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[30 Sep 2016 | 2 Comments | ]
Speculation: Sociality and “soundness”. Is this the connection across disciplines?

A couple of ideas have been rumbling along in the background for me for a while. Reproducibility and what it actually means or should mean has been the issue du jour for a while. As we revised the Excellence manuscript in response to comments and review reports, we also needed to dig a bit deeper into what it was that distinguishes the qualities of the concept of “soundness” from “excellence”. Are they both merely empty and local terms or is there something different about “proper scholarly practice” that we can use to …

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[22 Sep 2016 | Comments Off on FAIR enough? FAIR for one? FAIR for all! | ]
FAIR enough? FAIR for one? FAIR for all!

The development of the acronym “FAIR” to describe open data was a stroke of genius. Standing for “Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable” it describes four attributes of datasets that are aspirations to achieve machine readability and re-use for an open data world. The short hand description provided by four attributes as well as a familiar and friendly word have led to its adoption as a touchstone for funders and policy groups including the G20 Hangzhao Concensus, the Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science, the NIH Data Commons and the European Open …

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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 …

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[10 May 2016 | Comments Off on PolEcon of OA Publishing VI: Economies of Scale | ]
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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[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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[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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[29 Jan 2016 | Comments Off on Taking Culture Seriously: The challenges of data sharing | ]
Taking Culture Seriously: The challenges of data sharing

I promised some thinking out loud and likely naive and uninformed opinion in my plans for the new year. Here’s a start on that with apologies to Science and Technology Studies and Cultural Studies people who’ve probably thought all of this through. Yes, I am trying to get people to do my due diligence literature review for me.
It’s a common strand when we talk about improving data sharing or data management, or access to research, or public engagement…or… “Cultural Change, its hard”. The capitals are deliberate. Cultural Change is seen …