US court grants Elsevier millions in damages from Sci-Hub

Read the full story in Nature.

One of the world’s largest science publishers, Elsevier, won a default legal judgement on 21 June against websites that provide illicit access to tens of millions of research papers and books. A New York district court awarded Elsevier US$15 million in damages for copyright infringement by Sci-Hub, the Library of Genesis (LibGen) project and related sites.

Pay-to-view blacklist of predatory journals set to launch

Read the full story in Nature.

The blacklist is dead; long live the blacklist. Five months after a widely read blog listing possible ‘predatory’ scholarly journals and publishers was shut down, another index of untrustworthy titles is appearing — although this version will be available only to paying subscribers.

Too many studies have hidden conflicts of interest. A new tool makes it easier to see them.

Read the full story at Vox. Although PubMed focuses primarily on health literature, this could signal a wider trend.

PubMed — a powerful taxpayer-funded search engine for medical study abstracts that doctors, patients, and the media rely on — just started displaying conflict of interest data up front. New information about funding sources and potential conflicts will now appear right below study abstracts, which means readers don’t have even to open a journal article to be made aware of any possible industry influence over studies.

Scientists are frantically copying U.S. climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.

The efforts include a “guerrilla archiving” event in Toronto, where experts will copy irreplaceable public data, meetings at the University of Pennsylvania focused on how to download as much federal data as possible in the coming weeks, and a collaboration of scientists and database experts who are compiling an online site to harbor scientific information.

Researchers Are Preparing for Trump to Delete Government Science From the Web

Read the full story in Motherboard.

When Donald Trump takes over the federal government on January 21, his administration will also gain complete control over much of the .gov suite of websites, which currently hosts a treasure trove of publicly available, taxpayer-funded scientific research. The academic world is bracing itself: Will that data remain available after his transition?

Scientists and university professors all around the country and in Canada believe we’re about to see widespread whitewashing and redaction of already published, publicly available taxpayer-funded scientific research, databases, and interactive tools, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Level Rise viewer, NASA’s suite of climate change apps, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s maps of the country’s worst polluters. They also expect to see censorship, misrepresentation, and minimization of new government-funded research, specifically regarding climate change.

The Impact Formula: New Evidence on the Factors that Lead to Breakthroughs

Read the full post at Study Hacks.

Earlier this month, a group of researchers from Albert-Laszlo Barabasi’s circle of network scientists published an important paper in the journal Science. Its nondescript title,  “Quantifying the evolution of individual scientific impact,” obfuscates its exciting content: a massive big-data study that dissects the publication careers of over 2800 physicists to determine the combination of factors that best predicts their probability of publishing high impact papers.