Microtransactions, Blockchain, and the Future of Publishing

While you may not be familiar with the term “Blockchain,” I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of bitcoin. The crypto-currency is getting a lot of attention lately, as some early adopters and investors are seeing massive returns.

Blockchain is the technology behind bitcoin, the system used to secure the currency. Rather than belaboring the details of how Blockchain works, suffice it to say that the system creates a secure ledger for the tracing of individual pieces of content or data. This article from Harvard Business Review goes into more detail – The Truth About Blockchain. Wikipedia also features an extensive and well-sourced entry on Blockchain. Continue reading “Microtransactions, Blockchain, and the Future of Publishing”

Open access and the versioning issue – do we need to solve this?

One of the major issues with institutional repositories is that it is difficult to get researchers to self-deposit their work. Assuming one could wave a magic wand and solve that, institutional repositories still have another barrier to overcome – the discovery barrier. With content scattered across thousands of sites, one would need an aggregator site to provide a one-search across of all them. Fortunately, Institutional (and subject) repositories were not only designed to collect deposits on a local level but it was envisioned that aggregators could be built to centralize all this work together using OAI-PMH. The unfortunate problem is that this proved to be not a simple thing. Continue reading “Open access and the versioning issue – do we need to solve this?”

Musings for the future-The infrastructure underpinning the access of scholarly publications will be defined less by database packages & more by decentralized repositories hosting OA versions. Tools like UnPaywall and OAbutton will form the bridges on which the system depends.

Musings for the future-
The infrastructure underpinning the access of scholarly publications will be defined less by database packages & more by decentralized repositories hosting OA versions. Tools like UnPaywall and OAbutton will form the bridges on which the system depends.

What resources do we need to break down barriers to open science? #MozFest 2017 session recap

I was recently interviewed for Read, Write, Participate about my Mozilla Open Leaders project to create an open science toolkit for astronomers: Resources for Open Science in Astronomy (ROSA). As part of my application for the program, I submitted a session proposal for Mozilla Festival 2017 relating to my project — I wanted to get input on what researchers would actually find useful in an open science toolkit. Continue reading “What resources do we need to break down barriers to open science? #MozFest 2017 session recap”

OpenCon 2017

This post was originally written for and published on the University of Manchester Library’s Research Plus blog here.

Photo by: R2RC, License: CC0, Edited by: Rachael Ainsworth

I applied to attend OpenCon 2017 to be inspired by and network with other pioneers of the Open Movement. There were thousands of applicants for this year’s event from over 175 countries, but there were only a few hundred places at the conference to represent our global community. I was wait-listed to attend based on my main application (which you can read on my GitHub here along with the response from the OpenCon 2017 Organising Committee). This was pretty good considering the odds, but I was still gutted. However, I was lucky enough to see that the University of Manchester Library was holding a competition to sponsor a student or staff member to attend. I therefore remixed my main application to answer the University of Manchester-specific questions (which you can read on my GitHub here) and submitted it to the competition. I was very happy when it was announced that I won the sponsored place! Continue reading “OpenCon 2017”

Reflections on the Open Science conferences of 2017

I’ve been lucky to represent the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics (JBCA) and the University of Manchester (UoM) at a number of open science conferences and events over the past few months — the first Open Science Fair in Athens, the first Open Research Forum here by the UoM Library, the 8th Mozilla Festival in London and the 4th OpenCon in Berlin. This post includes brief reflections on each of these experiences. Continue reading “Reflections on the Open Science conferences of 2017”

The ‘open access effect’: freely available academic books

Open access books.jpg

The benefits of publishing  research open access are numerous and well-known. Allowing a paper to be available to all can increase citation rates and drive public engagement. But is the same effect seen when the open access model is applied to academic books? Springer Nature has published over 400 freely available books on their SpringerLink platform. In a recent press release, the publisher announced results of a major comparative analysis which demonstrated that the ‘open access effect’ appears to be real for scholarly books as well. Continue reading “The ‘open access effect’: freely available academic books”

Unrestricted Text and Data Mining with allofPLOS

Content mining, machine learning, text and data mining (TDM) and data analytics all refer to the process of obtaining information through machine-read material. Faster than a human possibly could, machine-learning approaches can analyze data, metadata and text content; find structural similarities between research problems in unrelated fields; and synthesize content from thousands of articles to suggest directions for further research explorations. In consideration of the continually expanding volume of peer-reviewed literature, the value of TDM should not be underappreciated. Text and data mining is a useful tool for developing new scientific insights and new ways to understand the story told by the published literature. Continue reading “Unrestricted Text and Data Mining with allofPLOS”

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