There was quite a bit of [activity](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2012/02/09/interent2-net-services/) [recently](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2012/02/09/oer-panel-gathers-to-assess-state/) over the announcement by Apple of [iBooks Author](http://chronicle.com/article/Apples-New-E-Textbook/130399/). Now two other platforms are gaining some profile regarding their offerings. To me, it just shows à al [Christensen](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2012/02/10/current-books-on-how-education-needs-to-change/), how ripe the market is for some disruption to displace the dominant and stagnant leaders who are incumbents of sustaining the status quo. Continue reading Two new platforms to rival Apple ebook platform recently announced
[Internet2 Net+](http://www.internet2.edu/netplus/) is a group of emerging services that foster collective development and utilization of service offerings, some of the commercial, to campuses in the U.S.. Specific offerings currently offered include:
* Cloud Services: Internet2 works with third-party vendors to provide customized cloud services using the infrastructure facilities of the Internet2 Network and the federated authentication and authorization services available through InCommon.
* Box: The Internet2 NET+ Box service provides users with the ability to access, store and share content securely anywhere, anytime, on any device, a la drop box, but with enhancements.
* eText: As textbooks continue shifting to digital, Internet2, McGraw-Hill and Courseload today announced implementation of an eText Pilot Trial Pack to students and faculty at five universities for the Spring 2012 semester. The five institutions, also Internet2 members, include: University of California, Berkeley; Cornell University; University of Minnesota; University of Virginia; and the University of Wisconsin. The pilot, which is based on Indiana University’s [eText model](http://etexts.iu.edu), provides a timely and simple way for universities to quickly assess a new model for digital course materials. While an increasing number of eTexts are already available at retail prices, eTexts can cost less when institutions negotiate attractive volume price deals to dramatically reduce costs to students while efficiently paying authors and publishers fairly for each use of their digital work.
* HP cloud: boilerplate contracts for accessing cloud compute services from HP negotiated at block rates through Internet2.
Well, a blow against for-profit HE was struck in the UK when David Cameron took a tactical decision to [drop](http://tgr.ph/yB7fx7) a bill in the next session to allow more competition in the UK HE space. Competition is good, but not by opening it up to dodgy for-profits. I’ve been [writing](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/06/27/for-profit-he-costs-surpassed-non-profit-he-costs-for-students/) on these concerns for some time, and I’m happy to see the present move by the UK government. Continue reading For-profits HE dealt a blow in the UK
I wrote about some [British Universities](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/25/british-libraries-are-prepared-to-forgo-elsevier-and-wiley-big-deal-subs-if-terms-not-right/) taking a stand against two of the big deals from academic publishers and how their proposed hikes in rates were breaking the system. Now the group has developed and released [a tool](http://www.rluk.ac.uk/content/press-release-rluk-develops-journal-subscription-analysis-tool) that will evaluate the cost / benefit ratio of the deals offered vs. a return to title-by-title access to these documents. Continue reading British University Libraries tooling up for publishing evaluation
I [first wrote](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/20/mit-cracker-arrested-trying-to-download-millions-of-jstor-articles/) about Aaron Schwartz when it went public about what he was alleged to have done, and [again](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/22/sympathy-protests-for-aaron-swartz-against-jstor/) with protests against his arrest and Aaron’s own writings about his cause. Now more information is coming out and it seems that there is more strong support forming for the cause. The [Chronicle](http://chronicle.com/article/Rogue-Downloaders-Arrest/128439/) has a very good article on the subject, with quotes from different sides. What seems apparent is that all of the sides, save JSTOR and the administration, but including the faculty at MIT, as regarding the inclusion of the US Secret Service as rather heavy handed, especially when this is a clearly a case of activism and information that is all out of copyright. Continue reading Aaron Schwartz rough handedness from Feds at behest of MIT raising alarm bells
I was part of an initiative to take broadband into the North and West of Scotland when the major telecomms provider, [BT](http://bt.com/), said it was uneconomic to make the investment, back in the 90s. We got money from a funding source and ended up paying a competitor to BT to lay oodles of capacity along a major ring with spokes out to the islands. It was very damaging to the BT monopoly of the time, and eventually opened up broadband through various providers to the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Now, twenty-nine universities across the US have started a project to extend their high-speed networks to surrounding communities, called [Gig-U](http://www.gig-u.org/), at increases of two to three orders of magnitude for bandwidth over the current residential connections. Continue reading Gig-U wants to make university internet hubs expand reach into local communities and science parks
So I have been [arguing for some time](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/06/05/oer/) that the business models that online publishing in academia are pursuing are failing to match the new digital world, to leverage digital technologies and scale up their user base. Apple has demonstrated that there is a *great deal of mulah* to be made in music by embracing digital tech and allowing people to download lots of music cheaply. But the academic publishers, as I have argued consistently on this blog, just won’t budge. Now there are some others starting to ask how much is access really worth. But they are not taking into account the digital nature of the service. Continue reading Questions being asked publicly on how much eresource access should cost
I have been [arguing](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/06/23/pressforward-to-try-to-change-academic-publishing-model/) for some time that the model was [broken](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/19/mcgraw-hill-makes-moves-to-open-to-all-platforms/), and that academic publishers were making the same mistakes that music industry started making in the late 90s. The digital economy should produce massive cost scale efficiencies, and democratization of technology means that the publishers need to drastically reduce their cost models to be seen as preserving information for something other than sheer greed and profit. But they have been slow in responding, if not simply dismissing the arguments. Now [RLUK](http://www.rluk.ac.uk/) have announced that they [would not sign](http://www.rluk.ac.uk/content/rluk-calls-journal-pricing-restraint) any more large deals with these two publishers as that contract is up now for new terms. If Elsevier and Wiley won’t budge, [RLUK](http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/british-research-libraries-say-no-to-big-deal-serials-packages/32371?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en) is prepared to go forward on an article by article subscription. That will be a tremendous risk for the publishers, as they will lose a guaranteed income stream, and as the UK universities continue to feel pressure, that budget line for new articles will feel pressure as well, further reducing the flow to the publishers. Blink!
I did write that [big moves were happening in academic publishing](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/06/03/big-moves-in-academic-publishing/) and it just got bigger. The big five thought that they were wrapping it up with Blackboard, and [McGraw-Hill](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2011/07/19/mcgraw-hill-makes-moves-to-open-to-all-platforms/) opened the gate by throwing open the door to all platforms. A new entrant has walked into the arena – Amazon. Continue reading New entrant in the etextbook market – Amazon
Aaron Swartz, a fellow at Harvard’s Center for Ethics, is a 24-year old online activist who was charged with breaking into a wiring closet at MIT and making unauthorized downloads of 4M+ JSTOR articles. Continue reading MIT cracker arrested trying to download millions of JSTOR articles