By Justin Marquis Ph.D. Call me a skeptic, but the idea of having random people from around the Web collaborating in the creation of e-learning content for accredited online degree programs seems absurd.
Publicly-funded science is suffering but academia must embrace technology before it can deliver its full potential to scientists, policy-makers and the public. Björn Brembs argues that the sum made by for-profit publishers would be more than enough to establish a freely accessible infrastructure that would ensure scholarly knowledge and research remain in the hands of libraries, and the public.
"Click Trajectories: End-to-End Analysis of the Spam Value Chain" is a scholarly research paper reporting on a well-designed study of the way that spam works, from fast-flux DNS to bulletproof hosting to payment processing to order fulfillment. The researchers scraped mountains of spam websites, ordered their pills and fake software, and subjected it all to rigorous comparison and analysis.
The system runs, in part, on its failures. Administrators count on the tuition paid, from borrowed money, by undergraduates who they know will drop out before they use up many services. To provide teaching they exploit instructors still in graduate school, many of whom they know will also drop out and not demand tenure-track jobs. Faculty, once they have found a berth, often become blind to the problems and deaf to the cries of their own indentured students. And even where the will to do better is present, the means are often used for very different ends. - Anthony Grafton, New York Review of Books
It is almost a year since Sir Paul Nurse became President of the Royal Society, a post whose previous holders include Sir Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys and Sir Isaac Newton, and he has wasted no time in putting his distinctive mark on a venerable...