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Daily Archives: May 2, 2023

The Scholarly Fingerprinting Industry

Jefferson Pooley. The Scholarly Fingerprinting Industry Amerikastudien/American Studies 68, no. 1 (2023): 18–21. 18 Amst 68.1 (2023): 5-26

“Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, Springer Nature, Wiley, and SAGE: Many researchers know that the five giant firms publish most of the world’s scholarship. Fifty years of acquisitions and journal launches have yielded a stunningly profitable oligopoly, built up from academics’ un- paid writing-and-editing labor. Their business is a form of IP rentiership—collections of title-by-title prestige monopolies that, in the case of Nature or The Lancet, underwrite a stable of spinoff journals on the logic of the Hollywood franchise. Less well-known is that Elsevier and its peers are layering a second business on top of their legacy publishing operations, fueled by data extraction. They are packaging researcher behavior, gleaned from their digital platforms, into prediction products, which they sell back to universities and other clients. Their raw material is scholars’ citations, abstracts, downloads, and reading habits, repurposed into dashboard services that, for example, track researcher productivity. Elsevier and the other oligopolist firms are fast becoming, in other words, surveillance publishers (Pooley). And they are using the windfall profits from their existing APC-and-subscription business to finance their moves into predictive analytics. Elsevier is the farthest along. In 2015, its parent company RELX Group announced its “transformation” from publisher to a “technology, content and analytics-driven business,” adding that the firm is “system- atically migrating all of our businesses towards electronic decision tools” (RELX Group, Annual Report 2014 5, 4). By then, Elsevier’s decade long acquisition binge, up and down the research lifecycle, was already underway. In the past decade, it acquired Pure (2012), Mendeley (2013), Newsflo (2015), SSRN (2016), bepress (2017), Parity Computing (2019), and, in spring 2022, Interfolio, the “Faculty Information System” provider. Together with ScienceDirect, the firm’s web-based journal delivery platform, and Scopus, its citation index, Elsevier has assembled a portfolio of knowledge products that spans lab software to research assessment. These are, in a sense, services with benefits: reference management from Mendeley and journal access from ScienceDirect both furnish scholars’ behavioral data back to Elsevier. The company then sells the processed data back to universities and other clients in the form of “research intelligence,” i. e., prediction products like SciVal and Pure that score researcher impact and productivity. Elsevier, to borrow a computing phrase, has become a full-stack publisher. Its thousands of journals might be seen as data-delivery vehicles—in themselves and by way of trackable engagement…”

Precedent Unbound: The Supreme Court’s Summary Elimination of Liberal Lower Court Rulings

Tucker, Lisa A. and Risch, Michael, Precedent Unbound: The Supreme Court’s Summary Elimination of Liberal Lower Court Rulings (March 19, 2023). Florida Law Review, Vol. 76, (2024 Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: or “Over the past two years the United States Supreme Court has erased thirteen politically and legally significant opinions written by the… Continue Reading

The Case Against Commercial Casebooks

Ball, W. David and Oberman, Michelle, The Case Against Commercial Casebooks (October 18, 2022). Journal of Legal Education, Available at SSRN: or “Open-source, online casebooks are a free alternative to the for-profit commercial casebooks that dominate the legal academy. They offer a host of benefits for students and professors alike. Online casebooks are… Continue Reading

RSF’s 2022 World Press Freedom Index – a new era of polarisation

“The 20th World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reveals a two-fold increase in polarisation amplified by information chaos – that is, media polarisation fuelling divisions within countries, as well as polarisation between countries at the international level. The 2022 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, which assesses the state of… Continue Reading

Microsoft Bing adds AI chat history, exports, visual search results, new web integrations

GeekWire: “Microsoft is updating its OpenAI-powered Bing search chatbot with several new features, and expanding its availability beyond the initial limited preview, looking to build on its momentum three months after the initial launch. Bing has grown to more than 100 million daily active users since Microsoft released the AI chat features, giving Bing new… Continue Reading

Bush v. Gore docs among new releases from Justice Stevens archives

NBC News: “Internal documents concerning the Supreme Court‘s historic Bush v. Gore decision in 2000 that handed the White House to President George W. Bush are being made public Tuesday, with the Library of Congress releasing a new trove of papers from the archives of Justice John Paul Stevens. Stevens, who died in 2019 at… Continue Reading

eBird Status and Trends

“High-resolution data, visualizations, and tools describing where bird populations occur and how they change through time—powered by eBird data and updated annually, providing you with the best available science. The eBird Science team uses state-of-the-art statistical models and machine learning to build visualizations and tools to help decision makers, scientists, and birders alike to better… Continue Reading

The Luring Test: AI and the engineering of consumer trust

FTC – Michael Atleson, Attorney, FTC Division of Advertising Practices: “In the 2014 movie Ex Machina, a robot manipulates someone into freeing it from its confines, resulting in the person being confined instead. The robot was designed to manipulate that person’s emotions, and, oops, that’s what it did. While the scenario is pure speculative fiction, companies… Continue Reading