Thursday, May 26, 2016

Abby Smith Rumsey's "When We Are No More"

Back in March I attended the launch of Abby Smith Rumsey's book When We Are No More. I finally found time to read it from cover to cover, and can recommend it. Below the fold are some notes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Randall Munroe on Digital Preservation

Randall Munroe succinctly illustrates a point I made at length in my report on emulation:
And here, for comparison, is one of the Internet Archive's captures of the XKCD post. Check the mouse-over text.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Improving e-Journal Ingest (among other things)

Herbert Van de Sompel, Michael Nelson and I have a new paper entitled Web Infrastructure to Support e-Journal Preservation (and More) that:
  • describes the ways archives ingest e-journal articles,
  • shows the areas in which these processes use heuristics, which makes them fallible and expensive to maintain,
  • and shows how the use of DOIs, ResourceSync, and Herbert and Michael's "Signposting" proposal could greatly improve these and other processes that need to access e-journal content.
It concludes with a set of recommendations for CrossRef and the e-journal publishers that would be easy to adopt and would not merely improve these processes but also help remedy the deficiencies in the way DOI's are used in practice that were identified in Martin Klein et al's paper in PLoS One entitled Scholarly Context Not Found: One in Five Articles Suffers from Reference Rot, and in Persistent URIs Must Be Used To Be Persistent, presented by Herbert and co-authors to the 25th international world wide web conference.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Jeffrey MacKie-Mason on Gold Open Access

I've written before about the interesting analysis behind the Max Planck Society's initiative to "flip" the academic publishing system from one based on subscriptions to one based on "gold" open access (article processing charges or APCs). They are asking institutions to sign an "Expression of Interest in the Large-scale Implementation of Open Access to Scholarly Journals". They now have 49 signatures, primarily from European institutions.

The US library community appears generally skeptical or opposed, except for the economist and Librarian of UC Berkeley, Jefferey MacKie-Mason. In response to what he describes as the Association of Research Libraries':
one-sided briefing paper in advance of a discussion during the spring ARL business meeting on 27 January. (I say “one-sided” because support of gold OA was presented, tepidly, in just nine words — “the overall aim of this initiative is highly laudable” — followed by nearly a page of single spaced “concerns and criticisms”.)
he posted Economic Thoughts About Gold Open Access, a detailed and well-argued defense of the initiative. It is well worth reading. Below the fold, some commentary.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Future of Storage

My preparation for a workshop on the future of storage included giving a talk at Seagate and talking to the all-flash advocates. Below the fold I attempt to organize into a coherent whole the results of these discussions and content from a lot of earlier posts.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Signal or Noise?

I've been blogging critically about the state of scientific publishing since my very first post 9 years ago. In particular, I've been pointing out that the several billion dollars a year that go to the publisher's bottom lines, plus the several billion dollars a year in unpaid work by the reviewers, is extremely poor value for money. The claim is that the peer-review process guarantees the quality of published science. But the reality is that it doesn't; it cannot even detect most fraud or major errors.

The fundamental problem is that all participants have bad incentives. Follow me below the fold for some recent examples that illustrate their corrupting effects.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Talk at Seagate

I gave a talk at Seagate as part of a meeting to prepare myself for an upcoming workshop on The Future of Storage. It pulls together ideas from many previous posts. Below the fold, a text of the talk with links to the sources that has been edited to reflect some of what I learnt from the discussions.