Courthouse News Service: Bill Would Make Online Access to Federal Court Records Free (YAY!) “House lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would remove online paywalls and make federal court records free to the public. PACER, as the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system is otherwise known, currently charges between 10 cents and $3 for most searches, page views and PDF document downloads.”
New York Times: Attacking a Pay Wall That Hides Public Court Filings. ” The federal judiciary has built an imposing pay wall around its court filings, charging a preposterous 10 cents a page for electronic access to what are meant to be public records. A pending lawsuit could help tear that wall down.”
Wired: The Quest to Topple Science-Stymying Academic Paywalls. “Science is built, enhanced, and developed through the open and structured sharing of knowledge. Yet some publishers charge so much for subscriptions to their academic journals that even the libraries of the world’s wealthiest universities such as Harvard are no longer able to afford the prices. Those publishers’ profit margins rival those of the most profitable companies in the world, even though research is largely underwritten by governments, and the publishers don’t pay authors and researchers or the peer reviewers who evaluate those works. How is such an absurd structure able to sustain itself—and how might we change it?”
Yahoo News: Google shifted 19.9 billion euros to tax haven Bermuda in 2017 – filing. “Google moved 19.9 billion euros (£17.9 billion) through a Dutch shell company to Bermuda in 2017, as part of an arrangement that allows it to reduce its foreign tax bill, according to documents filed at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. The amount channelled through Google Netherlands Holdings BV was around 4 billion euros more than in 2016, the documents, filed on Dec. 21, showed.”
Defense One: Academic Paywalls Harm National Security. “A previous employer of mine, a consultancy that supports senior national security leaders, gave up its academic journal subscriptions in the wake of price hikes. Some military research centers simply make do with minimal access. The high cost of academic articles has even dissuaded defense companies, from time to time, from turning concepts into reality. But perhaps you doubt that scholarly journals offer extensive benefits to national security. To illustrate these benefits, I will focus on three: informing policy, skill and capability building, and technological insight.”
CNET: Verizon takes $4.6 billion write-down on Oath . “Verizon said Tuesday the integration of Yahoo and AOL has achieved lower-than-expected benefits. As a result, Verizon expects to record a goodwill impairment charge of about $4.6 billion in the fourth quarter, the company said in a statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.” As the article notes, Yahoo’s original purchase price was $4.83 billion.
New Scientist: Time to break academic publishing’s stranglehold on research. “HERE is a trivia question for you: what is the most profitable business in the world? You might think oil, or maybe banking. You would be wrong. The answer is academic publishing. Its profit margins are vast, reportedly in the region of 40 per cent. The reason it is so lucrative is because most of the costs of its content is picked up by taxpayers. Publicly funded researchers do the work, write it up and judge its merits. And yet the resulting intellectual property ends up in the hands of the publishers.”