Harvard Geneticist Launches DNA-Fueled Blockchain Startup

“Nebula Genomics will have its own coin and go head to head with Ancestry.com and Google-backed 23andMe. George Church, a professor at Harvard and MIT, is taking a different tack than his genetics testing rivals. He’s developed a token-fueled system on the blockchain that monetizes DNA to incentivize members to participate in genome sequencing. It keeps personal DNA data in the hands of the individual — not big pharma — letting them choose if they want to share and monetize that data for research purposes….Based on Professor Church’s research, no other human genomics company even comes close to delivering on what Nebula Genomics can do….Professor Chruch points to open protocol that gives scientists the ability to “aggregate standardized data” across people and databases. It’s unclear whether he plans on launching an upcoming ICO.”

Old Lions Department: Cultural Historian Robert Darnton at 78 | History News Network

“Darnton’s main ambition [as Harvard University Librarian] was to open up the library to the rest of the world and share its intellectual wealth….Several projects started being developed: the digitization of all of Harvard’s collections that concerned North America in the seventeenth and eighteenth century (an enormous amount, 500,000 documents). “It’s gigantic!” Darnton exclaimed.

 

A digital repository was also created – it was called DASH – which contains the scholarship of Harvard professors and is completely free and available to the public. “It’s a way of democratizing access to knowledge and you can do it from a place that has critical leverage like Harvard.”

 

The next step was the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), which began when Darnton invited a group of foundation heads, the heads of libraries, and computer scientists to come to a meeting at Harvard in October 2010 in order to discuss an idea. “Namely, shouldn’t we try to link up all the research libraries in the United States in a digital system that would make their resources available to all the citizens of the United States and the rest of the world?”

In April 2013, the DPLA opened its digital doors, and since then, its exponential growth has produced 18 million objects (books and other things) available free of charge to everyone….”

The Evolving Institutional Repository Landscape

“”To gain insights and gather data on IR operations, we conducted interviews, an open survey, and web research to obtain a snapshot of the current perspective and potential role of IRs in a changing landscape….The Directory of Open Access Repositories (DOAR) in the UK includes various types of repositories, such as disciplinary (e.g., arXiv) and governmental (e.g., NLM). Isolating institutional repositories worldwide shows a total of nearly 3,000 IRs. Data from DOAR indicates that there are 478 IRs in 396 institutions in North America. However, an analysis of clients listed on the websites of five platform providers suggests that there are at least 600 IRs in an estimated 500 organizations in North America….When asked about content migration, 25% indicated that they had plans to migrate in the next one to three years, while more than half of the remaining 75% indicated no plans to migrate at this time….IRs depend on Google for content discovery, and that requires attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Fortunately, SEO was the top activity of survey respondents to increase discovery, followed by more traditional library tools, metadata, and open access resources….The leading metric identified by survey respondents was growth over time, which recognizes the effort involved in building this digital collection. Usage metrics on the performance of the repository were followed by a total of items added in the current period….According to survey respondents, deposits were made by librarians at 94% of IRs. Although half of institutions indicate that faculty and students make deposits, it is clear that the majority of content is mediated or deposited by library staff. Nearly half of the institutions have one or less than one equivalent staff working on the IR. The average staff for an IR is one or two people….”

The Evolving Institutional Repository Landscape

“Last year saw a variety of changes in the institutional repository landscape. Download Choice and Informed Strategies’ 2018 report for a snapshot of where institutional repositories stand and perspective on future directions from thought leaders such as Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President and Chief Strategist of the Online Computer Library Center, and Clifford Lynch, Director of the Coalition for Networked Information.”

Position Available: Right to Research Coalition Advocacy Fellow – SPARC

“The Right to Research Coalition (R2RC) is seeking a Fellow who is ready and willing to contribute to its advocacy and policy work. The R2RC is a coalition of organizations representing millions of students around the world focused on the belief that no student should be denied access to articles they need because their institution cannot afford the cost of access. The R2RC is project of SPARC.

This is an opportunity for an early career academic professional to expand their repertoire of skills while contributing to important advocacy efforts on issues you care deeply about. This Fellow will receive regular, thorough briefings on the latest open access policy developments, and will be trained and supported by SPARC’s experienced advocacy team members.

Responsibilities

• Ensure that current coalition members are kept up-to-date on all relevant policy action.

• Engage with policymakers on behalf of the R2RC in an effort to educate them on the issue of open access and why this issue is of great importance to the research community.

• Update resources, materials, and website to reflect ongoing policy changes.

• Work with SPARC’s advocacy team on social media and other communication efforts.”

Digitising archives, sharing knowledge | Interview | Nepali Times

“The South Asia Materials Project is now digitising as the means of preservation, and many of the resources are being made available online. Further, the newly formed South Asia Open Archives initiative is laying plans for massive efforts to digitise and make available important cultural resources for open access.”

Archives in space: Humanity’s cold storage Big Data backup | CIO Dive

“For the near-term, increasing data storage in space is “necessary and useful” in light of the modern space race, the evolution of the internet into space and the ability to work with Big Data and higher bandwidths of data in space.

So as a moon colony and regular trips to Mars become a reality, increased data storage will prove critical. 

But there is a more important reason the Arch Mission is working to establish a Big Data record in space: “This is a backup and recovery project for our civilization and it’s solar system scale,” said Spivack….

While the first launch with SpaceX was largely symbolic, the Arch Mission is working with various groups to send large amounts of open data into space, from the Wikipedia archives to Archive.org. Placing open data sets in different locations in space will create redundancy and ensure humanity’s records will not be lost….”

Research: Sci-Hub provides access to nearly all scholarly literature | eLife | Daniel Scott Himmelstein et al.

“Abstract: The website Sci-Hub enables users to download PDF versions of scholarly articles, including many articles that are paywalled at their journal’s site. Sci-Hub has grown rapidly since its creation in 2011, but the extent of its coverage was unclear. Here we report that, as of March 2017, Sci-Hub’s database contains 68.9% of the 81.6 million scholarly articles registered with Crossref and 85.1% of articles published in toll access journals. We find that coverage varies by discipline and publisher, and that Sci-Hub preferentially covers popular, paywalled content. For toll access articles, we find that Sci-Hub provides greater coverage than the University of Pennsylvania, a major research university in the United States. Green open access to toll access articles via licit services, on the other hand, remains quite limited. Our interactive browser at https://greenelab.github.io/scihub allows users to explore these findings in more detail. For the first time, nearly all scholarly literature is available gratis to anyone with an Internet connection, suggesting the toll access business model may become unsustainable.”

Open Access and OER in Latin America: A survey of the policy landscape in Chile, Colombia and Uruguay | ROER4D

“Titled “Open Access and OER in Latin America: A survey of the policy landscape in Chile, Colombia and Uruguay”, this chapter arises from research work undertaken in ROER4D sub-project 2 and presents an overview of the funding, policy, legislative and procedural mechanisms adopted by governments in Chile, Colombia and Uruguay with respect to Open Access and Open Educational Resources (OER).

Findings indicate that while each country has its own approach to funding higher education, there are few or no specific national and/or institutional policies aimed at promoting Open Education in the higher education sector. In Chile, this appears to be largely due to low OER awareness and a commercialised model of higher education. In Colombia, various national and institutional strategies reveal that there is nascent Open Education policy development, and in Uruguay there appears to be an enabling environment for future open policy development. All of these countries are making investments in science, technology and innovation programmes, making this the most fruitful field for potential Open Education advocacy….”