[27 Sep 2015 | 6 Comments | ]
The Political Economics of Open Access Publishing – A series

One of the odd things about scholarly publishing is how little any particular group of stakeholders seems to understand the perspective of others. It is easy to start with researchers ourselves, who are for the most part embarrassingly ignorant of what publishing actually involves. But those who have spent a career in publishing are equally ignorant (and usually dismissive to boot) of researchers’ perspectives. Each in turn fail to understand what libraries are or how librarians think. Indeed the naive view that libraries and librarians are homogenous is a big …

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[19 Jul 2016 | No Comment | ]

This is a version of the paper I’ve had accepted for SciDataCon in a session on the sustainability of Research Data Infrastructures. It was also the basis for the session that I helped lead with Simon Coles at the Jisc-CNI meeting in mid-July in Oxford. The original version was quite short and skips over some of the background material and context. I’m hoping to work it up into a full paper at some point soon so any comments are welcome.
Infrastructures for data, such as repositories, curation systems, aggregators, indexes and standards are …

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[28 Jun 2016 | Comments Off on A letter to my MP, the Honourable Ben Howlett, member for Bath | ]

The Honourable Ben Howlett MP
Member for Bath
House of Commons, United Kingdom
Dear Ben,
I need to come clean at the beginning of this letter. I did not vote for you in the general election. I am unlikely to vote for you or any member of your party in the future. We come from different political, and I would imagine cultural backgrounds. Nonetheless we were on the same side of the debate for the referendum. This as I will return to, offers me some hope for repairing the damage that has been done.
I write without …

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[22 Jun 2016 | 3 Comments | ]

I’ve been conflicted about posting this. I had planned to write something along these lines for several weeks but the murder of Jo Cox threw that sideways. The way I write tends to involve pushing words around in my head for a week or so, and then writing it all out. Thus most of this existed in some form prior to her murder but it was not written down. I don’t want to claim any prescience but those events, and the subsequent debate over their meaning, so reinforced the fears …

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[7 Jun 2016 | 2 Comments | ]
Canaries in the Elsevier Mine: What to watch for at SSRN

Just to declare various conflicts of interest: I regard Gregg Gordon, CEO of SSRN as a friend and have always been impressed at what he has achieved at SSRN. From the perspective of what is best for the services SSRN can offer to researchers, selling to Elsevier was a smart opportunity and probably the best of the options available given the need for investment. My concerns are at the ecosystem level. What does this mean for the system as a whole? 
The first two paragraphs of this post have been edited following …

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[18 May 2016 | 6 Comments | ]
Scholarly Communications: Less of a market, more like general taxation?

This is necessarily speculative and I can’t claim to have bottomed out all the potential issues with this framing. It therefore stands as one of the “thinking in progress” posts I promised earlier in the year. Nonetheless it does seem like an interesting framing to pursue an understanding of scholarly communications through.
The idea of “the market” in scholarly communications has rubbed me up the wrong way for a long time. Both the moral and political superiority claimed by private and commercial players for the presumption that markets should be unregulated and …

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[16 May 2016 | 2 Comments | ]
Open Access Progress: Anecdotes from close to home

It has become rather fashionable in some circles to decry the complain about the lack of progress on Open Access. Particularly to decry the apparent failure of UK policies to move things forward. I’ve been guilty of frustration at various stages in the past and one thing I’ve always found useful is thinking back to where things were. So with that in mind here’s an anecdote or two that suggests not just progress but a substantial shift in the underlying practice.
I live with a chemist, a group not known for their engagement …