Monday, March 06, 2006
60 Seconds With..(drum roll)...Me!

The very nice folks at Institute of Physics sent me a survey last summer as part of their "getting to know librarians" series. I completed the survey and here it is!

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Thursday, February 16, 2006
A Patent on Thinking? Huh?

Ok the U.S. Patent office has been known to give patents to some bizarre inventions, but a patent on thinking? Paleeeeze!

From Chronicle of Higher Education
Chronicle Review
From the issue dated February 17, 2006

The Patent Office as Thought Police
(Lori B. Andrews is a professor of law at the Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology and director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology there. Her first novel, Sequence, will be published in June by St. Martin's Press.)

The boundaries of academic freedom may be vastly circumscribed by the U.S. Supreme Court this term in a case that is not even on most universities' radar. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings v. Metabolite Laboratories Inc. is not a traditional case of academic freedom involving professors as parties and raising First Amendment concerns. In fact, nobody from a university is a party in this commercial dispute, a patent case between two for-profit laboratories. But at the heart of the case is the essence of campus life: the freedom to think and publish.


LabCorp appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals. Astonishingly, it held that LabCorp had induced doctors to infringe the patent by publishing the biological fact that high homocysteine levels indicate vitamin deficiency. The court also ruled that the doctors had directly infringed the patent by merely thinking about the physiological relationship. (Metabolite had not sued the doctors, probably because such lawsuits would have cost more than they would have netted the company and would have produced negative publicity.)


To read the entire article go to:
Chronicle of Higher Education (may require Drexel logon)
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Thursday, February 09, 2006
What's Happening to Peer Review???

Two articles (at least) have recently appeared discussing the peer review process. One makes a case for the whole process being broken. The other offers a new twist to it.

"Is Peer Review Broken?" by Alison McCook
The Scientist, vol 20 (2), pg 26.
Submissions are up, reviewers are overtaxed, and authors are lodging complaint after complaint about the process at top-tier journals. What's wrong with peer review?

"Journal lays bare remarks from peer reviewers" by Emma Marris
Nature, vol. 439, 9 February 2006, page 642
Cloak of anonymity shed by new publication. Editors of a journal launched this week are out to revolutionize peer review. By publishing signed reviews alongside papers, they hope to make the process more transparent and improve the quality of the articles.

(the link to the Nature article may require Drexel authentication)
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Thursday, February 02, 2006
Science Commons

Science Commons devotes its legal and technical expertise to help scientific researchers make the best possible uses of new communication technologies for purposes of scholarly communication.

What is it?
Science Commons is a project of the non profit corporation Creative Commons. Science Commons was launched in 2005 with the generous support of the HighQ Foundation and Creative Commons. It receives additional funding from the Omidyar Network and the Teranode Corporation.

Who runs it?
It is overseen by members of the Creative Commons board; including MIT computer science professor Hal Abelson, intellectual property experts James Boyle, Michael Carroll, and Lawrence Lessig, and lawyer and documentary filmmaker Eric Saltzman. Bioinformatics entrepeneur and metadata expert John Wilbanks is the Executive Director of the project.

What does it do?
"Our goal is to encourage stakeholders to create areas of free access and inquiry using standardized licenses and other means; a 'Science Commons' built out of voluntary private agreements."

To find out more go to:
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Friday, October 14, 2005

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Programs
and Related Trends

Officials from 13 federal civilian agencies reported spending about $2.8
billion in fiscal year 2004 for 207 education programs designed to increase
the numbers of students and graduates or improve educational programs in
STEM fields, but agencies reported little about their effectiveness.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Intelligent Discussion of "Intelligent Design"

At "How Stuff Works", one of my very favorite web sites,
there is an intelligent discussion of "Intelligent Design"
presenting, what I feel is balanced discourse of both
sides of the issue.

The intelligent design (ID) movement claims that life as we
know it could not have developed through random natural
processes -- that only the guidance of an intelligent power
can explain the complexity and diversity that we see today.
In 2004, the school board of Dover, Pennsylvania, voted to
require the teaching of intelligent design alongside evolution
in science classrooms, and other school boards in the United
States are considering the issue. Proponents of ID claim it is a
scientific theory that deserves equal time with evolution;
opponents argue that ID is a metaphysical theory, not a scientific one.

Check it out...the issue is not going away.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The Enviromental Impact of Our Consumerism!

A special issue of The Journal of Industrial Ecology is devoted
to the environmental impact of what we buy and use. The connection
between consumption and environmental impact is analyzed
in new and important ways in this special issue of Yale's
Journal of Industrial Ecology.

Articles in the special issue analyze the environmental impact
of consumption and U.S. house size, diet change, work time
reduction, time use, product life spans and the quality of life.
Articles also examine consumption at the household, city and
national levels.

The publishers have made this issue freely available.
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