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The battle of Britain's libraries

(guardian.co.uk): Why should we save local libraries? It's because they do something cherishable yet utterly incomprehensible to the cost-cutters. Like public parks, libraries are particularly valuable in capitalist cityscapes, where you are incessantly encouraged to keep moving, keep spending - and don't even think about doing anything economically unproductive. (Figures released by the Valuation Office Agency last month showed that since 1997 there has been a 1,150% rise in the number of lap-dancing clubs in Britain, and a 6% decline in the number of libraries.).
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Envisioning Research Library Futures: A Scenario Thinking Project

(arl.org): As research library leaders confront turbulent times, they sorely need new tools to facilitate thinking about the future of the institution and to foster dialogue within the community. ARL's new project seeks to envision library futures and will engage the Association's member community in looking decades out at the situations that will confront research libraries. At the heart of this work will be the creation of a set of future scenarios and a toolkit to facilitate research library leaders in their planning and decision making.
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Open Access or Open for Business? | Peer to Peer Review

(libraryjournal.com): The problems higher education faces aren't due to stodgy tradition, they largely come from applying market economics to something that should be a public good, not a commodity. Faculty feel they have to produce more and more research because productivity, not profundity, defines their worth. Students are coveted tributaries to the tuition revenue stream that grows more important as public funding is withdrawn. The courses those students take are being assigned as piecework to an increasingly contingent faculty who have neither offices in which to hold office hours nor living wages-all in the name of greater efficiency.
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Global warming, Web 2.0 and the future of science

(examiner.com): The practice of science does not seem to be delivering much of what society needs and expects from science these days. We are getting mountains of scientific papers and patent applications, but more restrictions slapped on the use of intellectual property, not enough women in science, fragmented disciplines that don't communicate with each other, and cases such as found in climatology where paleoclimatologists with no training in statistics try and do brand new statistical methods for analysing data, and others with no software development training writing key software applications and still others who have never run a data warehouse try to shoehorn that in to their already full schedules. Journals still work on a century-old timeline, self-appointed saints and scoundrels take it upon themselves to communicate 'what it all means' to a puzzled public, and the process appears tainted by the grubby hunt for funding.
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Fixing US STEM education is possible, but will take money

(arstechnica.com): The state of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the United States has seen some unflattering appraisals in recent years, and deservedly so. In early February, the House of Representatives heard testimony on undergraduate and graduate education. The message from the panel, which included experts from academia, STEM-based industries, and the National Science Foundation (NSF), was clear: the problems in STEM education are well-known, and it's time to take action.
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