Alex Grey

Alex Grey

Introduction

Has this ever happened to you? While researching an important paper, you come across an online journal database that claims to connect academics to high-quality peer-reviewed research. Intrigued, you search for keywords related to your topic, only to discover that you must pay a hefty subscription fee to access the service.

Subscription fees and paywalls are often the banes of students and academics, especially those at small institutions who don't have access to many article directories and repositories.

Whether you're working on an undergraduate paper, a Ph.D. dissertation, or a medical research study, we want to help you find tools to locate and access the information you need to produce well-researched, compelling, and innovative writing.

Check out the top 21 free online journal and research databases in this article, and click the link below to download the full list of 101 databases, completely free!

The Top 21 Free Online Journal and Research Databases

1. CORE

CORECORE is a multidisciplinary aggregator of open access research. It allows users to search more than 66 million open access articles. While most of these link to the full-text article on the original publisher's site, five million records are hosted directly on a CORE.

In addition to a straightforward keyword search, CORE offers advanced search options to filter results by publication type, year, language, journal, repository, and author.

2. ScienceOpen

Functioning as a research and publishing network, ScienceOpen offers open access to more than 28 million articles in all areas of science. Although you do need to register to view the full text of the articles, registration is free. The advanced search function is highly detailed, allowing you to find precisely the research you're looking for.

The Berlin- and Boston-based company was founded in 2013 with the goal to "facilitate open and public communications between academics and to allow ideas to be judged on their merit, regardless of where they come from."

3. Directory of Open Access Journals

Directory of Open Access JournalsA multidisciplinary, community-curated directory, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) gives researchers access to high-quality, peer-reviewed journals. It has archived more than two million articles from 9,519 journals, allowing you to either browse by subject or search by keyword.

The site was launched in 2003 with the aim of increasing the visibility of open access scholarly journals. Content on the site covers subjects from science to law to fine arts and everything in between.

4. Education Resources Information Center

ERICThe Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), of the Institution of Education Sciences, allows you to search by topic for material related to the field of education. Links lead to other sites, where you may have to purchase the information, but you can search for full-text articles only.

The service primarily indexes journals, grey literature (such as technical reports, white papers, and government documents), and books. All sources of material on ERIC go through a formal review process prior to being indexed.

5. arXiv e-Print Archive

The arXiv e-Print Archive has been around since 1991 and is a well-known resource in the fields of mathematics and computer science. It is run by Cornell University Library and now offers open access to more than one million e-prints.

6. Social Science Research Network

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a collection of papers from the social sciences community. The site offers more than 700,000 abstracts and more than 600,000 full-text papers.

There is not yet a specific option to search for only full-text articles, but because most of the papers on the site are free to access, it is not often that you encounter a paywall. You must become a member to use the services, but registration is free and enables you to interact with other scholars around the world.

7. Public Library of Science

PLOSPublic Library of Science (PLOS) is a big player in the world of open access science. Publishing seven open access journals, the nonprofit organization is committed to facilitating openness in academic research. According to the site, "all PLOS content is at the highest possible level of open access, meaning that scientific articles are immediately and freely available to anyone, anywhere."

8. OpenDOAR

OpenDOAR, or the Directory of Open Access Repositories, is a comprehensive resource for finding open access journals and articles. Using Google Custom Search, OpenDOAR combs through open access repositories around the world and returns relevant research in all disciplines.

The repositories it searches through are assessed and categorized by OpenDOAR staff to ensure they meet quality standards.

9. Bielefeld Academic Search Engine

BASEThe Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) is operated by the Bielefeld University Library in Germany, and it offers more than 100 million documents from more than 4,000 sources. Sixty percent of its content is open access, and you can filter your search accordingly.

10. Digital Library of the Commons Repository

Run by Indiana University, the Digital Library of the Commons (DLC) Repository is a multidisciplinary journal repository that allows users to check thousands of free and open access articles from around the world. You can browse by document type, date, author, title, and more or search for keywords relevant to your topic.

11. CIA World Factbook

The CIA World Factbook is a little different from the other resources on this list in that it is not an online journal directory or repository. It is, however, a highly useful research database for academics in a variety of disciplines. All the information is free to access, and it provides facts about every country in the world, including information about history, geography, transportation, and much more.

12. Paperity

PaperityPaperity boasts being the "first multidisciplinary aggregator of open access journals and papers." Their focus is helping you avoid paywalls while connecting you to authoritative research.

In addition to providing readers with easy access to thousands of journals, Paperity seeks to help authors reach their audiences and help journals raise exposure to boost readership.

13. dblp Computer Science Bibliography

dblpThe dblp Computer Science Bibliography is an online index of major computer science publications. Although it provides access to both free access articles and those behind a paywall, you can limit your search to only full-text articles. The site indexes more than three million publications, making it an invaluable resource in the world of computer science.

14. EconBiz

EconBiz is a great resource for economic and business studies. A service of the Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, it offers access to full texts online, with the option of searching for open access material only.

Don't forget to download the full list of 101 free online journal and research databases.

15. BioMed Central

BioMed CentralBioMed Central provides open access research from more than 290 peer-reviewed journals in the fields of biology, clinical medicine, and health. You can browse these journals by subject or title, or you can search all articles for your required keyword.

16. JURN

A multidisciplinary search engine, JURN provides you with links to various scholarly websites, articles, and journals that are all free access or open access. Specifically covering the fields of the arts, humanities, business, law, nature, science, and medicine, JURN has indexed almost 5,000 repositories to help you find exactly what you're looking for.

17. Dryad

DryadDryad is a digital repository of curated, open access scientific research. It is run by a not-for-profit membership organization that aims to "promote a world where research data is openly available, integrated with the scholarly literature, and routinely reused to create knowledge." It is free to access, but note that there is a publishing charge associated if you wish to publish your data in Dryad.

18. EThOS

Run by the British Library, EThOS allows you to search over 400,000 doctoral theses in a variety of disciplines. Although some full texts are behind paywalls, you can limit your search to items available for immediate download, either directly through EThOS or through an institution's website.

19. PubMed

PubMed, of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, is a very well-known research platform in the fields of science and medicine. It offers access to "more than 26 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books." While many resources are behind paywalls, you can filter your search to view free full texts only, making this an even more valuable resource.

20. Semantic Scholar

Semantic ScholarA unique and easy-to-use resource, Semantic Scholar harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to efficiently sort through millions of science-related papers based on your search terms. According to the site, although some articles are behind paywalls, "the data [they] have for those articles is limited," so you can expect to receive mostly full-text results. Another feature is the extensive advanced search options, which allow you to search by cell type and brain region, among other things.

21. Zenodo

ZenodoTaking its name from Zenodotus, the first librarian of the ancient library of Alexandria, Zenodo is a tool that was "built and developed by researchers, to ensure that everyone can join in open science." You can sort by keyword, title, journal, and more and download open access documents directly from the site.

Find More Great Online Journal and Research Databases

If you're looking for the greater online journal and research databases to help you find exactly the information you need to make your next paper outstanding, click here to download a full list of 101 databases, completely free.

Download Full List of 101 Databases

 

 Source: This article was published scribendi.com

Friday, 23 February 2018 15:23

6 online tools for investigative journalism

'Civic technologist' Friedrich Lindenberg shares a range of tools journalists can use in investigative journalism projects

Investigative journalism has long been the marker by which news organizations – and journalists – measure their worth.

"As a journalist, your main tool is talking to people and asking the right questions of the right people," said civic technologist and self-described "OpenGov and data journalism geek" Friedrich Lindenberg in a webinar on investigative journalism tools for the International Centre for Journalists last week.

"This is still true, but also you can ask the right questions with the right databases. You can ask the right questions with the right tools."

Lindenberg listed an arsenal of tools the investigative journalist can equip themselves with. Here are some of the highlights. 

DocumentCloud

Lindenberg described DocumentCloud as a "shared folder of documents", offering different folders that can be used for various investigations, control over who can access which documents, the ability to annotate different parts of documents, search throughout and embed segments or entire documents.

Even better, DocumentCloud looks for "entities" – such as people, companies, countries, institutions – identifies them and makes them searchable, which is especially useful for legal documents that may stretch into hundreds of pages when you are only interested in a few key points.

DocumentCloud is run by IRE but Lindenberg encouraged journalists to contact him at SourceAfrica.net, where an open source version of the software is available.
DocumentCloud screengrab
Screengrab from documentcloud.org

Overview

A "bit more of an expert tool", according to Lindenberg, Overview lets the user import documents from DocumentCloud or CSV files and then counts the frequency of words to make a "hierarchy of terms" for words.

When used this way, Overview can give a quick rundown of large numbers of documents, making it easier to understand the core topics.

OpenCorporates

Popularised by dramatisation of the Watergate scandal All The President's Men, "follow the money" is one of the mantras of investigative journalists everywhere.

Many large and expensive business registries exist to track the myriad connections between individuals and companies, but few within the reach of the press.

One of those few is Open Corporates, where users can search by name or company and filter by geographical jurisdiction.

DueDil

DueDil has a similar function to OpenCorporates but is a "slightly better research tool", said Lindenberg, as you can narrow the search on individuals with similar names by searching by birth date.

Where OpenCorporates has a global range of company information, DueDil mainly draws on UK companies. Both operate on a freemium model with monthly fees for greater access.

Investigative Dashboard

Both OpenCorporates and DueDil were built for business purposes, helping people to conduct due diligence on companies and individuals before any signing any contracts.

Investigative Dashboard though is tailor-made for journalists. Users can search business records scraped from websites in a range of countries or go through the directory of more than 450 business registries, company lists and "procurement databases" – which highlight the 'hot point' where companies and governments do business – to find detailed information.

"They also have a broad network of researchers in different regions," said Lindenberg, "and they will look at other databases that they will be familiar with and maybe even have stringers and contacts on the ground who will find information and documents."

Paul Radu, an investigative reporter at the OOCCRP who helped build the Investigative Dashboard, told Journalism.co.uk the platform has researchers in Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

"We do pro bono due to diligence work for journalists and activists and these people have access to all the open databases," he said. "But also we managed to get some funding to access some pretty expensive databases that are very useful in tracking down the information across borders."
Investigative Dashboard screengrabScreengrab from investigativedashboard.org

Tabula

Governments are partial to releasing reports and figures in PDF files, making it difficult for journalists looking to analyse and investigate the data contained within.

In the UK, you can specify usable file formats (Excel or CSV for example) in Freedom of Information requests. But if you are still faced with data locked up in a PDF, you need Tabula.

"It's the gateway drug to data journalism", said Lindenberg of Tabula.

Simply download and install the software, open a PDF in the program, select a table and Tabula will convert it into a workable file format. Magic.

Lindenberg suggested many more tools to help journalists analyse documents and data, scrape web pages and further their investigations alongside the hour-long webinar.

However, he stressed that for best results viewers should pick one tool for a project and learn to use it well, rather than trying to get to grips with lots of new things at once.

"Learning these tools requires a bit of time experimentation," he said, "a bit of willingness to get into this new thing and once you've done that you will get some benefits out of it.

"If you're saying 'I'm not a computer person' I want you to stop doing that and say instead that you're a journalist who has arrived in the 21st century and is using digital tools in a way to conduct fantastic investigations."

Source: This article was published journalism.co.uk By Paul Radu,

In anticipation of the changes that will unfold in 2018, I recently wrote an article predicting the search engine optimization (SEO) trends that will be most important to address in the coming year. Among the trends I predicted was the continuing rise of voice search—the growing tendency for users to rely on vocal commands and personal digital assistants to handle their search queries.

Though 2018 might see incremental increases in this trend, I believe we’re on the verge of full-scale search revolution in the next few years. So what’s motivating this transition, and how can we best prepare for the changes to come with it?

Rising Trends

It’s hard to say exactly how many search queries are voice-based since Google doesn’t publish that exact information regularly. We do know that the general trend is rising, and soon, voice searches may represent the majority of total searches. According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report in 2016, voice searches increased more than 35-fold between 2008 and 2016. According to Location World, more than 40 percent of adults used voice-based search on a daily basis in 2016. And predictions by ComScore estimate that more than 50 percent of searches will be voice-based by 2020.

Why is this the case? There are a few strong motivating factors here, including the increased sophistication of voice-recognition systems—Microsoft’s voice recognition software now has an error rate of 5.1 percent, equaling those of its human counterparts. Digital assistants also make the process of voice searching easier, inviting more people to the system. As more people start using voice search and it becomes more “normal,” the percentage of the population using voice search also climbs.

Smart Speakers

The voice search revolution has been catalyzed by the rise of smart speakers. Though similar technologies have been around for years, in 2017, sales of smart speakers more than tripled thanks to the rise of both Google Home and Amazon Echo. Smart speakers are almost exclusively reliant on voice commands to operate, conditioning people to resolve their questions and accomplish tasks using voice-based queries.

The Biggest Repercussions

Let’s assume that voice-recognition technology and smart speakers are going to become even more advanced and more popular, sparking a full-on voice search revolution. What would be the biggest repercussions of such a change in the search world?

  • Complex queries. Search queries are already becoming more complex, with users no longer needing to put forethought into which keywords they use for a query; instead, as long as they ask a question that’s remotely decipherable, they’ll be met with a suitable selection of answers and options. This is thanks to Google RankBrain (along with Hummingbird and other sections of Google’s search algorithm), which specializes in “understanding” complex user queries and condensing them to something that’s easier to search. Accordingly, the traditional approach to targeting keywords for analysis and optimization will need to change, favoring longer keyword queries and targeting overall topics, rather than specific terms.
  • Audio-only interfaces. Smart speakers are also conditioning people to discover information, make purchases, and interact with websites using only their voice. This means that eventually, the value of visual mediums, including traditional websites and search engine entries, could decline. We’ll have to rethink how we present information to audiences and may be forced to come up with entirely new structures.
  • Shorter interactions. Voice-based searches aren’t appropriate for long-term research sessions; instead, they’re used for quick interactions, like finding the name of an actress or looking up a place for Chinese takeout. As user interactions grow shorter, we’ll have fewer opportunities to make an impression on users.
  • Higher pressure for top positions. Though multiple options are available, for short-duration queries, digital assistants usually only relay information from the top-position entry (or an internal knowledge database). This is going to introduce even more pressure to get the top position for a given search engine results page (SERP).
  • More local results. Though not a rule, many voice queries have a local intent, since users are relying on voice search on-the-go, or while at home, searching for contextually relevant information. This will drive an uptick in the percentage of locally-focused queries, and the emphasis Google and other engines place on local results.

What to Do Now

So what steps should you be taking now?

  • Audit your current strategy. Take a look at your current strategy. How much effort are you putting into voice queries and long-tail keyword phrases? It may be time to redistribute your funds and emphasis.
  • Brainstorm new keyword targets. Pay close attention to your keyword strategy. How many of your targets are head keywords, how many are long-tail keywords, and how many are general topic targets?
  • Choose your battles. Consider fighting harder for top spots on a handful of key SERPs, while forgoing the battle for keywords that aren’t as important to you.
  • Consider local. If you aren’t already investing in local SEO, now’s the time to start.
  • Rethink your advertising game. If you use PPC ads, you may need to rethink your approach; soon, consumers will start interacting with your ads differently, and you may need to upgrade your targeted advertising to a different format.
  • Prepare for more changes in the near future. The most important thing you can do is prepare yourself for more changes down the road. We still don’t know exactly how a voice search revolution will manifest, so it pays to remain open to the many changes to come.

Since few SEO changes truly transform the landscape overnight, you’re safe making incremental tweaks in your approach. Prepare a flexible foundation for the future of voice search, and look forward to the new means of customer engagement to come.

Source: This article was published forbes.com By Jayson DeMers

Google is the dominating force in the world of search engines, and there’s an entire industry dedicated to maximizing visibility within its search engine results: search engine optimization (SEO).

People like me have built their careers on finding ways to benefit from the central ranking algorithm at Google’s core. But here’s the interesting thing: Google doesn’t explicitly publish how its search algorithm works and often uses vague language when describing its updates.

So how much do we really know about Google’s ranking algorithm? And why is Google so secretive about it?

Why Google Keeps Things Secret

Google has come under fire lately, most recently by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, because it keeps its algorithm secret. Her main argument is that transparency is vitally important to maintaining a balanced society; after all, our daily searches shape our behavior in subtle and blatant ways, and not knowing the mechanisms that influence that behavior can leave us in the dark.

But Google isn’t withholding its algorithm so that it can manipulate people with reckless abandon. There are two good reasons why the company would want to keep the information a closely-guarded secret.

First, Google’s algorithm is proprietary, and it has become the dominant search competitor because of its sheer sophistication. If other competitors have free and open access to the inner workings of that algorithm, they could easily introduce a competing platform with comparable power, and Google’s search share could unfairly plummet.

Second, there are already millions of people who make a living by improving their positions within Google, and many of them are willing to use ethically questionable tactics or spam people in an effort to get more search visibility. If Google fully publishes its search algorithm, they could easily find bigger loopholes, and ruin the relatively fair search engine results pages (SERPs) we’ve come to expect from the giant.

How We Learn

So if Google withholds all the information on its algorithm, how can search optimizers know how to improve the search rankings of web pages?

  • Google revelations. Google doesn’t leave webmasters totally in the dark. While it refuses to disclose specifics about how the algorithm functions, it’s pretty open about the general intentions of the algorithm, and what webmasters can take away from it. For example, Google has published and regularly updates a guidelines manual on search quality ratings; 160 pages long, and last updated July of last year, it’s a fairly comprehensive guidebook that explains general concepts of how Google judges the quality of a given page. Google has also been known to explain its updates as they roll out—especially the larger ones—with a short summary and a list of action items for webmasters. These are all incredibly helpful sources of information.
  • Direct research. Google doesn’t give us everything, however. If you scroll through Moz’s fairly comprehensive guide on the history of Google’s algorithm changes, you’ll notice dozens of small updates that Google didn’t formally announce, and in many cases, refuses to acknowledge. How does the search community know that these algorithm changes unfolded? We have volatility indicators like MozCast, which measure how much the SERPs are changing within a given period of time; a period of high volatility is usually the signature of some kind of algorithm change. We can also conduct experiments, such as using two different tactics on two different pages and seeing which one ranks higher at the end of the experiment period. And because the SEO community is pretty open about sharing this information, one experiment is all it takes to give the whole community more experience and knowledge.
  • Experience and intuition. Finally, after several years of making changes and tracking growth patterns, you can rely a bit on your own experience and intuition. When search traffic plummets, you can usually identify a handful of potential red flags and come up with ideas for tweaks to take you back to your baseline.

What Do We Know?

So what do we really know about Google’s search algorithm?

  • The basics. We know the basic concept behind the search platform: to give users the best possible results for their queries. Google does this by presenting results that offer a combination of relevance (how appropriate the topic is) and authority (how trustworthy the source is).
  • Core ranking factors. We also know the core ranking factors that will influence your rank. Some of these come directly from Google’s webmaster guidelines, and some of them come from the results of major experiments. In any case, we have a good idea what changes are necessary to earn a high rank, and what factors could stand in your way. I covered 101 of them here.
  • Algorithm extensions and updates.We also know when there’s a new Google update, thanks to the volatility indicator, and we can almost always form a reasonable conclusion on the update’s purpose—even when Google doesn’t tell us directly.

While we still don’t know the specifics of how Google’s algorithm works—and unless the EU’s transparency campaign kicks into high gear soon, we probably won’t for the foreseeable future—we do know enough about it to make meaningful changes to our sites, and maximize our ranking potential.

Moreover, the general philosophy behind the algorithm and the basic strategies needed to take advantage of it aren’t hard to learn. If you’re willing to read Google’s documentation and learn from the experiments of others, you can get up to speed in a matter of weeks.

 Source: This article was published forbes.com By Jayson DeMers,

Cybercrime is everywhere, and the least you can do is read up about it. You might think Internet and email scams only affect those who are not tech savvy or do not keep up with the daily news, but that is not true. From IT professionals to teachers, to journalists, people from all fragments of society and professional fronts have fallen for these immaculately planned online fraudsBusiness Compromise ScamsPharming, etc, which might confuse anybody. And the notion of risk-taking obviously does not work in this context. With the advent of social network and the wide usage of emailing, these scams acquired quite a foothold.

Common Online, Internet & Email scams

Here are the 10 Internet and email scams you should look out for:

Nigerian Scam

Possibly the most talked about scams, these operate mostly through the mail and messaging services. People usually receive mails from a fake Nigerian individual, who claims to be from a very wealthy family and is looking for somebody to donate her money. Usually, these scams are fronts for black money or identity theft. The user is promised a huge amount of money if he or she would share his details, and a surprising number of people fall for it. They will also ask the unwitting user to sign a number of legal forms, which are actually pretty effective in taking money out of your account.

International Lottery Scam

The lottery scam is perhaps the oldest and most obvious scams in the history of Internet fraud, and yet people are duped by it. Basically, a mail reaches your server from an unknown lottery company, and it looks official and almost real. But there are obviously some red flags which expert can point out. Usually, when this happens, the mail will not address you by your name or your personal details. They promise to transfer millions of dollars into your personal account, if you give them your bank details, and then, of course, they drain the money out of your account. Millions of people around the world have lost a massive amount of their earnings through this scam. Sometimes, the emails take the name of a famous lottery company, which might be a global name, and with high-end techniques, conmen have better means of faking their credentials, so you should always be on the lookout.

Travel scams

This kind of fraud is pretty relevant even today, as people who are on these websites or get the fraudulent emails are not at all expecting to get swindled. People see huge discounts or really low rates on some travel packages and fall for it. They will also ask for your private details, and you will need to pay some money. Usually, these are quick scams and won’t drain your account, but you will never see the money you spent or get any tickets. Whenever you receive such a mail or spot something suspicious on a website, it is best to double-check.

Credit Card Scams

These frauds are also hugely common.Usually, you will get a mail from your an operator who claims to be your bank. They will tell you your credit/debit card has been canceled, or you are facing some breach in your account and thus, need to act fast. Most people, in a state of panic, give out their credit card details, One Time Passwords, and even their pin numbers. It is very important to remember that your bank would never ask you for this kind of sensitive information over mail or phone, and be careful.

Job Scams

These kinds of frauds prey upon those who are vulnerable. Most people are looking for jobs update their personal details, like mail ids and names on employment search portals. Anybody can access those details and contact the user. You will get a mail, asking for your resume, educational details, and other credentials. They will promise you an interview and possibly ask for a token amount of money, which would be reverted back to you upon hiring or at a later time. These scams are usually fronts for identity thefts and money swindling.

Digital payment scams

These are the easiest and the most dangerous frauds there is, and everybody should take note since people are so tech-reliant right now. Millions of people use digital wallets or online payment portals like PayPal or Venmo. Users often get an alert on their mail about how their account has been hacked, or an amount of money has been taken out of their account. Usually, people panic, and it never occurs to them that they are being duped by a third party.

Online ad scams

These are similar to the employment scam routine, just a little more creative. When you post an item for sale on a portal or post an ad to buy a specific item, in websites like eBay or Craigslist, or any other platform, fraudulent people can access those details and get back to you. They’ll tell you they have what you are looking for, and might even share pictures with you, but these offers usually come with a payment-first policy, and after you pay them,  you don’t hear back from them.

Investment scams

These frauds are like a short-term Ponzi scheme. You might get alerts or emails offering you ‘double your money on a month’ plans or any other such scams. Some fake portals even have provisions for your verification, where they ask you for a token amount of money, and hence dupe you.

Disaster relief or rescue scams

Whenever you get a mail asking you to donate money to a charity or a rescue operation, never respond to them. Most people obviously fall for these as they want to support a cause, but as there is no way to verify these scams, and people usually donate a substantial amount of money to disaster relief, this is a very dangerous fraud.

Ask for help scams

These frauds are more personal in nature, and you might get a mail with very specific details about a certain person, stuck in a situation in a random country, from where he/she cannot get back home and will ask for your money. People often get blindsided by the personal nature of these emails, but it is very important to remember that these are usually chain emails, and ask people to send over financial help.

Online scams are a huge risk as you can encounter them anywhere, and the smartest of people get affected by it, as they never see it coming. Whenever you encounter anything on a new portal or website, it is always best to verify their credentials before you send in your money or personal details.

Be aware, Stay safe!

 Source: This article was published thewindowsclub.com

Pipl has raised $19 million from IGP. Founder and CEO Matthew Hertz tells "Globes" about the search engine's ability to find people.

On November 15, 2016, the Detroit Police Department was notified that Savannah Rayford, an 11 month-old baby suffering from life-threatening anemia, had been kidnapped. The kidnapper was known: Marquita Dupree, her biological mother, who was deprived of custody because of her mental state. Dupree got on line to see the doctor to whom Savannah's adoptive mother had taken him, and took advantage of the car stopping on the return journey to grab the infant and escape.

The Detroit police were in a race against the clock. The main clue for finding the mother quickly was the mobile telephone number that she used from time to time, but it was not registered in her name. The police investigators fed the number into Thomson Reuters Clear online investigative computer program, and located several addresses linked to the owner of the telephone number. The mother and baby were found within a few hours at one of these addresses.

The event in Detroit is one of many that has made Clear very popular with the FBI, many US police units, the tax authorities, and other government agencies. Feeding an item of information into the program, such as a telephone number, accesses a full portrait of the person linked to it: residential addresses, e-mail addresses, businesses, relatives, social network profiles, and criminal records. In 2015, the program helped bring about the arrest of a former member of the armed forces who threatened to shoot up a school in San Bernardino, California, and a wanted sex offender in Vermont was caught by using the program.

US law enforcement authorities are probably unaware that a large proportion of Clear's database was created in the Petah Tikva industrial zone at a company named Pipl. Company founder and CEO Matthew Hertz have taken great care to stay under the radar since founding the company in 2005. "I like anonymity," he explains in his first Israeli media interview.

"I agreed to this interview only because I realized that the company is paying a price for its anonymity. Most of our customers in Israel didn't know that we were here before they started working with us. Now that we are trying to recruit employees here in competition with companies like Google and Facebook, we need people to know who and what we are; otherwise, it will be hard for us."

"Google doesn't know how to find people"

Anyone who has tried using Google to search for particulars about another person through a telephone number or e-mail address knows how useless the effort is. Hertz spotted this weak point already in 2005 and decided to build a search engine that would do more thorough work. He was only 27 years old at the time but was already an experienced entrepreneur who had sold two companies. "This was a difficult development project. I took my time at first. After two exits, I thought that I would work part-time - only 30% - but it quickly became interesting, and since then, I have been working time and a half."

Pipl's main asset is a focused identities search engine that has generated profiles to date for over three billion people with some online presence. In addition to the information gathered from open online sources, the profiles are enriched with billions of information items from offline sources, such as telephone directories and lists of professionals. "We thought that we would make a depth engine for everything that Google doesn't find, but we very quickly realized that the product was excellent mainly in finding people. We were far beyond the technology that people expected at the time, and we found things that no other engine found. Google has made no progress in this area, called deep web, or in searching for people, for the past 10 years. You will never be able to get such profiles on Google."

The beginning was modest. "We started as three people, and simply sat down and concentrated on development. Once we came out with the product, we very rapidly reached millions of users. We didn't spend a shekel on marketing, but there was exposure through TechCrunch, and things spread by word of mouth. In late 2007, less than a year after we came out with the product, we were breaking even financially. It turned out it not only worked, but that a lot of people wanted it, and as soon as you have five million users, advertisements generate a significant amount of money," Hertz recalls.

Over the years, the company continued to attract relatively little public interest. Pipl yesterday announced that it had completed a $19 million financing round from the Israel Growth Partners (IGP) fund, which invests in companies with at least $10 million in revenue. Following this investment, IGP general partner Moshe Lichtman and partner Assaf Harel will join Pipl's board of directors. This is the first substantial investment in Pipl, which Hertz has financing almost by himself to date, with a little help from family members. Hertz plans to leverage the money raised in order to increase the number of the company's customers from 1,000 to 5,000 this year, and to diversify its products. As of now, Pipl has 75 employees in its development center in Petah Tikva and 30 more in Idaho, where Piple is incorporated for tax reasons. Hertz, who still interviews every new employee, plans to reach 300 employees within a year and close to 1,000 within two or three years.

"How we discovered jewelry fraud"

Like other companies in its sector, Piple's model raises quite a few troublesome questions about privacy. Not everyone wants strangers to know where they live, their telephone number, and their children's names, even if this information is circulating on the web. The combination of such databases with government agencies, despite its contribution to crime prevention, is likely to make people shudder. Many people are unaware of the existence of Pipl and services of this type, and in the post-Edward Snowden era, with Facebook and Google having to deal with the question of their effect on privacy, Pipl's product may be effective, but it is also causing alarm.

Hertz, of course, tries to soothe the criticism. He says that he has refrained from selling advanced functions of systems to dictatorial regimes, carefully selects his company's business customers in order to prevent misuse, and adds that the company refrains from displaying especially sensitive information, such as criminal records that do not appear on the Internet. "We're very aware of the fact that despite all the open sources, in the end, this is information about people, and there has to control over it. If someone wants to remove information, we'll do it, for example, to disconnect a Facebook account from his profile. We explain, however, that such removal has a price. If a risk management company or a company that wants to prevent financial fraud uses our services, certain deals you make are liable not to pass," he warns.

"Globes": How many people ask you to remove information?

Hertz: "Maybe 10 a day."

Up until 2014, the company generated most of its revenue from the version of its search engine open for public use, which includes only basic profiles. Since then, however, it has accumulated nearly 1,000 business customers that generate over 95% of its revenue. The customers use Pipl's engine to verify identities, prevent eCommerce fraud, enrich information in customer relations management (CRM) systems, conduct inquiries, provide financial services, and recruit personnel. In addition to the US government, many other governments use the system, among other things through the company's strategic partnership with Verint Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: VRNT) (when we asked about the Israeli government, Hertz refused to answer). In the business sphere, nearly 200 online websites use the product, in addition to companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Walmart, eBay, Twitter, BBC, and Oracle.

"In the past, when you ordered a delivery from overseas, and the address you gave was different from the credit card company's address, the delivery was stopped in most cases. They had to call you or the credit card company in order to add the address - a complicated process that caused a huge loss. This almost never happens now, for a simple reason: as soon as you type in your telephone number, they know who you are, and realize that the address is your work address or your mother's address. All of this takes place behind the scenes. An enormous number of transactions went through us on Black Friday," Hertz says.

The use of the system to prevent fraud is not confined to verifying the purchaser's identify on the web. Hertz mentions cases in which swindlers saying that their credit cards were used without their permission and demanding a refund were caught by cross-referencing information. In one case, customers claimed that the jewelry that they bought had not reached them, but the program found a photograph of the jewelry on one of the social networks. In another case, a person was photographed in the Caribbean Islands who claimed that someone else had used his card to order a plane ticket.

Another use of Pipl is in customer management systems. Companies like American Airlines and Oracle use the system in order to discover whether a new customer is a young student or an employee of a large company, to whom an experienced salesperson should be assigned. Among other things, Twitter uses Pipl's technology to obtain information about users behaving like trolls or threatening their friends.

"I studied in yeshiva, and then I cooked shrimp"

Throughout the conversation, Hertz tries to avoid talking about himself but gives in after several attempts. "I come from a haredi family in Bnei Brak. We are nine brothers and sisters. I'm the middle one. Several of my siblings are no longer religiously observant. My older brother is a brain surgeon. My younger brother worked at Pipl when he was a student at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and built the previous version of the search engine. I'm not concealing this. Everyone around me knows where I came from, but it is very easy to make this the main story, and I don't want that."

Hertz left the yeshiva (Jewish religious seminary) and religion when he was 17. He moved to Tel Aviv and studied for his matriculation exams. "I learned nothing in the haredi education system, but my mother was an enlightened type - one of the few haredi women with a degree at that time, and I learned a lot by myself from books with her help. I was exposed to geography and mathematics. I became a child who asked questions. She taught me to think. My first job after I left yeshiva was an assistant chef in a French restaurant because I knew how to cook. I spent time in the kitchen with my mother since I was nine years old."

Was the restaurant kosher?

"It wasn't. They had shrimps and steak in cream sauce. It was the Tamara restaurant."

That is a big change.

"It was something that I had been thinking about for a long time. At age 12, I already had questions and doubts. And you know, there is no answer. You can put it off again and again, but in the end, a point will come when you can stand on your own two feet. While I was still at the yeshiva, the IDF decided not to draft me. They considered me to have only four years of schooling, and considered putting me in a unit for dropouts."

Just before his 19th birthday, Hertz decided to study computer science at the Open University and to work as a salesperson for human resources management software. At one of his work meetings at Flying Cargo, when then represented FedEx in Israel, he thought about founding an e-commerce website for deliveries in Israel, on which the delivery companies would compete for offering the best price. He managed to get to the global IT manager at UPS and raised a little money from the companies, but gave it back after he discovered that there was not enough activity to justify the website's existence. "Keep in mind that this was in 1999. Internet then was like bitcoin is now - you got money right away. When I look at this now, it really wasn't logical to give a 20-year-old entrepreneur money on his first attempt."

In that same period, during which he spent a large part of his time in the US, he changed his name from Moti to Matthew. While going back and forth between Israel and the US, he completed his degree in computer science at Tel Aviv University. He founded his first mature startup, Ombek when he was 23. The company developed a service for transmitting SMS messages between different networks at a time when it was not yet taken for granted. "The exit was a merger into WSC, and it later underwent more mergers and acquisitions. We succeeded in reaching three mobile providers in the US three or four months after launching the product. When I left, it was installed in Sprint, Nextel, and other companies."

He founded his second startup, Mail-Info, together with former ICQ CEO Ariel Yarnitsky. The company developed a product capable of determining whether an e-mail sent was received or rejected as spam. The company was acquired by Speedbit in 2005.

You said that you couldn't be an employee. Why is that?

"Being an entrepreneur is not being a soloist. I'm still in a company, and I can't things by myself. But if things have to move, then they move. If you have a dream and you want something to happen, you don't have to persuade a great many people who may or may not agree. You simply go to the end with your vision and make things happen, even if they laugh at you and tell you to stop smoking whatever you're smoking."

 Source: This article was published globes.co.il By Nati Yefet

Imagine you went to a networking event last night and met a potential business partner. You're all set to send a pleasant follow-up note but realize you've forgotten the one thing you need–their email address.

While you can find most people on various social networks–from professional ones like LinkedIn to personal ones like Facebook–email still reigns supreme as the preferred method of getting in touch. Email's more personal and professional at the same time, and your contact is all-but guaranteed to have an email address, as there are 2.9 billion email addresses in the world.

Contacting people over social media has more hurdles than sending a simple email. You might have to pay to send a LinkedIn message, or the person might not accept Direct Messages on Twitter from strangers. It's worth the trouble to just email instead.

Finding email addresses isn't always easy, though. Most people are protective of their email address, for good reason: We all hate spam. With a little investigative work, though, you can find almost anyone's email address. Here's how.

Start with Quick Email Searches

Google search for email
A Google search might be all you need to find an email

The first place you should look for email addresses is the “About” page of their company’s website. You might find anything from a brief bio to detailed contact info for every team member. Dig around a bit, and you might find email addresses in unexpected places. For instance, on Zapier's About page, you'll find team members' contact information by hovering over their photos.

Personal websites are another great place to check. If you can find a personal blog or landing page for that contact, you'll likely find an email address on their Contact page. At least, it's worth checking.

Google can help out, by finding other personal sites or the email address itself. There’s a chance your prospect's email address is listed somewhere online, so just search for their first and last name along with the word and email perhaps their company name. Google will find anywhere this combination appears.

If you can find your prospect's social media account, check their profile for contact information. Users sometimes list this information on LinkedIn or Twitter, often with a space between their email address and the domain. On Twitter, for example, use the search from operator to find an email address (e.g., email from:dannyaway).

Twitter email search

Alternately, use 3rd party Twitter search app SnapBird. It can search through all of the Tweets from your feed or followers; just enter a keyword such as “email” and the user’s name, and it’ll do the rest.

LinkedIn is also worth exploring for email addresses. It lets you export contacts and their email addresses if they’re available on their profiles, for an easy way to find addresses of anyone you're already connected with. You can also use a tool such as Lusha to find contact information for people on LinkedIn, including their corporate email address, personal email address, and phone number.

Then, there are also several “people search” websites that can be helpful, including SpokeoPeopleSmart, and Pipl. Some sites are free to use (including Pipl), while you'll need a paid subscription to unlock most people search sites' full features.

When all else fails, you can try guessing. Seriously. If you can find the naming convention the company uses perhaps from another employee at that firm (in some cases, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), you can try that format with your prospect's name and wait to see if the email bounces back. Guessing might not be efficient, but it could work.

Try an Email-Finding App

If you’ve completed your web and social media search and still can’t find a trusted email address, it’s time to use a tool designed for this email search. Fortunately, there are lots of apps just for this.

Just enter your prospect’s name along with their company name, and you’ll receive either the app’s best guess or a list of viable options. Here are the best options:

Email Generator

Email Generator

Part of your initial email search may involve entering various name and company domain combinations into Google. This is not only time consuming, but it can be frustrating considering the various combinations that can exist. That’s where Email Generator comes in. It generates over 50 popular email combinations for that name for you in seconds just from their name and company domain.

As an added bonus, Email Generator will also give you potential email variations for popular email services like Gmail and Outlook. If you’re confident that you’ve found the correct email address, consider installing Email Generator’s email tracking software, MailTrack.io, which will let you know when your email recipient opens it.

Price: Free

Mail Tester

Mail Tester

Once you've found a potential email address, use Mail Tester to see if the email address is valid. It can't tell you if that's the real email for the person you want, but it can confirm whether or not that email address exists on that domain name.

If the email address is valid, Mail Tester shows the server info it found. If it’s unable to confirm the accuracy of an email address, it will display a message stating that the company’s server doesn’t allow email verification.

Keep in mind, even if the app can’t confirm whether an email address is accurate, that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with the email address. Sometimes it comes down to whether or not a company’s server will allow Mail Tester to connect to it and provide users with valid information. The only way to be 100% certain is to send an email to the address and see if you receive a bounce-back notification stating that the email address doesn’t exist.

Price: Free

BuzzStream

BuzzStream

BuzzStream is another fantastic app to use to boost your email search. It can find contact information (including social network profiles) for “influencers”, people who are active on social media and blogs. Once you've gotten in touch with an influencer, it will save those messages, and let you share them with your team to easily follow up.

When you need to find email addresses, simply add in the company URL and the app will display both employee email addresses and the company’s Twitter handle. If the app can’t find the email address of a specific person, it will provide you with the about and contact pages of the company as a starting point. Or, use its free email research tool to get auto-generated Google Search links that'll help you find their email address.

Price: Free 14-day trial; from $24/month for one user

Voila Norbert

Voila Norbert

Voila, Norbert is one of the simplest ways to find an email address. Just enter the first and last name of anyone you’re trying to find, along with the company’s domain name. It'll then ping the domain to show any addresses it finds that might match the name, along with reviews from users to show if the address is actually valid or not.

It works surprisingly well for finding company addresses. Keep in mind that some companies strive to keep the email addresses of their employees private, though, so if Voila Norbert isn’t given access it lets you know.

Price: Free for searching up to 50 email addresses; plans from $49/month

Voila, Norbert Zapier integrations coming soon!

Email Hunter

Email Hunter

Email Hunter lets you find email addresses right from its homepage. Just enter the company domain name into the search field, click search, and the app will find all of the publicly available email addresses for that company domain.

It also shows the number of sources found online for each email address, to add to the verification and validity of each one. That makes it an even better bet for finding email addresses that actually work.

Price: Free for searching up to 150 email addresses per month; plans from $49/month

See Email Hunter integrations on Zapier

Conspire

Conspire

Conspire is a little different from the other apps on this list. Rather than solely providing emails, it operates on the “six degrees of separation” theory. Like the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," where you try to figure out how a person would be connected to Kevin Bacon or some other celebrity, Conspire assumes you might know someone who knows someone who knows your prospective contact.

If you’d like to meet a new potential client through the people you already know, the app will show you the best possible path—based on people in your network—to reach out through. You can then connect with folks just outside of your network even if you haven’t met them by mentioning your mutual contacts.

Conspire uses data from your linked Gmail account to get a sense of your current network. It then scores each relationship to give an idea of how “strong” the connection is, using the To, From, CC, Subject and Date fields of your emails—along with your frequency of communication—to determine connection strength. This data determines how you and your contacts communicate.

Price: Free

Find an Email with a Browser Extension

Another handy way to find email addresses is with a browser extension—many of which work right inside your Gmail inbox. With just a couple of clicks, you can quickly look up an email address without opening a new app or webpage.

Rapportive (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer)

Rapportive gif

Rapportive puts contact info discovery right inside Gmail. It can be used in conjunction with an app such as Email Generator. Simply enter a few email variations into the “Send To” field when composing an email in Gmail. Hover over each email address and Rapportive will show as much profile information as possible.

For example, with a real email, Rapportive can show you the contact’s full name, profile pic, company name and location, and links to websites (both personal and professional) and social networks. That's enough to be confident that you’ve found the right email address. Or, if it doesn't find any info, you'll see a grey block which means you'll need to keep searching for the right address.

And, when you're reading emails, Rapportive will show that same contact info in the right sidebar for a simple way to learn more about your contacts.

Price: Free

Clearbit (Chrome)

Clearbit

Similar to Rapportive, this Chrome extension integrates with Gmail. However, instead of checking variations of an email address, Clearbit quickly finds email addresses from its database, along with other company and personal data. Just enter a company's name, select the correct one, then filter through the contacts it finds there.

Then, when you receive an email, Clearbit can also give you extra info about each email—something extra helpful when trying to remember how you met a contact.

Price: Free for up to 50 searches per month

See Clearbit integrations on Zapier

Datanyze Insider (Chrome and Firefox)

Datanyze Insider can find any email address with just the first and last name of the contact—no need to enter a company domain name.

To use the extension, highlight the contact’s name as it appears online (for example, in LinkedIn or the company’s about page), right click, choose “Datanyze Insider” and click “Find email”. Datanyze Insider will then ping email addresses that are most likely to be valid (based on name and company domain variations) and display the ones that appear to be valid. It also provides a percentage for how confident it is that it found the correct email address.

Price: Free

Ninja Outreach (Chrome)

Ninja Outreach searches a company's website for any mention of a contact's name that you highlight on the web page. If it doesn’t find a match, the extension will check its own database for a match. Ninja Outreach will also give you links to the prospect’s social networks, location address, and more.

Price: Free without signup to search for addresses; register for a Ninja Outreach account to get full features including contact form autofill, web app templates, and enhanced website information

Find That Lead (Chrome)

Find That Lead adds an icon next to people's names on web pages you visit, such as LinkedIn. Click the icon and the resulting pop-up menu will display the person's company name and email address. If the search isn’t successful, the plugin will display the best result it was able to find, along with a percentage score of how certain it is that the email address is accurate. It can also work with a tool such as Rapportive if you need added certainty before sending an email.

Price: Free for up to 10 emails per week; from $15/month for additional searches

LeadFuze (Chrome)

LeadFuze helps you build a relevant contact list. It does the tedious work for you of finding email addresses, social network profiles, and prospect details such as titles and company names for an entire list of contacts. Once you have a list you’re happy with, you can set up targeted emails and subsequent follow-up emails. To be sure you have the correct email addresses, LeadFuze includes reports to see whether your email has been viewed.

Price: Free for up to 20 leads; plans from $150/user/month

Source: This article was published zapier.com By Milveen Eke-Allen

Google My Business is bringing videos to the photos dashboard, allowing business owners to upload videos, and view videos uploaded by customers.

The ability for businesses to upload videos to their own listing is a brand new feature and could prove to be an effective marketing tool. The ability for customers to upload videos to another business’s listing is something that was introduced last year.

Videos can be up to 30 seconds in length and will appear in the overview tab of the Google My Business Dashboard. Customer uploaded videos can be found in the ‘customer’ tab, while videos uploaded by the business owner can be found in the ‘by owner’ tab.

Alternatively, all videos can be viewed together in the ‘Videos’ tab. Keep in mind that videos can take up to 24 hours to appear in the Google My Business dashboard, so if you don’t see it right away then give it some time. Once they are live they will appear alongside local photos.

Although this wasn’t explicitly mentioned, the videos may take a while to be displayed so they can be vetted before being published. Another way businesses can keep inappropriate videos off of their GMB page is to flag them.

Google’s next step is to bring native mobile support to GMB videos, and introduce notifications for new customer videos.

Source: This article was published searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern

Thursday, 11 January 2018 12:40

How Google Rates Voice Search Results

Google has published a set of guidelines for its quality raters to follow when evaluating voice search results. A similar set of guidelines exist for rating the results in Google Search, this marks the first time guidelines have been put in place for rating results returned by Google Assistant.

More specifically, this document deals with results returned by an eyes-free voice assistant such as Google Home. It does not refer to results delivered on a device with a screen, such as the Google Assistant smartphone app.

Therefore, it’s the quality of spoken results that are being reviewed. Results are evaluated with ‘needs met’ and ‘speech quality’ ratings.

Needs Met Rating

Spoken search results are evaluated based on the following ‘needs met’ scale:

  • Fully meets
  • Highly meets
  • Moderately meets
  • Slightly meets
  • Fails to meet

If a spoken response fully meets a user’s query it will receive a rating of “fully meets.” Ratings go down based on how much additional information would be needed to fully satisfy the query.

For example, if a user asks for the weekend forecast and the device responds with the current temperature, then needs would be moderate to slightly meet. The user received partial information but would have to conduct another search to get all of the information they’re looking for.

Of course, if the query is not answered at all, then it would receive a failing grade.

Speech Quality Rating

In addition to rating the accuracy of the response, answers are also rated based on the following elements of speech quality:

  • Length: Was the length of the response appropriate considering its complexity? Should it have been more concise or more detailed?
  • Formulation: Was the response grammatically correct? Did it sound like something a native speaking human would say?
  • Elocution: Was the pronunciation, intonation, and speed of the spoken response appropriate?

All three of these elements are rated individually for each response, which produces an overall rating for speech quality.

Here is an example of what a quality rater might see when evaluating a spoken result. In this screenshot, the quality rater is evaluating two responses side-by-side.

 

Academics say they have been forced to leave the country to pursue their research interests as British universities are accused of blocking studies over fears of a backlash on social media.

As they come under increasing attack from online activists, some of the country’s leading academics have accused universities of putting their reputations before their responsibility to defend academic freedom.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, they claim that university ethics committees are now “drifting into moral vanity” by vetoing research in areas that are seen as “politically incorrect”.

Their comments come amid widespread concern for free speech on campuses, with the Government urging universities to do more to counter the rise of so-called safe spaces and “no-platforming”.

James Caspian, who has been banned by a university from doing transgender research

James Caspian, who has been banned by a university from doing transgender research CREDIT:GEOFF PUGH FOR THE TELEGRAPH

The academics have decided to speak out as James Caspian, one of the country’s leading gender specialists, revealed that he is planning to take Bath Spa University to judicial review over its decision to turn down his research into transgenderism.

A professor who recently left a prestigious Russell Group institution to work in Italy said that while safeguards were needed to ensure research was conducted ethically, some universities now appeared to be “covering their own arses”.

“I’ve certainly heard and known of ethics committees voicing concerns about parts of research that would to most of us seem ridiculous. I think they sometimes go too far.

“In general I’m supportive of ethics committees, but there is room for discussion on their criteria. Attracting a lot unwanted attraction on social media...most researchers would not consider that relevant.

“That’s a matter for the PR office, not an ethics committee.”

Prof Sheila Jeffreys

Prof Sheila Jeffreys CREDIT: THE AGE/SIMON SCHLUTER

Dr. Heather Brunskell-Evans, a fellow of King’s College London who has previously sat on research awarding bodies, claimed that some universities were becoming “authoritarian”.

Universities project themselves as places of open debate, while at the same time they are very worried about being seen to fall foul of the consensus,” she added.

“They are increasingly managerial and bureaucratic. They are now prioritizing the risk of reputational damage over their duty to uphold freedom of inquiry.”

Dr. Brunskell-Evans said she has encountered resistance when researching the dangers associated with prostitution, adding that many universities had “shut down” any critical analysis of the subject which might offend advocates in favor of legalisation.

Whilst working at the University of Leicester, she claimed that a critical analysis she published of Vanity Fair magazine’s visual representation of the transgendering of Bruce to Caitlyn Jenner had been pulled after complaints were made.

It was later republished after the university’s lawyers were consulted. The University of Leicester was unavailable for comment

Others said research decisions are increasingly based on how much money could be generated through research grants, meaning “trendy” and “fashionable” subjects were being prioritised over controversial topics.

“The work done by myself and others would not happen today. University now is about only speaking views which attract funding,” said Prof Sheila Jeffreys, a British feminist and former political scientist at the University of Melbourne.

“I was offered the job in Melbourne because they wanted someone specifically to teach this stuff. It would have been difficult to get back [into a British university]. I suspect that even if I wanted to take up a fellowship I would struggle.”

Dr. Werner Kierski, a psychotherapist who has taught at Anglia Ruskin and Middlesex, added: “They [ethics committees] have become hysterical. If it’s not blocking research, it’s putting limits on what researchers can do.

“In one case, I had an ethics committee force my researchers to text me before and after interviewing people, to confirm that they are still alive.

It’s completely unnecessary and deeply patronising.

“We’ve reached a point where research conducted in other countries will become increasingly dominant. UK research will become insignificant because they [researchers] are so stifled by ethics requirements.”

Bath Spa University caused controversy earlier this year when it emerged that it had declined Mr. Caspian’s research proposal to examine why growing numbers of transgender people were reversing their transition surgery.

After accepting his proposal in 2015, the university later U-turned when Mr. Caspian asked to look for participants on online forums, informing him that his research could provoke “unnecessary offence” and “attacks on social media”.

Jo Johnson, Universities Minister

Jo Johnson, Universities Minister CREDIT: GETTY

Bath Spa has since offered to refund a third of Mr. Caspian’s fees but has rejected his request for an internal review.

A university spokesman said it would “not be commenting further at this stage”.

Mr. Caspian is now crowdfunding online in order to fight the case and has received almost £6,000 in donations from fellow academics and trans people who support his work.

In a letter sent this week to the universities minister Jo Johnson, Mr. Caspian writes that the “suppression of research on spurious grounds” is a growing problem in Britain.

“I have already heard of academics leaving the UK for countries where they felt they would be more welcomed to carry out their research,” the letter continues.

“I believe that it should be made clear that any infringement of our academic freedom should not be allowed. I would ask you to consider the ramifications should academics continue to be censored in this way.”

Last night, Mr. Johnson said that academic freedom was the “foundation of higher education”, adding that he expected universities to “protect and promote it”.

Under the new Higher Education and Research Act, he said that universities would be expected to champion “the freedom to put forward new ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions”.

A spokesman for Universities UK said that its members had “robust processes” to ensure that all research was conducted appropriately.

“They also recognise that there may be legitimate academic reasons to study matters which may be controversial in nature,” they added.

 Source: This article was published telegraph.co.uk By Harry Yorke

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