The Perils for Academic Freedom in the Arab World

Posted on March 14, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Calls for change have swept across the Arab world since the uprisings erupted over two years ago. While the process and struggle for political and social freedoms continue, freedom in the world of academia has become a recent, although not new, target in the region.

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The Author’s New Writing Instructor: The Internet

Posted on March 11, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Writers and prospective book authors are influenced by a variety of actors and subject matters. Their writing is shaped by other authors that they admire and by their teachers, from their English instructors from grade school to their professors as an undergraduate. Styles and prose are formed and shaped by a number of different means, but the Internet is taking a prominent role in how authors manage word choice, their approach to writing, and how they promote their new books.

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Books and Historical Amnesia

Posted on March 01, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

A new documentary has reignited the conversation about confiscated Palestinian property. The Great Book Robbery by Israeli filmmaker Benny Brunner chronicles the story of the nearly 30,000 books that were stolen and either burned or stored away in Israel’s National Library. The National Library, in cooperation with the Haganah (a Zionist militia that would later become the Israeli military) and Hebrew University systematically pillaged books from Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth, and beyond. All of the extracted books were subsequently labeled AP for “abandoned property.”

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Where to Find Publishing News on the Web

Posted on February 26, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 1 comment

Tadween Publishing has compiled a list of top blogs and websites that feature news and analysis from the publishing world. Whether you are looking for news from the publishing industry or advice on how to publish your own eBook, the following list consists of the go-to places for what you are looking for.

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Death of the Dissertation?

Posted on February 22, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 2 comments

The lives of doctoral students are usually defined by one thing: the dissertation. PhD candidates log in hours at libraries in front of computers and pouring over books, conducting research-based interviews in order to produce a massive text that will define their doctoral study. Yet while producing a dissertation has been the norm for decades, some are lobbying to change this process.

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Inspiring Education: How Technology Can Reinvent the Classroom for Students

Posted on February 12, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 1 comment

As individuals increasingly incorporate technology into their daily lives, it was only a matter of time before educators took to using technology in the classroom. A growing number of schools and teachers of primary and secondary education are bringing technology into the learning process in order to improve their students’ educational experiences.

 However, with an education system that already unequally distributes resources, technological innovation for classroom use highlights inequality in US education.

According to a recent survey by PBS LearningMedia seven in ten teachers (69 percent) who participated in an online questionnaire claimed that technology was allowing them to “do much more than ever before” for their students, and 74 percent claimed that technology helps them motivate students to learn.

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Internet Legislation: A Lack of Creativity

Posted on February 08, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 1 comment

The memorial for Aaron Swartz in Washington, DC this week refueled the conversation about Internet legislation. Many are wondering if Swartz’s disproportionate prosecution and his subsequent suicide was a case of an overzealous prosecutor or the result of an out-of-date law that needs to be reformed. The answer is probably both, and it is difficult to separate the two. Activists and lawmakers alike have already turned their attention to reforming the legal framework that enabled federal prosecutors to go after Swartz.

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Iraq’s Hackerspace

Posted on February 01, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Faced with Iraq’s rival politics, one group based in Baghdad is seeking change by promoting collaboration and entrepreneurship through public spaces.

Fikra Space, based on the Arabic word fikrameaning “idea,” finds its roots in hackerspaces, which act as physical places where members of a community, usually involved in some way with technology, meet and discuss ideas and their work. The idea of hackerspaces originated in Germany in the 1990s and later became popular across Europe and the United States.

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UK Professors Push Back against Government Plans for Open Access

Posted on January 29, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

In the aftermath of Aaron Swartz’s death, which propelled the argument over open access into the headlines, a collection of university professors in the United Kingdom are pushing back against a new government policy that is attempting to implement open access to academic publications.

The UK minister of state for universities and science David Willetts is planning to make all publicly funded research available for free by 2014, a decision that recently prompted a critical response from a select group of academics. Academic professors associated with the Royal Historical Society, the Political Studies Association, and the Council for the Defence of British Universities have expressed their concern over Willetts’s decision. 

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Despite New Program Promising Open Access, JSTOR Prices Remain a Concern

Posted on January 22, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

After years of restricted access, JSTOR announced on January 9 that it will make the archives of more than 1,200 journals available to the public for free, giving those who sign up for an account with JSTOR the ability to read up to three articles every two weeks.

JSTOR’s announcement that it will be opening up its archives to the public, albeit with limitations, is part of its new Register & Read program, which JSTOR describes as “a new, experimental program to offer free, read-online access to individual scholars and researchers.” Although subscribers can read up to three articles every two weeks, they will not be allowed to download or copy them. According to Inside Higher Ed, 150,000 signed up for the trial period of the new program, and 30 percent of those who signed up used the program more than once. However, only 16 percent of those who registered are researchers, with the majority of others being students.

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A Loss in the Battle for Free Access to Information

Posted on January 16, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 2 comments

Aaron Swartz, a passionate defender for the freedom of information, committed suicide on January 11, ending his life of twenty-six years. Swartz’s death comes after months of legal conflict following his downloading of millions of JSTOR-hosted journal articles with the intention to make the material accessible to the public.

“Information is power,” wrote Swartz in his Guerilla Open Access Manifesto in July 2008. “But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.” Throughout his life, Swartz sought to protest this idea and the act of withholding knowledge and information from the public or putting a price tag on it.

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With New Gadgets Come New Readers as Electronic Publishing Increases

Posted on January 04, 2013 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

With the rise of Kindles, Nooks, and iPads, the amount of people carrying around hard-copy books appears to be dwindling. New gadgets are allowing more and more readers, from students to quintessential book lovers, to adapt to e-books and forgo paper pages in favor of touch screens.

In October 2012, 3D Issue released an infographic, titled “The Digital Publishing Explosion,” that highlights the extent to which electronic publications has affected readership in recent years. Citing OpenUniversities.com, the infographic claims that the average e-book reader reads up to twenty-four books a yearin comparison to the print-only reader, who reads an average of fifteen books a year.

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New Texts Out Now: Amahl Bishara, Back Stories: US News Production and Palestinian Politics

Posted on December 27, 2012 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Amahl A. Bishara, Back Stories: US News Production and Palestinian Politics. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2012.

Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?

Amahl Bishara (AB): Back Stories is an ethnography of the production of US news during the second Palestinian Intifada. I started this project in New York City around the beginning of the uprising. I would wake up every morning, and my first step would be to reach for the news. But obviously the news represented only a narrow slice of Palestinian ideas about and experiences of national struggle. I wanted to explore the multiple, complex factors that make it difficult for diverse Palestinian perspectives to be heard in the United States. As an ethnographer, I felt this required that I go beyond an argument about media “bias” to study the practices of journalism.

Looking at those Intifada photographs on the front page of my morning paper, I also realized how much I depended on the journalists who produced this news. I started to think more and more about the people capturing the images—especially since many of these journalists were Palestinians, and since they worked in conditions of grave danger. I knew that Palestinians also worked as fixers and producers for US foreign correspondents, arranging interviews, translating, and helping with reporting. They did this even though they did not control the final narratives of the stories they helped produce. I wanted to learn more about why and how these Palestinian journalists did what they did in such dangerous circumstances. What special skills did this work require? How did their concepts of news values differ from those common in news institutions in the United States?

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Is Open Access to Scholarly Research the Way Forward?

Posted on December 18, 2012 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

 The debate surrounding open access has been ongoing for years, but it has reentered the limelight thanks to a recent decision made by Research Councils UK, in accordance with the British government, to provide block grants to universities so that publicly funded research can be made available to anyone and everyone. 

According to the Research Councils UK, "open access" is defined as unrestricted online access to peer-reviewed scholarly research papers. The government's decision to support the UK universities’ transition toward open access stems from a report, most commonly referred to as the Finch report, by the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings. The report recommended that a program be developed to allow people to read and use publications free of charge. In order to do so, the report recommends that the UK shift toward "gold" open access, whereby publishers would receive their revenue from authors instead of fees accumulated from subscribers.

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