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Heather Morrison
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Trade agreements have emerged in recent years as one of the federal government's most frequently touted accomplishments. Having concluded (or nearly concluded) free trade deals with the likes of the European Union and South Korea, senior government…
Trade agreements have emerged in recent years as one of the federal government's most frequently touted accomplishments. Having concluded (or nearly concluded) free trade deals with the likes of the European Union and South Korea, senior government ministers such as International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Industry Minister James Moore have held dozens of events and press conferences across the country promoting the trade agenda. The next maj...
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To state the obvious: secretive trade negotiations are not consistent with open government. Or democracy.
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Taxpayers in the United States spend $139 billion a year on scientific research, yet much of this research is inaccessible not only to the public, but also to other scientists.(a) This is the consequence of an exploitative scientific journal system that rewards academic publishers while punishing taxpayers, scientists, and universities. Fortunately, cheap open-access alternatives are not only possible, but already beginning to take root, suggesti...
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Have her in circles
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Heather Morrison

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Canada's Supreme Court issued what I consider one very wise decision on June 26, recognizing aboriginal title for the Tsilhqot’in Nation, with one very wise caveat: land use comes with responsibility for the group and for future generations. This begs the question: why isn't every government everywhere held accountable to this standard? (and why not water, too?) Details and link here: http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.ca/2014/07/canadas-supreme-court-decision-or-arent.html
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Supreme Court Delivers Huge Victory for Internet Privacy & Blows Away Gov't Plans for Reform

For the past several months, many Canadians have been debating privacy reform, with the government moving forward on two bills: lawful access (C-13) and PIPEDA reform (S-4). One of the most troubling aspects of those bills has been the government's effort to expand the scope of warrantless, voluntary disclosure of personal information. 

Bill C-13 proposes to expand warrantless disclosure of subscriber information to law enforcement by including an immunity provision from any criminal or civil liability (including class action lawsuits) for companies that preserve personal information or disclose it without a warrant. Meanwhile, Bill S-4, proposes extending the ability to disclose subscriber information without a warrant from law enforcement to private sector organizations. The bill includes a provision that allows organizations to disclose personal information without consent (and without a court order) to any organization that is investigating a contractual breach or possible violation of any law. I appeared before both committees in recent weeks (C-13, S-4), but Conservative MPs and Senators were dismissive of the concerns associated with voluntary disclosures. 

This morning another voice entered the discussion and completely changed the debate. The Supreme Court of Canada issued its long-awaited R. v. Spencer decision, which examined the legality of voluntary warrantless disclosure of basic subscriber information to law enforcement. In a unanimous decision written by (Harper appointee) Justice Thomas Cromwell, the court issued a strong endorsement of Internet privacy, emphasizing the privacy importance of subscriber information, the right to anonymity, and the need for police to obtain a warrant for subscriber information except in exigent circumstances or under a reasonable law...
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Very grateful that Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has awarded funding for my project Sustaining the Knowledge Commons (open access scholarship). Very.
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thanks Souheil!
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Out of the big commercial academic publishers, Elsevier gets most of the negative press. So it's good to be reminded that the others are not exactly angels. I've just cottoned on to an extraordinary story about Taylor & Francis, which has attempted to suppress an article in one of its journals. Why? Because the article is a criticism of the current academic publishing system and in particular the big four publishers (Elsevier, Springer, Wiley and Taylor & Francis). As the article below hints, this can be seen as a good sign: it suggests that the big publishers are genuinely worried about their future.

The article, which is open access, eventually appeared, and can be found here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/.U5F5qyhy_Hg
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A good option would be to resign and reform the journal using a publisher like Ubiquity Press that provides high quality publishing services at a reasonable price.
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Must read: research on Elsevier pricing (mechanisms and what libraries actually pay) by Tim Gowers.
 
One of the difficulties that stands in the way of anybody who wants to do anything about the extortionate cost of scientific journals is lack of information: the big publishers insist on confidentiality clauses, so that we do not know what our universities are paying for their journals (though all the evidence is that it is a huge amount). The post linked to below is rather long, but the gist of it is that I have been trying to collect information about Elsevier. If you're in a hurry, then almost certainly the part you'll find most interesting is the result of Freedom of Information requests I made to 24 top British universities. Amazingly, 18 of them (and counting) ended up telling me what they are paying per year. Also, one of them gave the information to somebody else, so we know about 19. I hope that this is just the start. I especially hope that people in other countries with FOI legislation will try to use it.

I do recommend reading some of the accompanying explanation as well as the figures themselves, as it is possible to jump to incorrect conclusions if all you have to go on is the raw numbers. But the raw numbers are quite interesting ...
A little over two years ago, the Cost of Knowledge boycott of Elsevier journals began. Initially, it seemed to be highly successful, with the number of signatories rapidly reaching 10,000 and inclu...
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