Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bogus conferences

The issue of strong and weak conferences has been discussed by us several times. But it appears that weak conferences are not the bottom line - there are bogus conferences as well. A message from in one of Carnegie Mellon mailing lists prompted me to search for an information about a quality of a specific conference. What I found was very interesting and to large extent not known to me. An information in anti-plagiarism blog is a useful starting point to investigate the issue further. Most interesting for me was the information about MIT SCIgen - a generator of good-looking but nonsense papers, which was used to check a number of bogus conferences.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Placing Research Online -- MIT

Thought this was of interest on today's Chronicle of Higher Education--

March 23, 2009

MIT Professors Approve Campuswide Policy to Publish Scholarly Articles Free Online

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is known for its ambitious effort to give away its course materials online, but now the university is giving away its research too.

Last week MIT’s professors voted unanimously to adopt a policy stating that all faculty members will deposit their scholarly research papers in a free online university repository (in addition to sending them to scholarly journals), in an effort to expand access to the university’s scholarship.

The policy is modeled on one adopted last year by Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. At MIT, as at Harvard, professors can opt out of the policy if, for instance, a journal accepts a faculty member’s paper but does not allow it to be published free.

Peter Suber, a research professor of philosophy at Earlham College and a longtime promoter of open access to scholarly publications, said the move was a sign of growing momentum for open-access policies. “It’s a strong signal that these measures have faculty support,” he said. “The more momentum there is for open access, the more it looks like a mainstream idea,” he added. “There’s no doubt that it started out as a fringe idea.”

He said that about 30 colleges and universities around the world have adopted similar open-access policies for their research, citing a list of such policies maintained by ePrints, a company that makes software for open-access archiving. Most of those institutions are in Europe, and many of the American colleges that have jumped in have adopted policies only in an individual school or department.

In the past, some publishers have expressed concern about universities’ open-access policies — especially some scholarly societies that publish journals and worry that giving away articles will undermine their ability to keep their publications afloat. —Jeffrey R. Young

Friday, March 20, 2009

A dubious distinction for Pittsburgh

In this article from Forbes, Pittsburgh ranks #8 ... This might not have been bad, were it not the list of "America's Downsized Cities". I suppose the good news is that cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Youngstown, Flint, etc. all rank higher than Pittsburgh ...

Quoting the article:
To determine America's Downsized Cities, we used 2008 population estimates for the 125 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., released Thursday by the Census Bureau. We compared those estimates with 2007 population estimates to determine the percent change year-over-year. Then we looked at the percent change in population from 2000 to 2007. We combined those two rankings--weighting down the more relevant 2007-2008 percent change--for a final ranking.

While migration has slowed in general, these metro areas saw an actual decrease in population, whereas others stayed flat or continued to grow, if at a decreased pace.

Anyway, the list is:
  1. Youngstown OH
  2. Flint MI
  3. Cleveland OH
  4. Detroit MI
  5. Dayton OH
  6. Buffalo NY
  7. Toledo OH
  8. Pittsburgh PA
  9. Lansing MI
  10. Providence RI

Google Books and Copyright

Those interested in copyright issues might find it interesting to read the Libary Law blog on a recent conference at Columbia on the Google Books Settlement. The conference addressed the following issues:

Google, authors and publishers recently entered into a settlement agreement in The Authors Guild et al. v. Google Inc., a class action lawsuit brought against Google in connection with its use of copyrighted books in its Book Search feature, and in The McGraw-Hill Companies et al. v. Google Inc., a separate lawsuit by publishers. The settlement, if approved by the court, will provide new opportunities for authors and publishers to market their works. It will also enhance the public’s ability to search for books and to get partial text displays (and, in the case of many older works, full text displays) at home, at school, and in libraries. At the same time, the settlement may have significant implications for copyright law, competition, research and scholarship.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CS enrollments finally start going up

Please see this article from Ars Technica. There is one sentence that seems to indicate that this includes degrees in "information", but it is not very clear how inclusive it is.