Big Data and the Value of Data-Sharing

Cohort 11 Weekly News

By Stacy Masucci

Istockphoto stockphoto

The existing notions of big data and the value of sharing information is a controversial subject from its core- should we share information, how much, and if so how?

In a recent article from the UCLA Newsroom, Christine Borgman (UCLA Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies) explains her vision for a new project (which has a three-year grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation). Simply, the project will look at how researchers in a data-intensive environment handle and share information. But on closer inspection, the project is much more than that. Of note is the question that was posed in the title of the grant:

“If data sharing is the answer, what is the question?”

Finding that root “question” is truly at the heart of the project. The group will analyze how data is handled in four research projects (astronomy, biology and medical sciences). They…

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Big Data and the Value of Data-Sharing

 

By Stacy Masucci

Istockphoto
stockphoto

The existing notions of big data and the value of sharing information is a controversial subject from its core- should we share information, how much, and if so how?

In a recent article from the UCLA Newsroom, Christine Borgman (UCLA Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies) explains her vision for a new project (which has a three-year grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation). Simply, the project will look at how researchers in a data-intensive environment handle and share information. But on closer inspection, the project is much more than that. Of note is the question that was posed in the title of the grant:

“If data sharing is the answer, what is the question?”

Finding that root “question” is truly at the heart of the project. The group will analyze how data is handled in four research projects (astronomy, biology and medical sciences). They will simplify data practices and present findings back to the scientific communities as well as to funding agencies, government agencies, publishers and stakeholders, to effect change in current policy. There are no specifics within the article as to which policies the group is targeting, but the report will certainly be of great interest and will no doubt shape future roles and responsibilities of stakeholders.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what the question is…

Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy

How to books get into academic libraries? Photograph: Bob Handelman/Alamy
How to books get into academic libraries? Photograph: Bob Handelman/Alamy

By Stacy Masucci

A scary piece in The Guardian speaks to the value of publisher mission statements.

This article describes the experiment of an anonymous professor who had repeatedly been contacted by a publisher to write a book for them. After seeing bad experiences for his colleagues, he finally decided to play along and see what the company had to offer.

What he experienced was tarnishing to academic publishing. This particular publishing house specializes in high volume (75 titles per AE yearly), high price ($100-$200 per title), low sales (~300 units to libraries only) and the books published generally disappear to a storeroom in the library after having been buried and unseen on the library shelves for a year or so.

Even worse was the acquisition editor conversation that is described in detail in the article. It shows a lack of interest in 1) the author and his research; 2) the field; and 3) the success of the title. Three very important factors of academic publishing.

I can only wonder what the mission statement of this company is, if they even have one, and if so, was it was ever shared with the editor?