October 2009


A new publication from Microsoft Research is now available (open access) online: The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery, Edited by Tony Hey, Stewart Tansley, and Kristin Tolle. Although as usual not specifically aimed at archaeology, there’s some interesting stuff. You can download it whole or by paper:

Introductions

Part 1: Earth and Environment

Part 2: Health and Wellbeing

Part 3: Scientific Infrastructure

Part 4: Scholarly Communication

Final Thoughts

        Cultural Heritage – A UKOLN Blog for the Cultural Heritage Sector discusses how a local UK museum has used Google Books to create an online version of its library. “The Wiltshire Heritage Museum library has just gone online with a full digital library created in just 5 months using the Google Books service. The Library has been collecting books about the history, environment and archaeology of Wiltshire for over 150 years, and has many rare and important books in its collection of over 8000 volumes. … Without Google, it would have cost tens of thousands of pounds, buying a computer system, exhaustive data entry and only a few of the books could have been scanned electronically.” A practical example perhaps?

        The Library of Congress recently organized the Designing Storage Architectures for Preservation Collections Meeting (September 22-23, 2009, Washington, DC). The presentations and more are now available online. “The purpose of the meeting was to bring together technical industry experts, IT professionals, digital collections and strategic planning staff, government specialists with an interest in preservation and recognized authorities and practitioners of Digital Preservation to identify common areas of interest to inform decision-making in the future.” This is part of the ongoing Digital Preservation program of the Library of Congress.

        “For years, as more academics have embraced “open access” publishing — in which journals are published online and free — a constant refrain from many publishers has been that the model would deprive them of the revenue they need for high quality editing and peer review. That argument was at the center of a recent report on the economics of journal publishing commissioned by the National Humanities Alliance. That argument was also cited by the Association of American University Presses to oppose federal open access requirements — over the objections of some of its members.

        On Monday, five leading universities announced a new ‘Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity‘ in which they have pledged to develop systems to pay open access journals for the articles they publish by the institutions’ scholars. In doing so, the institutions are attempting to put to rest the idea that only older publication models (paid and/or print) can support rigorous peer review and quality assurance.

        By embracing a new model, the institutions say, they hope to shift away from a system in which rising journal prices have frustrated librarians, and the lack of free access has frustrated those whose institutions can’t afford many journals.”

        Read the remainder of this interesting article by Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed.

        On Monday, five leading universities announced a new “Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity” in which they have pledged to develop systems to pay open access journals for the articles they publish by the institutions’ scholars. In doing so, the institutions are attempting to put to rest the idea that only older publication models (paid and/or print) can support rigorous peer review and quality assurance.
        By embracing a new model, the institutions say, they hope to shift away from a system in which rising journal prices have frustrated librarians, and the lack of free access has frustrated those whose institutions can’t afford many journals.

        “Sharing data is good. But sharing your own data? That can get complicated. As tworesearch communities who held meetings in May on the issue report their proposals to promote data sharing in biology, a special issue of Nature examines the cultural and technical hurdles that can get in the way of good intentions.” Though the case study pertains more specifically to biology, this is still illustrative for archaeology too. This September 9 special is freely available online—as it should be of course.

        • Editorial – Data’s shameful neglect: Research cannot flourish if data are not preserved and made accessible. All concerned must act accordingly.
        • Data sharing: Empty archives: Most researchers agree that open access to data is the scientific ideal, so what is stopping it happening? Bryn Nelson investigates why many researchers choose not to share.
        • Opinion - Prepublication data sharing: Rapid release of prepublication data has served the field of genomics well. Attendees at a workshop in Toronto recommend extending the practice to other biological data sets.
        • Opinion - Post-publication sharing of data and tools: Despite existing guidelines on access to data and bioresources, good practice is not widespread. A meeting of mouse researchers in Rome proposes ways to promote a culture of sharing.
        • Nature Opinion forum – Prepublication data sharing: Should the practice be extended to areas of biology other than genomics?
        • Nature Opinion forum – Postpublication data sharing: What mechanisms are needed to promote sharing of data and resources?

        The Coalition for Networked Information has launched a program called CNI Conversations, a series of sessions in which participants from member institutions take part in discussions on current topics. The first one took place on September 15 and focused on the Google Book proposed settlement, DataNet, library responses to the financial crisis, etc. The mp3 is available online.