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Weekly News Digest

February 25, 2020 — 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.

U.K. National Literacy Trust Studies Benefits of Audiobooks for Children

The U.K.’s National Literacy Trust issued a research review finding that “engagement with audiobooks can benefit children’s reading skills and enjoyment, as well as their mental wellbeing and emotional intelligence. … Our review also includes evidence that listening to an audiobook requires the same cognitive skills as reading in print, and also supports the development of skills that children need to read including language comprehension and the ability to understand and retain information.”

For more information, read the news item.

Upping Audience Engagement With Kudos' Research Briefings

Kudos introduced Research Briefings, which will help researchers engage with audiences including the media, practitioners, and educators by creating structured briefings that can be published and shared throughout the lifecycle of a project or program. They can access detailed guidance and examples that are customized to each audience type. Research Briefings is available as part of the newest release of Kudos Pro, a toolkit that helps maximize engagement and the impact of research.

“There are many well-developed mechanisms for peer-to-peer communication in research, but reaching and attracting the attention of non-academic audiences is much harder,” says David Sommer, Kudos’ chief product officer. “Support for this specialist outreach is often reserved for only the very top tier of projects or publications, but with the simple tools and guidance we now offer, it’s possible for many more researchers to communicate their work directly to these critical stakeholders.”

For more information, read the blog post.

White House Controversy Over Access to Publicly Funded Research

Kelsey Brugger of E&E News writes in a piece posted by Science, “The White House issued a notice Wednesday seeking comment on its effort to enhance public access to federally funded research. It’s an old idea creating new controversy.”

Brugger continues:

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Kelvin Droegemeier is pushing back against publishers that in December said the administration was quietly pursuing an executive order to require immediate free distribution of taxpayer funded research. …

Publishers feared the plan could upend their fee-based business model. But this week, Droegemeier formally assured them that his office is still seeking public input on the topic. …

Droegemeier said he intends to continue to hear from ‘as many voices of the research community’ as possible before a White House policy becomes final. He said a range of opinions will ‘remain at the forefront in our ongoing work.’ The public comment period ends March 16.

For more information, read the article.

Tennessee Bills Propose the Installation of Parental Oversight Boards for Public Libraries

Kelly Jensen writes for Book Riot, “Following in the footsteps of Republican lawmakers in Missouri, a pair of bills aimed at public libraries are making their way through both the House and the Senate of Tennessee. Senate Bill 2896, sponsored by Senator Paul Bailey (R-Sparta), and House Bill 2721, sponsored by Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) seek to create parental oversight boards for public libraries. Those boards, one for each library, would make final determinations on whether or not sexual materials are age-appropriate.”

The board members would be appointed by local government officials, not library representatives. Hearings would be public, with community members welcome to share their opinions. “Like the bill in Missouri, librarians would be subject to misdemeanor violations and fines in instances where they do not comply with board decisions. The state can also revoke funding for libraries not found in compliance.”

Jensen continues:

For advocates of small-government, these bills sponsored and backed by Republican state politicians—both in Missouri and in Tennessee—counter that narrative. They seek to remove the power of librarians from providing materials, including not just those for lending, but also events, speakers, and programming, for their entire communities. Instead, inalterable decisions would be made by an unrelated body of those without the training, education, or knowledge of the whole of their communities, undermining the purpose of a public library all together.

These bills directly discriminate against minority communities, and in particular LGBTQ+ people. By not having access to programs that celebrate and educate about their histories and their futures, and equally encouraging enjoyment, fun, and play, they’re pushed further into the shadows due to fear and bigotry of the most vocal.

For more information and a list of actions you can take to protest these bills, read the article.

ACM Launches OA Digital Government Journal

ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) rolled out the inaugural issue of Digital Government: Research and Practice (DGOV), an interdisciplinary OA journal studying the impact of technology on governance and public institutions. Contributors will include academics, practitioners, designers, and technologists who will be writing for audiences such as “academics, researchers, data science practitioners, students, government officials and policymakers, businesses that work with governments, journalists, legal experts, teachers, librarians, and individual citizens and advocacy groups.” The first issue explores the state of digital democracy and features an interview with Vint Cerf, an early internet pioneer.

“Digital technologies have reshaped how governments function at every level, as well as how citizens interact with government and each other,” says Soon Ae Chun, the journal’s co-editor-in-chief. “We emphasize research and practice in our title because we felt there was a void among publications in the government informatics field geared toward practitioners. We hope Digital Government: Research and Practice will be a venue where people from around the world will share their best practices and latest innovations.”

For more information, read the press release.

eLife Helps Open Knowledge Maps Improve Its Platform

eLife partnered with Open Knowledge Maps, which runs a visual search engine for scientific literature, “to improve the serviceability, reusability and structure of [the Open Knowledge Maps] platform while maintaining current functionality. The aim is to make it easier to introduce new features, which will in turn help improve the growth of the organisation’s community of contributors.” eLife and Open Knowledge Maps share a “commitment to speed up research dissemination and curation.”

Emmy Tsang, eLife’s innovation community manager, says, “It will be great to work with the Open Knowledge Maps team and exchange ideas on the use of machine-learning and web technologies to drive forward research discovery, sharing and consumption.”

Peter Kraker, founder and chairman of Open Knowledge Maps, says, “eLife’s backing gives us a unique opportunity to improve our growth and sustainability that might have been difficult to come by elsewhere.”

For more information, read the press release.

Purdue University Global Plans a Virtual Graduation Ceremony Option

Purdue University announced, “While some 400 Purdue University Global graduates take part in commencement ceremonies in-person Thursday (Feb. 27) in Los Angeles, an additional 75-plus are planning to participate virtually, thanks to a first-of-its-kind pilot program.”

Graduates who are participating virtually will get “a Purdue Global branded headset to use during the ceremony, as well as a commencement program, tassel and honor cord, if applicable. In Los Angeles, a camera operator will provide 360-degree views—via an Insta360 Pro 2 camera and streamed live on YouTube 360—and the experience will be launched from Purdue Global’s internally created conference center, PG Connect. A traditional single-view video feed also will be provided via Facebook Live for anyone to watch.”

For more information, read the press release.

It's Fleming, Ian Fleming: Exact Editions Releases Archive of The Book Collector

Exact Editions published the complete digital archive of The Book Collector, a literary journal that author Ian Fleming founded in 1952. Individuals or institutions around the world can purchase a subscription. The archive currently comprises 280 issues that are available via the web and iOS and Android devices. According to Exact Editions, “Commenting on all aspects of the book, the quarterly issues of The Book Collector feature fascinating articles written by international experts together with book reviews, auction results indexed by title and author, details of book dealers’ catalogues and of exhibitions held worldwide. … [Fleming] founded The Book Collector the same year that he wrote Casino Royale, the first [James] Bond novel. The range and sharpness of the writing make The Book Collector an essential resource for all who are interested in our literary heritage, whether students, academics or literature enthusiasts.”

For more information, read the press release.

Ex Libris' Pivot Adds Awarded Grants Feature to Provide More Funding Insights

Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, updated the Pivot research funding database with an Awarded Grants feature, which “enables researchers and research offices to gain valuable insights by searching millions of previously awarded grants from dozens of leading international funders. Pivot curates and normalizes the awarded grants data that is presented, and further matches grants to scholars’ profiles and current funding opportunities. Researchers and research offices can leverage advanced search features to easily navigate across the awarded-grant information and zoom in on the most relevant awards to their interests and areas of specialization.”

Researchers can also see how much money various funders have granted and what types of projects they’ve supported, use profiles to find potential mentors and collaborators, and view currently available opportunities for funding.

For more information, read the press release.

SAGE Open Access Portal Streamlines the Publishing Workflow

SAGE unveiled the SAGE Open Access Portal, which allows authors, consortia, libraries, and funders to manage the OA publishing workflow. It currently supports SAGE Choice, SAGE’s hybrid OA publishing option for more than 900 journals. Later in 2020, it will add support for SAGE’s more than 180 pure gold OA journals.

The portal has the following functionality: 

  • Enables automated compliance with all funder or national OA mandates
  • Enables stakeholders to view and track articles through approval, license selection, and payment transaction
  • Includes a shared author and bill payer interface to streamline Article Processing Charge (APC) payment processes
  • Provides detailed reporting through dashboard views and downloadable reports
  • Automatically notifies authors of articles eligible for OA publishing agreements and any waivers or discounts for which they are eligible

For more information, read the press release.

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli
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