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[18 May 2016 | 5 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 …

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[13 May 2016 | 2 Comments | ]
What is it publishers DO? (Reprise)

This is more a note to write something on this up in some more detail. In the original post What is it publishers do anyway? I gestured towards the idea that one of the main value-adds for the artist formerly known as the publisher is in managing a long tail of challenging, and in some cases quite dangerous issues. What I didn’t quite say, but was implicit, is that a big role for publishers in preventing the researcher-author from getting egg on their face.
Enter this weeks entry into the pantheon of …

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[10 May 2016 | No Comment | ]
PolEcon of OA Publishing VI: Economies of Scale

I think I committed to one of these every two weeks didn’t I? So already behind? Some of what I intended in this section already got covered in What are the assets of a journal? and the other piece Critiquing the Standard Analytics Paper so this is headed in a slightly different direction from originally planned.
There are two things you frequently hear in criticism of scholarly publishers. One is “why can’t they do X? It’s trivial. Service Y does this for free and much better!”. I covered some of the reasons that this is …

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[5 May 2016 | One Comment | ]

This morning I received an email from a senior policy person. They’d read my blog post on Marginal Costs of Article Publishing but they couldn’t seem to get to the original article from Standard Analytics that I was commenting on. I took a look myself and found the following.

If you remember the claim of the original article was that platform and cloud provision costs meant that really the marginal cost of publishing was below $1. My comment was that there were lots of costs that were missing, and that marginal …

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[28 Apr 2016 | 3 Comments | ]
A Journal is a Club (New Working Paper)

This is a short reflection on a new Working Paper I’m an author on. The paper is largely the work of Jason Potts with contributions from myself, Lucy Montgomery, Ellie Rennie, and John Hartley. 
The moment that I decided it was time to move on from PLOS is crystal clear in my mind. I was standing in a room at the South of Perth Yacht Club, giving a short talk on my view of the political economics of journals and scholarly publishing. I’d been puzzling for a while about a series …

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[15 Apr 2016 | Comments Off on Taking a principled approach to envy | ]
Taking a principled approach to envy

When I saw the anonymous piece “Openness is Inclusivity” it both struck a chord and made me uncomfortable. Striking a chord because I’m increasingly concerned about the institutionalization and centralization of Open Science activities. Uncomfortable because it comes across as an attack, and an anonymous one at that, on one organization.
The Centre for Open Science has done a lot of good work, had a lot of success and brought in a lot of money to run a large operation. I think I have generally argued in favour of smaller groups over …

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[20 Mar 2016 | 6 Comments | ]

Once again, reproducibility is in the news. Most recently we hear that irreproducibility is irreproducible and thus everything is actually fine. The most recent round was kicked off by a criticism of the Reproducibility Project followed by claim and counter claim on whether one analysis makes more sense than the other. I’m not going to comment on that but I want to tease apart what the disagreement is about, because it shows that the problem with reproducibility goes much deeper than whether or not a particular experiment replicates.
At the centre …

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[15 Mar 2016 | 35 Comments | ]
European Commission Open Science Policy Platform

The following is my application to join the European Commission Open Science Policy Platform. The OSPP will provide expert advice to the European Commission on implementing the broader Open Science Agenda. As you will see some of us have a concern that the focus of the call is on organisations, rather than communities. This is a departure from much of the focus that the Commission itself has adopted on the potential benefits and opportunities of Open Science. A few of us are therefore applying as representatives of the community of interested …

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[26 Feb 2016 | One Comment | ]

It has been painful to watch the tensions at the Wikimedia Foundation explode over the last few months and with the stepping down of the Executive Director there seems a mood of conciliation and a desire for WMF to learn from the process. I know next to nothing of the details or the story, so while it is the spur for this post I don’t want to offer any opinions on WMF itself. But the story fits the outline of a pattern I’ve seen in a lot of organisations in the …