality into sharp relief over the years, none has quite the punch of Microsoft disappearing every single ebook from every one of its customers.

Microsoft made the announcement in April that it would shutter the Microsoft Store’s books section for good. The company had made its foray into ebooks in 2017, as part of a Windows 10 Creators Update that sought to round out the software available to its Surface line. Relegated to Microsoft’s Edge browser, the digital bookstore never took off. As of April 2, it halted all ebook sales. And starting as soon as this week, it’s going to remove all purchased books from the libraries of those who bought them….”

Microsoft is about to shut off its ebook DRM servers: “The books will stop working” / Boing Boing

” “The books will stop working”: That’s the substance of the reminder that Microsoft sent to customers for their ebook store, reminding them that, as announced in April, the company is getting out of the ebook business because it wasn’t profitable enough for them, and when they do, they’re going to shut off their DRM servers, which will make the books stop working.

Almost exactly fifteen years ago, I gave an influential, widely cited talk at Microsoft Research where I predicted this exact outcome. I don’t feel good about the fact that I got it right. This is a fucking travesty….”

Microsoft is about to shut off its ebook DRM servers: “The books will stop working” / Boing Boing

” “The books will stop working”: That’s the substance of the reminder that Microsoft sent to customers for their ebook store, reminding them that, as announced in April, the company is getting out of the ebook business because it wasn’t profitable enough for them, and when they do, they’re going to shut off their DRM servers, which will make the books stop working.

Almost exactly fifteen years ago, I gave an influential, widely cited talk at Microsoft Research where I predicted this exact outcome. I don’t feel good about the fact that I got it right. This is a fucking travesty….”