News in brief

May 1, 2008

International students

London tops destination list

London is still the number one choice for international students, according to an organisation representing the city's universities. It hosted 89,955 overseas students during 2006-07, according to London Higher, a 5 per cent increase on the previous academic year. International students now account for 23 per cent of the total London student population. The city still has more foreign students than either New York (65,885) or Sydney (37,515). The economic impact of overseas students is estimated at £1.5 billion a year.

Wales Higher Education Funding Council

Two leave as restructuring bites

Two people have been made redundant as part of a restructuring of the Welsh funding body. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales has been reorganised into two directorates, with two heads of department taking voluntary redundancy. Frances Good, the head of statistics and IT, and Shirley McKay, the head of HR and organisational development, leave as the restructuring comes into effect. Phil Gummett, the chief executive, said the structure would give the council more flexibility in dealing with the Government and institutions.

Information management

It's time to leave Athens

Universities are being urged to make the switch from Athens, the IT management system academics use to access research papers and data, to a new alternative. Funding for Athens by the Joint Information Systems Committee ends on 31 July and institutions are being asked to consider switching now to the new system, Shibboleth, which has been adopted by Jisc as an open-source alternative to Athens. It can be used by individual institutions, but it is more powerful when used by alliances such as the UK Access Management Federation for Education and Research. Shibboleth is internationally supported, builds on institutions' existing structures, can be operated in house and is subscription free.

Copyright law

Guidance seeks to bring clarity

New guidelines for researchers on copyright legislation have been published by the British Academy and the Publishers Association. They aim to provide a clear path through what is considered by many to be a jungle of legislation, with authors, publishers and researchers often unsure of their rights and obligations. The guidelines address the most frequent problems, including fair dealing exemptions, the terms of protection for different types of materials, confusion over copyright for material held in digital form, and ownership issues such as the subject of "orphan" works.

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Tim Duerden, senior lecturer in physiology and complementary medicine at the University of Salford, was paraphrased as saying that the evidence base for complementary and alternative medicine was "very reliable" in an article last week ("Experts criticise 'pseudo-scientific' complementary medicine degrees", 24 April). He actually said that the evidence base was "very variable". We are happy to correct this.

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