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Weekly News Digest

September 30, 2021 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory Divests Its U.S. Legal Education Business

Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory is selling its U.S. legal education business to Transom Capital Group for $88 million in cash. According to the press release, “The divestment will allow Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. to further advance its focus on supporting legal professionals with the domain expertise and state-of-the-art solutions that they need.” The completion of the agreement is expected to take several months, and it will be subject to customary closing conditions.

“After careful consideration, we are delighted to have found a new owner for the legal education business who recognizes the value of our highly regarded content and solutions and who is committed to further growing the business,” says Dean Sonderegger, SVP and general manager of Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. “We are confident that Transom Capital Group will continue to serve authors, faculty, students and others in the legal education community with excellence.”

For more information, read the press release.

CCC Looks at the Intricacies of Peer Review

Dave Davis, research analyst for CCC, published a three-part article series about peer review for Peer Review Week 2021 (Sept. 20–24).

Peer Review, a Critical Step in Scholarly & Scientific Publishing,” from Sept. 21, states, “Scientific peer review may be thought of as something a lot like the QA [quality assurance] component of the software development process—that is, it is essentially the QA step for the production of high-quality articles which are published in high quality journals. … I learned that the STM Organization (in cooperation with NISO) has a pilot project underway, assessing a potentially standard Peer Review Taxonomy. … There are many aspects of peer review—e.g., internal versus external—that can be clarified by implementing a controlled vocabulary and concept hierarchy.”

Understanding the Role of Preprints & Postprints & The Version of Record,” from Sept. 22, shares, “The purpose of postprints … is to ensure that the research field has access to … ‘good’ research—‘good’ because it has been reviewed and accepted—ahead of publication, which may be a year or more away. It also gives the author and her institution a version that is ‘theirs’ and technically separate from the Version of Record, to which some or all copyright rights will likely have been conveyed to the publisher. … Both preprints and postprints can help advance more efficient scholarly communication and broader access to scientific outputs, both of which are core goals of the Open Access Movement. Comments and criticism of preprints, in particular, may serve as an informal supplement to editorial peer review.”

Research Results, Replicability, & Retractions,” from Sept. 23, explains, “In this post, I’m focusing on the Why and the How of replication studies. At the end of this post I’ll wrap up with a brief look at retractions, the ultimate ‘undo’ button for papers. Overall, they make up the parts of the standard research and reporting process aimed at improving the quality and reliability of research outputs. The effort put into them—which can be considerable—serves to improve the scientific record, which in turn helps all of us.”

OCLC Brings New Publishers Into the WorldCat Discovery Fold

OCLC signed new agreements with content providers to add metadata to WorldCat Discovery, making their ebooks, print books, journals, databases, and other learning materials discoverable on the platform. The providers include BCS, The Charter Institute for IT; Casalini Libri; Firenze University Press; the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation; Schweizerbart Science Publishers; and Optica.

“Some of these new agreements are with new content providers. Some are with providers with whom we have existing relationships and are adding new collections,” says Chip Nilges, OCLC’s VP of business development. “We are committed to providing access to a wide range of content through libraries to support faculty, students and other information seekers around the world.”

For more information, read the press release.

Pennsylvania School District Reverses Its Ban on Race-Related Books

Hannah Brandt writes the following in “Central York School District Reverses Book Ban After Growing Protests” for ABC27 News:

After weeks of protest, the Central York School District [in Pennsylvania] has decided to reverse a controversial book ban.

In August the district sent out an email to staff with a list of resources they were told not to use in the classroom. The list included dozens of books, websites, and movies about race and racism—many by Black authors.

When students in the district learned about the ban they held a series of protests, asking the district to reverse it. …

[A] Central York School District diversity education specialist says she helped put the original list together as a resource to be used by those in the district. She was shocked when board members decided to ban it. …

In a meeting on [Sept. 20,] Central York School Board president Jane Johnson insisted the whole situation was a misunderstanding.

‘What we were attempting to do is balance legitimate academic freedom that could be literature materials that are too activist in nature and may lean more towards indoctrination rather than age-appropriate academic content,’ Johnson said. …

After hearing from several speakers some of the board members apologized that they hadn’t taken action sooner. They unanimously voted to reverse the ban.

For more information, read the article.

Knowledge Rights 21 Fights for Fair Copyright Practices in Europe

Knowledge Rights 21 (KR21)—which will advocate “for a 21st century copyright environment across Europe that is friendly to the modern delivery and use of education and research materials”—launched as a program of the Stichting IFLA Foundation (SIF), in collaboration with IFLA, LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries), and SPARC Europe. These organizations will work on tasks such as improving fair access to ebooks, promoting open and flexible copyright norms, and increasing open licensing in Europe. KR21 received a €3 million (about $3.5 million) grant over 3 years from the Arcadia charitable fund.

The press release announcing the program’s launch states, “With a focus on evidence and capacity building, [KR21’s] goal is to achieve and implement reforms to copyright law and practice that enable knowledge institutions to provide unhindered access to copyright works for education and research purposes.” KR21 will work with public, national, educational, health, and research libraries; universities; and others to “build networks and promote copyright reform at the European and national levels, and through our work leave a lasting legacy that influences similar developments elsewhere in the world.”

For more information, read the press release.

Educational Publishers Bring Legal Action Against Ebook Pirate Sites

Five educational publishers—Macmillan Learning, Cengage Group, Elsevier, McGraw Hill, and Pearson—obtained a preliminary injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against 60 sites that are selling illegal, unlicensed copies of their ebooks. They are concerned that the sites use online ads to entice customers away from legitimate content toward the illegal versions. Search engines, web hosts, ISPs, and others that are facilitating these sites’ activities are ordered to stop doing so.

The publishers had filed suit against these sites on Aug. 9, 2021, when a temporary restraining order was granted to shut them down and halt their facilitators. This preliminary injunction extends this suspension through the pendency of the litigation.

For more information, read the press release.

AACSB and SAGE Produce Report on How Business School Research Can Have Positive Social Impact

SAGE sponsored a report from AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International, “Research That Matters: An Action Plan for Creating Business School Research That Positively Impacts Society” (registration required), which shares three common components of impactful research: It is cross-disciplinary, it is at the intersection of academia and practice, and it creates real change that is useful to stakeholders. The report also offers a five-part plan for helping business schools produce more socially positive research.

According to the press release, “AACSB’s 2020 business accreditation standards require business schools to demonstrate their positive impact on society. This thought paper continues AACSB’s role in driving business schools to place societal impact at the center of their missions and activities.”

For more information, read the press release.

EFF Will Discontinue HTTPS Everywhere in 2022

Alexis Hancock writes the following in “HTTPS Is Actually Everywhere” for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

For more than 10 years, EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere browser extension has provided a much-needed service to users: encrypting their browser communications with websites and making sure they benefit from the protection of HTTPS wherever possible. Since we started offering HTTPS Everywhere, the battle to encrypt the web has made leaps and bounds: what was once a challenging technical argument is now a mainstream standard offered on most web pages. …

The goal of HTTPS Everywhere was always to become redundant. That would mean we’d achieved our larger goal: a world where HTTPS is so broadly available and accessible that users no longer need an extra browser extension to get it. Now that world is closer than ever, with mainstream browsers offering native support for an HTTPS-only mode.

With these simple settings available, EFF is preparing to deprecate the HTTPS Everywhere web extension as we look to new frontiers of secure protocols like SSL/TLS. After the end of this year, the extension will be in ‘maintenance mode.’ for 2022. We know many different kinds of users have this tool installed, and want to give our partners and users the needed time to transition. We will continue to inform users that there are native HTTPS-only browser options before the extension is fully sunset.

For more information, read the article.

McGraw Hill Studies Teachers' and Parents' Knowledge of Social and Emotional Learning

McGraw Hill released the results of a survey of teachers, administrators, and parents—the “2021 Social and Emotional Learning Report”—which shows that most educators’ schools are implementing social and emotional learning (SEL) plans. Educator awareness of SEL has increased from 83% in 2018 to 94% in this survey, while parental knowledge and advocacy for it is at a high, with 87% “believing it is important in helping their children navigate today’s world.” In addition, 81% of parents think that SEL is not emphasized as much as it should be, and 80% think it is helpful for students learning online. More than 84% of teachers think SEL has become more important since the start of the pandemic, and more than 95% of educators believe the benefits of SEL include fewer behavioral problems, better grades, and less emotional distress.

The press release notes that “SEL is defined as the process through which young people and adults acquire and apply knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.”

For more information, read the press release.



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