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[23 Oct 2018 | No Comment | ]

Consider this yet another commitment to trying to write here a little more regularly. Lots of thinking has been going on but not much writing! At least not writing as I’m going…

Three things colliding over the past few weeks have led me to want to try and get some ideas down. The first was a conversation – one of a set really – with Titus Brown and Dan Katz relating to the application of political economy and collective action theory to communities building research.

The second was the posting of …

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[9 May 2018 | One Comment | ]

This post was prompted by Donna Lanclos tweeting a link to a talk by Eamon Tewell:

OK so I'm not mad at all but this talk from @EamonTewell anticipates lots of what I want to dig into in a future talk of mine. So, I'm gonna cite this https://t.co/lZVYTFKp0u
— Donna Lanclos (@DonnaLanclos) May 5, 2018

His talk, on the problems of deficit models chimed with me on issues of tacit knowledge. I’m still noodling around an underpinning theory of knowledge for my work (blog post currently has spent nearly 12 months …

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[5 Jan 2018 | 7 Comments | ]

Three things come together to make this post. The first is the paper The 2.5% Commitment by David Lewis, which argues essentially for top slicing a percentage off library budgets to pay for shared infrastructures. There is much that I agree with in the paper, the need for resourcing infrastructure, the need for mechanisms to share that burden, and fundamentally the need to think about scholarly communications expenditures as investments. But I found myself disagreeing with the mechanism. What motivates me to getting around to writing this is the recent …

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[4 Jan 2018 | 2 Comments | ]

It’s not my joke but it still works. And given my pretty much complete failure to achieve even written resolutions it’s probably better to joke up front. But…here are a set of things I really need to write this year. Maybe more for my benefit than anyone else but it’s good to have a record.
Blog Posts: I have a few things that either need finishing or need writing, these are relatively immediate

Against the 2.5% Commitment – argument that fixed top-slicing of scholarly communications budgets is not the right way to …

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[4 Dec 2017 | Comments Off on Leaving the Gold Standard | ]

This is a piece I wrote for Jisc, as part of a project looking at underpinning theories of citation. There are a few more to come, and you can read the main report for the project at the Jisc repository. This post cross-posted from the Open Metrics blog.
Citations, we are told, are the gold standard in assessing the outputs of research. When any new measure or proxy is proposed the first question asked (although it is rarely answered with any rigour) is how this new measure correlates with the “gold …

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[6 Nov 2017 | Comments Off on Packaging Data: The core problem in general data sharing? | ]

In this final post about the IDRC data sharing pilot project I want to close the story that started with an epic rant a few months ago. To recap, I had data from the project that I wanted to deposit in Zenodo. Ideally I would have found an example of doing this well, organised my data files in a similar way, zipped up a set of directories with a structured manifest or catalogue in a recognised format and job done. It turned out to not be so easy.
In particular there …

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[2 Nov 2017 | Comments Off on Walking the walk – How easily can a whole project be shared and connected? | ]
Walking the walk – How easily can a whole project be shared and connected?

One of the things I wanted to do with the IDRC Data Sharing Pilot Project that we’ve just published was to try and demonstrate some best practice. This became more important as the project progressed and our focus on culture change developed. As I came to understand more deeply how much this process was one of showing by doing, for all parties, it became clear how crucial it was to make a best effort.
This turns out to be pretty hard. There are lots of tools out there to help with …

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[24 Oct 2017 | Comments Off on Policy for Culture Change: Making data sharing the default | ]

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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[30 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on Speculation: Learning, Teaching and Knowledge Making | ]

I’ve just read Lave and Wenger’s (1991) book Situated Learning on the recommendation of Isla Gershon. Like many books I’ve been reading this was radical in its time but reads in some ways to me today as common sense. It’s actually quite hard for me to reconstruct the world view in which this was seen as a dangerously radical departure.
The core of Lave and Wenger’s argument is that to understand learning we have to see the learner as a whole person in a web of relationships. They propose that a …