Tag Archives: blogging

Is hiding research behind a paywall immoral?

If you are a scientist, your job is to bring new knowledge into the world. And if you bring new knowledge into the world, it’s immoral to hide it. I heartily wish I’d never done it, and I won’t do it again.

That’s Mike Taylor’s thoughts on publishing research, and I tend to agree. To me, hiding research behind a paywall — particularly publicly funded research — goes against the main purpose of research, which is expanding the knowledge and understanding of mankind. That’s not possible if very few people read it.

I currently have access to a lot of academic articles and research as a graduate student, but I won’t in a few years when I’m done. Most of this research will be ghettoized to academic circles. The knowledge and ideas contained within these academic articles would be relevant to me long after I leave school.

Most of the most eager and curious minds are students, particularly younger ones. And yet k-12 students don’t have access to this information. Is it realistic to expect a sophomore in high school to spend $20 to read an academic article?

But these young minds are exactly the kinds of people who should be influenced by this research and looking to push it forward.

The biggest reason cited for publishing in this closed academic journals is the need for tenure. Well, it’s time tenure commities stopped being part of the problem. Knowledge should be open, and the quality of the research, not the name on the journal should be what ultimately matters.

Personally, I think blogging research might be the best approach and then having this collected into open-access Web journals. This would make finding academic research easy, and would also make it easy to comment on and share. Imagine if academic research went viral on social media?

Episode 40: iPhone comes to Cricket

talking on my banana piece

The iPhone has entered the prepaid world, and that’s big news.

We discuss the implications and our hopes that this can disrupt Verizon, AT&T and Sprint (maybe T Mobile?).

We also discuss some very interesting Twitter data from a new Pew report and AOL threatening a blogger for doing what AOL Huffington Post does.

Listen to this week’s episode:


Download the MP3

Show notes:

Blogging as academic scholarship

Professor Martin Weller expounds the benefits of blogging for scholars:

In terms of intellectual fulfillment, creativity, networking, impact, productivity, and overall benefit to my scholarly life, blogging wins hands down. I have written books, produced online courses, led research efforts, and directed a number of university projects. While these have all been fulfilling, blogging tops the list because of its room for experimentation and potential to connect to timely intelligent debate. That keeps blogging at the top of the heap.

But blogging won’t get you tenure, no matter your impact on the world through your writing. That’s a shame.

Academic journals are dying, however, and the idea of publishing in academic journals that no one reads — and are very expensive to read if you do want to read them — is better than sharing information freely with the world seems silly to me. The Web has disrupted book, magazine and newspaper publishing. It seems that it will begin to disrupt scholarly publishing.

What should academic publishing be like? Should professors be encouraged to freely share their work on the Web for anyone to read and comment on? Perhaps the worst part of publishing in journals is that you can’t share your writing on the Web; the journal now owns the writing (you can rewrite your findings if you really want to, but that doesn’t seem like a good use of time).

On failing young journalists

The Washington Post’s Ombudsman Patrick Pexton says the Post has failed some of its young journalists:

But The Post failed her as much as she failed The Post. I spoke with several young bloggers at The Post this week, and some who have left in recent months, and they had the same critique.

They said that they felt as if they were out there alone in digital land, under high pressure to get Web hits, with no training, little guidance or mentoring and sparse editing. Guidelines for aggregating stories are almost nonexistent, they said. And they believe that, even if they do a good job, there is no path forward. Will they one day graduate to a beat, covering a crime scene, a city council or a school board? They didn’t know. So some left; others are thinking of quitting.

Without guidelines, training and vision from the top how can you say a blogger failed?

Source: Washington Post.

Who really made the ethical lapse at blogPost?

Trevor Butterworth at the The Awl says former Washington Post blogger Elizabeth Flock was setup to fail:

How can this be a “significant ethical lapse” when the whole point of blogPOST is to profit from other people’s work? Because she drew attention to the essence of what aggregation really is? The story ends with Discovery protesting at being obviously burgled rather than being burgled and left with a thank you note in the form of a small trickle of click-throughs. Ms. Flock immediately and voluntarily resigned, saying the mistakes were hers, that it would only be a matter of time, given the pressures of the job, before she made another mistake. The full extent of her journalism crime was the omission of a link.

An 11 hour day, seven posts, almost 3,000 words and getting pushed out over making a mistake less than 1 percent of the time.

I encourage you to read everything Butterworth wrote. It’s a keeper, and I hope editors at the Post read it. Butterworth and I may defer on whether or not we believe that aggregation can be done well (I do believe it can), but top editors at the Post need to have clear guidelines for what they expect from bloggers and figure out a strategy that provides value for all.

Source: The Awl.