Pilot Program Offers NYU Students and Faculty Instant Access to 150,000 Ebooks Via App

“NYU Libraries and ProQuest have launched a pilot project that will make over 150,000 scholarly titles available to students and faculty via their mobile devices. NYU users can access coursebooks, ebooks, and reference works from major publishers through an e-reader app called SimplyE….”

Open Access Helper

“There are more than 25 million Open Access versions of otherwise “paywalled” scientific articles, however they are often not easy to find.

Open Access Helper for iOS & macOS is designed to help you get easy access to these documents, with a lot of help from some amazing APIs….

Open Access Helper is designed to make finding the best Open Access location easy. Whenever my app comes across a DOI, it will query the APIs of unpaywall.org & core.ac.uk to see if an Open Access copy is available elsewhere.

The App is free and Open Source and I have no intention to change that….”

The rise of citizen science: can the public help solve our biggest problems? | Universities | The Guardian

“For instance, in Kenya, University College London (UCL) scientists and their local partners are working with the Maasai to protect their environment against the climate crisis.

The researchers are co-developing a smartphone app that will help the community map the location of vital medicinal plant species and, as a result, better manage them. The app will allow the Maasai to upload the location of the plants, analyse the results and display them using icons like a thumbs up, an ant, and a red no entry sign next to invasive species, as well as pictures of the plants they want to protect….

Despite its obvious merits, citizen science still faces challenges. Researchers have a reputation for arriving in a community, exploiting it for data, and leaving it without giving any credit for its contribution….

In the end, citizen science is about shifting power from scientists to the public. A new £1.3m project called Engaging Environments led by the University of Reading, which is running in its own city as well as Birmingham and Newcastle, aims to do just that by training researchers to work with a wide range of communities to address their concerns about issues like pollution, climate change and air quality. This might be through getting sixth formers to monitor wildlife, or mosques encouraging their congregation to develop environmentally friendly practices such as avoiding single-use plastics during festivals.

This project is needed because of the social divide that exists between the public and many scientists. …

It doesn’t benefit scientists to isolate themselves from the public, either….”

Biologer: an open platform for collecting biodiversity data

Abstract:  Background

We have developed a new platform named “Biologer” intended for recording species observations in the field (but also from literature resources and collections). The platform is created as user-friendly, open source, multilingual software that is compatible with Darwin Core standard and accompanied by a simple Android application. It is made from the user’s perspective, allowing everyone to choose how they share the data. Project team members are delegated by involved organisations. The team is responsible for development of the platform, while local Biologer communities are engaged in data collection and verification.

New information

Biologer has been online and available for use in Serbia since 2018 and was soon adopted in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In total, we have assembled 536 users, who have collected 163,843 species observation records data from the field and digitalised 33,458 literature records. The number of active users and their records is growing daily. Out of the total number of gathered data, 89% has been made open access by the users, 10% is accessible on the scale of 10×10 km and only 1% is closed. In the future, we plan to provide a taxonomic data portal that could be used by local and national initiatives in Eastern Europe, aggregate all data into a single web location, create detailed data overview and enable fluent communication between users.

Biologer: an open platform for collecting biodiversity data

Abstract:  Background

We have developed a new platform named “Biologer” intended for recording species observations in the field (but also from literature resources and collections). The platform is created as user-friendly, open source, multilingual software that is compatible with Darwin Core standard and accompanied by a simple Android application. It is made from the user’s perspective, allowing everyone to choose how they share the data. Project team members are delegated by involved organisations. The team is responsible for development of the platform, while local Biologer communities are engaged in data collection and verification.

New information

Biologer has been online and available for use in Serbia since 2018 and was soon adopted in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In total, we have assembled 536 users, who have collected 163,843 species observation records data from the field and digitalised 33,458 literature records. The number of active users and their records is growing daily. Out of the total number of gathered data, 89% has been made open access by the users, 10% is accessible on the scale of 10×10 km and only 1% is closed. In the future, we plan to provide a taxonomic data portal that could be used by local and national initiatives in Eastern Europe, aggregate all data into a single web location, create detailed data overview and enable fluent communication between users.

New business models for the open research agenda | Research Information

“The rise of preprints and the move towards universal open access are potential threats to traditional business models in scholarly publishing, writes Phil Gooch

Publishers have started responding to the latter with transformative agreements[1], but if authors can simply upload their research to a preprint server for immediate dissemination, comment and review, why submit to a traditional journal at all? Some journals are addressing this by offering authors frictionless submission direct from the preprint server. This tackles two problems at once: easing authors’ frustrations with existing journal submission systems[2], and providing a more direct route from the raw preprint to the richly linked, multiformat version of record that readers demand and accessibility standards require….

Dissemination of early-stage research as mobile-unfriendly PDF is arguably a technological step backwards. If preprints are here to stay, the reading experience needs to be improved. A number of vendors have developed native XML or LaTeX authoring environments which enable dissemination in richer formats….”

Are you an iOS user? Access scientific articles in your device without hitting a paywall – CORE

“Another year has passed and left a lot of good news, investigations and developments for CORE. Today we would like to tell you about one of them – Open Access (OA) Helper, an application developed for iOS mobile devices by Claus Wolf. We asked Claus to tell us how he came up with the OA Helper and here is what he answered….”

Next Generation ArXiv and the Economics of Open Access Publishing

“Launched in 1991, arXiv has become an indispensable platform providing free and open access to research for the machine learning community and beyond. Now, arXiv has announced plans to alpha test its next-generation “arXiv-NG” submission system in the first quarter of 2020. The system is a significant part of the growing arXiv-NG initiative that aims to improve core service infrastructure through an incremental and modular renewal of the existing arXiv system.

The arXiv team has already taken the initial steps to improve the overall accessibility of the repository’s user interfaces, both through behind-the-scenes structural improvements and user-facing changes — adding for example support for mobile-friendly abstract pages….”

eLife announces first release of open-source submission and peer-review platform: Libero Reviewer | For the press | eLife

“eLife, in collaboration with the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation (Coko), has launched the first release of Libero Reviewer, an open-source application that will support the organisation’s unique editorial process from submission to acceptance.

This first release takes the form of a wizard that guides an author through submitting their work for initial assessment by eLife’s board of Senior Editors and integrates with the journal’s existing peer-review software, eJournalPress (eJPress). It follows the same mobile-first mentality that was incorporated into the design of eLife’s publishing platform Libero Publisher, making it easier to navigate the system while on the move….”

Commons In A Box

“Commons In A Box (CBOX) is a free software project aimed at turning the infrastructure that successfully powers the CUNY Academic Commons into a free, distributable, easy-to-install package. Commons In A Box is a project of the City University of New York and the Graduate Center, CUNY and is made possible by a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

CBOX takes the complexity out of creating a Commons site, helping organizations create a space where their members can discuss issues, collaborate on projects, and share their work. CBOX also provides:

  • Out-of-the-box functionality with an intuitive set-up that guides site administrators through each step of installation.
  • A powerful, responsive, highly customizable theme developed for community engagement, based on PressCrew’s Infinity Theming Engine.
  • Responsive design for easy viewing on many devices, including tablets and smartphones.
  • Collaborative document creation and file sharing.
  • Reply-By-Email functionality for quick, on-the-go communication.
  • Compatibility with many other WordPress and BuddyPress themes and plug-ins.
  • Expansive wiki options….”

Redesigned eScholarship Site Launches: California Digital Library

“The Publishing group at the California Digital Library is pleased to announce the launch of a major redesign of eScholarship, the University of California’s Open Access repository and publishing platform.

With this release, eScholarship now offers a robust consortial repository solution, with custom access layers and a strong brand identity for each of our ten UC campuses and 70+ academic journals. The new eScholarship site is designed to meet the WCAG 2.0 AA standard for ADA accessibility, scales automatically for mobile and tablet devices, and features a flexible, modular design that allows for multiple content display options and customizable landing pages.

The eScholarship redesign represents a significant departure from previous technology approaches—away from custom builds and toward more widely adopted, open source technology solutions used both inside and outside the academic library domain, including node.js for the server-side code and React for the front-end framework. The code behind the new eScholarship site is located in GitHub. Post-release, the team will turn its attention to creating a public API. …”

New platform for Louisiana Digital Library | LSU Libraries News & Notes

“The LSU Libraries has developed a new online platform for the Louisiana Digital Library (LDL). Based on the open-source Islandora digital library software, the LSU Libraries Technology Initiatives team developed the updates to include enhanced features, allowing for greater access and discovery to the 171 collections of the LDL. Patrons can now enjoy the large image viewer with zoom capabilities, full text searching within documents, side-by-side viewing options for audio and text transcriptions, and easy mobile access….Seventeen institutions currently contribute photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, oral histories, and more that document history and culture to the LDL. The LDL is managed by the Louisiana Digital Consortium (LDC), which consists of libraries, museums, archives, historical groups, and other institutions across Louisiana….”

Science Beam – using computer vision to extract PDF data | Labs | eLife

“There’s a vast trove of science out there locked inside the PDF format. From preprints to peer-reviewed literature and historical research, millions of scientific manuscripts today can only be found in a print-era format that is effectively inaccessible to the web of interconnected online services and APIs that are increasingly becoming the digital scaffold of today’s research infrastructure….Extracting key information from PDF files isn’t trivial. …It would therefore certainly be useful to be able to extract all key data from manuscript PDFs and store it in a more accessible, more reusable format such as XML (of the publishing industry standard JATS variety or otherwise). This would allow for the flexible conversion of the original manuscript into different forms, from mobile-friendly layouts to enhanced views like eLife’s side-by-side view (through eLife Lens). It will also make the research mineable and API-accessible to any number of tools, services and applications. From advanced search tools to the contextual presentation of semantic tags based on users’ interests, and from cross-domain mash-ups showing correlations between different papers to novel applications like ScienceFair, a move away from PDF and toward a more open and flexible format like XML would unlock a multitude of use cases for the discovery and reuse of existing research….We are embarking on a project to build on these existing open-source tools, and to improve the accuracy of the XML output. One aim of the project is to combine some of the existing tools in a modular PDF-to-XML conversion pipeline that achieves a better overall conversion result compared to using individual tools on their own. In addition, we are experimenting with a different approach to the problem: using computer vision to identify key components of the scientific manuscript in PDF format….To this end, we will be collaborating with other publishers to collate a broad corpus of valid PDF/XML pairs to help train and test our neural networks….”