2019 Was Big for Academic Publishing. Here’s Our Year in Review | The Scientist Magazine®

“The global push to make the scholarly literature open access continued in 2019. Some publishers and libraries forged new licensing deals, while in other cases contract negotiations came to halt, and a radical open access plan made some adjustments. Here are some of the most notable developments in the publishing world in 2019:…”

Public Domain Day 2020 Pre-1976

“Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the books The Fire Next Time and Where the Wild Things Are, the film The Birds, songs from With the Beatles and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, and more. . .

Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. Prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1963 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2020. Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2059.1 Elsewhere on this site, we celebrate works from 1924 that will actually be entering the public domain in 2020, after a 95-year term. But 1924 was a long time ago—imagine if works from 1963 and earlier were “free as the air to common use”! Here’s what could have been….”

Astronomical Photographic Plate Collection

“At Harvard College Observatory, women studied and curated over 130 years of the night sky, all preserved on glass plate photographs. The HCO’s Astronomical Photographic Plate Collection (also known as the Plate Stacks) is the world’s largest archive of stellar glass plate negatives, amassing over 500,000 celestial moments captured in time, some dating back to the mid-1800s.”

Trump could mandate free access to federally funded research papers | Ars Technica

“The Trump White House is rumored to be working on a beefed-up open access mandate. The potential executive order would require all scientific papers that are based on federally funded research to be made available online free of charge as soon as they are published. That would supersede a 2013 rule issued by the Obama White House that required federally funded papers to become freely available one year after publication.

The White House hasn’t actually announced the new policy yet, but the rumors were enough to get the attention of scientific publishers. Last week more than 100 publishing organizations signed a letter calling on the Trump administration to scrap the proposal….”

New Public Data Tool Lets You See What Curricula Schools in Nebraska Are Using – Teaching Now – Education Week Teacher

“Across the country, it’s hard to know exactly which curricular materials schools are using—there isn’t a national directory of districts’ selections. But in a new tool released last week, Nebraska unveiled a searchable database showing the resources the state’s districts have adopted.

The interactive instructional materials map, which Nebraska’s education department debuted on Thursday, shows what curricula districts are using for English-language arts, math, and K-8 science. The map is a project of the Nebraska Instructional Materials Collaborative, an ongoing effort to support districts in implementing high-quality, standards-aligned resources.

It’s rare for a state to collect and publish information on district curriculum choices in an accessible way. While Massachusetts has a similar tool, many districts in the U.S. are in the dark as to what their peers statewide are using. …”

The unintended consequences of Open Access publishing – And possible futures – ScienceDirect



• Most early geography journals were established by learned societies as non-profit-making ventures.

• Most of these are now published by commercial organisations, alongside many others they have established.

• Journal publication is now a capitalist, profit-making venture to which academics donate their intellectual property.

• Moves to make all journal papers derived from publicly-funded research freely accessible and sustained by author charges will exacerbate this situation.

• Non-capitalist alternatives are desirable….”


The rise of the “open” discovery indexes? Lens.org, Semantic Scholar and Scinapse | Musings about librarianship oa.scite

“In this blog post, I will talk specifically on a very important source of data used by Academic Search engines – Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG) and do a brief review of four academic search engines – Microsoft Academic, Lens.org, Semantic Scholar and Scinapse ,which uses MAG among other sources….

We live in a time, where large (>50 million) Scholarly discovery indexes are no longer as hard to create as in the past, thanks to the availability of freely available Scholarly article index data like Crossref and MAG.”

Turkish Constitutional Court rules that the two and a half year block of Wikipedia is unconstitutional – Wikimedia Foundation

“Today, the Turkish Constitutional Court has held that the more than two and a half year access ban of Wikipedia in Turkey was unconstitutional. We hope that access will be restored in Turkey soon in the light of this new ruling from Turkey’s highest court and will update this statement if we receive notification that the block has been lifted. We join the people of Turkey, and the millions of readers and volunteers who rely on Wikipedia around the world, to welcome this important recognition for universal access to knowledge….”

Turkey’s block on Wikipedia violates rights, court rules – Reuters

“Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that a more than two-year block on access to online encyclopaedia Wikipedia in the country is a violation of freedom of expression.

The ruling opens the way for lifting the website ban, which has been in place since 2017 due to entries that accused Turkey of having links to terrorist organisations….”

Federal Toxmap Shutters, Raising the Ire of Pollution Researchers

“Fifteen years ago the U.S. National Library of Medicine launched Toxmap, a free, interactive online application that combines pollution data from at least a dozen U.S. government sources. A Toxmap user could pan and zoom across a map of the United States sprinkled with thousands of blue and red dots, with each blue dot representing a factory, coal-fired power plant, or other facility that has released certain toxic chemicals into the environment, and each red dot marking a Superfund program site — “some of the nation’s most contaminated land,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Toxmap allowed users to pull up detailed EPA data for each toxic release site, and to overlay other information, such as mortality statistics, onto those maps. And it’s precisely those capabilities that earned Toxmap a devoted following among researchers, students, activists, and other people keen to identify sources of pollution in their communities.

Those capabilities appear to no longer be available to the public.

Earlier this year, with little explanation, the NLM announced that it would be “retiring” the Toxmap website on Dec. 16, 2019. The library did not respond directly to queries on Monday about what was meant by “retiring,” but by Tuesday morning, the Toxmap website had been taken down and visitors to the former URL were met with a message acknowledging the closure and pointing visitors to other potential sources of information. (An archived version of the old Toxmap landing page is preserved at the Internet Archive.) …”

Plan S for publishing science in an open access way: not everyone is likely to be happy | Semantic Scholar

Abstract:  Most scientists are probably already aware of an initiative that was launched by the European Commission and which has been adopted by a number of European Governments (including France, the UK, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany) and also by funding foundations as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Wellcome Trust. This initiative has been called Plan S (Plan 2019). Plan S (or more formally cOAlition S) requires that, from 2021, scientific publications funded either by public grants from countries supporting it, or by adhering agencies and foundations, must be published in open access (OA) journals or platforms that are totally free of charge for the reader. After this initiative, it will no longer be possible to publish in non-OA journals (e.g., the ACS journals, Science and Nature) for those receiving funding from the European Research Council or from other research councils or foundations that have joined the cOAlition S, unless journals, like those mentioned above, change their policies.

Thought Experiment on the Impact of Plan S on non-Plan S countries and Japan

Abstract:  In September 2018, a consortium of eleven European research funding agencies known as cOAlition S announced “Plan S,” which requires full and immediate Open Access to all research publications stemming from projects funded by the agencies. The goal of making research output openly available to all has been generally welcomed; however, the strict requirements of Plan S, which take effect on January 1, 2020, have drawn criticisms from various stakeholders. Researchers from affected countries considered it a violation of their academic freedom, as they will be forced to publish only in conforming journals. Publishers, especially those publishing high profile journals, claim that it will be impossible to sustain their business if forced to convert to Open Access journals and to rely solely on article processing charges. Institutions operating their own Open Access platforms or Open Access repositories view the requirements as well-intended but difficult to meet. Despite the turmoil, little has been heard from non-Plan S countries, especially from non-English speaking countries outside Europe. There have been scarcely any comments or analyses relating to the impact of Plan S on these non-Plan S countries. This paper aims to fill the gap with a thought experiment on the impact of Plan S requirements on various stakeholders in these non-Plan S countries. The analysis concludes that non-Plan S countries are indirectly affected by Plan S by being forced to adapt to the world standard that Plan S sets forth. As many non-Plan S countries lack support for this transition from their respective funding agencies, they will be seriously disadvantaged to adapt to the new standards. The article processing charge for publishing in Open Access journals and the strict requirements for Open Access platforms could suppress research output from non-Plan S countries and reduce their research competitiveness. Local publishers, whose financial position in many cases is already precarious, may be forced to shut down or merge with larger commercial publishers. As scholarly communication is globally interconnected, the author argues the need to consider the impact of Plan S on non-Plan S countries and explore alternative ways for realizing full and immediate OA by learning from local practices. This analysis uses Japan as an exemplar of non-Plan S countries. 

The future(s) of open science – Philip Mirowski, 2018

Abstract:  Almost everyone is enthusiastic that ‘open science’ is the wave of the future. Yet when one looks seriously at the flaws in modern science that the movement proposes to remedy, the prospect for improvement in at least four areas are unimpressive. This suggests that the agenda is effectively to re-engineer science along the lines of platform capitalism, under the misleading banner of opening up science to the masses.


Scientific Advisor Open Science (W/M) (50-60%)

“Your mission :

The Scientific Advisor position is part of the EPFL Open Science Initiative, which aims to promote the adoption of best practice in research documentation and dissemination, at our institution and beyond. The ideal candidate will be responsible for sustaining existing aspects of the initiative, as well as for the development and implementation of innovative new avenues. EPFL is seeking an enthusiastic and independent individual, with Science Policy experience and a proven track record of turning original ideas into measurable impact….”

TOXMAP, Federal Database Allowing Public to Track U.S. Pollution, Shut Down After 15 Years by Trump Administration

“TOXMAP, an interactive map that allowed public users to pinpoint sources of pollution, was pulled from the internet after 15 years. Hosted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the website was beneficial to researchers and advocates.

While most of the information from TOXMAP has been dispersed to other websites, some of the information has disappeared….”