Archive for the ‘Comment’ Category

More Issues in Open Access(#OA)

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Red hardcover book with flipping pagesThere has been a recent flurry of activity around Open Access (OA) as Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) gear up to implement the recommendations of the Finch report. As readers of this blog know, I have been interested in the emergence of new forms of publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) for a while now, and since becoming an editor of Politics, my interest has sharpened. Those of you have read earlier blogs will know I am very much in favour of OA, but quite worried by the current proposals for so-called Gold OA (where open access is secured via the author or author’s institution paying an upfront Article Processing Charge or APC). I also perceive there to be a lack of detailed understanding of the whole infrastructure that lies submerged behind academic publishing: from peer review to the outreach activities of Learned Societies (disclaimer: I am trustee of the British International Studies Association) to mundane things like copy editing services.


Opening up publicly funded research – the questions David Willetts hasn’t answered

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Today the UK Science Minister David Willetts announced ‘plans to make publicly funded scientific research immediately available for anyone to read for free by 2014’. Research Councils UK also unveiled a new Open Access policy today that will apply to all of the publications which derive from work research funded by its members. This policy received less attention but may well have wider ramifications. It is also notably different to the one proposed by Willetts.

On the face of it this interest in, and endorsement of, Open access sounds like great news – who isn’t in favour of free dissemination of ideas? But, as I have already noted, the questions raised by discussions about Open Access are frequently obscured by the headlines. And this announcement raises some pretty significant questions:

Some Thoughts on Open Access Publishing

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Last week Graham Harman posted an interesting set of thoughts about the importance of open access publishing (here, here, here and here). I came to Harman’s comments via Stuart Elden’s comments here (Stuart has also posted links to some really good comments by Jo Van Every here and here). One of the important things that both Elden and Harman note is that the opportunity to move to blog postings for dissemination of work has much to do with context – both the career stage you are at and the national Higher Education ecosystem you work in. I don’t see much to argue with in either set of comments and Harman is right – we should aspire to knowledge being as available as possible. As an editor of Politics we have been keen to have a rolling set of our articles available outside the paywall for a limited period of time in recognition that this broadens the potential audience.

The exchange prompted me to finally jot down some things that I have been meaning to note about open access publishing. In short, I think there are some bits missing from the present discussion. (more…)

Modern Warfare 3 and the retreat from precision

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011


Modern Warfare 3 - Eifel Tower
Creative Commons License photo credit: Joseph G. Ajila Pinzón

Recently I finally found time to play my way through the single-player campaign of Modern Warfare 3 (MW3). As those who follow me on twitter know, I had been anticipating MW3 for a while now. Throughout the lead-in to the game’s release we had been treated to epic trailers showing the destruction of cities such as New York and Paris.

Given that I am currently trying to write about visions of urban cataclysm, playing my way through an interactive – if not immersive – rendering of such visions of urban violence had been on my to-do list for a while.

The LSE-Gaddafi affair: the lesson for UK Higher Education policy

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tracy O

In a perceptive comment on the LSE-Saif Gaddafi affair, Richard Sennett notes that LSE director Howard Davies “didn’t create the problem of the dodgy donor – he succumbed to a structural danger that is built into the [UK] educational system.” To outsiders the LSE’s decsision to supervise Gaddifi’s PhD and take donations from funds he controls could appear either naive, underhand or worse. However, Sennett raises an important point that bears further consideration as it implies that we should expect more of these problematic funding arrangements in UK Higher Education in future.