Too much information: links for week ending 27 July 2012

EU: Research funders signal support for open access publishing
In another win for public access to publicly-funded research, Nature reports on a new policy recommendation by the European Commission that all research emerging from its €80 billion Horizon 2020 research funding pot should either be published open access or deposited in the Commission’s open access repository OpenAIRE six months from publication. European Commission vice-President Neelie Kroes has endorsed the policy, while the Guardian reports a 2% drop in the value of academic publisher Reed-Elsevier’s stock following on from the announcement. The Economist places events in the context of wider developments in academic publishing. Meanwhile, Nature also reports that Research Councils UK, which represents seven UK research funding organizations with a total annual research budget of £2.8 billion, have announced that from next April any papers emerging from work they fund must be made free to access within six months of publication. An infographic, produced by Nature, shows existing trends in open access publishing across disciplines in the UK.
Nature (EU) | Neelie Kroes | Guardian | Economist | Nature (UK) | Infographic

UK: Privacy International threatens legal action against government
Privacy International has written to the UK Business Secretary Vince Cable asking why the government has been unable to halt the export of British-made surveillance technology to repressive regimes. The groups says that if Cable does not respond within 21 days, they “will file for judicial review and if appropriate seek an urgent injunction preventing British companies from maintaining and updating systems already previously sold to repressive regimes, and stopping any new exports in their tracks”.

Tajikistan: Government to create web monitoring agency
Global Voices details an announcement made by the government of Tajikistan that it will create a new agency to monitor online publications for “insulting” and “slanderous” content.

US: Nearly 2 million quit Facebook
The Register reports that nearly 2 million US Facebook users have quit the social networking site in the past 6 months, with user numbers in Europe also dropping. The news has continued the slide in Facebook’s share value.

Iceland: Court orders Valitor to process WikiLeaks donations
Bloomberg report that an Icelandic court have ordered payment processing intermediary Valitor hf, the Icelandic partner of Visa and Mastercard, to process donations to WikiLeaks or face fines of over $6,000 a day. The company has indicated it will appeal the ruling.

UK: US pursuing a middleman in copyright infringement case
The New York Times’ reports on the extradition proceedings against UK citizen Richard O’Dwyer being brought by the US on criminal charges of copyright infringement. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has taken up the Briton’s cause.

Stepping out of the system
This feature for the BBC details a new project by Frontline SMS founder Ken Banks called Means of Exchange: “a ‘toolbox’ of web-based and mobile apps that will make it easier for people to engage in things like bartering, swapping and alternative currencies”.

The moral cases for – and against – drones
A short piece for the New York Times outlines the ethical arguments being marshaled in favor of drone use by the US military. John Kaags and Sarah Keeps take issue with the piece in the same paper’s opinion section, arguing that “expediency is not necessarily a virtue”.
For | Against

The threat of secret surveillance orders
The New York Times details a new paper produced by a US judge that investigates the nature of surveillance orders being generated in US courts and highlights the need to reform the law in order to prevent the trend in orders so secret “they might as well be “written in invisible ink”.

The challenges facing Wikipedia
The Washington Post profiles Wikipedia on the occasion of its annual Wikimania conference, highlighting struggles to encourage new members into its community of editors, and soul-searching about its increasing role as an advocate for online freedoms.

The Dark Matter around Open Data
David Eaves’ keynote at the recent World Bank/ International Open Government Data Conference urges delegates to move on from discussing the technicalities of open data and concentrate instead on scalability and impact.

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