This might be the best thing anyone can do with data

After hearing about the applications of big data for better ads, song recommendations and social media analysis, nothing makes me happier than hearing about technologists coming together with non-profits to use data to fight human trafficking.

Elsevier buys Mendeley, many prominent users migrating

Elsevier, the publisher, has acquired Mendeley, the London/NYC developer of a very popular academic/research social network. Elsevier is hoping to become a dominant player in the expanding market for open and online academic sharing, and Mendeley has grown to 2.3 million users. The acquisition is reported to be for as much as £65m.

There has been a loud outcry from many prominent researchers, who believe that Elsevier uses its position in the academic publishing world in a way that is negative for researchers, such as its monopolistic sales of bundled journals to libraries and organizations, the company’s support of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), and related positions that seem counter to openness and the best interests of researchers.

Here’s danah boyd, who says she plans to export her data and find some other alternative.

David Weinberger engaged in a discussion with William Gunn, the head of Academic Outreach at Mendeley, and Weinberger is unconvinced of his expressions of sincerity:


It looks like a rocky road ahead for Mendeley. Perhaps Elsevier will turn out to be benevolent in their intentions, but in the meanwhile a great many of those who participated in Mendeley will be going, it seems.

May be an opportunity for others — like LinkedIn or MightyBell — to create an alternative to Mendeley. Start with a small subset of the most critical capabilities, and build it up?

Privacy is Hard Because People Change Their Minds

Why is privacy so hard? Sociologist Danah Boyd, who specializes in the way people use online social networks, says in the latest issue of MIT’s Technology Review it’s because “the way privacy is encoded into software doesn’t match the way we handle it in real life.”

When It Comes to Open Data, Is Transparency Enough?

The push to free up more public information and make government more transparent is one of the primary goals of the “Government 2.0” movement. But sociologist Danah Boyd warned attendees at the recent Gov 2.0 conference that there is a downside to all this new transparency.

Does Android Have a Target on its Back?

Android is the hot smartphone platform currently, and that means the competition has it squarely in its sites. HTC has been the target for Apple and Microsoft, but Android is the definite victim. The Microsoft agreement HTC signed may have a long-term affect on Android.