Friday, April 27, 2018

Sabyasachi first Indian to win National Intellectual Property Award 2018

Sabyasachi Couture is the first and only Indian design company to be recognised as the top Indian company/organisation for designs and commercialisation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The best free ebook converters 2018: PDF, Epub, Kindle and Mobi

If you're an avid reader and don't want to be tied to a particular platform, you'll need a tool to convert your ebooks to different formats. Truly excellent free ebook converters are hard to come by, so we've rounded up the very best.
These free ebook converters will handle all common formats – PDF to Mobi, Kindle to Epub, Epub to Mobi, and any other combination you might need.
First, a note on DRM (digital rights management). Many ebooks are protected by DRM, and removing it is typically against the vendor's terms of service. It’s a system designed to prevent unauthorized copying and sharing (you can lend some Kindle books to friends for two weeks, but not all titles are eligible).
That's a good idea in principle, but it also prevents you archiving books or reading them on a different device. It also means that, if the vendor ever disappears, your library will vanish too.
Bear in mind that downloading or sharing unauthorized copies of ebooks is a violation of copyright. Even if the original text is in the public domain (the works of Shakespeare, for example), the book is usually classed as a separate thing. You bought your ebooks, so be stingy and just enjoy them yourself!
Any eBook Converter

1. Any eBook Converter

Powerful and flexible – easily the best free ebook converter around
Any eBook Converter looks great – smart and uncluttered – and it's packed with features you'd usually expect to pay for. It lets you convert to Epub, Mobi, Kindle, PDF and TXT formats, so there’s something for your preferred reader or app. It also removes DRM automatically.
The software will check your PC for Kindle, Adobe Digital Editions and Nook ebooks automatically, saving you the effort of importing them. Alternatively, you can plug in an e-reader and extract books directly. 
Once the book is converted, you can edit its metadata (a good idea for keeping your collection organized) including the title, author, date of publication, publisher, and cover image. There’s even a built-in tool for fixing EPUB files (which are essentially a type of compressed file archive) that use a non-standard structure.
Any eBook Converter might look simple, but it’s thoughtfully designed and offers everything you could want. Highly recommended.

2. Calibre

A superb ebook reader and converter with plugins to add extra features
Before you download Calibre, note that it can’t handle Kindle or other DRM-protected files unless you install an additional plugin – DRM Removal Tool by Apprentice Alf. 
Calibre is primarily an ebook reader rather than a converter, but it does both jobs brilliantly and is a great choice if you have an aversion to big commercial vendors.
Calibre is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, with a portable version that’s ideal if you want to carry your ebook library on a USB stick.
As a side note, if you’ve converted ebooks before, you might be familiar with Hamster Ebook Converter and wondering why we haven't included it. The answer is because it Calibre’s open source code, which is fine, but restricts access to it, which isn't. If you want the real deal, stick with Calibre.

3. ZamZar

An online converter that's great if you only want to convert a single book
ZamZar is an online file converter that can handle a huge variety of file types, including pretty much any ebook format you can throw at it. 
We’d usually hold back from recommending browser-based tools for file conversion because of the time and data allowance required for uploads and downloads, but ebooks are so small they’re converted almost instantly. You’ll then receive an email containing a link to a webpage where you can download your converted file. We’d prefer a direct download link, but it’s only a minor inconvenience, and is a way for ZamZar’s developers to promote their premium service.
Online storage is available for a subscription fee, as is the ability to convert multiple files at once.

Before converting ebooks with ZamZar, make sure you check the terms of service – particularly the section on copyright. Since you're uploading content to servers owned by someone else, make sure you're playing by the rules.

Monday, April 23, 2018

World Book Day: 10 famous quotes on books

Organised by the UNESCO since 1995, World Book Day, also known as World Book And Copyright Day, celebrates the art of reading. The significance of the day also lies in the fact that this is also the death and possibly birth day of the English Bard, William Shakespeare.
Here are 10 famous quotes on books that will inspire you to pick up a manuscript today:

Jorge Luis Borges: I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
Hilary Mantel: Some of these things are true 
Jhumpa Lahiri: That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Why did people ask 'What is it about?' as if a novel had to be about only one thing.
Adriana Trigiani: I even love the smell of books.
Harper Lee: Until I feared I would lose it, I never love to read. One does not love breathing.
Chinua Achebe: My weapon is literature.
Umberto Eco: We live for books.
Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.
Jane Austen: The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.

World Book Day: Here's why reading is important, say authors

There is something both wonderful and exhilarating about leafing through the pages of a well writ novel, or go in between the lines of a seminal work of poetry, losing oneself into the world of ink, far away from reality as imagination takes over and the world as we know it -- subsides.
World Book Day is being organised by the UNESCO since 1995. Also known as World Book And Copyright Day, the significance of the day also lies in the fact that this is also the death and possibly birth day of the English Bard, William Shakespeare.
Taking to twitter on this, UNESCO posted, "We must redouble efforts to promote the book in order to fight illiteracy & poverty and to strengthen peace."
They further tweeted, "Let's highlight today the power of books to promote open & inclusive knowledge societies."
So what is the importance of reading?
UK author of the book Melissa, Jonathan Taylor compares reading to ‘a matter of life and death.’ He says, “As many people have said, in some circumstances it is literally life and death: to read a sign wrongly in the antebellum American South, or WW2 Europe might literally result in violence or death. But it's also life and death in more profound ways: reading structures our very consciousness - it's the way we understand the world.”
Taylor further opines, “The texts we read and absorb are how we understand the world outside ourselves - and they also form our internal worlds as well.”
Canada based Indian author Gaurav Sharma, whose debut novel Gone are the Days was well received across all sections furthers the point saying that whoever said, he/she is a proud non-reader of books' is living in oblivion.
Speaking about the importance of writing, he says, “I think reading is an effective way of introspecting how you percieve reality and imagination. As an author, you get to know what other authors have done better and it helps hone skills.”
As a reader, he opines, it not only opens up one’s mind to a wider array of things as well, but is also a welcome relief from the monotony of the mundane world.
Author of Pretty Vile Girl, Rickie Khosla says that just like the body needs food to sustain, the mind needs nutrition too.
“I think of books as the carbs and proteins and fats for your mind,” he says, adding, “That’s why reading is important - you don’t want your brain to starve, do you?”
As for what kind of books, Khosla wickedly adds, “All kinds are good! The classics by Charles Dickens and George Orwell can be nutritious soups, the pop thrillers by Sidney Sheldon and Gillian Flynn the spicy entrees, the modern favourites by Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie can be the rich main courses and the romance of Jane Austen and EL James the yummy desserts!”
Speaking about reading and books, Laaleen Sukhera, the editor of Austenistan, a popular fiction anthology inspired by Jane Austen and published by Bloomsbury says that there is little that can replace the languid luxury of reading a favourite novel.
She adds, “Some titles become dear old friends; reliable, charming, and beloved for a lifetime. I enjoy my fiction with a heavy dose of wit in romantic settings.”
The author from Pakistan says that her favourites include EM Forster’s A Room With A View, Elizabeth von Arnim’s The Enchanted April and Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm. Each book, she believes brings in something new and different to readers. And the best part, she says is that all three also have superb film adaptations.
Above all, Jonathan Taylor says, that reading, at its most powerful, help us to understand the other and take us beyond ourselves to understand people who, in tabloid journalism and politics, might be demonised. He concludes, It is not to say that we become complacent, but that the only way we can possibly help people, and help society,

‘AICTE anti-plagiarism drive not practical’

Another constraint is the absence of detailed guidelines on how to put the process into practice.
Though professors and faculty members of various institutes have welcomed the move, they think the directive will add on to the burden for them as finding a perfect online tool to detect plagiarism, other than the open softwares available at present, is a challenge.
Though professors and faculty members of various institutes have welcomed the move, they think the directive will add on to the burden for them as finding a perfect online tool to detect plagiarism, other than the open softwares available at present, is a challenge.

BENGALURU: While the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to take steps to fight plagiarism, professors and students are concerned about the practicalities of the move.
They point out that there are various constraints such as unavailability of appropriate software, working pattern of the process and the overall implementation of the decision.
In its recent circular the AICTE stated that as many as 10,399 technical institutions have been asked to use credible anti-plagiarism software and tools to check all their academic and Research and Development (R&D) related activities, including undergraduate (B.Tech) and postgraduate (M. Tech) project reports, apart from Ph.D thesis and research publications.
Though professors and faculty members of various institutes have welcomed the move, they think the directive will add on to the burden for them as finding a perfect online tool to detect plagiarism, other than the open softwares available at present, is a challenge.
“As technology developed, students have started to use online rephrasing tools to stay safe from plagiarism checks even for class assignments. Such matter then needs human check as most of them fail to convey a meaning. Such software powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) would curb the problem, but by when, is the bigger question,” said Prof Surya Varchasvi, assistant professor at the department of Electronics & Communication at CMR Institute of Technology (CMRIT).
Another constraint is the absence of detailed guidelines on how to put the process into practice. University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE) Principal Dr K.R. Venugopal believes a similarity index on the lines of the University Grants Commission (UGC) draft would help managements of technical institutions to take effective actions to curb the menace.
“Undergraduate and postgraduate students should be given a relaxed slab on the similarity index allowing 40% and 35% for them respectively, while doctoral thesis works should be brought under the 20% slab, requiring more originality. While over one billion people are pursuing technical courses in the world, expecting originality in every idea put forth is impractical,” he said.

“As part of formulating the Review of Literature chapter for a dissertation presentation, we had recently found that some paragraphs were copy-pasted and presented to us earlier from a thesis submitted by one of our professors themselves. The focus on this matter should be equally set on professors and researchers as well,” demands Suhail R, a final year telecommunications engineering.

To check plagiarism, AICTE tells education institutions to adopt tech tool

BY Preeti Biswas| TNN | Dec 2, 2017
HYDERABAD: Soon, students and academicians may face penal action if found guilty of plagiarism as the All India Council of Technical Education(AICTE) has instructed all technical institutions to install credible anti-plagiarism software for all academic and research and development(R&D) related activities.
As part of its effort to inculcate a zero tolerance approach towards plagiarism, the
 policy and academic planning bureau issued a circular to all the AICTE-approved institutions on Friday urging them to undertake strong measures to curb plagiarism. "To develop a robust innovation ecosystem in technical institutions and to prevent the menace of plagiarism, it is advised that all AICTE approved institutions should create awareness about academic integrity and use credible anti-plagiarism software for all their academic and R&D related activities such as MTech/BTech project reports, PhD thesis and research publications etc in this regard," reads the circular.

Students submitting thesis, dissertation, term papers, reports or any other such documents often submit an undertaking indicating that the document has been prepared by him or her and that the document is his/her original work and free of plagiarism.

Teachers, however, argue that despite signing an undertaking, many students resort to plagiarism due to lack of guidance as well as an attempt to take the easier path. "A majority of students simply copy statements from journals and try to reproduce them. Since there was no notice issued by the AICTE so far insisting on institutions having certain software, plagiarism often went unnoticed, especially at undergraduate level," said Ramakrishna Reddy, president of Telangana Affiliated Engineering Colleges Teachers Association, adding how most colleges don't even have an anti-plagiarism software.

With lack of advanced plagiarism detection options available, college managements claim they have to use open source tools from the web. "Since the AICTE has not asked us to buy any proprietary software, we end up using open source tools which are not very advanced. With the circular coming into effect, we are hopeful that advanced softwarewill be available," said 
Srini Bupalam, vice-president of All India Federation of Self Financing Technical Institutions.
AICTE has also instructed institutions to conduct workshops for promoting integrity and prevent plagiarism. "Institutes should warn the stakeholders about penal action in case of detection of plagiarism," reads the circular.

University Grants Commission has drafted a new policy to curb the menace. As per the draft policy, three types of penalties would be imposed on those found guilty of lifting someone else's work. While in case of 'Level 1and 2' offences, the researchers would get a chance to revise their work, 'Level 3' offence, which is '60% similarities' would result in cancellation of the researcher's registration. Whereas for plagiarism in core areas, there will be 'zero tolerance'.


On World Book Day 2018, a look at legal and creative rights of authors

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not easy being an author. So on World Book and Copyright Day, we take a look at the ever-evolving landscape of Indian authors’ inherent legal and creative rights

BY Divya Kala Bhavani

The global venue for World Book and Copyright Day changes annually, and while this year’s celebrations are in Athens and the theme is ‘Reading is my right’; we’ll take a look at writers’ rights here in India.
According to Intellectual Property India, The Copyright Act of 1957 covers anything patented and copyrighted, but implementing the law to individual needs requires a lot of legal pursuits. The concept of intellectual property is an ever-changing one and the rapid globalisation of the creative industry often blurs lines. As per the Act, the author not only gets right to the authorship but also gets right under which without his prior permission his work cannot be amended. Any amendment which is done against his will can be brought into the court by the author, and he can get an order to recover any kind of damages and stop such act immediately.
For those curious, according to the Government’s Copyright Office, the application cost of getting a writer’s work copyrighted starts at ₹500 while amendments can start at ₹200.
On-going challenges
“The biggest challenge that faces writers today is making sure that they get their work registered with the Copyright Office,” Sharvani Pandit, an Editor at Red Ink Literary Agency, points out, “It comes in handy for first-time writers as well as those whose work, story or idea is yet to be published, but they are in talks with film studios. If for some reason talks fall through and his or her idea is used by the same production house, the writer with a copyright can seek redressal in court. Also, most author/agency and author/publisher dealings come under the IPR Act and confidentiality clauses.” Publishing houses often vet the material for legally objectionable material and the author can derive a measure of solace from the fact that if there are any legal battles to be fought, the universal idea of teamwork can be counted upon.
Author Anuja Chandramouli has been through the dredges of it all. Lost in the dream of wanting to be a writer, she shares that the legalese of it all went over her head. “I chose to get lost in the euphoria of realising the great dream of being a published author and merely skimmed over the particulars of the contract with the publisher, deeming it sufficient that the copyright of the work will remain with the proprietor (me) and the publishers undertake that the name of said proprietor shall appear on the title page and on the cover of every copy of the work published. Rather belatedly, I became aware that there are plenty of complicated legal issues to be taken into account when it comes to protecting your own work and making a semi-decent income that is less likely to make you want to kill yourself, while avoiding getting sued to within an inch of your life.”

Industry perspective

Sharvani states there’s a constant onslaught of issues to examine — which can be tough given they require a lot of energy and thought. She shares that being an editor gives a rather multidimensional look at the industry, which helps her make informed decisions about issues concerning her. “Authors are so eager to be published that they never really pay attention to the contracts that they sign with their publishers, and hence do not realise the rights they are giving away. The author's core earning comes from rights sold. It is all about the rights to various markets. Every right or contract is money made by the author, depending on the deal, whether it is English (even this can be broken up in multiple ways), languages — each is a separate right, audio, ePub, TV or films. With the industry and media changing so rapidly, over the years I have learnt that it is all about how well a right can be negotiated. But at the end of the day, it depends on the author and his urgency to be published. But there is more awareness now regarding the fact that authors can get good sums of money as well. And, most of them want that.”
Given all of this, navigating a contentious industry can be taxing. However Anuja, who commends her teachers for their collective wisdom, explains, that the priority is to be pertinacious, and always stand up for your rights and believe in yourself. She adds, “Creative people have a gift and it is tragic that — despite being the backbone of glamorous, high paying institutions like film and television — writers don’t get their due. Yet, the world needs dreamers, wordsmiths and those who can use the power of words to make the world a better place. Nobody can take this away from us, and if we persevere even as we perfect our craft, there is no limit to what can be achieved by those of us who have sworn allegiance to the mighty pen or MS Word.”
So if you’re thinking of penning a pageturner, be aware of the ins and outs of copyright and otherwise.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Impact Factors Fail in Evaluating Scientists. Why Does the UGC Still Use Them?

The journal impact factor has numerous flaws, which makes it highly irresponsible for the UGC to rely on it to evaluate a teacher’s research performance and decide whether she gets a job or not.

By Thomas Manuel is the winner of The Hindu Playwright Award 2016.

Since 2012, nearly 12,000 individuals and 500 organisations have signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). This includes India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT). In fact, in their joint Open Access Policy, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the DBT quote the central recommendation of the declaration verbatim, which is that journal-based metrics like the journal impact factor (JIF) should not be used as “a surrogate measure of the quality of individual research articles, to assess an individual scientist’s contributions, or in hiring, promotion, or funding decision.”
And yet this enlightened attitude has only partially filtered down to the ground.
The JIF is a simple metric, originally designed to help librarians decide what journals to buy for their libraries. It is the total number of citations received by a journal in the preceding two years divided by the total number of citable items published in those years.
In their book chapter preprint, Vincent Larivière and Cassidy R. Sugimoto lay out six major critiques of the JIF. The first is the inclusion of citations for “front matter” such as editorials, news reports, obituaries, letters to the editor, etc. in the numerator while not actually counting these items in the denominator as they aren’t ‘citable items’. The authors show how large journals like Nature and Science have used front matter to boost their impact factors. The second critique is the inclusion of self-citations (when a paper from a journal cites other papers from the same journal), which has led to documented cases of manipulation by unscrupulous editors.
The third critique is the arbitrariness of the two-year window for citations which favours certain disciplines over others. Larivière and Sugimoto write that, while “physics papers generate more citations than psychology papers within the first five years, the reverse is true for the following 25 years. … [U]sing a 30 – year citation window, we find that the first two years captures only 16% of citations for physics papers, 15% for biomedical research, 8% for social science papers, and 7% in psychology.”
Another related critique is that the JIF does not take into account the differences between fields and disciplines. Because of this, the indicator cannot be used to compare across disciplines. The difference in publication and reference practices means that “medical researchers are much more likely to publish in journals with high JIFs than mathematicians or social scientists.”
The fifth critique is the skewness of science research, i.e. that a small percentage of papers accounts for the majority of citations. Their analysis shows that for the large majority of journals indexed in the Journals Citations Report 2016, only 20-40% of papers receive as many citations as the JIF suggests.
The last critique is the systematic inflation of average JIFs, caused by a number of factors, including the rise in number of papers and references per paper. Some 56% of journals increased their JIFs between 2014 and 2015. Larivière and Sugimoto write, “As there is no established mechanism for acknowledging inflation in reporting, editors and publishers continue to valorise marginal increases in JIFs which have little relation to the performance of the journal.”
The JIF in India
In a recent paper, titled ‘Evaluation of research in India – are we doing it right?’, Muthu Madhan, Subbiah Gunasekaran and Subbiah Arunachalam discuss how the “the answer to the question in the title cannot be anything but ‘no.’”
(Muthu Madhan and Subbiah Arunachalam are affiliated with the DST Centre for Policy Research, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and Subbiah Gunasekaran with the CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute, Karaikudi.)
They systematically go through the evaluation and promotion frameworks of a number of different regulatory agencies in India and critique their use of JIF and other metrics. The DBT and DST still include cumulative impact factor as a criterion for awards like the Ramalingaswami Reentry Fellowship, the Tata Innovation Fellowship, the Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award and the National Bioscience Awards for Career Development.
The Indian Council of Medical Research “routinely uses average IF as a measure of performance of its laboratories.” Laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research on the impact factor and number of papers published to assess scientists.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council uses various bibliometrics including impact factors in its accreditation process. It also asks for the “h-index of each paper”, which the authors describe as “patently absurd” because it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what the h-index means. Only individuals can have an h-index.
Business schools have instituted monetary incentives for publishing in high impact-factor journals. Dinesh Kumar, the chairperson of research and publications at IIM-Bangalore, told the Wall Street Journal in 2011 that the institute had been giving a cash award since 2006 to any faculty member whose paper was published in an ‘A-grade journal’.
The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences assigns impact factors of its own to journals and uses these scores to select fellows. This impact factor is calculated in an opaque and seemingly arbitrary manner. The authors argue, “The Annual Review of Plant Biology had an IF of 18.712 in 2007, which rose to 28.415 in 2010. Yet, the NAAS rating of this journal recorded a decrease of four points between the two years.”
But the most problematic deployment of the JIF is its use in the appointment and promotion of teachers by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education. The UGC calculates an Academic Performance Indicator (API) score which includes points for research. According to UGC policy, teachers earn more points for papers published in journals with a higher JIF. The authors of the ‘Evaluation of research’ article summarise the rules thus:
The API score for papers in refereed journals would be augmented as follows: (i) indexed journals – by 5 points; (ii) papers with IF between 1 and 2 – by 10 points; (iii) papers with IF between 2 and 5 – by 15 points; (iv) papers with IF between 5 and 10 – by 25 points.
As discussed above, the JIF has a number of flaws. It fluctuates erratically from year to year because of the two-year window. It favours certain journals and disciplines. It doesn’t take into account any kind of field-normalisation. It doesn’t predict citations. And it suffers from a creeping inflation. This makes it highly irresponsible for the UGC to rely on JIFs to evaluate a teacher’s research performance and decide whether she gets a job or not.
The UGC has further compounded the arbitrariness of its policy by formulating awarding points based on the ranges of impact factors. As Madhan et al write,
Take the hypothetical case of a journal whose IF is around 2.000, say 1.999 or 2.001. No single paper or author is responsible for these numbers. If a couple of papers receive a few more citations than the average, the IF will be 2.001 or more and the candidate will get a higher rating; if a couple of papers receive less than the average number of citations the IF will fall below 2.000 for the same paper reporting the same work.
In 2010, Anthony van Raan, director of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands, told Nature that, “If there is one thing every bibliometrician agrees, it is that you should never use the journal impact factor to evaluate research performance for an article or for an individual – that is a mortal sin.”
Metric-based assessments discourage risk-taking and long-term thinking among young scientists. It tells them that they can’t afford working on something that won’t lead to citations and papers immediately. Institutions need to follow the lead of the DBT and consider signing the DORA. It would be the first step in signalling to young researchers, as the declaration states, “that the scientific content of a paper is much more important than public metrics or the identity of the journal.”