Intersect Alert – June 9, 2019
The Rise of Junk Science
Fake publications are corrupting the world of research—and influencing real news
“In early 2017, Eduardo Franco, a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, sent an email to his colleagues, warning them of a global “epidemic” of scams by academic journals that was corrupting research and, in effect, endangering the public. As head of the oncology department, where he oversees approximately 230 people, Franco promised to comb through every CV and annual evaluation in the department to flag any colleagues’ resumés that listed journals and conferences that weren’t reputable or, in some cases, even real. He didn’t spell out the consequences, but the implication was clear: the faculty members would be held accountable.”
“A scholar for forty years, Franco has followed the rise of junk publishers for about a decade. He has seen them go from anomalous blights on academics’ credentials to widespread additions on scholarly resumés, nearly indistinguishable from legitimate work. Now, he says, “there’s never been a worse time to be a scientist.” Typically, when a scholar completes work they want to see published, they submit a paper to a reputable journal. If the paper is accepted, it undergoes a rigorous editing process—including peer review, in which experts in the field evaluate the work and provide feedback. Once the paper is published, it can be cited by others and inspire further research or media attention. The process can take years. Traditionally, five publishers have dominated this $25 billion industry: Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, Taylor & Francis, RELX Group (formerly Reed Elsevier), and Sage. But, before the turn of the century, a new model of online publishing, ‘open access,’ began opening doors for countless academics—and for thousands of scams in the process.”
How to Teach with JSTOR Text Analyzer
JSTOR Text Analyzer provides students with an additional resource for finding scholarly material – Rachel Hermann – “Many first year undergraduates enter university not knowing how to manage their time. They have extra-curricular activities. Or jobs at the local grocery store. And then there are all those assignments—they always seems to be due at once! My students, I’ve found, need help learning how much time to spend researching, writing, and editing their assignments—and help locating the appropriate tools to do so. One of the most rewarding aspects of first year teaching is helping them develop these skills, and I’ve tried to do so especially in teaching my History in Practice class, which focuses on research methods. It’s essentially “how to be a historian” for history majors. In teaching History in Practice, I’ve used JSTOR Text Analyzer, a research tool built by JSTOR Labs, to help students hone their researching and editing abilities. The easiest way to describe Text Analyzer is that it lets you upload files you’ve read or are working on, then uses the data in this file to provide additional reading recommendations…”
Many Americans Say Made-Up News Is a Critical Problem That Needs To Be Fixed
Pew – Politicians viewed as major creators made-up news, but journalists seen as the ones who should fix it – “Many Americans say the creation and spread of made-up news and information is causing significant harm to the nation and needs to be stopped, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 6,127 U.S. adults conducted between Feb. 19 and March 4, 2019, on the Center’s American Trends Panel. Indeed, more Americans view made-up news as a very big problem for the country than identify terrorism, illegal immigration, racism and sexism that way. Additionally, nearly seven-in-ten U.S. adults (68%) say made-up news and information greatly impacts Americans’ confidence in government institutions, and roughly half (54%) say it is having a major impact on our confidence in each other.”
Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry [The Verge]
“Recently, a musician signed to a major indie label told me they were owed up to $40,000 in song royalties they would never be able to collect. It wasn’t that they had missed out on payments for a single song — it was that they had missed out on payments for 70 songs, going back at least six years.”
“The problem, they said, was metadata. In the music world, metadata most commonly refers to the song credits you see on services like Spotify or Apple Music, but it also includes all the underlying information tied to a released song or album, including titles, songwriter and producer names, the publisher(s), the record label, and more. That information needs to be synchronized across all kinds of industry databases to make sure that when you play a song, the right people are identified and paid. And often, they aren’t.”
“Metadata sounds like one of the smallest, most boring things in music. But as it turns out, it’s one of the most important, complex, and broken, leaving many musicians unable to get paid for their work. “Every second that goes by and it’s not fixed, I’m dripping pennies,” said the musician, who asked to remain anonymous because of ‘the repercussions of even mentioning that this type of thing happens.”
Facebook’s AI system can speak with Bill Gates’s voice
The company’s AI researchers have developed a speech synthesizer capable of copying anybody’s voice with uncanny accuracy.
Chrome Extension to block search results from specific sites
From Bespacific: “uBlacklist blocks specific sites from appearing in Google search results. This Chrome extension prevents blacklisted sites from appearing in Google search results. The same function is already provided by Personal Blocklist (by Google). However, sites blocked by Personal Blocklist appear in search results for a moment and then disappear, which annoys me. uBlacklist prevents blacklisted sites from appearing in search results as far as possible. You can add rules on search result pages, or on sites to be blocked by clicking the toolbar icon. Rules can be specified either by match patterns (e.g. *://*.example.com/*) or by regular expressions (e.g. /example\.(net|org)/)…”
Intersect Alert – June 2, 2019
Want to feel less anxious about the state of the world? Try diversifying your online news sources
NeimanLab – “Participants who reported actively trying to diversify their online news streams by interacting with people and content espousing different points of view also reported lower levels of anxiety related to current events. “A new study suggests that consumers who actively take steps to diversify their news consumption — following accounts and news outlets that post a wide range of viewpoints, and interacting online with people who have different views from their own — feel less anxious about current events than people who don’t take such actions. Hunkering down in a self-created news echo chamber, however, does not seem to reduce anxiety. Democrats also report feeling more anxious about current events than Republicans, which isn’t surprising considering who’s in the White House.
The paper is “Factors motivating customization and echo chamber creation within digital news environments,” by Brooke Auxier and Jessica Vitak of the University of Maryland. Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, they surveyed 317 U.S. adults about their news consumption habits, categorizing whether they were “echo chamber builders” or “diversity seekers.” The echo chamber folks “find content providers (both people and news sources or other websites) they agree with and follow them; when they come across a person or source they disagree with, that content or user is removed.” The “diversity seekers,” meanwhile, “purposefully seek out a variety of perspectives in their content feeds. These users’ responses suggest they view social media as a way to expand their world view and engage with unlike others.”
The AI gig economy is coming for you
"The artificial-intelligence industry runs on the invisible labor of humans working in isolated and often terrible conditions—and the model is spreading to more and more businesses"
Reviewing 35 AI Applications for Law - A Comprehensive View of 35 Current Applications
Emerj (via Joe Hodnicki) – “Artificial intelligence (AI) companies continue to find ways of developing technology that will manage laborious tasks in different industries for better speed and accuracy. In the legal profession, AI has already found its way into supporting lawyers and clients alike. The growing interest in applying AI in law is said to be slowly transforming the profession and closing in on the work of paralegals, legal researchers, and litigators."
"In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways in which AI is currently applied in the legal profession and how technology providers are trying to streamline work processes. We break down AI’s current legal applications into the following categories of applications:
Helping lawyers perform due diligence and research
Providing additional insights and “shortcuts” through analytics
Automating creative processes (including some writing) in legal work"
"Because of the breadth of our research (and hence the length of this article), we encourage readers to feel free to skip ahead to the applications areas of greatest interest for them. We’ll conclude this article with some thoughts on AI’s promise and limitations across the legal industry.”
Blockchain Explained: A Reuters Visual Guide
"A blockchain is a database that is shared across a network of computers. Once a record has been added to the chain it is very difficult to change. To ensure all the copies of the database are the same, the network makes constant checks. Blockchains have been used to underpin cyber-currencies like bitcoin, but many other possible uses are emerging."
National Archives Celebrates Walt Whitman's Birthday
"WASHINGTON, May 31, 2019 — Perhaps no poet captured the exuberance of the American experience than Walt Whitman. Born 200 years ago on May 31, 1819, Whitman remains a fixture in the nation’s literary canon, and his major work, Leaves of Grass, is an American epic that is read and taught and loved to this day."
"The National Archives has several unexpected connections to this great poet. Some of the most iconic images of Whitman are from the Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenesin the Records of the War Department, Office of the Chief Signal Officer. No surprise that Whitman is included in this collection, for he lived and worked in Washington for over a dozen years."
Stanford Univ – ePADD – Open Source Downloadable Software for Archival Analysis
“ePADD is free and open source software developed by Stanford University’s Special Collections & University Archives that supports the appraisal, processing, preservation, discovery, and delivery of historical email archives.
Visit the Discovery Module for Stanford University’s Special Collections & University Archives to see ePADD in action.
ePADD has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum & Library Studies (IMLS) to build out functionality that furthers the development of a National Digital Platform. Phase 2 of ePADD development commenced on November 1, 2015. Additional information can be found on the About page and in the IMLS announcement…”
Facebook reportedly thinks there's no 'expectation of privacy' on social media
"Facebook on Wednesday reportedly argued that it didn't violate users' privacy rights because there's no expectation of privacy when using social media.
"There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy," Facebook counsel Orin Snyder said during a pretrial hearing to dismiss a lawsuit stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to Law 360.
The company reportedly didn't deny that third parties accessed users' data, but it instead told US District Judge Vince Chhabria that there's no "reasonable expectation of privacy" on Facebook or any other social media site."
Intersect Alert – May 27, 2019
Moving to a Paperless Law Firm: 3 Tips for Working with PDFs
“In the past year, there has been an increased interest in moving to paperless law firms. This is because in many jurisdictions, e-filing is becoming a requirement. As the courts make this transition to e-filing, law firms are feeling the pressure to digitize their documents and establish a paperless workflow.”
“The problem is that this is easier said than done. After all, there’s more to a paperless law firm than simply creating digital documents. Processes need to be established that will ensure that every document that enters the firm is scanned, entered into the firm’s document management or law practice management system using appropriate naming conventions, and filed in a way that makes the document easily searchable and accessible.”
How I Became Easy Prey to a Predatory Publisher
“I was nursing my wounds from my latest manuscript rejection when the email arrived. I was about 2 years into my assistant professorship, with the tenure clock running at full speed, and the pressure to publish was immense. I knew that navigating rejection was part of the job, but I was also starting to wonder whether my study—a modest project designed to be feasible with the minimal lab space and skeleton crew of a new professor—would ever see the light of day. So when I received the email from a newly launched journal inviting me to publish with them, I saw a lifeline. That’s when my troubles started.”
“I had heard about ‘predatory’ journals during my graduate training but had no experience with them. The email appeared legitimate. It spelled my name correctly, referenced some of my previous work, and used correct grammar. The journal wasn’t on Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers. I thought I had done my due diligence. I submitted my manuscript. Shortly after, I celebrated the first round of favorable reviews. Things were going great—or so I thought.”
Reddit Commenter's Fight for Anonymity Is a Win for Free Speech and Fair Use
“A fight over unmasking an anonymous Reddit commenter has turned into a significant win for online speech and fair use. A federal court has affirmed the right to share copyrighted material for criticism and commentary, and shot down arguments that Internet users from outside the United States can’t ever rely on First Amendment protections for anonymous speech.”
“EFF represents the Reddit commenter, who uses the name “Darkspilver.” A lifelong member of the Jehovah’s Witness community, Darkspilver shared comments and concerns about the Jehovah’s Witness organization via one of Reddit’s online discussion groups. Darkspilver’s posts included a copy of an advertisement asking for donations that appeared on the back of a Watch Tower magazine, as well as a chart they edited and reformatted to show the kinds of data that the Jehovah’s Witness organization collects and processes.”
Online Research Browsers 2019
“This guide highlights multifaceted browser alternatives to mainstream search tools that researchers may regularly use by default. There are many reliable yet underutilized applications that facilitate access to and discovery of subject matter specific documents and sources. Free applications included here also offer collaboration tools, resources to build and manage repositories, to employ data visualization, to create and apply metadata management, citations, bibliographies, document discovery and data relationship analysis.”
Investigating the Impact of Gender on Rank in Resume Search Engines
“ABSTRACT - In this work we investigate gender-based inequalities in the context of resume search engines, which are tools that allow recruiters to proactively search for candidates based on keywords and filters. If these ranking algorithms take demographic features into account (directly or indirectly), they may produce rankings that disadvantage some candidates. We collect search results from Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder based on 35 job titles in 20 U. S. cities, resulting in data on 855K job candidates. Using statistical tests, we examine whether these search engines produce rankings that exhibit two types of indirect discrimination: individual and group unfairness. Furthermore, we use controlled experiments to show that these websites do not use inferred gender of candidates as explicit features in their ranking algorithms.”
The FY2019-2023 Digital Strategic Plan of the Library of Congress
“The Library of Congress’s mission is to engage, inspire, and inform the Congress and the American people with a universal and enduring source of knowledge and creativity. To accomplish that mission, the Library is adopting a digital-forward strategy that harnesses technology to bridge geographical divides, expand our reach, and enhance our services. This document describes how we will secure the Library’s position in an increasingly digital world as we realize our vision that all Americans are connected to the Library of Congress.”
“The Digital Strategy complements the Library’s 2019-2023 strategic plan, Enriching the User Experience, which enumerates four high-level goals: expand access, enhance services, optimize resources, and measure results. The Digital Strategy describes what the Library plans to accomplish, in terms of digital transformation, over the next five years to achieve these goals. The transformation we describe below applies to all of the Library’s programs, including our collections, researcher services, the United States Copyright Office, the Congressional Research Service, and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.”
Google’s Sundar Pichai: Privacy Should Not Be a Luxury Good
“MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google products are designed to be helpful. They take the friction out of daily life (for example, by showing you the fastest route home at the end of a long day) and give you back time to spend on things you actually want to do. We feel privileged that billions of people trust products like Search, Chrome, Maps and Android to help them every day.”
“It’s a trust we match with a profound commitment to responsibility and a healthy dose of humility. Many words have been written about privacy over the past year, including in these pages. I believe it’s one of the most important topics of our time.”
“People today are rightly concerned about how their information is used and shared, yet they all define privacy in their own ways. I’ve seen this firsthand as I talk to people in different parts of the world. To the families using the internet through a shared device, privacy might mean privacy from one another. To the small-business owner who wants to start accepting credit card payments, privacy means keeping customer data secure. To the teenager sharing selfies, privacy could mean the ability to delete that data in the future.”
Reclaim Your Privacy with These Privacy-Focused Alternatives to Google’s Services
“We put up with Google because the apps are awesome. But there are downsides to living in the panopticon. If you’d prefer not to have a corporation and all its buddies breathing down your neck, consider these privacy-focused alternatives to Google’s services.”
“While free services were preferred in our analysis, paid services are the reality of the privacy-first space. Companies can’t make money off your data, so advertisers don’t pay the bills. It’s up to you to pay. ‘If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.’”
San Francisco Takes a Historic Step Forward in the Fight for Privacy
“The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted today by 8-to-1 to make San Francisco the first major city in the United States to ban government use of face surveillance technology. This historic measure applies to all city departments. The Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance also takes an important step toward ensuring a more informed and democratic process before the San Francisco Police Department and other city agencies may acquire other kinds of surveillance technologies.”
“Face recognition technology is a particularly pernicious form of surveillance, given its disparate propensity to misidentify women, and people of color. However, even if those failures were addressed, we are at a precipice where this technology could soon be used to track people in real-time. This would place entire communities of law-abiding residents into a perpetual line-up, as they attend worship, spend time with romantic partners, attend protests, or simply go about their daily lives.”