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[19 Jul 2016 | Comments Off on Squaring Circles: The economics and governance of scholarly infrastructures | ]

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.
Summary
Infrastructures for data, such as repositories, curation systems, aggregators, indexes and standards are …

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[28 Jan 2016 | Comments Off on Where are the pipes? Building Foundational Infrastructures for Future Services | ]
Where are the pipes? Building Foundational Infrastructures for Future Services

Cite as “Bilder G, Lin J, Neylon C (2016) Where are the pipes? Building Foundational Infrastructures for Future Services, retrieved [date], //cameronneylon.net/blog/where-are-the-pipes-building-foundational-infrastructures-for-future-services/ ‎”
You probably don’t think too much about where all the services to your residence run. They go missing from view until something goes wrong. But how do we maintain them unless they are identified? An entire utilities industry, which must search for utility infrastructure, hangs in the balance on this knowledge. There’s even an annual competition, a rodeo no less, to crown the best infrastructure locators in the land, rewarding those …

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[26 Aug 2015 | 3 Comments | ]
What exactly is infrastructure? Seeing the leopard’s spots

We ducked a fundamental question raised by our proposal for infrastructure principles: “what exactly counts as infrastructure?” Of course this is not a straightforward question and part of the reason for leaving it in untouched in the introductory post. We believe that any definition must entail a much broader discussion from the community. But we wanted to kick this off with a discussion of an important part of the infrastructure puzzle that we think is often missed. That the infrastructure we should care most about is often a layer below where our attention is focused.

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[23 Feb 2015 | 14 Comments | ]
Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructures

Everything we have gained by opening content and data will be under threat if we allow the enclosure of scholarly infrastructures. We propose a set of principles by which Open Infrastructures to support the research community could be run and sustained. – Geoffrey Bilder, Jennifer Lin, Cameron Neylon

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[13 Apr 2013 | 5 Comments | ]
What’s the right model for shared scholarly communications infrastructure?

There have been a lot of electrons spilled over the Elsevier Acquisition of Mendeley. I don’t intend to add too much to that discussion but it has provoked for me an interesting train of thought which seems worth thinking through. For what its worth my views of the acquisition are not too dissimilar to those of Jason Hoyt and John Wilbanks, and I recommend their posts. I have no doubt that the Mendeley team remain focussed on their vision and I hope they do well with it. And even with …

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[8 Nov 2011 | 3 Comments | ]

Michael Nielsen’s talk at Science Online was a real eye opener for many of us who have been advocating for change in research practice. He framed the whole challenge of change as an example of a well known problem, that of collective action. So how do we take this view and use it to effect the changes we want to see in research practice? And are we prepared to address our own collective action problem and place the overall goals above our own projects and approaches?

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[13 Jun 2011 | 2 Comments | ]

As a wooly headed social liberal with a strong belief in the power of the internet to connect people it is probably natural for to me have some sympathy for the ideas behind the “Big Society” espoused by the UK Prime Minister. The concept here is that many of the support roles traditionally taken by or at least mediated by government can be more effectively and efficiently provided in the community by direct interactions between members of the public. The potential of the web to inform, support critical debate, and …

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[24 Oct 2017 | No Comment | ]

Open Access week is a fitting time to be finalising a project on Open Data. About two years ago I started working with the Canadian development funder, the International Development Research Center, to look at the implementation of Open Data policy. This week the final report for that project is being published.
Everyone, it seems agrees that opening up research data is a good thing, at least in the abstract. While there are lots of good reasons for not making data open in specific cases, its hard to make a case …

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[8 Sep 2017 | Comments Off on Pushing costs upstream and risks downstream: Making a journal publisher profitable | ]

I’m not quite sure exactly what was the reason but there was a recent flare-up of the good old “how much does it cost to publish a scholarly article” discussion recently. Partly driven by the Guardian article from last month on the history of 20th century scholarly publishing. But really this conversation just rumbles along with a regular flare up when someone does a new calculation that comes to a new number, or some assertion is made about “value” by some stakeholder.
Probably the most sensible thing said in the most …

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[6 Jul 2017 | Comments Off on Thinking Collectively…or How to Get Something Out of Neoliberal Critique Without (Immediately) Overthrowing the Capitalist System | ]

One of the things I find frustrating about discussions of economics in scholarly publishing is the way that discussions that are built around critique of capital models or neoliberalism are dismissed as impractical. Most recently Stuart Lawson’s interesting provocation, Against Capital, got a range of dismissive comments as being irrelevant because it required the overthrow of the capitalist system.
I find this, alongside another kind of response, most commonly from people in the business of scholarly publishing that such criticisms represent a failure to understand the financial realities of publishing, frustrating …