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Not strictly about building websites but, BBC Radio 4 is running a series called 'The idea of a university' which can be listened to via the web. It is based on UK unis but still might be of interest to some.

Martha Kearney looks at how our universities have been transformed by six decades of expansion. Has our idea of what a university is for changed?

Note that you can listen to each program in the week following its broadcast only.
Cross-posted on Stack.
Via Information Literacy.


Hi Georg

I heard a guy called Gary Hall speak on the "Future of the University in the Digital Age" at the ANU School of Art this week. He's involved with culturemachine.net and so on ... but when asked where we could access his talk online as it was very dense and interesting, he said he doesn't put things online until a year after publication. It was a bit hard not to smile.


Did he give a reason why not?

Because "proper" publishers get shirty - and that's what still counts. He made a big deal of arxiv.org (at cornell - that might not be the right url) using "last but one" drafts which were not subject to copyright, but claimed scientists didn't care about words, which were all important to cultstuds types. Fortunately for him, there didn't seem to be any scientists in the room.

There's quite a debate in scientific circles about open access publishing and stuff. I'd draw your attention to http://www.plos.org/ if I may; Nature also was hosting a discussion but I can't find it right now. Ultimately the debate boils down to the publishing houses wanting to make money versus the right of the public to access publically-funded research without paying for it at the publication stage. And we being able to read papers necessary to do our job in times when money is tight, of course.

There are a number of issues here, and I don't think that this comment is the place for me to delve into them (although the 'rats weblog might be). What I will say is that the 'free access after a year' concept is taking hold, as is the idea of self-publishing of submitted drafts.

In that case you would submit a manuscript for review, and after acceptance you'd publish the submitted manuscript on, say, your own website or somewhere like arxiv.org. The critical thing, that gets around copyright issues, is that any changes asked for or suggested by the reviewers or editor get published separately, so that the article that appears in the journal is different from that the author self-publishes. All the information is there, and in fact all the same words are there but not necessarily in the same order.

Publishing is the goal of scientists. The whole observation-hypothesis-experiment thing isn't an exercise in self-gratification. The knowledge gained has to be accessible to other people, whether through peer-reviewed journals, textbooks, newspapers or television (and teh interwebs, natch). Correct and clear use of language is important. Mr Hall is a dickhead if he really believes that scientists do not care for words. Admittedly, some of us might not be very good at it . . .

Thanks, BK, I hoped you'd have something to say. I thought it was silly (and ignorant) to pretend that words weren't important to scientists when they so obviously are vital to precisely and persuasively explaining your work. But then I don't have the world's highest opinion of cultural studies (gotta keep that a bit quiet out on the blogs sometimes!)

Jeez, am I that predictable? j/k

It was a bit of a cliched stimulant to a bovine though, wasn't it?

Ooh, in one of those 'synchronicity' episodes, while searching for something else I came across an article in the NEJM about the 'open access' wotsit.

For those with privileged access the link is http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/354/15/1552 .

"A commitment to the value and quality of research carries with it a responsibility to extend the circulation of such work as far as possible and ideally to all who are interested in it and all who might profit by it."

(Sorry to hijack your post, Georg!)

Not hijacking at all BK, that's what blogs are all about. Commenters taking an idea and running with it.

Carry on.

And a similar article at Inside Higher Ed about journalists and sci journal embargoes.

Interesting link, thanks.

#inc sensible.comment

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