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Weekly News Digest

January 17, 2023 — 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.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

The Latest News From the American Psychological Association

On Jan. 13, 2023, the American Psychological Association (APA) reported the results of research finding that “[t]he stress of following daily political news can negatively affect people’s mental health and well-being, but disengaging has ramifications, too. … There are strategies that can help people manage those negative emotions—such as distracting oneself from political news—but those same strategies also reduce people’s drive to act on political causes they care about. …”

On Dec. 22, 2022, APA shared research on gender bias that found, “Men are less likely to seek careers in early education and some other fields traditionally associated with women because of male gender bias in those fields. … Bias against men in health care, early education and domestic (HEED) fields has been documented in prior research, and the current study sought to gauge the impact of that bias.”

On Dec. 8, 2022, APA reacted to Congress passing the Respect for Marriage Act, with the association’s president Frank C. Worrell saying, “The American Psychological Association is gratified that Congress has passed a bill that will codify marriage equality for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or race. … APA has long been a strong advocate for marriage equality, based on the psychological research indicating that marriage provides substantial psychological and physical health benefits due to the moral, economic and social support extended to married couples. Conversely, empirical evidence has illustrated the harmful psychological effect of policies restricting marriage rights, particularly for same-sex couples.”

JSTOR Introduces Path to Open Books Pilot Program

JSTOR, along with a cohort of university presses, is launching Path to Open, “a program to support the open access publication of new groundbreaking scholarly books that will bring diverse perspectives and research to millions of people.” During the pilot phase, “Path to Open libraries will contribute funds to enable participating presses to publish new books that will transition from licensed to open access within three years of publication. The initial pilot will produce about one thousand open access monographs. If successful, it will lay the foundation for an entirely new way to fund long-form scholarship while vastly increasing its impact.”

Organizations that have been working with JSTOR on this pilot include the American Council of Learned Societies, University of Michigan Press, University of North Carolina Press, and LYRASIS. The first Path to Open books will be published in fall 2023.

For more information, read the news item.

Artificial Intelligence News Roundup

Leyland Cecco writes the following in “Death of the Narrator? Apple Unveils Suite of AI-Voiced Audiobooks” for The Guardian:

Apple has quietly launched a catalogue of books narrated by artificial intelligence in a move that may mark the beginning of the end for human narrators. The strategy marks an attempt to upend the lucrative and fast-growing audiobook market—but it also promises to intensify scrutiny over allegations of Apple’s anti-competitive behaviour.

Susan D’Agostino writes the following in “ChatGPT Advice Academics Can Use Now” for Inside Higher Ed:

Faculty members and administrators are now reckoning in real time with how—not if—ChatGPT will impact teaching and learning. Inside Higher Ed caught up with 11 academics to ask how to harness the potential and avert the risks of this game-changing technology. The following edited, condensed advice suggests that higher ed professionals should think a few years out, invite students into the conversation and—most of all—experiment, not panic.

Sindhu Sundar writes the following in “If You Still Aren’t Sure What ChatGPT Is, This Is Your Guide to the Viral Chatbot That Everyone Is Talking About” for Business Insider:

Since Open AI released its blockbuster bot Chat GPT in November, the tool has sparked ongoing casual experiments, including some by Insider reporters trying to simulate news stories or message potential dates. 

To older millennials who grew up with IRC chat rooms—a text instant message system—the personal tone of conversations with the bot can evoke the experience of chatting online. But Chat GPT, the latest in technology known as ‘large language model tools,’ doesn’t speak with sentience and doesn’t ‘think’ the way people do. 

That means that even though Chat GPT can explain quantum physics or write a poem on command, a full AI takeover is not imminent, according to experts.

Ex Libris Looks at 'How Library Resource Sharing Is Fulfilling Its Promise' via Its Rapido Solution

Beth Dempsey writes the following for Ex Libris:

Nothing speaks more to the uniquely collaborative nature of libraries than resource sharing. The idea of banding together to share collections has always held the promise of strengthening individual libraries and empowering them with larger collections. However, reality hasn’t always lived up to promise. Frustrations abound with traditional interlibrary loan (ILL) management systems and document delivery services (DDS). Librarians lament complicated set-ups, incompatibility with other library systems, and even manual workflows are rife with dead-ends and wasted steps. In a world where budget dollars and staff time are at a premium, traditional ILL systems are simply too expensive. …

Rapido, from Ex Libris, part of Clarivate, is among a new generation of resource sharing solutions that streamlines both ILL and DDS by automating processes and freeing librarians from tedious manual steps.

For more information, read the blog post.

'DEI: A Journey, Not a Destination' by Skip Prichard

Skip Prichard writes the following for the OCLC Next blog:

Last month, we received a very special honor. In a worldwide survey of technology organizations, Computerworld ranked OCLC first among midsized IT enterprises worldwide for demonstrating excellence in advancing workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

It’s gratifying to see our years of work in DEI acknowledged. Recognition like this is a milestone, a marker—and an opportunity to consider the questions that need to be answered as we continue our journey toward a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

It’s a journey because we cannot claim we have arrived. Persistent reflection and action are required to keep moving forward. We can share what has been achieved so far. What more needs to be done? What can we learn from each other?

For more information, read the blog post.

OASPA Rolls Out a Checklist to Help OA Publishers Implement UNESCO Open Science Principles

Bernie Folan, communications, engagement, and outreach manager of OASPA, shared the following in an email letter:

During 2022, OASPA held a webinar to announce the development of guidelines for OA publishers who wished to implement the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. The webinar focused on the practical actions open access editors and publishers could take to implement the recommendation. Practical guidelines for publishers were discussed and co-developed together during and after the webinar. Community input and feedback was welcomed via a working document.

We are delighted to announce that the resulting guidelines have now been published by UNESCO in a jointly developed final document: Checklist for open access publishers on implementing the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. The Guidelines form part of the UNESCO Open Science Toolkit.

For more information, read the letter.

ScienceOpen Adds Content Pertaining to Disability Studies From Saudi Arabia-Based Organization

ScienceOpen shared the following news on its blog:

[W]e are excited to announce that the King Salman Center for Disability Research [KSCDR] has joined ScienceOpen, increasing the content available in disability studies by adding hundreds of articles, books, and book chapters on its new collection.

The mission of the King Salman Center for Disability Research is to foster a global platform for addressing disability through research and empowerment. Its content will now be published alongside 83 million publications on ScienceOpen, allowing people to access cutting-edge research in just a few clicks. …

Today, KSCDR is one of the few centers in the Arab and Islamic world dealing with scientific research specializing in disability concerns. …

The new ScienceOpen collection includes research output sponsored or endorsed by KSCDR, creating a forum for addressing disability via research and empowerment, as well as publications from the Journal for Disability Research. …

For more information, read the blog post.

The Smithsonian Plans Restoration of Late-1800s Sound Recordings

Molly Enking writes the following in “The Smithsonian Will Restore Hundreds of the World’s Oldest Sound Recordings” for Smithsonian magazine:

Until about ten years ago, nobody knew what Alexander Graham Bell sounded like. But a breakthrough came in 2013, when Smithsonian researchers recovered a previously ‘unplayable’ recording of the scientist on a wax-and-cardboard disc. …

Now, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has announced a new project: restoring hundreds of never-before-heard sound recordings made by Bell and his fellow researchers between 1881 and 1892 at Volta Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and Bell’s property in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. They are some of the world’s earliest sound recordings. 

‘Over the three-year duration of this remarkable project, “Hearing History: Recovering Sound from Alexander Graham Bell’s Experimental Records,” we will preserve and make accessible for the first time about 300 recordings that have been in the museum’s collections for over a century, unheard by anyone,’ says Anthea M. Hartig, the museum’s Elizabeth MacMillan director, in a statement. The new initiative will begin in the fall.

For more information, read the article.

University of California Reveals the Results of a Study on Fake News

Pamela Madrid writes the following for USC (University of Southern California) News:

USC researchers may have found the biggest influencer in the spread of fake news: social platforms’ structure of rewarding users for habitually sharing information.

The team’s findings, published … by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, upend popular misconceptions that misinformation spreads because users lack the critical thinking skills necessary for discerning truth from falsehood or because their strong political beliefs skew their judgment.

Just 15% of the most habitual news sharers in the research were responsible for spreading about 30% to 40% of the fake news.

The research team from the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences wondered: What motivates these users? As it turns out, much like any video game, social media has a rewards system that encourages users to stay on their accounts and keep posting and sharing. Users who post and share frequently, especially sensational, eye-catching information, are likely to attract attention.

For more information, read the article.

Vox Looks at the Pandemic-Era Terms About Work We've Invented

Rani Molla writes the following in “Quiet Hiring and the Endless Quest to Coin Terms About Work” for Vox:

Three years into a global pandemic that upended work for many Americans, we now find ourselves at the precipice of a recession that threatens to disrupt the way we work even further. Along the way, terms like the Great Resignation and quiet quitting have catapulted the 9 to 5 into the rest of our days. They manage to be both meaningless buzzwords that elicit eye rolls and succinct ways to capture real workplace phenomena.

Quiet hiring is the latest term being thrown about. It describes the way employers are trying to complete necessary tasks not by adding more employees but by asking existing workers to shift their roles. It’s a play on the term quiet quitting, which describes workers refusing to go above and beyond in their work.  …

When I first heard about quiet hiring, my first reaction was to groan and tell my editor, no, I will not write about this fake thing. I’m still skeptical about how the trend will play out but, after spending some time thinking about these terms and why we make them up, I’m more empathetic. For better or worse, these terms are powerful.

For more information, read the article.

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