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On Open Access (OA) and Institutional Repositories (IRs)

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

I recently went to a town meeting on Open Access (OA) and our Institutional Repository (IR).  (Universities and colleges have our own town meetings, because we’re basically our own mini-towns).  This meeting spurred me on to do a bit of a blog post on OA and IRs.  I’ll first give a brief explanation of OA and IRs, including links to some resources for more information, and wrap up with my own thoughts.

OA is the concept and movement within academia that access to academic literature should be free online and free of most copyright restrictions.  The idea is that for knowledge to flourish the exchange of ideas should be as free and fluid as possible.  Because this is a concept and movement this means that not everyone agrees with this idea.  Agreement and support of OA also varies drastically by area of specialty.  The sciences are the most supportive of OA, particularly Physics.  This is evident by the existence of the website arXiv.org, which provides “open access to 792,606 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics.” The humanities are less so.  This has to do with the culture of the different disciplines. The sciences are more focused on teamwork and sharing new knowledge as quickly as possible, whereas the humanities tend to be more concerned with ruminating on ideas.  The pace is simply faster in the sciences than in the humanities, and OA is more useful in that environment.

Utilizing and supporting OA comes across in a few different ways.  There are OA journals, which are free to use, but not necessarily free to submit an article to.  To those concerned, the submission fee does not guarantee acceptance of an article.  It is simply there to help the OA journals function.  Studies on the percentage of OA journals charging a fee vary rather widely on their final numbers.  These fees are of concern to faculty members, though, because they can quickly go through grant money that could have been used in other ways just paying submission fees.  Although there originally was concern as to the quality of OA journals, OA does not negate peer-review.  There are many peer-reviewed and respected journals; the PLOS ones in particular spring to mind, but you can see a listing of all OA journals at the Directory of Open Access Journals.  Academics can support OA both by submitting to and reading OA journals, and institutions can support OA by giving articles published in OA journals equal consideration when doing tenure reviews.

OA can be pursued in traditional publishing as well, however.  Frequently faculty members do not fully understand what is happening with their copyright when they sign contracts with a publisher.  The creator owns the copyright of an item at the moment of creation. He or she does not need to register it.  This is not always clear to people because from 1923 to 1963 (in the US) you did have to register your copyright and re-register it every 28 years.  Anything published before 1923 in the US is officially in the public domain aka free of copyright.  This is why mashups such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies can happen.  What all this means is that the author of the paper owns copyright until they sign it over to the publisher, and they do not have to kowtow to all of the demands of the publisher.  OA advocates encourage authors to return the contract to the publisher unsigned with a SPARC Addendum attached.  This addendum gives the publisher some rights over the paper/article/book while retaining some for the author.  What this essentially means is that the author retains certain rights over his or her article that most faculty members think they have anyway.  Only now it’s legal.  For instance, this addendum gives the author permission to deposit their paper in an Institutional Repository or include it in a group of pdfs of publications on their personal website, as long as it is properly cited to the journal of first publication.

A popular way for publishers to support OA while still staying in business, beyond agreeing to SPARC Addendums, is the concept of an embargo.  An embargo means that articles are available exclusively through subscription and fees for a set period of time (usually from 6 months to 2 years), and after that point they are available through OA.  The qualm some advocates of OA have with this model is that for certain fields of study, particularly in the sciences, the embargo period is long enough that the article will be practically irrelevant by the time it is available openly, thereby defeating the whole purpose of encouraging collaboration and free flow of ideas behind OA to begin with.

If you are interested in learning more about OA, check out Peter Suber’s book Open Access.  You can also check out this this handout that explains the OA spectrum in an infographic style.

So what do Institutional Repositories (IRs) have to do with OA?  An IR is a curated collection of all academic publishing, as well as collections such as photographs taken by anthropologists, created by scholars associated with the institution.  The IR is the institution’s research portfolio.  It’s important for the institution to be able to demonstrate to interested parties the valuable work their scholars are doing.  The connection to OA is that the current restrictive copyright contracts publishers send to authors frequently make it impossible to include their works in the IR.  The SPARC Addendum addresses this, but an institution can also address this concern by making it a mandate that all scholarly work done while at their institution be deposited in the repository.  This gives the author a prior commitment that is usually already covered in the contract.  A pioneer in the world of IRs is MIT’s IR: DSpace.  Check them out to get a feel for what an IR is like.

So what do I think about all of this?  I can understand and sympathize with all three sides (universities, scholars, and publishers).  The publishers are concerned that they will go out of business if everything is available immediately in OA.  As an indie author, I can easily see how valid that concern is.  Frankly if OA does take off the way, say, literary zines have, most journals will go out of business.  Yes a few big name zines are still surviving, and most zines also sell a print version and do alright with that, but publishing as we know it must change for OA to take hold.  Of course one doesn’t want that in one’s own industry.

I can also understand the dual view scholars hold.  Academic journals are peer-reviewed, and while OA journals can be, they aren’t necessarily.  OA can seem like a scary free-for-all with no verification of facts or quality.  Things don’t always become popular because they’re good.  But on the other hand if your audience is other scholars, aka the peer part of peer-review, then it should work itself out anyway.  Not to mention the fact that OA journals can mandate peer-review if they want to.  Similarly, I get it that scholars usually want to share their work with anyone interested and to that end want to post the pdfs on their website.  The problem is, though, if a person can get your article just by googling it and going to you instead of the publisher then we’re right back to putting the publisher who published you in the first place out of business.  But if publishing changes the way we think it will, then that would be a moot point anyway.

As far as IRs go, I truly see their value for gray literature.  Things like posters from poster sessions, dissertations and theses that are frequently not available or searchable otherwise, etc… but I also think an institution obsessively collecting a copy of everything every scholar has done is a bit redundant.  Not that the institution shouldn’t ever broaden to that level of collection and archiving, but since IRs are so new, it might be better to focus in on the gray literature for now.

Overall though the change won’t really happen until institutions start accepting OA publications in the tenure process. Until that point all scholars must publish in traditional journals in order to secure tenure.  It seems to me that the power is really in the hands of the universities.  The universities must decide: what do we want true scholarship and academic achievement look like in the 21st century?

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

In January of this year (2012) the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) published what most academic and medical librarians now know of as “the code.”  Within copyright there’s an allowance known as fair use.  Since this is a gray area, the ARL interviewed hundred of librarians and came up with a code of best practices in fair use so that all academic librarians can put up a united front against the publishers who basically way too frequently think that there is no such thing as fair use.  I had the opportunity to attend two of the panels presenting the new code and information on fair use.  One was at MIT and the other was at Northeastern University.  This post will consist of my notes as well as links to the code’s website, guides, and contact info.

What is the Purpose of Copyright?

  • To promote the creation of culture by giving people who create it a perk with limited monopoly and encouraging new makers to use existing culture.  The human process of creating culture is collaborative at its base.

Biggest Balancing Feature:

  • Fair Use–legal, unauthorized use of copyrighted material–under some circumstances

So what is fair use?

  • a space for creativity
    • for lawyers
    • for users
    • for judges
  • created in the 1840s by judges but not in writing til 1976

Four Factors of Fair Use

  1. Reason for the use
  2. Kind of work used
  3. Amount used → is it appropriate?
  4. Effect on the market

The Good News

  • Judges love it and love using the factors
  • Supreme Court: fair use protects free speech
  • Judicial interpretation has shifted greatly since 1990

Things Judges Ask

  • Is your use transformative?
    • Are you adding to the culture
    • Are you an innovator
  • Did you use the amount that is appropriate to satisfy the transformative use

Transform?

  • use of works in scholarly study when they’re not intended for scholarly study
  • PLUS custom and practice of individual creative communities especially when well-documented
    • When judges hear a good story about why what you’re doing as a community is transformative, they want to side with you

Best Practices Codes

  • Communities that use them:
    • documentary filmmakers
    • scholars
    • online video
    • dance productions
  • principles not rules
  • limitations not bans
  • reasoning not rote

Why Fair Use Matters to Librarians

  • Libraries preserve culture. To keep them alive means copying especially digital.
  • Patrons need answers now.
  • Can libraries stay relevant to the future by serving patrons from a distance?
  • Projects/needs that seem important aren’t getting done or are being abandoned because of risk aversion (fear of getting sued).
  • Put legal risks into perspective “mission risk.”

The Code of Best Practices
“Nobody really wants to sue. They just want to scare you.”
“Fair use is like a muscle.”
The more people who expressly go forward with fair use, the more protection we all have.

  1. eReserves
    It is fair to provide access to teaching materials (digitally) for students and professors.

    1. Spontaneity is not the law.  You can reuse course reserves (repeated use).
    2. The 1976 Guidelines are not the law.
    3. If you’re not in the class, you don’t get access. Passwords.
    4. Are you making a good faith effort to limit the use to fair use?
    5. There’s a difference between access and distribution.
  2. Exhibits both physical and virtual
  3. Digitizing to preserve at-risk items, but only when you can’t buy it and it is in a format that is becoming outdated but not yet obsolete.
  4. Digital collections of archives and special collections
  5. Access to research and teaching materials for disabled users.
  6. Institutional repositories, for example dissertations, theses
    Writers of dissertations/theses have a right to deposit their work in the repository without getting copyright rights from those whose work they’ve quoted/cited.  This code aims to help libraries stand by authors and help places like ProQuest understand fair use.
  7. Data-mining/Finding aids.
    1. When you google, you’re not searching the internet.  You’re searching google’s copy of the internet.  This is legal under fair use.
  8. Making topically-based collections of Web-based material.
    1. You’re collecting for a particular reason for a different use than the original creators had.

General Advice

  • Libraries are not liable for bad things that their users do.
  • Get your counsel involved when things aren’t in crisis mode.  It will help them understand you and your needs for potential future crises.
  • Bring the code of best practices to the counsel as a conversation piece.
  • Reliance on code of best practices is good evidence of good faith.
  • Librarians need to own fair use reasoning and get students and professors to do it too.
  • This is a free speech right.  We need to empower patrons and move them to agency.
  • A library can avoid or reduce liabilities by having proactive staff.  Develop fair use practice standards in your community.
  • You can create your own culture that doesn’t view fair use as risky.
  • In the context of fair use, the perfect document with all the answers is unattainable.
  • Key questions to ask:
    • Is it appropriate?
    • Is it reasonable?
    • Are you using it in good faith?
  • It is not the case that by asking for permission you waive your fair use rights.
  • Sometimes asking for permission can even strengthen your fair use claim.
  • Checklists make rote something that is inherently fluid.  Instead you should simply be able to articulate if asked why it is an appropriate use.
  • We should be able to explain fair use to our people in plain language.  No legalese.

The Georgia State Case
Basically, a publisher sued Georgia State for their use of eReserves.  Read up on the case and the ruling here and here.

  • Classroom Guidelines created in the 1970s were intended as a floor but interpreted as a ceiling.  1990s cases against coursepacks found coursepacks aren’t fair use, so now they pay a use fee.  Code of Best Practices is the first to look at it from a library perspective.
  • What happened at GSU?
    What was at issue was not the software (ie Blackboard) but the amount of info on Electronic Reserves.
  • Publisher’s argument:
    * should have sought and paid permission for every item on Electronic Reserves
    * argued fair use checklist is weighted to fair use
    * GSU could have subscribed to annual access
  • Library’s argument:
    *  use of excerpt from books in this setting is fair use
    *  checklist properly used
    *  If GSU had an annual license from CCC, Cambridge University Press is not part of it anyway.
  • So how much is fair use?
  • CCC is contractually obligated to let publishers know if they think an infringement is going on.
  • If you’re arguing market impact, you have to show it.
  • 75 cases were submitted, of those only 5 instances of infringement found.
  • Court declined to issue injunction and ordered plaintiff to pay defendent’s legal fees.
  • Is the use transformative?
    *  using it in a new way
    *  the obvious exception is straight reproduction for classroom use
    *  the things that teachers use to teach are not usually created with the intention to use to teach, so this use is innately transformative.
    *  non-transformative use is 10 to 20%
    *  transformative use can be the whole thing.
    *  Textbooks are not transformative (made for teaching) so less fair use leeway.
  • The actual damages to the publisher was $750
  • Licenses “must be easily accessible, reasonably priced, and that they offer excerpts in a reasonable format.”
  • “We’re creating a situation where fair use will disappear if we don’t use it.”
  • The lawsuit is really just about scholarly nonfiction books.
  • This case isn’t precedent for anyone but GSU.

You can find much more information, including contact info for the panelists, on the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use website.

 

The Neuroscience of Autism and Learning Disabilities (Science Librarian Boot Camp 2012 Tufts University)

Instead of inundating you with my notes from yet another professional development session, I decided to select out my favorite part to share with you all.  Out of everything I did in the Science Librarian Boot Camp, I enjoyed the Neuroscience presentations the most.  So, here they are. Enjoy!

“Genetics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders,” Dr. Anthony Moncao, Tufts University

  • Genetics studies Genes. Neurodevelopment studies Proteins and Regulatory DNA. Imagining studies the Brain.  Psychiatry studies Behavior.
  • Genes aren’t determinative.  They interact with the environment.
  • There is very strong evidence that genetic factors increase risk.
  • Susceptibility genes–genes that with environmental factors increase risk for these diseases
  • How do we find susceptibility genes?
  • Identify a chromosomal translocator and neurodevelopmental disorder.
  • Copy number variants –> Deletion or addition/duplication of material.  We all have these in some variation but in some instances they hit important areas.  They are inherited or de novo (neither parent had it).
  • What is “strict” Autism?
  • Impairment in: verbal and nonverbal communication, reciprocal social interaction, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of interest (don’t ilke change)
  • Onset before 3 years
  • male to female ratio: 4 to 1
  • Autism Spectrum includes Asperger Syndrome, PDD-NOS (removed from DSM5)
  • Autism Spectrum has a combined incidence of about 1%
  • 5% of Autism Spectrum disorders are comorbid with Fragile X, Tuberous Sclerosis, Down’s, muscular dystrophy, and other Mandelian disorders.
  • What are the genetic factors in Autism?
  • heritability is about 85 to 92%
  • rate among siblings is 3 to 9%
  • It is one of the most strongly genetic of childhood-onset psychiatric disorders.
  • No evidence yet for genes with variants in all forms of Autism.
  • Hardly any two autistic kids are gonna be the same (genetically).
  • Many of these genes are important in synapses.
  • Cadherin 8 (CDH8) is probably the culprit in these microdeletions.
  • Variable expressivity –> a deleted gene can cause multiple different outcomes (autsim, learning disorder, etc…) so evidence is strong environment is a factor
  • Future prospects include: Cohorts, sequencing, translation, use of rare CNVs diagnostically, genetic counseling, early intervention for sibs, CNVs may help us predict the outcome.
  • Projected future difficulties include: CNVs are common, so we have to be sure the one we’re calling Autism really is.  Ethical issues of testing children before they have any symptoms.
  • Autism has very complex etiology.
  • Collaboration is important to make progress.
  • Specific Language Impairment.
  • Just as frequent as dyslexia/autism.
  • It is a difficulty acquiring expressive and/or receptive language despite adequate intelligence and no physical problems (ie deafness).  Problems in producing and comprehending speech, problems reading, normal nonverbal IQs.
  • It has an almost 100% heritability.
  • Inheritance is simple but complex phenotype.
  • The damaged gene –> FOXP2
  • A transcription factor.
  • Important in how the rest of the gene is regulated.  Kind of like a master switch.
  • Not the gene for speech (found in nonverbal species but important in vocalizations.  Mice won’t squeak properly.  Songbirds can’t learn songs if it is damaged.)
  • FOXP2 inhibits CNTNAP2 from being expressed (Sitting on it and not letting it make RNA).
  • Where is FOXP2 expressed in the brain? In the basal ganglia, phallus, cerebellum (motor centers).
  • Chimps are more similar to mice than humans in this gene.
  • FOXP2 is a regulatory gene.  Its downstream targets offer entrypoints into neural pathways involved in speech and language.
  • Developmental Dyslexia.
  • It is a diagnosis of exclusion.
  • 5% of schoolchildren have it.
  • Males are 3 to 4 times more effected than females.
  • Gene variant is two times as frequent in dyslexics as in controls.
  • Variants in KIAA0319 repress the expression of the gene.
  • These variants increase risk in reading problems in the general population.
  • May inhibit migration of neurons to the right are of the cortex.
  • ectopia–small bundles of neurons in the wrong area of the cortex
  • 4 dyslexia susceptibility genes have been found so far.
  • All 4 play a role in neuronal migration and/or axonal growth.
  • DNA is not determinative.  There are many other factors involved.

“Neuroimaging of Children’s Brains,” Dr. Jean Frazier, UMass Med

  • Goal: To explore how neuroimaging techniques provide insight into potential biomarkers for childhood onset neuropsychiatric disorders.
  • Basic principles of brain development: structures start small, get big, then get small again
  • 8 to 14 is an important age range.
  • They exuberate then prune, and it is the pruning that is important.
  • The more complicated a process is the more potential it could go awry.
  • Pruning is guided by “use it or lose it.”
  • The exact timing varies by structure.
  • birth to 3–time of rapid intellectual, emotional, and physical growth of brain and brain wiring
  • by age 6–95% of brain development completed
  • 8 to 13–2nd major brain growth spurt
  • 13 to 20s–pruning to organizing, especially in frontal cortex.
  • We can measure things that require energy using: PET, SPECT, fMRI, EEG, MEG
  • What MRI can tell us: structure, metabolites, blood flow, connectivity
  • MRS–noninvasive, analytic method to measure chemicals within body parts
  • If we are going to fully appreciate what is going wrong in brains, we have to fully understand what is going right in brains.
  • Whereas gray matter gets pruned, white matter increases.
  • Less gray matter, brain becomes more efficient.
  • But what happens in atypical development?
  • More blood flow in amygdala of depressed and anxious.
  • amygdala–governs ability to modulate our affect
  • Bipolars have abnormal connectivity in brain, especially in areas dealing with affect regulation and attentional capacity.
  • Application to Autism?
  • Recommends “Localization of white matter volume increase in autism and developmental language disorder” in Annals of Neurology by Herbert et al
  • Children with autism have more white matter.
  • Tracks most severely affected in Autism are growing/changing just after birth.
  • Biomarkers are a distinct characteristic that is an indicator of a particular biological condition or process.
  • Maybe the genetic risk factors are indicators of the dysfunction not the disorder.
  • Both schizophrenia and autism symptom is social withdrawal.
  • 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls (1 in 88 children) have Autism Spectrum, according to study from 2008
  • Inhibition of GABA and excitation of Glutamate are associated with autism.
  • Tuberous make too little of a certain protein. Fragile X makes too much.
  • Glutamate levels are higher in Autism.
  • Biomarkers could be used as predictors for treatment response.

Friday Fun! (Musings On My IBS)

June 15, 2012 4 comments

Hello my lovely readers!

This week I haven’t seen much of my library since I’ve been participating in the Science Librarian Boot Camp.  I’ll be posting my notes from the Neuroscience section next week, since I think those were the most interesting (at least so far).  Perhaps the capstone this morning will be inspiring as well and make the grade too though. 🙂

It’s been great to see some of my librarian friends this week, although the Boot Camp was a bit of a struggle.  I’ve been experimenting with eating less dairy for multiple reasons (primarily health).  I ate quite a bit of dairy on the first day of the conference and subsequently had a flare-up of my IBS.  Not pleasant, trust me. :-/  It was frustrating and frankly hard on me emotionally.  I’ve struggled with this syndrome for so many years and just when I think it’s mostly under control, something happens again.  Although I am passionate about heath, it is frankly sometimes difficult to have to be so incredibly strict on my diet, stress level, sleep amount, etc…. or pay the consequence of being physically ill almost immediately.  Trust me, I wish I could indulge in gluttony periodically with the only consequence being a few extra miles on the treadmill!  But I know in the grand scheme of things it’s a minor thing to have to deal with, and I am lucky that Boston is such a mecca of vegan food.  The key for me, I think, will be figuring out how much indulgence is acceptable to my body.  Nobody can be strict all the time!  In the meantime, FSM bless Boston for having indulgences like vegan cupcakes.

I also guess this just means I’m going to have to start requesting vegan food at the conferences.

This weekend I’m hoping to see one of my good friends, resume work on my next novel (tentacles, oh my!), and of course gym it.  Happy weekends!

 

 

Research Data Management Services (Social Sciences Librarian Boot Camp 2012)

After the GIS hands-on session, I attended one final session presented by Katherine McNeill, Social Sciences Data Service and Economics Librarian at MIT.  This was a great session and included a discussion portion for sharing of ideas and challenges with colleagues.

  • There is a tradition of being able to replicate scientific results.
  • The NSF and NIH have data sharing requirements.
  • MIT librarians saw an opportunity to support faculty as data producers not just data consumers.
  • They now have a research data management team that provide: a workshop, website, data storage, and consultations.
  • The individual consultations consist of: initial meetings; advice on documentation, intellectual property, confidentiality, data conversion and file format issues; and facilitate deposit of data in archive or repository
  • Recommends “Conducting a Data Interview” by Witt and Carlson
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to faculty.
  • It can be difficult for specialists to figure out how to make data accessible to undergrads or the everyman.
  • Issues to Consider
  • What is your organizational culture?
  • Assess the needs of your researchers.
  • Relationship to other departments in the university.
  • Relationship between data specialists and subject librarians.
  • Do the issues span disciplines or are they discipline specific?
  • Facilitating compliance without coming across as police.
  • Educate users to expect this service.
  • Determine level of service to be provided.
  • Learning from other institutions.
  • Recommended resources: IASSIST, Digital Curation Centre, ICPSRARL Resources for Data Management Planning
  • In conclusion, build on your expertise.  Be pioneering, thoughtful, proactive.  Let what faculty need be your guide.  Reach out to your colleagues.

Faculty Panel on Research Methods (Social Sciences Librarian Boot Camp 2012)

“Anthropological Methods” Dr. Sarah Pinto, Tufts University

  • anthropology–study of human behavior in its cultural context
  • What do you want to learn?
  • How do you want to learn it?
  • People are complicated.  Worlds are complex.
  • Zora Neale Hurston was not just a writer, she was also an anthropologist.
  • Franz Boaz was the father of anthropology.
  • Anthropology can be done at home.
  • It requires constant reflection on oneself.
  • Work with people. Don’t enact on them.
  • It is not objective in search of fact but interpretive in search of meaning.
  • There are four principles of anthropological fieldwork.
  • #1 participant observation–to learn about what’s going on in people’s lives, you have to spend a lot of time with them.
  • #2 interviewing/conversation
  • #3 fieldnotes–there is tons of interesting writing on anthropological notetaking
  • #4 reflexivity–perspective, co-authorship, politics of the encounter
  • Recommends Tristes Tropiques by Claude Levi-Strauss (memoir, originally in French, translated into English)
  • Recommends In the Realm of the Diamond Queen: Marginality in Out-of-the Way Place by Anna Tsing
  • Data is inherently messy but when you put it together it gives us the richness we were looking for.

“Exploring Social Psychology” Dr. Keith Maddox, Tufts University

  • social psychology–scientific study of how individuals think, feel, and behave in a social context
  • We tend to want to conform to the norms others have set.
  • We’re different people when we’re with other people than when we’re by ourselves.
  • What makes social psychology scientific is all in the method.
  • Three guiding principles of social psychology
  • #1 reality is a social construction–we perceive our ideas of others more than how they are in fact
  • #2 determinants of behavior–person(ality) x situation = behavior
  • #3 the power of the situation–personality is often overemphasized.  We fail to take into account the situation the person is in.
  • Tools of the trade include: questionnaires, rating scales, statements, movements, body language, self or observer reported
  • Tricks of the trade (overcoming challenges).  When people know they’re being studied, they might alter their behavior.  How to combat this?  Use deception, for instance, mislead people in the instructions to think we’re studying one thing when really we are studying another.  Use of confederates.  Field experiments.
  • Social Psychologists must balance a number of concerns.  Scientific rigor, setting that is psychologically valid, and ethics.

Body Language and Elections (Social Sciences Librarian Boot Camp 2012)

“Analyzing Participation of Voters in US Presidential Elections” Dr. Charles Stewart III, MIT

  • Recommends the book Southern Politics in State and Nation
  • Have elections gotten better since 2000?
  • Ideological claims amount to religious beliefs, not scientific beliefs.
  • Based on 2000 data between 1.5 and 2 million votes were lost to voting machines, 2 million to registration difficulties, and 1 million to voters getting frustrated on site and walking away.
  • All voting data for each state is online except for Massachusetts.
  • EAC–Election Assistance Commission
  • There has been real improvements in voting machines.
  • Recommends DataFerret (although, the website appears to be busted?)
  • We’re doing better at registering and counting votes, but do we feel better?  Although we’ve improved, Americans don’t believe it.
  • Recommends The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It

“Body Language” Dr. Joseph Tecce, Boston College

  • Extremes in body language and/or eye movement are red flags.
  • Negative feeling states always increase blink rate.
  • Positive feeling states always decrease blink rate.
  • Indicators of stress include: eye blinks, gaze aversion.
  • During the 2008 presidential debates, Obama blinked 62 times, and McCain blinked 104 times (per minute?)
  • Although we have no video of as high stress of a situation as a presidential debate of Romney, the current video of him on a panel shows a 16 blink rate.
  • Tecce predicts that Romeny and Obama are going to have a very close election.
  • Blink rate of televised presidential candidates during their debates predict 100% who will win, except in 2000.
  • Thus, we know that blink rate predicts the popular vote.
  • Social cue hypothesis: body language is not just a social cue, it’s an indicator.
  • You cant tell when someone is lying from one indicator, but it’s a good sign to be on alert.

“Forecasting Elections” Munish Puri, Recorded Future

  • Perspective is affected by the four p’s: perch, point of view, period, permanence.
  • When talking or writing about forecasting, it’s important to consider the point of view of the predictor.
  • political risk–how politics impact business
  • Make and falsify predictions by using: probability, impact, and time range.
  • Recommended tools to monitor and watch elections: Electionista, WaPo Modifiable Model, GooglePortal, Yahoo Clues
  • Insight big data can show us: signal, shift, blindspot, outlier, and flashpoints
  • Recommends Evernote and MindManager