Impact of Social Sciences – Survey findings suggest both individuals and institutions can do more to promote open science practices in India

How much have the open science movement’s practices and principles permeated researcher behaviour and attitudes in India? Arul George ScariaSatheesh Menon and Shreyashi Ray have conducted a survey among researchers working across five different disciplines in India and reveal that more can be done to promote open science within its research institutions. While a majority of respondents believe open science to be important, less than half use open access repositories for sharing publications, with a much smaller fraction using them to share data. Meanwhile, a paucity of simplified and translated versions of scientific papers and continued access problems for those with disabilities are indicative of a research environment that is not as inclusive as it could be.

Research Articles in Simplified HTML: a Web-first format for HTML-based scholarly articles

Abstract:  Purpose: this paper introduces the Research Articles in Simplified HTML (or RASH), which is a Web-first format for writing HTML-based scholarly papers; it is accompanied by the RASH Framework, i.e. a set tools for interacting with RASH-based articles. The paper also presents an evaluation that involved authors and reviewers of RASH articles, submitted to the SAVE-SD 2015 and SAVE-SD 2016 workshops.

Design: RASH has been developed in order to: be easy to learn and use; share scholarly documents (and embedded semantic annotations) through the Web; support its adoption within the existing publishing workflow

Findings: the evaluation study confirmed that RASH can already be adopted in workshops, conferences and journals and can be quickly learnt by researchers who are familiar with HTML.

Research limitations: the evaluation study also highlighted some issues in the adoption of RASH, and in general of HTML formats, especially by less technical savvy users. Moreover, additional tools are needed, e.g. for enabling additional conversion from/to existing formats such as OpenXML.

Practical implications: RASH (and its Framework) is another step towards enabling the definition of formal representations of the meaning of the content of an article, facilitate its automatic discovery, enable its linking to semantically related articles, provide access to data within the article in actionable form, and allow integration of data between papers.

Social implications: RASH addresses the intrinsic needs related to the various users of a scholarly article: researchers (focussing on its content), readers (experiencing new ways for browsing it), citizen scientists (reusing available data formally defined within it through semantic annotations), publishers (using the advantages of new technologies as envisioned by the Semantic Publishing movement).

Value: RASH focuses strictly on writing the content of the paper (i.e., organisation of text + semantic annotations) and leaves all the issues about it validation, visualisation, conversion, and semantic data extraction to the various tools developed within its Framework.

U of California, Berkeley, to delete publicly available educational content

“The University of California, Berkeley, will cut off public access to tens of thousands of video lectures and podcasts in response to a U.S. Justice Department order that it make the educational content accessible to people with disabilities….”

Why This Audio Map for the Blind Offers an Open-Data Roadmap for the Country — Backchannel — Medium

“Imagine you’re blind. You have a smartphone, and you’re trying to find your own way to a spot downtown. To get there you’ll need precise voice directions to specific building numbers, but you can’t find an app that meets the challenge.

Next, imagine you’re an app-maker who wants to provide the most accurate navigation at the lowest cost ?to seeing-impaired customers. To do that you’ll need access to an accurate database of street addresses. While cities routinely collect this information, it isn’t necessarily publicly available.

Now a pioneering open data project in Louisville, Kentucky is lighting a torch to show cities, civic tech enthusiasts, and local businesses how to make sure assistive technology like this is easily and cheaply available. And its methods are so simple that they can applied to many more problems where open public data can make a difference….”

Why This Audio Map for the Blind Offers an Open-Data Roadmap for the Country

“Imagine you’re blind. You have a smartphone, and you’re trying to find your own way to a spot downtown. To get there you’ll need precise voice directions to specific building numbers, but you can’t find an app that meets the challenge.

Next, imagine you’re an app-maker who wants to provide the most accurate navigation at the lowest cost ?to seeing-impaired customers. To do that you’ll need access to an accurate database of street addresses. While cities routinely collect this information, it isn’t necessarily publicly available.

Now a pioneering open data project in Louisville, Kentucky is lighting a torch to show cities, civic tech enthusiasts, and local businesses how to make sure assistive technology like this is easily and cheaply available. And its methods are so simple that they can applied to many more problems where open public data can make a difference….”