Open Educational Resources (OERs)

The European Parliamentary Resource Service has this month posted a valuable briefing on open educational resources (OERs) — something related, of course, to Open Access (OA), which has been frequently referenced earlier on this blog in various places, including but not limited to here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here; please see (for a PDF):

New technologies and open education resources: Transforming education requires pedagogical, organisational and technological innovation. Increasing use of the Internet brought in a new era in course design and delivery to the mainstream model of traditional education. That is particularly so for open educational resources

 

First Birthday of Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) — referenced earlier on this blog here — has just this month celebrated its first birthday; please see the following announcement:

Digital Public Library of America Celebrates Its First Birthday with the Arrival of Six New Partners, Over 7 Million Items, and a Growing Community (April 17, 2014)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) “Assessing and Managing the Risks of Climate Change”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) “Assessing and Managing the Risks of Climate Change” (see the “Summary for Policymakers” here and the unedited, accepted final draft report here) — its 5th Assessment Report (AR5) — has been released (as of March 31, 2014).

The AR5 is intended to “provide a clear view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change.”

As prominently stated in the “Summary for Policymakers” (page 3):

Human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems. [footnote and figure omitted]

For some background information on the IPCC, a scientific intergovernmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) which was created per the request of member state governments, please see here.

Hat tip to DocuTicker.com.

New White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memo on Improving Management of and Access to Scientific Collections

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) of the White House yesterday issued a memorandum to the heads of all federal executive departments and agencies on “improving the management of and access to federal scientific collections – please see here.

The accompanying press release is here.

Hat tip to Law Librarians.

Recent United Nations Human Rights Council Report: the “Right to Food”

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) at the United Nations (UN) has recently (on January 24, 2014) released:

Report of the Special Rapporteur — Olivier De Schutter — on the right to food,
Final report: The transformative potential of the right to food
U.N. Doc. No. A/HRC/25/57

Please see also:

The Right to Food

4 “Key elements of the right to adequate food”:

Availability: Food should be available from natural resources either through the production of food, by cultivating land or animal husbandry, or through other ways of obtaining food, such as fishing, hunting or gathering. On the other hand, it means that food should be available for sale in markets and shops.

Accessibility: Economic and physical access to food to be guaranteed. Economic accessibility means that food must be affordable. Individuals should be able to afford food for an adequate diet without compromising on any other basic needs, such as school fees, medicines or rent. Physical accessibility means that food should be accessible to all, including to the physically vulnerable, such as children, the sick, persons with disabilities or the elderly. Access to food must also be guaranteed to people in remote areas and to victims of armed conflicts or natural disasters, as well as to prisoners.

Adequacy: Food must satisfy dietary needs, taking into account the individual’s age, living conditions, health, occupation, sex, etc. Food should be safe for human consumption and free from adverse substances. Adequate food should also be culturally acceptable.

Sustainability: Food should be accessible for both present and future generations.

An accompanying Web portal is here.

And for some coverage finding the report to be “radical” and working toward “an end to corporate domination”, please see here.

WeCite Project’s win-win opportunities

Analyzing how a given opinion has been impacted by subsequent decisions is an essential part of legal research.   Consequently, the work of the Free Law movement cannot stop with making opinions freely available: a free and robust citator is also needed.

A gargantuan effort will be required to build (and continually update) such a citator. The newly launched WeCite Project, co-sponsored by the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics and the free legal research platform Casetext, aims to bring the win-win power of crowdsourcing to the task. Along with the traditional crowdsourcing strategy of enabling a community of like-minded people to easily contribute,  the WeCite Project is also giving law schools the unique opportunity to do their fair share in another win-win way:  students learn about citators and citation analysis; the database grows.  Already a number of advanced legal research classes have already participated and our class this spring will join the crowd.

The Columbia Society for Law, Science and Technology is hosting a WeCite Event at Columbia Law School on March 26, 2014 (see details and RSVP here: https://casetext.com/wecite/event).  Any and all who are passionate about legal research and/or equal access to the law are invited to attend.  Those who cannot make it to New York can also participate remotely.

Importantly, any and all citator entries created under the WeCite Project (“wecites”) are public domain under a Creative Commons SA license.  Casetext will also be creating an API to allow anyone to bulk download wecites.

The beauty of crowdsourcing is that small contributions from individuals can aggregate into something magnificent.  For those who are interesting in pitching in, instructions can be found here: https://casetext.com/wecite

Coalition of Organizations Concerned with Animal Abuse File Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit in District of Idaho against Idaho’s Ag-Gag Law

A coalition of organizations such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho and the Center for Food Safety, along with others, yesterday filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Idaho’s “Ag-Gag” law — Idaho Code § 18‒7042 (2014) — which they consider to be unconstitutional.

The case is:

Animal Legal Defense Fund et al v. Otter et al.
Docket No. 1:14-cv-00104 (D. Idaho, Boise – Southern Mar. 16, 2014) (complaint)

For some coverage of the case, please see here and here.

Release of Latest Biennial Report on U.S. Academic Libraries

Earlier this year the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education, published and released the latest biennial report on U.S. academic libraries, which contains data on staffing, spending, collections and other services at academic libraries in 2- and 4-year degree-granting post-secondary institutions in the United States.

Please see the 57-page document:

Academic Libraries: 2012 First Look (January 2014)

Ralph Nader Supports Carl Malamud & His Nonprofit Public.Resource.Org

Longtime American political activist, lecturer, author, and attorney Ralph Nader has today posted

The Law Must Be Free and Accessible to All — Not Secret and Profitable

in support of Carl Malamud, our friend and technologist, author, and public domain advocate — and perhaps best known for his nonprofit foundation Public.Resource.org.

New from Copyright Clearance Center (CCC): Open Access Resource Center

The nonprofit Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), “a global rights broker for the world’s most sought-after books, journals, blogs, movies and more” — last month launched a new Open Access Resource Center, in partnership with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), which “aims to be a comprehensive resource for all things open access to make it easy for the marketplace to stay on top of the latest developments” (see press release here).

See also: Why I Don’t Care About Open Access to Research—and Why You Should