Too much information: links for week ending 10 February

US: Proposed new law supports public access to research
A proposed new law that supports public access to publicly-funded research, the Federal Research Public Access Act, has been put forward with bi-partisan sponsorship (ie, support from representatives of both political parties) this week in both legislative houses of the US Congress. The Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a project of the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), reports: “The proposed bill would…require federal agencies to provide the public with online access to articles reporting on the results of the United States’ $60 billion in publicly funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.” The proposed law provides a counterpoint to the Research Works Act, another law US legislators are being asked to consider that has received the support of some traditional academic publishers (see below).

Academics vow to boycott Elsevier over Research Works Act
The Economist reports on the rapid growth of signatories to a petition calling out Dutch academic publisher Elsevier for their high prices, bundling practices, and support for the Research Works Act, a proposed US law that would deny public access to publicly funded research. The petition has been signed by over 5,000 researchers, many of whom have pledged that they will refrain from publishing, refereeing and editorial work. Elsevier requires these services, which are performed without remuneration, in order to function.
Report | Petition

Russia: Prices of popular bloggers’ posts leaked
The Guardian reports that “A pro-Kremlin group runs a network of internet trolls, seeks to buy flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and hatches plans to discredit opposition activists and media, according to private emails allegedly hacked by a group calling itself the Russian arm of Anonymous”. The emails, sent between people involved in the Kremlin-sponsored youth group Nashi, detail payments to journalists and bloggers. Slashdot provides more background to the story.
Guardian | Slashdot

Reporters Without Borders creates mirror sites to fight censorship
Reporters Without Borders have announced they will create mirror websites that host content from organisations taken offline by cyberattacks, or blocked by censors. They will begin by mirroring content published by the Chechen magazine Dosh (which was taken offline by cyberattacks during the Russian elections last year) and the Sri Lankan online newspaper Lanka-e News, which has been blocked inside Sri Lanka since October 2011.

Privacy, free expression, and the Facebook standard
In the week of the Facebook IPO, CEO of Human Rights First Elisa Massimino encourages potential investors to examine the values of the company in this piece for Forbes: “If Facebook really were a country, its foreign policy would be on a collision course with that of the Obama administration, which has made Internet freedom — including protecting the privacy rights of users — a foreign policy priority.”

WSJ debate: Is extending patents on pharmaceuticals simply more of a bad thing?
The Wall Street Journal has published a debate on the role of patents in encouraging innovation in the pharmaceutical sector, and whether calls to extend the length of time for which a patent is granted have any merit. Josh Bloom, director of the American Council on Science and Health argues for a patent extension, while Els Torreele of the Open Society Public Health Program argues that extending patents on pharmaceuticals will do nothing to increase medical innovation.

Africa should be wary of US propaganda on intellectual property
This blog post by Open Society Public Health Program’s Brett Davidson highlights the rise of free trade agreements promoting intellectual property enforcement measures that go beyond established norms, and the threat they pose to health and education in the developing world.

We are the media, and so are you
In this editorial for the Washington Post, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, together with Kat Walsh, asks readers to recognise the stake they have in a fere and open internet, and the power they have to defend that stake.

Report: Rise of the silent SMS
European Digital Rights (EDRI) look in-depth at the increasing use by police in Europe of “silent SMSs” to track suspects using their mobile phones.

Interview: Brewster Kahle
The LA Times interview “evangelical librarian” and Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle about his various projects to preserve public access to the world’s knowledge.

Data visualisation: How Africa tweets
The Atlantic publish a data visualisation based on analysis of more than 11.5 million geolocated tweets posted during the last three months of 2011.

Audio: Rebecca MacKinnon on her new book “Consent of the Networked”
CBC’s Spark podcast interviews Rebecca MacKinnon about her new book “Consent of the Networked”, which urges its readers to stop arguing about whether the internet is good or bad for people, and start finding ways to maintain people’s rights in what is essentially a corporate-owned space.

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