Mendeley, a cloud-based PDF- and file-management tool popular with researchers, has been purchased by Elsevier, the information giant, the companies announced Monday. Mendeley is especially popular with scientists, but it competes with Zotero and Endnote, among others, in helping scholars organize their digital reference materials (it has also added analytics and collaborative tools). While officials of both companies heralded the possibilities of the partnership between the innovative startup and the massive publisher, critics took to Twitter and the blogosphere to express concerns that Mendeley would no longer pursue an open access mission. "The Empire acquires the rebel alliance: Mendeley users revolt against Elsevier takeover," read a headline on paidcontent.org.
Higher Education Quick Takes
The job market for communication faculty members may be better now than it was before the economic downturn that started in 2008. The National Communication Association on Tuesday released data showing that it had listed 661 positions in its publications during 2012. That's up from 534 in 2011, 438 in 2010, and 351 in 2009. In 2008 (when most postings came before the economic downturn started in the fall), there were 597 listings. Not all communication positions are listed with the association, but the rise and fall of the organization's listings tends to reflect the job market generally.
Seven full-time faculty members -- most of them off the tenure track but including one tenured professor -- have received layoff notices, The Bangor Daily News reported. Faculty union leaders said that the university is eliminating jobs as a tactic in contract negotiations, which have been going on without progress since a contract expired in 2011. The university's spokesman said that the layoffs were needed for budgetary reasons.
The Iowa Senate on Monday rejected two nominees of Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, for the Board of Regents, The Des Moines Register reported. The votes were largely along party lines, with Democrats opposing the nominees, who fell short of the two-thirds majority required for confirmation. Critics of the nominees cited concerns over whether they would be supportive of academic freedom, but Branstad and other Republicans said that the nominees were treated unfairly.
Wikipedia editors have been complaining about a University of Toronto psychology professor who encouraged students in a class of 1,900 to start posting entries, The Canadian Press reported. Some editors complained about entries that needed corrections, or that were plagiarized. Some even suggested banning entries from university IP addresses. But the professor pointed out that only 33 of the 910 articles submitted by his students were flagged for review.
Rutgers University will commission an independent review of “the circumstances surrounding the men’s basketball program as well as the procedures used to investigate allegations related to former head coach Mike Rice,” officials announced Monday. The review will look at how Rice’s behavior was addressed, form recommendations on how Rutgers can “improve,” and should move forward quickly, President Robert Barchi and Board of Governors Chair Ralph Izzo said in a joint statement.
Four Rutgers officials, including Rice and the former athletics director Tim Pernetti, have been fired or resigned since video of Rice physically and verbally abusing players at practice was made public last week. Izzo revealed Friday that the chair of the board’s Governors Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics had – like the ousted officials -- seen the video back in December but failed to act, and at least one state senator called on him to resign.
A committee of Colorado's House of Representatives killed legislation Monday that would have allowed the state's community colleges to offer four-year degrees, citing concerns about whether the state could afford to create new degree programs, the Associated Press reported. Most of Colorado's university leaders had opposed the bill, which officials of the Colorado Community College System said would allow programs only in fields where there was no competition with existing four-year institutions.
Some Yeshiva University alumni and supporters are calling on the university to block a planned award by a law school student group to President Carter. The student-run Journal of Conflict Resolution plans to give Carter its "Advocate for Peace Award" on Wednesday. A statement from alumni urging that the award be called off says: "Jimmy Carter is anathema to the aspirations of the Jewish people and the survival of the State of Israel. Honoring him at a bedrock of the American Jewish community does not bring wisdom to life or combine a fine education with the teachings of Torah. Honoring Jimmy Carter makes the statement that, notwithstanding the empty claims by the administration that the journal’s choice does not necessarily represent the views of the institution, this individual is someone deserving of recognition. Awarding this honor to someone with Carter’s anti-Israel record that includes whitewashing the genocidal aims of Hamas, mainstreaming the notion that Israel is a racist state, and validating a nuclear Iran is quite simply abhorrent."
Richard M. Joel, president of Yeshiva, issued a statement Monday that also criticized Carter, but said that the award did not imply an endorsement by the university. "While he has been properly lauded for his role in the Camp David Accords of 1978, I strongly disagree with many of President Carter’s statements and actions in recent years which have mischaracterized the Middle East conflict and have served to alienate those of us who care about Israel. President Carter’s presence at Cardozo in no way represents a university position on his views, nor does it indicate the slightest change in our steadfastly pro-Israel stance," Joel wrote. "That said, Yeshiva University both celebrates and takes seriously its obligation as a university to thrive as a free marketplace of ideas, while remaining committed to its unique mission as a proud Jewish university."