South Korean universities reach agreement with Elsevier
After a long standoff, South Korean universities have reached an agreement with scientific publisher Elsevier for access to ScienceDirect. This database contains thousands of ebooks and and content from 3500 academic journals. The agreement concluded before 12th of January included price hikes between 3.5 per cent and 3.9 per cent. Since then, publisher has pushed for a 4.5 per cent increase. Lee Chang Won, secretary general of the Korea University & College Library Association said: "We want Elsevier to abolish the minimum flat rate system, in which our universities have to pay for digital content that nobody reads." At the same time, research analysis team director at the Korean Council for University Education stated: ''We can no longer afford excessive demands.”
Assistant professor title will be scrapped in Turkey
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has decided to bring series of radical changes to Turkey's higher education, including the abolition of the oral exam, lowering of foreign language conditions required of academics seeking promotion to associate professor and scrapping of the assistant professor role. In this way, those who obtain doctorate will be immediately appointed as associate professors, cutting out an intermediate stage. Those who remain unappointed will have the title of ''doctor teaching assistants'', which is equivalent to the existing title of assistant professor. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated: ''There is a high chance that it will be sent to parliament next week. We will solve this problem in this way: there will be no assistant professorship after getting doctorates.''
10,000 student places at risk in Australia
Universities in Australia stated that it is necessary to accommodate $2.2 billion in funding cuts by the Turnbull government and ten thousand students will miss out on funding this year. The government has frozen public funding at 2017 levels, but univerisites will have a choice between cutting facility costs, research costs or student places. Belinda Robinson, Universities Australia Chief Executive said: "Some will be forced to offer fewer places in some courses to avoid a budget black hole. Others will have to dig into critical maintenance funds or will lose the funding they need to run outreach into regional and remote Australia."