Some implications of "digital" for academic publishing

Category: scholarly publishing Page 1 of 6

Can we wean ourselves off Zoom?

A typical SpatialChat screen, showing the thumbnail video images of participants

I’m probably not the only person to lose enthusiasm when I hear the word “Zoom”. It’s no better or worse than other conference call software, but its ubiquity during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the …

How we used to find things: The Oxford Guide to Library Research

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

The Oxford Guide to Library Research, first published in 1987, is now in its fourth edition (2015), and was described by Aaron Tay in his Musings on Librarianship as “classic”. It sounded like just what I wanted – at …

Why short books are better than long books

My English teacher at school used to tell us, when asked how long an essay should be, “begin at the beginning and go on until you come to the end”. In other words, there is no perfect length for a piece of text. That advice, …

An academic economist on recommender systems

Ronald Coase

Following my recent post on recommender systems such as Spotify charging money for inclusion on a playlist, I re-read Ronald Coase, the Chicago academic who wrote such as long article describing the background to payola – his article is over 20,000 words long. …

What’s wrong with a payola model for Spotify?

A fascinating Financial Times article looks at Spotify’s new practice of charging record companies to include specific songs in Spotify’s algorithm (“Spotify must wait to find out if digital ‘payola’ hits the right notes”, 27 November 2020). Alex Barker, author of the article, notes that …

Evaluating recommender systems for academics

Amazon’s “frequently bought together” tool doesn’t inspire confidence: here Amazon recommends The Handmaid’s Tale and A Streetcar named Desire for anyone buying Hamlet.

Recommender systems are the El Dorado of the 21st century. Retailers, manufacturers, content aggregators such as Netflix and Spotify see recommendations as …

The Trouble with Triples : using linked data for library collections

A new publication from OCLC outlines progress on the use of linked data for research archives and special collections. There is a list of 21 members of the relevant OCLC linked data review group, so this publication looks to represent a considered opinion rather than …

Are abstracts better than full text?

 One of the most famous articles published this century, the announcement of the human genome sequence (2001). The abstract is 399 words, which means the article would almost certainly not be accepted for publication today.

Aaron Tay (together with Bianca Kramer and Ludo Witman) has …

Are e-books a failure?

The Amazon Kindle e-book reader (CC BY-SA 3.0)

It wasn’t just me saying it – no less a figure than Arnaud Nourry, head of Hachette, said it in a 2018 interview: “The e-book is a stupid product. It is exactly the same as print, …

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