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Putting Scientific Peer Review in the Courtroom

Courts in the United States process huge quantities of scientific information. Every day, they must determine the validity of expertise ranging from acoustics to zoology, in matters ranging from civil slip-and-fall cases to criminal prosecutions that may result in prison sentences or even execution. In federal courts and in virtually all states, judges are expected to be 'gatekeepers,' responsible for assessing the validity of the scientific or technical expert testimony offered by the parties. Judges are expected to distinguish the scientific wheat from the pseudoscientific chaff. Yet most judges do not have the ability to fulfill this responsibility adequately.
   
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India maintains scientific edge despite static funding

Researchers in India are increasingly authoring articles published in 'high-quality scientific publications' despite continued stagnation in Indian government spending for research, according to a new Nature Index analytics report. In 2014, India ranked 13th globally in the number of papers published in top journals, with a 'weighted fractional count' of 921.8 articles, up nearly 8 percent from 2012. Noting that India has a 'historic love affair with chemistry', the report says half of India's index rating comes from chemistry papers.
   
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At #FutureBook15: New prominence for academic publishing

In 'considering the hard-won lessons of the academic publishing journey,' the FutureBook 2015 programme in December was organised by Bookseller editor Philip Jones to place new and robust emphasis on the scholarly sector. Taylor&Francis' Michael Strang surveys this in a thoughtful look back at the day's high points. He notes that 'In that context, it was disappointing perhaps to see (SAGE excepted) so few representatives of the large commercial academic presses at the conference.'
   
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An important week for scholarly publishing in Europe

The second week in December has been a triumphant one in Europe for supporters of new developments in scholarly publishing. Two European announcements have underlined that the publishing landscape is fast changing. The first announcement took place on 9 December, when the European Commission issued a Communication on the future of European copyright reform. The second important event took place on 10 December, when Dutch universities and the publisher Elsevier issued a joint statement describing the new agreement that the Dutch have reached with this publisher from 2016.
   
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STM Publishing Continues to Drive Revenue, Innovation

Research published earlier in the year from International STM and Outsell valued the STM publishing market at approximately $25 billion, plus $10 billion in additional journal revenues. The number of published articles was also reported to be growing by 3.5 percent per year to stand at 2.5 million articles. The United States was suggested to lead the way with 36 percent of published articles with China said to publish 6 percent. It was also highlighted that since the beginning of journal publishing 350 years ago, the growth had been around 3 to 4 percent per annum.
   
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