Special issue of Spectra on Academic Publishing

Spectra, a publication of the National Communication Association, is devoted to the issue of academic publishing in its March 2012 issue. There’s a lot to read these days about academic publishing and open access but this is a good way to focus on the topic through the filter of our field.
Spectra: The Future of Academic Publishing includes the following articles which address what Rachel Hartigan Shea, NCA Director of Publications, characterizes as the “turbulent” state of publishing in academia today.

Tenure and Promotion in the 21st Century Academy: A Chancellor’s Perspective, by Pam Shockley-Zalabak

The Changing Landscape for academic Book Publishing by Todd R. Armstrong

Journal Impact Factors: Uses and Misuses, by Michael J. Beatty and Thomas Hugh Feeley

Exploring the Landscape of Digital Publishing, by Katherine Burton

Spectra is available in the Annenberg Library; oddly, no online access even for members on the NCA site. 

Citing tweets

It was only a matter of time until Twitter feeds found their way into academic writing which like other new media artifacts that came before it (emails, websites, etc.) begs the question, how to cite, how to cite?  Amit Agarwal in his excellent blog, Digital Inspiration, has a nice little post on how to do just that, The Proper Way to Cite Tweets in your Paper.
You might want to consider adding Digital Inspiration to your blog feed. It’s an award winning technology blog whose goal is to “help you take maximum advantage of the software tools and web technologies at your disposal so that you spend more time doing things your really love.”

I like getting the weekly Newsletter in my email.

Congressional Research Report on Government Cell Phone Tracking

A recent  Congressional Research Report Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles: The Confluence of Privacy, Technology and the Law has just been released.

This report will briefly survey Fourth Amendment law as it pertains to the government’s tracking programs. It will then summarize federal electronic surveillance statutes and the case law surrounding cell phone location tracking. Next, the report will describe the GPS-vehicle tracking cases and review the pending Supreme Court GPS tracking case, United States v. Jones. Finally, the report will summarize the geolocation and electronic surveillance legislation introduced in the 112th Congress.


All Things SSRN

Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a world wide collaborative of over 169,000 authors and more than 1.3 million users that is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research. It is composed of a number of specialized research networks in the social sciences. Each of SSRN’s networks encourages the early distribution of research results by reviewing and distributing submitted abstracts and full text papers from scholars around the world. SSRN encourages readers to communicate directly with other subscribers and authors concerning their own and other’s research.SSRN supports the Open Access movement. All scholars may submit papers for free, and author-submitted content is downloadable at no charge by users world-wide.SSRN is a network of networks, that is, it is divided into specialized areas including cognitive science, information systems, marketing, negotiations, poltical science, and social science. What you may not realize is SSRN includes the humanities as well (classics, English & American literature, and philosophy research networks).

If you are interested in submitting your own work to SSRN there are instructions on the site complete with a video demo.

But it gets even better because SSRN now has a very cool free app for iPhone and iPad users which enables you to search the Archive’s over 260,000 papers (and growing) from anywhere. Papers can be emailed or viewed directely on your device. iPad users can download documents and annotate, etc. as well.

If you can’t get enough of SSRN, you can also subscribe to their twitter feed (twitter @ ssrn) and their blog.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication

The International Communication Association’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication, which is posted at the American University’s Center for Social Media site (as well as it’s own), identifies four situations that represent the current consensus within the community of communication scholars about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials.” The Center for Social Media is the place to go for fair use issues in education and media production. You can view videos on codes for best fair use practice in user-generated video, documentary film making, media literacy, and remix culture.

On the same front, just yesterday the Librarian of Congress announced the latest ruling on exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, expanding fair use practice to include encrypted copyrighted works. Teachers, students and filmmakers can now break encryption to quote limited portions of copyrighted works into their own work or teaching.

Open Access Journals in Media and Communications

Here’s a site to bookmark. The International Association for Media and Communication Research has compiled a list of open access journals in the field (with a brief description of each title and links to sites). Listing over 60 titles, IAMCR plans to maintain and grow this list with the help of its members and visitors to the site. They welcome suggestions of journals to add, reports of broken links and the like. As a before-summer project, I’ll make sure all these titles are on the Penn Libraries Communication e-journal list–so we’re all one happy family, open access e-journals sitting right amidst our subscription e-journals.

Communication Research Methods II

Communication Research Methods II: A Sourcebook, by Rebecca B. Rubin, Alan M. Rubin, Elizabeth E. Graham, Elizabeth M. Perse, and David R. Seibold (Routledge, 2009) expands on the measures included in the original 1994 volume. The authors claim that the measure they feature are:

“the best of the best from the early 1990s through today. They are models for future scale development as well as tools for the trade, and they constitute the main tools that researchers can use for self-administered measurement of people’s attitudes, conceptions of themselves, and perceptions of others. The focus is on up-to-date measures and the most recent scales and indexes used to assess communication variables.” –Publisher’s website

Part I offers overviews of measurement research in various sub-divisions of the field: family communication, organizational and group, health, instructional, cross-cultural and intercultural, interpersonal and mass; each chapter includes a solid bibliography.

Part II contains profiles of selected communication measures, 57 to be exact. And Part III profiles “imported” measures (from other fields.)

This title (and it’s 1994 predecessor), is on the shelf in ASC Reference, P 91.3 C623.

New e-Journals in Communication

Penn is a subscriber of three new ICI Global journals in the field. They are:




In additional, from MIT we now subscribe to:

International Journal of Learning and Media

The International Journal of Learning and Media (IJLM) is a ground breaking online-only journal devoted to the examination of the changing relationships between learning and media across a wide range of forms and settings. While retaining the rigorous peer review process of a traditional academic journal, IJLM will also provide opportunities for more topical and polemical writing, for visual and multi-media presentations, and for online dialogues.

These titles are all available from the ASC Library homepage.

Introducing Ethnographic Video Online

A new resource just added to the Penn Libraries homepage, Ethnographic Video Online, provides access to a collection of over 1,000 films for the study of study of human culture and behavior, covering every region of the world, and featuring the work of many of the most influential documentary filmmakers of the 20th century. EVO Iicludes interviews, previously unreleased raw footage, field notes, study guides, and more. Thematic areas such as language and culture, kinesthetics, body language, food and foraging, cooking, economic systems, social stratification and status, caste systems and slavery, male and female roles, kinship and families, political organization, conflict and conflict resolution, religion and magic, music and the arts, and sex, gender, and family roles can all be studied cross-culturally.

Database features include:

  • uniquely powerful browse and search capabilities enabled by Alexander Street’s Semantic Indexing™
  • multiple points of access—browses, searches, thumbnail images, transcripts — allowing you to find your point of interest in hundreds of hours of video within seconds
  • synchronized, searchable transcripts
  • video clip-making tools
  • annotated playlists—you can make, annotate, and share playlists for course or individual use, and you can include links to materials or resources outside of the collection to make this your one-stop resource
  • high quality, licensed, in-copyright material plus newsreel and other valuable footage
  • the ability to create synchronized annotations and multi-media presentations
  • an embeddable video player and playlist for use on a class Web site, library home page, or an electronic syllabus—lets you drive usage and deliver content to users where and when they need it without instructions or countless screens and clicks
  • streaming, quickly accessible online video at 400 and 800 kbps with no delays and no special equipment (just Flash and a browser)

Policy Map

Policy Map, a recent addition to the Penn Library website, is a great resource to go to for up to date demographic data. Just tap in a city or zip code and you have access to thousands of indicators related to demographics, crime, money and income, real estate, education, energy, and health. In addition to zip code and city, you can search by census tract, state, county, school districts, and legislative or Congressional districts. Policy Map generates its data in the form of maps, data tables and reports which can be easily exported as jpegs or pdfs. The number of indicators is noteworthy. You can get demographic breakdowns for ethnicity, religion, voting, etc. from a lot of sources but Policy Map offers many additional profile handles as illustrated by a search I did comparing obesity figures in Philadelphia in 2008 versus 2006.

This resource is available from the ASC Library homepage.