Archive for November, 2013

OA research in the news: Hard math for grade schoolers

Posted November 25th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn

Hard math for elementary schoolAfter a couple of years of coaching his daughter’s middle-school math team, MIT economist Glenn Ellison compiled his notes into a self-published book, Hard Math for Middle School. The book was intended for members of the math league his daughter participated in, but in the five years since it was published it has sold thousands of copies nationwide. Now (at the urging of his youngest daughter), Ellison has released a second book for third- to sixth-graders looking for a challenge beyond what they learn in the classroom. The goal is to keep math interesting for advanced students. “What would be great is if in 10 to 12 years my MIT students come up to me and say ‘I used your book when I was in fifth grade,’” says Ellison. “That would be really awesome.”

Ellison’s research has previously been inspired by his daughters: In 2010 he published a paper exploring the gender gap at high school math competitions.

Explore Professor Ellison’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Finals week study breaks, December 12–17

Posted November 22nd, 2013 by Heather Denny
therapy dogs at MIT2013

Students visit with therapy dog Thabo, photo by Ellen Duranceau

During finals week, take a study break…have a snack, pet a dog, and de-stress!

Cookies and beverages will be served near the entrance to each library on the dates below. Therapy dogs from Dog B.O.N.E.S. will make a special visit to Hayden Library for Cookies with Canines.

Thursday, December 12, 2–3:30 pm
Hayden Library (14S) – Cookies with Canines

Friday, December 13, 2–3:30 pm
Rotch Library (7-238) – Study Break

Friday, December 13, 2–4 pm
Dewey Library (E53-100) – Study Break

Tuesday December 17, 2–3:30 pm
Barker Library (10-500) – Study Break

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for chances to win an MIT Libraries Tim t-shirt during the study breaks!


Libraries closed over Thanksgiving holiday

Posted November 21st, 2013 by Grace Mlady

All library locations will close early on Wednesday, November 27 and will close for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29.  MP900309568

Details are as follows:

  • Hours for Wednesday, Nov. 27: All library locations will close at 5:00pm (with the exception of the Institute Archives & Special Collections, which will close at 4:00pm).
  • All library locations will be closed Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29.
  • All libraries resume regular hours on Saturday, Nov. 30.

Visit our hours page for a complete list of library locations and hours.

The MIT Libraries web site, BartonPlus, 24/7 spaces, and access to electronic licensed resources will continue to be available during the holiday closing.

Have questions? Ask Us!

IMF publications now available online

Posted November 20th, 2013 by Katherine McNeill


Study international economics or finance?  Use publications from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?  MIT now has access to all IMF publications online through the IMF e-Library.  Access publications, sometimes as far back as 1951, including:

  • books and analytical papers
  • periodicals and reports

IMF publications cover a range of topics, including macroeconomics, globalization, development, trade, aid, technical assistance, demographics, emerging markets, policy advice, poverty reduction, and much more.

Access the eLibrary at or via our research guide to economics.

Looking for statistical data from the IMF?  In addition to what you can get on the Data and Statistics section of the IMF web site, MIT subscribes to:


New web page shares stories from open access article readers

Posted November 18th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

Since July 2012, we have been soliciting comments from readers of articles in the Open Access Articles Collection, where MIT faculty papers are openly accessible under the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy.

Now, a new web page digests these readers’ comments.

Most of the comments have not been released before, including these from grateful readers around the world:

“I am an associate professor at the University of Puerto Rico … We have scarce library resources, so it is difficult for me and my students to do research. ….Thanks for making [this article] available.” — Faculty, Puerto Rico

“I work in a small but growing humanities department in the Baltic, with limited institutional resources.Your implementation of open access enables me to design curriculums that include publications by MIT staff that we would otherwise not have access to: enhancing the learning experience of our students, introducing them to the work of scholars on the cutting edge… ” –Faculty, Estonia

“In countries like Bangladesh getting access to [paid] sites…is difficult on many levels, so open access definitely helps students…” –Student, Bangladesh

“Thanks to MIT Open Access, I was able to read a high-quality document on a subject in which there has been very little research. I discovered that I’m not alone in my research interests, however esoteric some it may seem. I found a very insightful article that took me to a new level of inspiration. I look forward to making my own contributions.” – Student, US

open access articles logo cropped white

“I am a retired engineer doing independent research and teaching courses on airborne radar to engineers…Having open access to articles such as this is extremely important.” – Retired engineer, US

“I am an independent researcher, with no current academic affiliation. I am writing a book which involves researching topological quantum neural computing. Open access made this article easily available to me. … Thank you for making science freely available to all!” – Scientific journalist, US

screen shot shol pub website reader comments page

“When doing research on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, I could see but not access many of the germane papers through my high school access. Luckily, googling the paper I needed … revealed to me that MIT allowed me to read the paper for free. Thanks, MIT Faculty!”
– Student, Jamaica

We extend a special thanks to those readers, like these, who have taken the time to share their stories. To read more of their comments, go to the Readers Share Their Stories page.

To share your own comment as a reader of Open Access Articles, use the comment form.

For more information:
Ellen Finnie Duranceau, Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing, Copyright, and Licensing

Composer Peter Child – Wednesday, November 20

Posted November 15th, 2013 by Christie Moore
Peter Child

Peter Child

Peter Child,  Professor in Music and Theater Arts, in a talk about his recent music with live performances by Vineet Gopal (’13), flute; Miriam Nussbaum (G), flute; Elaine Kwon (Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts), piano, and Peter Child, piano.

Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Place: Lewis Music Library, Bldg. 14E-109
Time: 5-6 pm
Reception follows
Free and open to the public

Sponsored by MIT Music and Theater Arts.

OA research in the news: New way to monitor induced-coma patients

Posted November 14th, 2013 by Katharine Dunn
Emery N. Brown

Emery N. Brown

Brain injury patients are sometimes deliberately placed in a coma with anesthesia drugs to allow swelling to go down and their brains to heal. Comas can last for days, during which patients’ brain activity must be regularly monitored to ensure the right level of sedation. The constant checking is “totally inefficient,” says Emery Brown, an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and a professor in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Brown and his colleagues at MGH have developed a “brain-machine interface” that automatically monitors brain activity and adjusts drug dosages accordingly. They’ve tested the system on rats and are now planning human trials.

Explore Professor Brown’s research in the Open Access Articles collection in DSpace@MIT, where it is openly accessible to the world.

Since the MIT faculty established their Open Access Policy in March 2009 they have made thousands of research papers freely available to the world via DSpace@MIT. To highlight that research, we’re offering a series of blog posts that link news stories about scholars’ work to their open access papers in DSpace.

Libraries continue financial support for MIT authors’ open access publishing — though PLoS closes discount program

Posted November 12th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

The MIT Libraries have been supporting MIT authors who wish to make their work as openly available as possible, by funding programs and memberships that reduce publication fees for those who choose open access publishing options.

Through the MIT Libraries, MIT authors receive discounts in the following open access publications:

    MIT Libraries Open Access Publication Fund — Provides MIT faculty with up to $1000 towards publication fees in peer-reviewed, open access journals, including memberships in the new PeerJ. more info

    arXiv –Through funding from the MIT Libraries and the Department of Physics, MIT is an institutional supporting member of this repository, which offers open access to e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics. more info

    BioMed Central –MIT Libraries’ membership provides MIT authors with a 15% discount on article processing fees for BMC journals and all SpringerOpen journals as well. more info

    Nucleic Acids Research — MIT Libraries’ membership provides MIT authors with a 50% discount on open access processing fees. more info

    PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) — MIT Libraries’ site license provides MIT authors with a 25% discount on the optional open access processing fees. more info

    Royal Society — MIT Libraries’ membership provides MIT authors with a 25% discount on article processing charges for any Royal Society journal, including their open access journal and their open access option for traditional journals called EXiS Open Choice. more info

    Royal Society of Chemistry – MIT Libraries’ site license provides MIT authors with a 15% discount on the optional open access processing fees. more info / and see: Special information on vouchers covering entire open access publishing fees for limited number of articles in 2013

The Libraries had also been subscribing to a membership in PLoS (Public Library of Science), which has been providing MIT authors with a 10% discount on author fees.   PLoS has decided to retire this membership program, which was intended to be a transitional part of their business model, at the end of 2013.

More information:

Libraries’ web page on Open Access publication support

Ellen Finnie Duranceau, Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing, Copyright, and Licensing, MIT Libraries

Veterans Day library hours: Monday, November 11

Posted November 6th, 2013 by Grace Mlady

veterans day 2013On Monday, November 11, the following libraries will open at noon (12pm):

All other library locations will be closed. Libraries resume regular hours on Tuesday, November 12.

Have questions? Ask Us!

New frontiers in open access publishing video released — speakers praise transparent peer review

Posted November 4th, 2013 by Ellen Duranceau

During International Open Access Week, the MIT Faculty Open Access Working Group and the MIT Libraries co-sponsored a panel discussion about new models of open access publishing, which is now available through TechTV. A central theme was the merits of moving not just to open access publishing — thus allowing readers access without payment — but making what is arguably a more radical shift, to open peer review.

Tibor Tscheke

Tibor Tscheke

Tibor Tscheke, of the soon-to-be-launched publishing platform
Tscheke, CFO and CTO of, an open access publishing platform, commented that the “concept of journals will go away” in the not-too-distant future, given that there is no longer the need for this kind of “container.” Publishing will move from being a product to being a service. One of the “most culturally interesting changes,” Tscheke believes, will be the break with walled peer review, which will be transformed into “public post-publication peer review.” This new model will improve upon problems with existing peer review, including delays in publication, closed commentary, and binary decision making about the value of an article.

In response to questions about how the system would work without the editorial role that points to works ‘objectively,’ Tscheke questioned in turn whether a closed-door process that selects peer reviewers is in fact “objective.” With increased numbers of reviewers, including one’s direct peers around the world, the process would be improved.

Jacqueline Thai

Jacqueline Thai

Jacqueline Thai, of the new open access journal PeerJ
Thai, Head of Publishing Operations at PeerJ, picked up immediately on the theme of open, signed peer review, indicating that PeerJ has this option. While some questioned whether people would be willing to engage in open peer review, Thai reported that 73% of their authors are choosing to share their review history openly, and that 40% of their reviewers sign their reviews. (Reviewers are given incentives by PeerJ to sign the reviews).

Asked about the recent “sting,” in which a large percentage of open access journals that were sent a fake paper published it, Thai responded that the incident reflected problems with peer review that are inherent in how journals are run, not problems specific to open access journals.

Tscheke concurred, indicating that the way to avoid such problems is to open up peer review publicly so that a fake submission is not worthwhile, presumably because it would quickly be seen as a fake when the review process is cast open so widely.

Marguerite Avery, of MIT Press and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Avery is Senior Acquisitions Editor at The MIT Press. From her perspective in book publishing, she provided a foil for the two article-focused speakers, noting for example that open peer review and relying on the “wisdom of the crowd,” is unlikely to work when the object to be reviewed is a 500-page manuscript. She also questioned whether the “hidden labor” involved in time-consuming peer review has been fully addressed by the open models, and what would happen to work that was never reviewed.

Marguerite Avery

Marguerite Avery

Tscheke responded that such a lack of reviews may mean the work is simply not interesting enough. And ultimately, he said, “there is no perfect system — but there is more perfection in transparency than in hidden processes.”

The video, including the full panel discussion, is available under a Creative Commons Attribution license, and may be freely reused, adapted, and shared.

Ellen Finnie Duranceau / Program Manager, Scholarly Publishing, Copyright, and Licensing.