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[19 Nov 2015 | 6 Comments | ]
PolEcon of OA Publishing: What are the assets of a journal?

This post wasn’t on the original slate for the Political Economics of Publishing series but it seems apposite as the arguments and consequences of the Editorial Board of Lingua resigning en masse to form a new journal published by Ubiquity Press continue to rumble on.
The resignation of the editorial board of Lingua from the (Elsevier owned) journal to form a new journal, that is intended to really be “the same journal” raises interesting issues of ownership and messaging. Perhaps even more deeply it raises questions of what the real assets …

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[19 Oct 2015 | 5 Comments | ]
PolEcon of OA Publishing II: What’s the technical problem with reforming scholarly publishing?

In the first post in this series I identified a series of challenges in scholarly publishing while stepping through some of the processes that publishers undertake in the management of articles. A particular theme was the challenge of managing a heterogenous stream of articles and their associated heterogeneous formats and problems, in particular at a large scale. An immediate reaction many people have is that there must be technical solutions to many of these problems. In this post I will briefly outline some of the charateristics of possible solutions and …

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[6 Oct 2015 | One Comment | ]
Speaking at City University London for OA Week

Ernesto Priego has invited me to speak at City University in London on Thursday the 22nd October as part of Open Access Week. I wanted to pull together a bunch of the thinking I’ve been doing recently around Open Knowledge in general and how we can get there from here. This is deliberately a bit on the provocative side so do come along to argue! There is no charge but please register for the talk.

The Limits of “Open”: Why knowledge is not a public good and what to do about …

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[1 Oct 2015 | One Comment | ]
A league table by any means will smell just as rank

The University Rankings season is upon us with the QS league table released a few weeks back to much hand wringing here in the UK as many science focussed institutions tumbled downwards. The fact that this was due to a changed emphasis in counting humanities and social sciences rather than any change at the universities themselves was at least noted, although how much this was to excuse the drop rather than engage with the issue is unclear.
At around the same time particle physicists and other “big science” communities were up …

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[30 Sep 2015 | 15 Comments | ]

A note on changes: I’m going to vary my usual practice in this series and post things in a rawer form with the intention of incorporating feedback and comments over time. In the longer term I will aim to post the series in a “completed” form in one way or another as a resource. If there is interest then it might be possible to turn it into a book.
There is no statement more calculated to make a publisher’s blood boil than “Publishers? They just organise peer review” or perhaps …

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[27 Sep 2015 | 6 Comments | ]
The Political Economics of Open Access Publishing – A series

One of the odd things about scholarly publishing is how little any particular group of stakeholders seems to understand the perspective of others. It is easy to start with researchers ourselves, who are for the most part embarrassingly ignorant of what publishing actually involves. But those who have spent a career in publishing are equally ignorant (and usually dismissive to boot) of researchers’ perspectives. Each in turn fail to understand what libraries are or how librarians think. Indeed the naive view that libraries and librarians are homogenous is a big …

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[10 Sep 2015 | Comments Off on Who’s in the Club? New frames for understanding knowledge sharing | ]
Who’s in the Club? New frames for understanding knowledge sharing

The following is a version of the text I spoke from at the STEPS 2015 Conference, Resource Politics, at a session on Open Science organised by Valleria Arza, where I spoke along with Ross Mounce and Cindy Regalado. This version is modified slightly in response to comments from the audience.
There aren’t too many privileged categories I don’t fall into. White, male, middle class, middle aged, home owner. Perhaps the only claim I could make in the UK context is not having a connection with Oxbridge. The only language I speak …

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[7 Sep 2015 | 7 Comments | ]
Researcher as victim. Researcher as predator.

Researchers for the most part are pretty smart people. At the very least they’ve managed to play the games required of undergraduate and post graduate students, and out-competed a substantial proportion of other vying for the same places. Senior academics have survived running the gauntlet of getting published, and getting funded, at least enough to stay in the race.
It has been observed that when smart people do dumb things it is worth looking closer. The dumb thing is usually being done for a smart reason. Indeed we might go one …

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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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[7 Jul 2015 | 2 Comments | ]

For a long time it was difficult for evolutionary biology to make sense of a (male) peacock’s tail. Clearly it is involved in courtship but the investment in growing it, and the disdvantage of carrying it around, would seem to be a disadvantage over all. The burden of the tail might be worth it for a single male if female preferences are fixed
Fisher found a solution to this problem by noting that the genes for large tails in male peacocks would tend to be carried along with the genes for …