The cost of providing everyone in this country with access to just one major academic publisher’s portfolio would be equal to the size of Russia’s defense budget. Add in Springer, Wiley, and others and maybe we start getting close to half trillion. Knowledge ain’t cheap! But when the cost of journal subscriptions is more than we pay for bombs, tanks, missiles, guns, fighter jets, ships, and so forth… that’s when you that something’s not right.

WHAT IF OBAMA PAID FOR YOUR ELSEVIER SUBSCRIPTION? The Cost of Universal Knowledge Access - The Ubiquitous Librarian - The Chronicle of Higher Education

In the proposed book, Karen L. Dawisha, a professor of political science and a Russia expert, writes about President Vladimir V. Putin’s alleged links to organized crime. Last month she received a letter from John Haslam, the press’s executive publisher for political science and sociology, stating that the press would not proceed with the book. “The decision has nothing to do with the quality of your research or your scholarly credibility,” he wrote. “It is simply a question of risk tolerance in light of our limited resources.”

Citing Libel Fears, Cambridge U. Press Won’t Proceed With Book on Putin – The Ticker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

A study at Indiana University found that “as many as 50% of papers are never read by anyone other than their authors, referees and journal editors.” That same study concluded that “some 90% of papers that have been published in academic journals are never cited.” That is, nine out of 10 academic papers—which both often take years to research, compile, submit, and get published, and are a major component by which a scholar’s output is measured—contribute little to the academic conversation.

Killing Pigs and Weed Maps: The Mostly Unread World of Academic Papers - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society

Shareholder activism on ethical grounds is no new thing, and quite effective in certain areas. The $828.9 billion Government Pension Fund – Global of Norway, for instance, the world’s largest pension fund, excludes certain companies from investment on ethical grounds, and publishes a widely followed blacklist of corporations that it condemns, on grounds ranging from environmental damage to violation of the Geneva Convention. Would it be too difficult to envisage an investor as well as an academic boycott of companies that, for example, oppose open access to scientific research? Think about it.

Reed Elsevier realizes restricting research raises revenues TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics

Deep inside the $1.1 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2014 is a provision that requires federal agencies under the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education portion of the bill with research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to the research that they fund within 12 months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. According to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), this means approximately $31 billion of the total $60 billion annual U.S. investment in taxpayer-funded research will become openly accessible. “This is an important step toward making federally funded scientific research available for everyone to use online at no cost,” said SPARC Executive Director Heather Joseph in a news release. The language in the appropriations bill mirrors that in the White House open access memo from last year, and a National Institutes of Health public access program enacted in 2008.

Half of taxpayer funded research will soon be available to the public

Although Harvard Business Review articles have been included in the journal aggregator EBSCO since 2000, as of August 1 the publisher began blocking full access to the 500 most popular articles, meaning students and professors can no longer download, print, or link directly to them. Harvard has long asserted that a digital library subscription cannot substitute for the separate licenses and fees involved when the articles are assigned in courses. Yet it says it has encountered widespread abuse of that policy, with professors referring students to the digital subscriptions. To restore the linking ability, some of the largest business-school libraries have received quotes of roughly $200,000 annually—a number the publisher, a nonprofit subsidiary of Harvard University, confirms—although the press says the average quote is below $10,000. Alternatively, business schools can pay for journal articles that are assigned in class on an à-la-carte basis or under various “umbrella” plans. Those latter arrangements have long existed. (Some business schools already have expansive licensing arrangements with Harvard that mean they are unaffected.)

Librarians Accuse Harvard Business Publishing of Unfair Prices - Publishing - The Chronicle of Higher Education

I am a book person who thinks it’s time libraries did something about the future of books, because I’m one of those weirdoes who thinks books matter. Not old books. Not the idea of books. Not the smell of books. The scholarship inside the books. Books to be read. Books that do something to help us understand this world better.

A Confession of Faith in Books | Inside Higher Ed
More Than 800,000 Scientific Papers In One Beautiful Infographic

The infographic is a mass of circles. Each circle represents a paper, and the bigger a circle is, the more highly cited it is. The papers are color-coded by discipline—pink for astrophysics, yellow for math, etc.—and papers that share many of the same citations are placed closer together.

» via Popular Science High-res

More Than 800,000 Scientific Papers In One Beautiful Infographic

The infographic is a mass of circles. Each circle represents a paper, and the bigger a circle is, the more highly cited it is. The papers are color-coded by discipline—pink for astrophysics, yellow for math, etc.—and papers that share many of the same citations are placed closer together.

» via Popular Science

Car hacking scientists agree to delay paper that could unlock Porsches

The University of Birmingham says it will defer any publication of an academic paper which reveals secret codes to bypass the security on top-end cars including Porsches and Bentleys following a high court injunction.

It said it was “disappointed” with the judgement in a statement following the Guardian’s revelation that the cryptography research of three British and Dutch academics had prompted legal action by the cars’ manufacturer Volkswagen.

The motoring giant had argued that the work of Birmingham’s computer scientist Flavio Garcia and two Dutch colleagues from the Raboud University could lead to the theft of not just the luxury cars but also of lower-end people-carriers and other makes, including Audis which use its Megamos Crypto algorithm. That algorithm allows the car to verify the identity of the ignition key.

» via The Guardian

The AHA is acting out of a genuine concern for the career prospects of younger scholars, and that is admirable. The trouble is, as the Digital Public Library of America’s Dan Cohen tweeted, “Rather than trying to push other levers, or experimenting with other ways to disseminate historical knowledge, the AHA’s default is to gate.” He later added, “It’s the passivity in the face of what is, the lack of initiative to explore other models as well, that’s disappointing.”

American Historical Association: Universities Ought to Embargo Dissertations From the Internet for 6 Years - Rebecca J. Rosen - The Atlantic