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[22 Dec 2014 | 5 Comments | ]
Loss, time and money

For my holiday project I’m reading through my old blog posts and trying to track the conversations that they were part of. What is shocking, but not surprising with a little thought, is how many of my current ideas seem to spring into being almost whole in single posts. And just how old some of those posts are. At the some time there is plenty of misunderstanding and rank naivety in there as well.
The period from 2007-10 was clearly productive and febrile. The links out from my posts point to …

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[18 Nov 2014 | 5 Comments | ]
Data Capture for the Real World

Many efforts at building data infrastructures for the “average researcher” have been funded, designed and in some cases even built. Most of them have limited success. Part of the problem has always been building systems that solve problems that the “average researcher” doesn’t know that they have. Issues of curation and metadata are so far beyond the day to day issues that an experimental researcher is focussed on as to be incomprehensible. We clearly need better tools, but they need to be built to deal with the problems that researchers face. …

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[30 Jul 2014 | 2 Comments | ]
A Prison Dilemma

I am currently on holiday. You can tell this because I’m writing, reading and otherwise doing things that I regard as fun. In particular I’ve been catching up on some reading. I’ve been meaning to read Danah Boyd‘s It’s Complicated for some time (and you can see some of my first impressions in the previous post) but I had held off because I wanted to buy a copy.
That may seem a strange statement. Danah makes a copy of the book available on her website as a PDF (under a CC BY-NC license) …

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[23 Jul 2014 | 6 Comments | ]

I have a distinct tendency to see everything through the lens of what it means for research communities. I have just finally read Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated a book that focuses on how and why U.S. teenagers interact with and through social media. The book is well worth reading for the study itself, but I would argue it is more worth reading for the way it challenges many of the assumptions we make about how social interactions online and how they are mediated by technology.
The main thrust of Boyd’s argument is …

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[29 May 2014 | 3 Comments | ]

It takes me a while to process things. It often then takes me longer to feel able to write about them. Two weeks ago we lost one of the true giants of Open Science. Others have written about Jean-Claude’s work and his contributions – and I don’t feel able to add much to those reflections at the moment. I will also be participating in a conference panel in August at which Jean-Claude was going to speak and which will now be dedicated to his memory – I may have something …

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[26 Apr 2014 | 11 Comments | ]

Over the past few weeks there has been a sudden increase in the amount of financial data on scholarly communications in the public domain. This was triggered in large part by the Wellcome Trust releasing data on the prices paid for Article Processing Charges by the institutions it funds. The release of this pretty messy dataset was followed by a substantial effort to clean that data up. This crowd-sourced data curation process has been described by Michelle Brook. Here I want to reflect on the tools that were available to …

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[16 Apr 2014 | 2 Comments | ]

One of the things that has been bothering me for some time is the question of finding the right governance and finance models for supporting both a core set of scholarly communications infrastructures and shared innovation spaces. In this post I wanted to think about how we bridge the funding gap from promising pilot to community infrastructure and how debt financing might play a role.

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[21 Feb 2014 | One Comment | ]

…one of the motivations I had to get writing again was a request from someone at a traditional publisher to write more because it “was so useful to have a moderate voice to point to”. Seems I didn’t do so well at that with that first post back.
When you get a criticism about tone it is easy to get defensive. It’s particularly easy when there has been a history of condescension, personal attacks and attacks on the fundamental logic of what you’re doing from “the other side”. But of course …

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[8 Feb 2014 | 18 Comments | ]

Access to Research is an initiative from a 20th Century industry attempting to stave off progress towards the 21st Century by applying a 19th Century infrastructure. Depending on how generous you are feeling it can either be described as a misguided waste of effort or as a cynical attempt to divert the community from tackling the real issues of implementing full Open Access. As is obvious I’m not a neutral observer here so I recommend reading the description at the website. Indeed I would also recommend anyone who is interested to …

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[10 Jul 2013 | 13 Comments | ]
Open is a state of mind

“Open source” is not a verb
Nathan Yergler via John Wilbanks
I often return to the question of what “Open” means and why it matters. Indeed the very first blog post I wrote focussed on questions of definition. Sometimes I return to it because people disagree with my perspective. Sometimes because someone approaches similar questions in a new or interesting way. But mostly I return to it because of the constant struggle to get across the mindset that it encompasses.
Most recently I addressed the question of what “Open” is about in a online talk …