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Launch of IndiaRxiv on the eve of India’s 73rd Independence Day

(14 Aug 2019) Research outputs find a home at IndiaRxiv, India’s first Preprints Service

Open Access India partners with the Center for Open Science to launch IndiaRxiv on the eve of India’s 73rd Independence Day as the country joins the global march for open science.

Open Access India and the Center for Open Science have collaborated to launch IndiaRxiv, India’s first preprint service. IndiaRxiv began as a vision for a single open platform that could provide free access to all publicly-funded research outputs (publications) from India and to provide Indian scholars with a way to share their scholarly outputs. Today, on the eve of India’s 73rd Independence Day, we are happy to introduce IndiaRxiv. Beginning 15th August, 2019, the preprint service will be open to all researchers and scholars of India and others who are working on issues related to India.

IndiaRxiv is being launched not only for scholars to share their articles and read the work published by their peers, but also to provide public access to the latest research, allowing authors to gather feedback and ideas and build upon existing work.

NITI Aayog, the policy think tank of the Indian government envisions in its ‘Strategy for New India @ 75‘ that by 2022, five of the scientific research institutions in India should be among the top 100 in the world. The Open Access India community believes that when research produced by the research institutes is made freely available, it will reach a wider audience having a larger impact and increase in collaborations. It is hoped that the IndiaRxiv repository will become a portal for sharing and showcasing the latest research produced across all the institutes and universities in the country and the open access community will strive towards this goal.

What are Preprints?

Preprints are the first draft of the versions made by the authors before submitting to the journals for publication. The researchers posting preprints in public repositories will help them in date stamping their work and showcasing the same for making grant applications or for applying for any positions.

There is growing support from eminent scientists and academic bodies like Indian National Science Academy (INSA) for preprints and advocating that preprints should be used for evaluation at par with the peer reviewed publications in the recruitment of postdocs or faculty and also for funding grants.

“Let’s give freedom to our scholarly literature and make it available freely to the world.” – Sridhar Gutam, Convenor, Open Access India and Senior Scientist, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru.

“IndiaRxiv should now be the flagship and window of cutting-edge science happening in India; a first choice publication platform.” – Biswapriya Misra, Steering Committee Member, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

“I am really happy to see the dream of IndiaRxiv – the ‘freedom’ statement of free India – come true. India gained her political freedom over seven decades back; she now aspires to earn her academic freedom through IndiaRxiv, a noble initiative in matured open access research and learning. IndiaRxiv will be fully indexed in National Digital Library of India to reach every corner of the world within a single click.” – Partha Pratim Das, Joint Principal Investigator, National Digital Library of India Project and Professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, IIT Kharagpur.

IndiaRxiv is managed by a steering committee comprised of researchers and scientists from various institutes and universities, and its advisory board includes internationally renowned advocates and supporters of open science and open access. With the support of COS and the international steering committee, the Open Access India community previously launched AgriXiv, an open access scholarly repository for agriculture and allied sciences.

The desired outcome is that journal publishers and funding agencies in India will amend their policies to allow their authors to submit preprints to IndiaRxiv, which accepts all scholarly works in all Indian languages. IndiaRxiv has a policy to moderate all the submissions and the same will be made available on the license terms of CC-BY-NC-SA or CC-BY-Attribution 4.0 International.

IndiaRxiv is the 26th community preprints service built on the COS’s flagship platform, OSF, which helps researchers design and manage their project workflow, store their data, generate DOIs, and collaborate with colleagues. COS has leveraged the platform to help the research communities in many disciplines to discover new research as it happens and to receive quick feedback on their own research prior to publication. COS’s preprints platform provides an easy, robust, and stable solution for organizations that want to launch their own preprints service. COS is currently supporting branded services in marine and earth sciences, psychology, social sciences, engineering, agriculture, imaging, paleontology, sports research, contemplative research, law, library and information science, nutrition, as well as national, multidisciplinary services in Indonesia, France, the Arab nations, and Africa.

Clarivate Analytics launches Cortellis Digital Health Intelligence, a first-of-its-kind solution covering the global digital health ecosystem

(14 Aug 2019)  Clarivate Analytics plc, a global leader in providing trusted insights and analytics to accelerate the pace of innovation, has expanded its industry-leading life science intelligence offerings with the launch of Cortellis Digital Health Intelligence™. This new, first-of-its-kind solution will help drug, device and technology developers navigate the dynamic digital health landscape with intelligence focused on virtual, consumer-centric solutions (including both hardware and software) that enable health management or patient care in real-life settings.

The launch of Cortellis Digital Health Intelligence comes at a time when the industry is experiencing growth in digital health and patients are actively integrating technologies into their healthcare. In the US alone, 64% of patients have adopted a digital device (including mobile apps) to manage their health, and 62% of healthcare systems and hospitals use digital health devices in their clinical care programs.

Globally, more than 800 clinical trials adopted a smartphone, wearable, and/or monitoring device in their protocol, and this number is expected to increase significantly. These market dynamics demonstrate the need for better information and more robust analytics on digital technologies used in drug/device development and patient-centric care.

Cortellis Digital Health Intelligence includes new alliances and deals information, independent health app reviews, digital health news and the latest discovery, development and commercialisation trends. The solution delivers actionable insights through a structured database that is updated daily and indexed by digital health topic, enabling users to easily browse, filter, export and compare data.

Cortellis Digital Health Intelligence can also be integrated with the broader suite of Cortellis life science intelligence solutions. This results in users gaining seamless access to drug pipeline information, company profiles and trial data and giving them a comprehensive foundation for analysis and decision-making at a company, portfolio, therapeutic area or individual asset level. Consulting services are available to support customised analytics and reporting needs, including identifying clinically-validated and effective digital health solutions.

The initial Cortellis Digital Health Intelligence offering is comprised of expertly curated data encompassing nearly 6,000 relevant press releases, over 4,000 digital health app reviews and more than 3,000 digital health deals. These information sets will rapidly increase in volume, as well as expand to encompass a broader view of the digital health landscape that includes patents, company profiles, device records and digital trial protocols. The solution is powered by Cortellis Cloud, an integrated, scalable technology platform that serves as a single point of access to Cortellis content.

The original press release is here.

 

WebMD acquires QxMD

(14 Aug 2019) WebMD Health Corp., an Internet Brands company and the leader in health information services for physicians and consumers, has acquired QxMD, a Vancouver, BC-based learning technology company that delivers mobile decision point tools and personalized learning solutions for physicians and health care professionals (HCPs).

The acquisition, announced today, combines QxMD’s unrivaled online clinical calculators and other digital learning tools for HCPs with the content, reference, point-of-care and crowdsourcing solutions of Medscape, the leading digital news, information and continuing medical education platform for physicians and HCPs worldwide. Medscape is a division of WebMD Health Corp.

“QxMD is an important addition to the Medscape brand and strengthens our commitment to deliver best-in-class solutions to support patient care,” said Jeremy Schneider, Senior Vice President and Group General Manager, WebMD Global. “Their robust medical calculators are used by physicians in over 150countries and further expand Medscape’s global footprint to now reach over 4 million physicians worldwide.”

“Medscape is a terrific fit for QxMD,” said Daniel Schwartz, M.D., QxMD CEO & Medical Director.  “The company shares our commitment to digital innovation that streamlines and enhances clinical practice and improves patient care.  Through Medscape’s unparalleled reach and engagement, we will be able to have an even greater impact on physicians, health care professionals, and their patients.”

QxMD will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of WebMD Health Corp.  Terms of the transaction were not made public.

The original press release is here.

 

SPARC urges Department of Justice to block merger between Cengage and McGraw-Hill

(14 Aug 2019) Today, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) submitted a detailed filing to the U.S. Department of Justice urging federal antitrust enforcers to block the proposed merger between college textbook publishing giants Cengage and McGraw-Hill Education. The merger would create the largest publisher of college course materials in the United States and the world’s second largest education publisher overall.

“The merger would decrease competition, increase prices, and lock students into digital courseware that can gather vast amounts of their data,” said Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education for SPARC. “It flagrantly exceeds market share thresholds established under federal antitrust law. The textbook publishing industry engaged in unsustainable pricing for decades at the expense of students, and eliminating competition adds insult to injury. This merger should not be allowed to proceed.”

SPARC’s filing lays out how the merger would violate the Clayton Antitrust Act, creating a combined company that would control 45% of the college textbook market. Along with Pearson, which currently holds approximately 40%, this merger would consolidate the textbook market in the hands of only two players—remaking the market as a duopoly.

The merger has raised alarm bells across the education sector, with opposition also being voiced by student governments and consumer organizations.

“Opposition to the merger is mounting, as more students, organizations, and antitrust advocates speak up about how it would harm consumers,” said Allen. “As students head back to school, many will face sticker shock over their course materials. The good news is that there are many ways to save money by shopping around and considering options. However, those options may not last if the merger is approved.”

The college textbook market is a classic example of a “captive market” where students are required to buy whatever book they have been assigned no matter the cost. In the last two decades, the cost of textbooks has far outpaced inflation, home prices, medical care, and wages. According to the Consumer Price Index, consumer prices for college textbooks have increased 184% since 1998, three times the rate of inflation. More than two-thirds of college campuses consider textbook affordability a major concern.

“The future of textbooks will not just be rising prices. It will also be publishers collecting and exploiting student data,” said Allen. “Competition is essential to ensuring that markets serve the needs of consumers. The idea of placing control of vast amounts of student data in the hands of a giant with only one viable competitor should raise serious red flags in the age of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. There is no remedy short of stopping the merger that will avoid manifold negative consequences for students.”

As textbooks and other course materials transition to digital, the amount of data publishers can collect about the students who use them will grow exponentially—often without students even knowing it. This data can be fed into algorithms that can classify a student’s learning style, assess whether they grasp core concepts, decide whether a student qualifies for extra help, or identify if a student is at risk of dropping out. While some of these uses might be helpful to students, the same data can also be used in negative ways—from mischaracterizing an individual’s abilities to violating privacy rights. Monopolistic activities are a problem when it comes to personal data just as much as traditional markets.

“This is a clear-cut case for antitrust enforcement,” said Robert H. Lande, Venable Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law, a former official at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and an antitrust expert who advised SPARC pro bono on the filing. “DOJ has an obligation to defend competition in the market, which would be of tremendous benefit to college students across America.”

“For over 20 years, SPARC has advocated for policies and practices within the federal government, states, and higher education institutions that advance more open systems of sharing knowledge,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “This Department of Justice filing is an important extension of that work.”

SPARC’s full Department of Justice filing is available here.

The original press release is here.

 

AAAS launches collaboration with Bio-protocol, in support of scientific reproducibility

(13 Aug 2019) Today, as part of continued efforts to foster transparency and reproducibility in life science research, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the nonprofit publisher of the Science family of journals, announces a four-year collaboration with the publisher Bio-protocol.

The launch of the agreement between AAAS and Bio-protocol comes amid a growing demand for sharing experimental materials and methods and aims to raise the standards for reproducibility by directly connecting researchers with high-quality, reliable and free access to protocols.

Bio-protocol, an online publisher of both established and novel life science protocols, has built a platform for reviewing, sharing, discussing, and updating protocols tied to research papers published in high-quality research journals.

The collaboration between AAAS and Bio-protocol will offer authors publishing in the Science family journals the option to publish their protocols on the Bio-protocol website, where they will be made freely available. A link to the Bio-protocol website will be included in the Materials and Methods section of all relevant research articles published in the Science family journals.

“We are excited to collaborate with AAAS,” said Fanglian He, Publisher, Bio-protocol. “This partnership will increase the awareness of the importance of detailed protocols to improving reproducibility. Our vision is that in the foreseeable future, each method in a published research article – no matter how basic or advanced – will be linked to a detailed protocol published in Bio-protocol, or elsewhere, which will make reproducing a published experiment an easier task. ”

“I am delighted that AAAS and Bio-protocol have decided to collaborate. While some aspects of the research reproducibility problem are inherent to complex living systems, others are clearly solvable, such as the sharing, discussion, and updating of detailed protocols, and the clear identification (and validation) of research reagents,” said Vivian Siegel, Senior Editorial Advisor, Bio-protocol. “Bio-protocol has worked in this area since 2011, and collaborates with research journals to publish detailed protocols tied to their research articles. With AAAS and the Science family of journals on board, we anticipate that the visibility of Bio-protocol‘s important work will increase, and that many more researchers will contribute their protocols, thus improving the rigor and reproducibility of research.”

For Science family journal articles in the biological sciences, authors will be invited to submit a protocol to Bio-protocol and a link will be provided that directs readers to the Bio-protocol site. If the authors have published protocols derived from their Science family journal article on Bio-protocol, the link will direct readers to those protocols.

If a related protocol is not available on the Bio-protocol site, the link will instead take readers to Bio-protocol‘s “Request a protocol” service webpage. The request for a protocol will then be relayed to the author. Protocols that may be related to the methods in the paper will also be displayed at the link, but it will be clear that these are not provided by the author and do not directly relate to the paper.

“A platform that provides peer review of protocols is a crucial factor in support of reproducibility. It is also important to provide authors and their peers opportunities to read, update and engage in a detailed dialogue about materials and methods,” said Bill Moran, Publisher, Science family journals. “AAAS and Science have always recognized the importance of protocols as a key factor in reproducibility, and for this reason, we are partnering with Bio-protocol to further encourage exchanges between scientists.”

“Protocol sharing provides context and equips scientists with the information they need to conduct their experiments in a careful and thorough way,” said Valda Vinson, Editor, Science. “Giving scientists step-by-step instructions makes it easier to reproduce experiments – more so than reading a materials and methods section of a paper – and will help accelerate discoveries in life science research.”

The original press release is here.

 

Seoul to build five new municipal libraries

(13 Aug 2019)  The government of Seoul said Tuesday it will build five more municipal libraries across the city by 2025 to help reduce cultural infrastructure gaps among citizens.

The five new libraries, each with a gross floor area of about 9,000 square meters, will be built in Naebalsan-dong of Gangseo Ward, Sillim-dong of Gwanak Ward, Banghak-dong of Dobong Ward, Jangji-dong of Songpa Ward and Bukgajwa-dong of Seodaemun Ward at a cost of 310 billion won (US$254 million), it said.

The full report is here.

 

Philippines: DOST donates digital library to Antique school

(8 Aug 2019) The Department of Education (DepEd) in Antique thanked the recent turnover of the StarBooks, a digital library, by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to a school in the province.

“The DOST, by developing the StarBooks, is making the resource learning materials more accessible to students,” DepEd Division of Antique Superintendent Victor De Gracia said in an interview Tuesday. De Gracia said that the StarBooks contains the K to 12 modules.

Read the full report here.

 

An ode to the public library, the gateway to an educated society

(5 Aug 2019)  From Geoff Gallop’s speech for the Premier’s Book Awards at the State Library of Western Australia, July 26, 2019 – “Libraries attract people — and we know they do — not only because of the information that can be accessed — or advice about how that can be done — but also because of what they represent in a world that favours action over inaction and doing over thinking. Libraries are places of silence, of reading and contemplative enquiry generally. It’s a quiet place full of activity unseen. Just imagine a world without such institutions and the wisdom they can bring, not just to the individual but to the communities from which they come.”

Read the full talk from The Mandarin here.

 

Publish or perish? Faculty publishing decisions and the RPT process

(30 Jul 2019)  As tenured faculty positions become increasingly competitive, the pressure to publish—especially in “high impact” journals—has never been greater. As a result, many of today’s academics believe having a strong publication record is necessary for the review, promotion, and tenure (RPT) process. Publishing, for some, has become synonymous with professional success.

A survey of faculty from 55 academic institutions across the US and Canada reveals perspective from researchers.

Read the summary here.

 

New Zealand: revamped digital library launched

(30 Jul 2019) Heritage New Zealand has revamped its Archaeological Reports Digital Library and is launching it today.

The digital library currently contains over 7,500 reports dating from the 1950s until today, with more reports being added all the time.  These reports have been available on request since 2007; however the upgrade now means that searching the library is far easier and reports are able to be directly accessed.

“This is one of the most important sources of archaeological information about places in the country,” says Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Manager Archaeology, Vanessa Tanner.

Read the full story and get access to the digital library here.

 

China’s national library goes digital to preserve ancient books

(4 Aug 2019) The National Library of China has been digitizing its collection of antique books as a way of preserving and increasing the public accessibility, the China Culture Daily reported earlier this week.

The library’s dedicated online database now has more than 32,000 sets of ancient books, accounting for over 60 percent of its total antique book collection, according to the report.

The full story is here.

 

New exhibition commemorates century of Islamic literature in Singapore

(1 Aug 2019) The exhibition, Treasures Of Muslim Scholars: 100 Years Of Singapore Literary Heritage, was launched by President Halimah Yacob at the National Library Building on Thursday (Aug 1).

Supported by the National Heritage Board (NHB), the exhibition is a sequel to Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association’s (Pergas) first national-level exhibition held in 2014, which highlighted the achievements and contributions of past Islamic scholars.

More details can be found here.