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ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2020: shortlist announced!

(23 Jun 2020) The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, is delighted to announce the shortlist for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2020, sponsored by Publishers’ Licensing Services.

Applications for the awards were open to any new development, product, service or project which is both innovative and of significant value to scholarly communication. The winners must demonstrate excellence in terms of originality, innovation, value to the community, utility and long-term viability.

The ALPSP Awards finalists for 2020 are: 

David Sommer, Chair of the judging panel, commented:
“This year we saw a wide range of applications from across the industry which is heartening given the disruption caused by COVID-19. Integrity, access and reproducibility are key themes for many of the submissions and it is exciting to see new developments in these fields. It is never easy for the judging panel to select a shortlist given the breadth of innovation seen in the submissions, and we look forward to discussing each in more detail at the next stage of the judging process.”

Wayne Sime, Chief Executive of ALPSP, said:
“Despite a difficult few months for the industry worldwide, we are delighted to have received 34 submissions this year, demonstrating the range of innovation and development in scholarly communication. I look forward to seeing all the finalist organizations at the ALPSP Virtual Conference in September.”

All finalists will present their submission to the judges in July. They will be also invited to showcase their innovation to industry peers at the ALPSP Awards Lightning session to be held online on Tuesday 8 September. The winner(s) will be announced on Wednesday 16 September at the opening of the ALPSP Virtual Conference & Awards 2020.

The original announcement is here.


Microsoft launches initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the digital skills needed in a COVID-19 economy

(30 Jun 2020) Around the world, 2020 has emerged as one of the most challenging years in many of our lifetimes. In six months, the world has endured multiple challenges, including a pandemic that has spurred a global economic crisis. As societies reopen, it’s apparent that the economy in July will not be what it was in January. Increasingly, one of the key steps needed to foster a safe and successful economic recovery is expanded access to the digital skills needed to fill new jobs. And one of the keys to a genuinely inclusive recovery are programs to provide easier access to digital skills for people hardest hit by job losses, including those with lower incomes, women, and underrepresented minorities.

To help address this need, today Microsoft is launching a global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year. This initiative will bring together every part of our company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub, and Microsoft.  It will be grounded in three areas of activity:

(1) The use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them;

(2) Free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require;

(3) Low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs.

Read the full post from the Official Microsoft Blog here.


Hong Kong schools told to remove books that might fall foul of the national security law

(6 Jul 2020)  From South China Morning Post: Beijing’s national security law tailor-made for the city, which took effect on June 30, targets acts of secession, subversion, terrorism as well as collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security, with life imprisonment the punishment for the most serious offences.

The Education Bureau (of Hong Kong) said schools should review their book collections in line with the four categories of offences under the new law, but would not be required to submit their catalogues to officials for further vetting.

The full news can be found here.


Ruth’s Rankings 44 Part 2: What’s the best university for an international undergraduate student? Using local metrics with emphasis on U.S. and Chinese rankings

By Ruth A. Pagell*

This may seem like the wrong time for continuing our evaluation of resources for international students, not only because of Covid-19 but also because of the geo-political tension between the U.S. and China (Sharma).  However, this is the time QS released its first USA rankings.

OECD tracks international student mobility (OECD 2018a). Periods of health or geopolitical disruptions have not led to downturns in international enrollment worldwide, as shown in OECD Figure B6.a (OECD 2018b).

Ruth’s Ranking 44 Part 1 identified global ranking metrics useful for international students. Local rankings, where available, should also be consulted.  This article evaluates rankings used by domestic students. It focuses on U.S. rankings, introducing the new QS ranking, and rankings for greater China.



The U.S. National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) lists over 2,700 4-year degree granting institutions of which 28% are publicly funded. The failure of private FOR-profit institutions resulted in a slight drop in the numbers over the past few years (IES-NCES, 2019).  QS USA followed by older, well-known U.S. rankings are listed below.  See Appendix A (in pdf) for U.S., Appendix B (in pdf) for greater China, and Appendix C (in pdf) for ANZ, India, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and the UK, with methodologies and further analysis.

QSWorld University Rankings: USA joined the crowded market at a time when the U.S. may not be students’ top choice.  It includes 302 of the institutions listed in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as either “Doctoral Universities” or “Master’s colleges and Universities” (Indiana, 2018). It excludes liberal arts colleges “because they do poorly in terms of our research indicators, which means that overall, they would rank poorly in our ranking…” (L. Highman, personal communication, 5 May 2020). Note all other U.S. rankers cover liberal arts institutions.

QS Methodology

The top 100 have individual ranks and scores. The rest have a composite rank and no scores. 50 are ranked on each of four indicators (Highman).  89% of universities ranked 151-300 only have a rank.  It uses the following groupings:

  • Research – (26%) – Harvard
  • Learning experience – (22%) – Five tied: Brown, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Yale
  • Diversity & Internationalisation – (25%) – Three tied: NYU, UC Davis, UCLA
    • 10% of these metrics are explicitly linked to the UN’s Standard Development Goals (SDGs). Gender pay gap (2.5%) and Faculty gender diversity (2.5%) support SDG 5, Gender Equality. Students’ ethnicity mix supports SDG 10, Reduced inequality
    • The internationalisation data are the same as data in the world rankings
  • Employability – (27%) – Harvard

QS USA links to profiles of the 157 universities that may be listed in QS World Rankings. Data used by QS for its rankings come from third party sources and QS.  There are no displayable data to distinguish between Montana State and University of Montana, each ranked 251-300. In Example 44.2.1, one university has no information while the other has a profile in QS World.

With the limited number of universities, exclusion of top liberal arts colleges, and most universities without scores, I do not recommend using this in its current form.

NOTE: QS released its 2021 World ranking in May 2020 and will be covered in the next update.



Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings

Ruth’s Rankings 26 (2017) introduced the WSJ/THE U.S. College rankings and U.S. News Best Colleges. One list of 800 national universities and liberal arts colleges make it easy to use.  Pillars include:

  • Resources – (30%) – Tie with Harvard, MIT, and California Institute of Technology
  • Engagement – (20%) – Dordt U (Iowa) ranked 401-500 overall
  • Outcomes – (40%) – Tie with Harvard and Princeton
  • Environment – (10%) – University of California Irvine (41)

The top 400 and 400 in each category have scores.  University level data are available in all profiles and three are sortable.  See Example 44.2.2.

U.S. News Best Colleges has been the standard for 35 years. It ranks over 1,900 institutions in different categories from national universities to regional colleges.  Institutions must be regionally accredited, offer undergraduate degrees, and have a student body =>200.  To find information about a known college, use the college search. Appendix A lists categories and number one institutions. Individual metrices are not ranked. Some indicators require a subscription to College Compass.

Forbes America’s Top Colleges provides data that are important given the current state of world economies. Students and their parents should consider the financial implications of a U.S. college experience and the financial health of the institution. Forbes ranks 650 public and private universities on standard metrics and also grades 933 private universities on their financial health from A+ to D.

Table 44.2.1 (in pdf) compares the four rankings with Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, Princeton and University of Pennsylvania in all top tens. Table 44.2.2 (in pdf)lists top liberal arts colleges with Williams, Amherst, Swarthmore, Pomona, Middlebury and Claremont-McKenna consensus top 10. Table 44.2.3 (in pdf)  lists the top public institutions on seven lists. Three California public universities, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UC San Diego are top ten. ARWU is included in this list since public universities may be good destinations for graduate students. Student needs differ and the rankings use different metrics. See Appendix A for details and additional rankings.


China is the main feeder of students studying abroad. 33% of international students studying in the U.S. are from China and the number has risen from around 22% in 2000-2001. China is also becoming a host country. (Martel). Given current conditions, the international destinations for Chinese students are questionable (Sharma, Lau) making rankings of Chinese universities more important.

In addition to its Academic Rankings of World Universities (ARWU), Shanghai Rankings produces two Chinese-centric rankings

  • The Ranking of Top Universities in Greater China, introduced in 2011, includes Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. In 2010, Taiwan opened its border to mainland students. In April 2020 China blocked students from applying to Taiwan. All four have initiatives for improving the international competitiveness of local universities. The Greater China rankings includes 13 sortable metrics.
  • Best Chinese Universities Rankings (BCUR), first published in 2015, uses non-governmental data ”to take the perspective of the consumer” for the mainland Chinese market.  See the Design of BCUR for background on the Chinese higher education landscape.  It has four dimensions and ten metrics with Teaching & Learning accounting for 65% of the overall rank. Using the drop-down menu to select each individual metric displays the score for each institution and it does not re-rank.

Tsinghua University consistently comes out on top.  See Tables 44.2.4 (in pdf) for Greater China performance between 2011 and Table 44.2.5 (in pdf) for mainland Chinese Rankings.

See Appendix B (in pdf) for metrics unique to the Chinese rankings.  Appendix C (in pdf) lists ranking other locations.



The viability of international student mobility, an important part of the current education landscape and a contributing factor in rankings, is unclear in the near future.

  • World rankings may fluctuate since they include metrics on international students, staff, and collaboration.
  • QS, with its limits discussed above, adds nothing to evaluation of U.S. institutions. Specifically targeting SDGs is unique but most other rankings include an SDG related metric.
  • WSJ/THE has the combined knowledge of the U.S. market from WSJ and university rankings from THE. It covers 800 universities in one list.
  • QS, WSJ/THE and Forbes use similar free data sources in addition to proprietary data.
  • U.S. News has the most universities, the longest history, but there is no one overall rankings and some data require a subscription.
  • Forbes adds the financial dimension, important today.
  • Other U.S. rankings provide qualitative rankings.
  • The Shanghai Chinese-focused rankings are important as more students look to China as a destination.
  • It is not clear when universities will be open for resident students, but some Asian universities are opening (Saif et all).

Use Appendices A, B, and C for more information.  The second quarter 2020 Update will include the new 2021 QS data and more on Coronavirus.



Highman, L. (18/6/2020).  An Introduction to the QS World University Rankings: USA webinar. Highman stated that only 50 received scores because they did not want to show low scores.

Lau, J. (23 June 2020).  Post-pandemic, will dominant China use students as bargaining chips?  Times Higher Education accessed at

Martel, M.  (March 2020).  Covid-19 effects on U.S. higher education campuses: Academic mobility to and from China.  IIE (Institute of International Education) Snapshot survey series, accessed at

Sharma, Y. (3 June 2020).  Chinese students, researchers with “military links” barred.  University World News, with links to other articles on U.S- Chinese student and research issues,  accessed at

Saif, S.K. et. al. (10 June 2020). Universities across Asia start to reopen bit by bit. University World News, accessed at



Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research (n.d.). The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, 2018 edition, Bloomington, IN). accessed at

Institute of International Education (Nov 2019).  Open Doors, Fact Sheets and Infographics, see Fact Sheet ASIA for numbers of Asian students the US and US students in Asia, by county

IES-NCES (2019). Table 317.10: Degree granting post-secondary institutions 1949 – 50 to 2017-18.  Digest of Education statistics.  Accessed at   See Post-secondary Fast Facts for detailed data.

OECD (2019a). “Indicator B6 What is the profile of internationally mobile students?”, in Education at a Glance 2018: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris,

OECD (2018 b), “Graph B6.a – Growth in international or foreign enrolment in tertiary education worldwide (1998 to 2016): Number of foreign students enrolled in OECD and non-OECD countries”, in Education at a Glance, OECD Publishing, Paris, 224.


Ruth’s Rankings

A list of Ruth’s Rankings is here.


*Ruth A. Pagell is Emeritus Faculty Librarian at Emory University, Atlanta, GA Author and speaker.  After working at Emory, she was the founding librarian of the Li Ka Shing Library at Singapore Management University and then adjunct faculty [teaching] in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii.  She has written and spoken extensively on various aspects of librarianship, higher education and bibliometrics as well as contributing articles to ACCESS –

Business Expert Press is listed among the top book publishing companies recommended for business book writers

(25 Sep 2018) Writing Tips Oasis, a website that helps writers improve their writing and to learn how to market and sell their ebooks and books, has selected 18 top business book publishing companies in the U.S and UK. Business Expert Press is listed together with the world-leading publishing companies including Wiley, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson Press.

“Established in 2008, Business Expert Press is a relatively new publishing agency, based in New York. As you’d already guess from their name, the company is completely focused on publishing business titles with a compelling narrative voice and ground-breaking ideas. If you browse through their portfolio, you will find most of their titles to be catered to students, business professionals and academicians who are looking to establish a solid reputation as entrepreneurs or corporate professionals.  ‘Communication Beyond Boundaries’, ‘Social Content Marketing for Entrepreneurs’ and ‘A Practical Guide to the Media Business’ are a couple of their bestselling titles”

Find out more on Business Expert Press from their website here.


Singapore: All books returned to libraries to be set aside for 24 hours before going back on the shelves

(30 Jun 2020) SINGAPORE – All books returned to libraries, which are reopening on Wednesday (July 1), will be set aside for about 24 hours before being put back on shelves.

This is part of the effort to keep users safe from the coronavirus, which causes Covid-19.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times on Tuesday, a National Library Board (NLB) spokesman said NLB has also arranged for all high-touch points, including the book return points and shelves, to be disinfected every two hours, and for hand sanitisers to be placed in all libraries.

He added that NLB referred to guidelines set out by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions to come up with its safety measures.

More details can be found from the news here.


Demand for library e-book rental services surging in Japan amid pandemic

(2 Jul 2020) From The Japan Times:

Tokyo-based TRC Library Service Inc., which is entrusted with library operations and other businesses, said that the number of e-books borrowed through libraries started to increase around February, when the facilities began to close or scale down their services across the country due to the pandemic.

The total number of e-books borrowed in May from libraries in some 80 municipalities where TRC offers services shot up fivefold from a year before to some 85,000.

The surge appeared to reflect the central government’s stay-at-home requests, and a total of 300 e-books that publishers made available for free browsing on a temporary basis.

The full news is here.


ILCL Japan offers loan service of the exhibition “The World through Picture Books – Librarians’ favourite books from their country”

(3 Jul 2020)  The International Library of Children’s Literature (ILCL) offers a loan service of the exhibition titled “The World through Picture Books – Librarians’ favourite books from their country.”

These books were collected through “The World through Picture Books” project led by IFLA section Libraries for Children and Young Adults with the aim of making a book set of picture books recommended by librarians from around the world.

The book set in Japan is available for loan free of charge to libraries in Japan, Asian and Oceanic countries.

The contents of the exhibition set include:

  • 365 picture books selected by librarians from 43 countries and regions
  • a multilingual catalogue “The World Through Picture Books”
  • a list of books

* The picture books can be exhibited for free access under the monitoring by the staff.


  • national or local government organizations
  • public organizations that wish to hold an exhibition open to the public one or two organizations per year
  • Those who are able to fulfill the conditions: Conditions (PDF:134KB)

Period: one month (excluding the period of transportation)

Charge: the cost of return shipping only (no booking fees)

For more information, see the original announcement here.


SAE International offers free access to engineering industry training courses

(Jul 2020) During this global pandemic, SAE International continues to serve as a trusted mobility engineering resource for engineers worldwide. Among the rich resources SAE provides, 10 courses that could benefit almost any engineering professional are selected and opened for free access. The list includes:

  • Introduction to DOE
  • Introduction to Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • Introduction to FMEA: What, Why, When, and How
  • Overview of AS6500, Manufacturing Management Program
  • Introduction to Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)
  • New Mechanical Shifting Devices in Automotive Transmissions
  • Foundations for Implementing Root Cause Analysis
  • Introduction to Weibull Solution Methods
  • Introduction to the Automotive Ecosystem
  • Standardization in a Competitive Environment

For a detailed description and how to access, see here.


ProQuest and Kudos help graduate students gain sisibility for their dissertations and theses

Leading communication and impact management tools now available to early-career researchers, maximizing their prominence, skills and employability

(29 June 2020)  ProQuest, an EdTech leader with the world’s largest collection of curated dissertations and theses, and Kudos, the award-winning networking and communications tracking service for accelerating research impact, have today announced an initiative that will help graduate students get the best possible exposure for their publications.

Authors of dissertations published on the ProQuest® platform can now promote themselves using Kudos Pro at a deeply discounted subscription rate. Kudos Pro is a toolkit that helps authors build visibility of their work. The platform collates a range of metrics to help graduates understand and report on the performance of their publications and outreach activities.

ProQuest is committed to preserving, collecting and disseminating graduate works from institutions all over the world. Through digitization and preservation activities, the company curates a growing global collection of more than 5 million dissertations and theses.

“Increasingly at ProQuest, we see researchers becoming more directly involved with managing their online visibility and building networks of interest around their work,” said Angela D’Agostino, Vice President of Dissertations at ProQuest. “These skills will be critical for securing employment and research funding. We’re delighted to work with Kudos to help graduate students benefit from market-leading communication tools to build their profile and engage broad audiences with their early publications.”

“A dissertation or thesis is probably one of the most important pieces of writing published by an early-career researcher,” said Melinda Kenneway, CEO of Kudos, “but it’s often overlooked in terms of its visibility and potential contribution to the scholarly record. Kudos and ProQuest have a shared vision for bringing this valuable work to the attention of a broad audience and making it as useful as possible in the world. We also hear consistently from early-career researchers that they want better support in showcasing their skills and potential. Through this initiative, we can achieve both of these goals.”

Early-career researchers are already grappling with employment challenges, likely to become more acute as the industry adjusts to the new environment of virtual working and increasing competition for funds and placements. Kudos and ProQuest are committed to bringing the latest technology to help graduate students leverage their publications and other research outputs and activities to optimize their career success. Graduate students can sign up, or find out more, at

The press release is here.


Google will pay publishers to license content for ‘new news experience’

(25 Jun 2020) Google announced it will begin paying news publishers for “high-quality content” with the launch of a “new news experience” later this year. The move marks a major departure for Google, which has until now steadfastly refused to compensate news publishers for content. As news organizations’ digital advertising revenues have plunged, critics in the media, and even many politicians, have been pressuring Google to pay to license content.

Many details of the new program remain unclear. But with the news industry further weakened by economic fallout from the coronavirus, any potential revenue will likely be welcomed.

More details can be found here.


Skillsoft launches Aspire Journeys for Leadership Development

(29 Jun 2020)  Skillsoft today announced Aspire Journeys for Leadership Development, an integrated curriculum and resources designed to make it simple for organizations to equip leaders with digital leadership skills and competencies needed to thrive professionally in today’s fast-changing, agile business environment. The new Aspire Journeys are a part of the Skillsoft Leadership Development Program (SLDP) powered by MIT Sloan Management Review, designed to help learners be successful at critical stages in their leadership journey.

As the digital economy transforms the way we work, organizations are flattening, and individuals are taking on new responsibilities at every level. Many in these new roles find themselves unprepared to lead in this rapidly changing digital world, as it requires a new set of skills and a growth mindset to be truly effective. According to the Brandon Hall Group, only about 2 in 5 organizations are developing leaders in a way that benefits the business. Meanwhile, The Conference Board’s C-Suite Challenge 2019: The Future-Ready Organization report found that organizations with the strongest digital leadership capabilities outperform those with the weakest capabilities by 50 percent. At a time when leadership is fundamentally changing, Skillsoft Aspire Journeys deliver curated learning paths focused on the leadership capabilities needed in key transition moments that are critical to the success of both the organization and individual’s career path.

“As organizations continue to scale digital transformation initiatives, they require new digital capabilities and increased agility. Success depends on a culture that embraces transformation as a core tenet, and leadership transformation must go hand in hand with technology transformation,” said Amy Loomis, research director, Future of Work, IDC. “Skillsoft Aspire Journeys for Leadership Development delivers guidance leaders need to address current challenges and evolve their skills to lead agile organizations of the future.”

Aspire Journeys for Leadership Development will include an initial nine Journeys within three focus areas:

  • Skillsoft Aspire: Leadership Development Core – This core journey features the ten key modern competencies that all leaders need to be successful today. These key areas include Developing the People you Lead, Leading by Coaching, Team Leadership, Agility in Leadership, and Problem Solving and Decision Making. The ten leadership competencies represent an evidence-based selection of the critical competencies all individuals should seek to master for meaningful improvement in management and leadership capability. (Available now)
  • Skillsoft Aspire: Leaders in Transition – Leadership transitions are critical, and potentially costly, moments for individuals and organizations. These journeys provide leaders with the exact content that both they, and their organizations, need them to master to ensure success when transitioning from one level of leadership to another, such as becoming a First Time manager, becoming a Mid-Level leader, or becoming a Leader of Leaders. (Available Summer 2020)
  • Skillsoft Aspire: Digital Mindsets – Featuring Journeys focused on developing behavioral and technical competencies leaders need to propel an organization’s cultural shift towards becoming a modern, digital organization. Each of these Journeys will weave together select content from SLDP and Digital Transformation collections. Example Journeys include: Rapid Adaptivity Mindset Journey, Data-Driven Mindset Journey, Digital Visionary Mindset Journey, Innovation Mindset Journey, Agility Mindset Journey. (Available Summer 2020)

“Today’s business environment is changing at an accelerated rate and has been more unpredictable. Navigating this requires developing effective, high-potential leaders who can forge through crisis and have the capabilities needed in key transition moments,” said Mark Onisk, chief content officer, Skillsoft. “These new Aspire Journeys are built upon scenario-based video courses that are scientifically shown to improve engagement and recall, which are instrumental to making an immediate, tangible impact on both an individual’s career path and the overall organization.”

Each Journey’s learning path will consist of scenario-based video courses supported by knowledge checks and a final test for which learners can earn a digital badge. The courses feature articles from MIT Sloan Management Review carefully curated to support the learning paths as well as Leadership Insight videos highlighting world-class, globally diverse thought-leaders and faculty from top ranked business schools, including a significant number of experts ranked by Thinkers50. To ensure course learnings are actionable, Skillsoft Aspire Journeys offer application opportunities that help learners immediately use the concepts in their work environment.

To learn more about Skillsoft’s Aspire Journeys for Leadership Development, visit

The original press release is here.


CABI launches new portal to help facilitate collaboration on fall armyworm research

CABI has partnered with leading researchers and institutions to launch a new portal that facilitates global research collaboration to help fight the devastating crop pest fall armyworm (FAW).

(1 Jul 2020) CABI has partnered with leading researchers and institutions to launch a new portal that facilitates global research collaboration to help fight the devastating crop pest fall armyworm (FAW).

The CABI-led Fall Armyworm Research Collaboration Portal, is a free-to-access platform that enables the sharing of research data, insights and outputs, and includes a range of key features such as posting research updates, identifying collaborators, and posting questions to the community.

The Fall Armyworm Research Collaboration Portal, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) under the Action on Invasives programme, will also encourage researchers to post preprints of research articles to the new agriRxiv – which offers researchers and students access to preprints across agriculture and allied sciences.

It will help reduce the duplication of research into FAW prevention and management, provide a route for the rapid sharing of results and highlight opportunities for collaboration – encouraging rapid, iterative experimentation and global teamwork to address the spread and impact of FAW.

FAW (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a lepidopteran pest that feeds in large numbers on leaves and stems of more than 80 plant species, causing major damage to maize, rice, sorghum, sugarcane but also other vegetable crops and cotton.

The pest is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. However, in 2016 it was reported for the first time in Africa, where it is causing significant damage to maize crops and has great potential for further spread and economic damage.

FAW has since spread to the Near East and Asia and, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it will likely soon be present in southern Europe. The FAO says that once FAW is a resident pest in a country, it is there to stay and farmers need significant support to manage it sustainably in their cropping systems through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) activities.

Dr Roger Day, Programme Executive, Action on Invasives, said, “The current COVID-19 crisis shows what can happen when the scientific community comes together to address a challenge. The fall armyworm is having a severe impact on the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers around the world in addition to the people they help feed with their produce.

“It is imperative that the international science community collaborates in a resourceful and efficient way to help develop existing and new ways of detecting, monitoring and managing FAW in the countries where it is already present and to help prevent its further spread.

“The Fall Armyworm Research Collaboration Portal has already established a steering committee of leading FAW research groups, who are all intent on contributing to research on FAW management.”

The Research Collaboration Portal is the official platform for the Fall Armyworm Research for Development International Consortium. Dr B. M. Prasanna, Director of CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize and co-chair of the portal steering committee commented, “The FAW research collaboration portal will serve as an effective platform for communicating on research actions of the FAW Research-for-Development International Consortium, led by CIMMYT and IITA. We encourage all the members of the FAW R4D International Consortium to actively contribute to the portal.”

The press release is here.


Leadership Institute and Book to address the need for leaders to rethink to thrive in the post-pandemic, disruptive, Industry 4.0 era

(15 Jul 2020) iGroup Asia Pacific, the leading provider of information products & library technologies and the Centre of Executive Education (CEE), an award-winning boutique executive development consulting firm, today announced their joint partnership in establishing the Disruptive Leadership Institute (DLI) based in Singapore and also the release of the publication, “Leadership in Disruptive Times” by Business Expert Press, LLC, a leading publisher and premier source of business content for colleges and universities around the world.

 The book ‘Leadership in Disruptive Times’ examines the fundamental qualities of disruptive leadership that would distinguish successful leaders as they guide their organizations through the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital transformation at the workplace. It also provides insights into an understanding of disruptive leadership. It explores the transformation of organizations in today’s highly disruptive, increasingly VUCA and the digital-driven era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).

This book is one of the only few Business Leadership titles published as a ‘Dynamic’ Book along with traditional print and e-versions.  This means as relevant research articles, journals, videos or any other content is newly published this Book will be updated accordingly and these updates will be automatically be pushed to its readers/subscribers.

“Leaders in organizations are continually confronted with increased competition, globalization, demand for social responsibilities, and a stream of technological advances that disrupt the marketplace. For those looking to navigate the turbulent and complex landscape of the digital revolution, ‘Leadership in Disruptive Times’ is the perfect blueprint for future-proofing their organization. Prof Bawany provides insights into the role of ‘disruptive digital leaders’ that transform the organization into a more agile, innovative, and adaptive workplace in times of disruption and successfully lead the digital transformation efforts. A must-read.” — Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Triggers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Thinkers 50 – #1 Executive Coach and the only two-time #1 Leadership Thinker in the World

“Disruption has impacted in a significant manner the way the world works. Today’s businesses, government and individuals are responding to shifts that would have seemed unimaginable even a few years ago. Apart from COVID-19, the impact of digital technology on businesses is the other disruptive force that is featured in this book. Through the partnership with CEE, a thought leadership consulting firm for the disruptive digital economy,  IGroup believes that the Disruptive Leadership Institute will be able to support the organizations globally to remain relevant and successful in the era of Industry 4.0. — Pit Teong (Pote) Lee, Founder, CEO, iGroup Asia Pacific

The mission of the Disruptive Leadership Institute is to support leaders at all levels globally towards transforming their organization to succeed in the highly disruptive and digital-driven world. This includes the identification, assessment, selection and development of next-generation of ‘disruptive digital leaders’ and ensures their readiness to meet the challenges during times of disruption and crisis.

The Institute developed the innovative “Disruptive Leadership 4.0 Masterclass”, which is essentially a series of leadership development programs including executive coaching incorporating the best practices tools, frameworks and contemporary approaches as well as case studies of successful organizations based on the extensive research published in the book “Leadership in Disruptive Times”.

For Media Review copy of the book or an interview with the author, Prof Sattar Bawany, please contact Sheri Dean at


About the Centre for Executive Education:

The Centre of Executive Education (CEE) is an award-winning premier network for established human resource management and executive development consulting firms globally. CEE has established global strategic partnerships with Executive Development Associates (EDA), iGroup Asia Pacific as well as a network of Affiliate Partners across the Asia Pacific region. For more information, visit

About iGroup Asia Pacific:

iGroup provides a one-stop-shop for information products and library technologies. Its ability to provide a full spectrum of related products and services with localized support from each of its regional offices secures its position as the leading information industry partner in the Asia Pacific. iGroup has offices spanning 14 countries across the Asia Pacific with a total staff force of 1200. For more information, visit



About Business Expert Press:


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Japan: report on the 30th NDL Forum on Preservation

(Jun 2020) On December 19, 2019, the National Diet Library (NDL) held its 30th Forum on Preservation—Disaster Preparedness for Archival Materials: daily preparedness, disaster response, and cooperation at the Tokyo Main Library, where librarians, conservators and other professionals discussed topics related to and exchanged ideas about the most effective ways of preserving library

Library and archival materials all over Japan are regularly damaged by frequent natural disasters. During this forum, we heard reports about daily preparedness, initial responses after a disaster, and frameworks for both local and regional cooperation with other institutions. From these reports, we were able to raise awareness of the need for as well as deepen our understanding of how to implement disaster preparedness and damage control.

A summary of these reports follows.

Report 1:
Disaster preparedness for historical materials: Initiatives in Saitama Prefecture
ARAI Hirobumi
Senior Manager of Curatorial Services at the Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore

Mr. Arai talked about initiatives for disaster preparedness by the network for the preservation of historical materials in Saitama Prefecture 1 and the results of a survey conducted in 2013. Past experience has shown the importance of keeping on hand preservation containers that are suitable for transporting archival materials during an emergency. The network has developed containers
expressly for this purpose, which are kept on hand at four sites in Saitama Prefecture and are provided free of charge to other institutions nationwide. A survey conducted in 2013 of network members and the Japan Society of Archives Institutions members showed that not only are a large proportion of facilities located near rivers, but close to 90% of the institutions that responded have
yet to create disaster preparedness manuals. Mr. Arai emphasized the need for area-specific manuals that include hazard maps to cope with these issues.

Report 2:
Prefectural and municipal cooperation during disasters in Tottori Prefecture
Director General, Tottori Prefectural Library

Ms. Amihama explained the Plan for Communication and Cooperation during Natural Disasters between Municipalities and Prefectural Archives, Libraries, Museums that was implemented by Tottori Prefecture in 2017, which includes a detailed workflow for disaster actions as well as recommendations for activities to be carried out on a regular basis. During disasters, prefectural agencies will collect and share information with municipalities, regional historical societies, and
individuals who own archival materials as well as undertake field surveys to confirm the immediate
situation when requests for support are received. The prefecture also liaisons with relevant institutions on a regular basis as well as maintains a list of emergency shelters for archival materials and stores equipment necessary for disaster preparedness. Ms. Amihama also pointed out that participation in this kind of system is essential to raising risk awareness and promoting crisis
management among library employees.

Report 3:
Activities and regional cooperation of the Japan Historical Materials Network (in Japanese)
Project Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Humanity, Kobe University

Based on her experience with the Historical Materials Network, Dr. Kato talked about the importance of maintaining communication with individuals while conducting preservation activities on a daily basis as well as the expansion of current activities. She also reported that constant contact with volunteers is essential in protecting materials from natural disasters and cited examples of how the HMN provides support in areas lacking a similar organization, such as Tochigi Prefecture, where typhoon No.19 hit in 2019. In contrast to this, when typhoon No.18 hit Japan in 2018, it was almost

impossible to obtain information on the impact to historical materials in the Osaka area. Dr. Kato stressed that this experience showed the need to rethink the role of the network in the Kyoto–Osaka–Kobe area.

Report 4:
Outline and future vision of the National Task Force for the Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network
Head, Secretariat Office of the National Task Force for the Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network (CH-DRM Net)

Mr. Okada explained the framework for disaster preparedness of cultural assets from the viewpoint of CHDRM Net, which is an independent administrative agency under the jurisdiction of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and tasked with promoting the building of national networks for protecting cultural assets from natural disasters. To achieve this goal, it is important to develop practicable policies based on the various kinds of natural disasters that could occur as well as to organize this data
in a detailed yet informative manner. Mr. Okada also emphasized the importance of organizing realistic disaster preparedness policies to include even situations in which risk cannot be mitigated.

Report 5:
Disaster preparedness at the International Federation of Library Associations and
Institutions (IFLA) and case studies from outside Japan
SATO Yoriko
Library Counsellor, Acquisitions and Bibliography Department

Ms. Sato reported on case studies of disaster preparedness that were presented at the open session of the IFLA WLIC in 2019. The National Library of France has two major facilities located near the Seine, which entails formulation of a flood risk prevention plan, the building of a concrete bulkhead, and the stowing of materials in storage containers for immediate evacuation. At the General State Archives of Greece, budget reductions have reduced facility maintenance to the point that the deterioration of the buildings presents a very real risk of accidents. For this reason, they are conducting risk analysis and visualization of assessment results as well as labeling bookshelves so that anyone nearby can manage the situation should an accident occur.

Source: National Diet Library Newsletter, June 2020