Scientist says researchers in immigrant-friendly nations can’t use his software | Science | AAAS

A German scientist is revoking the license to his bioinformatics software for researchers working in eight European countries because he believes those countries allow too many immigrants to cross their borders. From 1 October, scientists in Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Denmark—”the countries that together host most of the non-European immigrants“—won’t be allowed to use a program called Treefinder, informatician Gangolf Jobb wrote in a statement he posted on his website….”

The Department Of The Interior Wants To Limit Public Records Requests : NPR

Now a new rule proposed by Interior in December appears designed to make it harder for groups like Western Values Project to get those public records. The rule would give the agency greater discretion over how it handles public records requests. For instance, the agency would require individuals or organizations to be more specific in which documents they want. It also allows a cap on the number of documents Interior processes for individuals and organizations every month.

None of which sits well with Chris Saeger, the Western Values Project’s executive director.


“What they are doing is a very thinly veiled effort to target critics of the Trump administration and to keep their corruption a secret,” he said.


Western Values is a vocal and persistent critic of the Trump administration. It has filed 152 requests with the Interior Secretary’s office since Trump took office. The agency’s embrace of industry as part of its pro-energy agenda has, in part, led to a two hundred percent increase in Freedom of Information Act requests to the secretary’s office from all kinds of groups and individuals….”

Indian payment-for-papers proposal rattles scientists

“Indian scientists are criticizing a government proposal to pay graduate students who publish in select journals. They fear that it could degrade the quality of research and lead to an increase in scientific misconduct, by incentivizing publishing rather than good science….”

Carl Malamud open letter to Georgia General Assembly and RELX

“I am writing in the matter of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). Despite a crystal-clear unanimous decision from United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on October 19, 2018, holding that people have the absolute right to speak and read Georgia’s official laws, I have been been unable to purchase a current copy of the OCGA….”

Despite Losing Its Copyright Case, The State Of Georgia Still Trying To Stop Carl Malamud From Posting Its Laws | Techdirt

When we last checked in with Carl Malamud and his Public.Resource.Org, they were celebrating a huge victory in Georgia, where the 11th Circuit had ruled that of course Malamud was not infringing on anyone’s copyrights in posting the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” (OCGA) because there could be no copyright in the law. As we explained at length in previous posts, Georgia has a somewhat bizarre system in which the only official version of their law is the “officially” annotated version, in which the annotations (with citations to caselaw and further explanations) are written by a private company, LexisNexis, which then transfers the copyright (should one exist) on those annotations to the state.

Malamud, of course, has spent years, trying to make it easier for people to access the law — and that means all of the law, not just some of it. So when he posted a much more accessible version of the OCGA, the state sued him for copyright infringement. While the lower court ruled that the OCGA could have copyright, that the State of Georgia could hold it and that Malamud’s work was not fair use, the 11th Circuit tossed that out entirely, saying that since the OCGA was clearly the only official version of the law, there could be no valid copyright in it.

It was a pretty thorough and complete win. And, if the state of Georgia were mature and reasonable, you’d think that they’d (perhaps grudgingly) admit that anyone should have access to its laws and move on. But, this is the state of Georgia we’re talking about. And, it appears that the state has decided that rather than taking the high road, it’s going to act like a petty asshole.

Last week Malamud sent a letter describing how the state is now trying to block him from purchasing a copy of the OCGA. He’s not looking for a discount or any special deal. He wants to buy the OCGA just like anyone else can. And the state is refusing to sell it to him, knowing that he’s going to digitize it, put it online and (gasp) make it easier for the residents of Georgia to read their own damn laws….”

Interior Department wants to shut down public information access |

“Ryan Zinke is out as Secretary of the Interior, but in his last days in office, he tried to suppress what we can learn about the destruction Trump is doing to our nation’s public lands.

Attorney Daniel Jorjani, who previously worked at the Koch-funded Freedom Partners, drafted a proposed rule that would slash the public’s ability to get public records from the 10 agencies in the Interior Department….

Zinke also tried to get permission to destroy some records about what animals are protected under the Endangered Species Act. A recent memo at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department, part of the Interior Department, directs staffers to withhold or delay releasing some public documents about how the Endangered Species Act is carried out….”

Learning Lessons from DPLA – The Scholarly Kitchen

DPLA — the Digital Public Library of America — last week laid off six members of its small staff. Over the weekend, DPLA executive director John Bracken, in a talk at the LITA Forum, provided an overview of DPLA’s vision, which appears to include a change in strategic direction. DPLA is a not-for-profit organization with a strong board including library leaders Brian Bannon of Chicago Public, Chris Bourg of MIT, and Denise Stephens of Washington University St. Louis, Oxford University Press’s Niko Pfund, and Wikimedia CEO Katherine Maher, among others. DPLA launched five years ago, with a strategy focused on aggregating and curating special collections and a technical approach that made sense for the web that was celebrated here in the Kitchen. It now appears to be pivoting more towards ebook distribution systems. It is also clearly facing some difficulties right now….”

The State of Open Data 2018 – Global Attitudes towards Open Data #Stateofopendata – Digital Science

“Open data has become more embedded in the research community – 64% of survey respondents revealed they made their data openly available in 2018. However, a surprising number of respondents (60%) had never heard of the FAIR principles, a guideline to enhance the reusability of academic data….

Key findings include:

  • 64% of respondents revealed they made their data openly available in 2018, a 7% rise on 2016
  • Data citations are motivating more respondents to make data openly available, increasing 7% from 2017 to 46%
  • 60% of respondents had never heard of FAIR principles (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability) – which provide a guideline for data producers and publishers to enhance the reusability of academic data.
  • The percentage of respondents in support of national mandates for open data is higher at 63% than in 2017 (55%)
  • Respondents who revealed that they had reused open data in their research continues to shrink. In 2018 48% said they had done this, whereas in 2017 50% had done so, with 2016 57% in 2016
  • Most researchers felt that they did not get sufficient credit for sharing data (58%), compared to 9% who felt they do
  • Respondents having lost research data has decreased from 2017 (36% versus 30% in 2018)…”