Scholarly Publishing – Where is the Value Realized?

Peter Jones Information Ecology, Media Ecology, Service Design

Now that Elsevier has withdrawn its support for the Research Works Act, it will be interesting to see if the academic boycott goes “full Occupy” on Elsevier (and other publishers) or recognizes that its been listened to with respect. Its a complicated and emerging relationship. Thinking about scholarly publishing as a service system, the authors are not actually customers of the Elsevier services directly – they are end users of a subscription service. So while they complained about high prices, they themselves never paid those prices, even indirectly. The university library has always been the “customer” and the subscriber business model is not the same as a service. There is no exchange for realized value. In scholarly publishing, the academic author has a relationship with the journal and editor, never the publisher (e.g., Elsevier). So the argument about providing work as IP to a publisher is also disingenuous. An author is free to submit work to one of hundreds of journals – online publishing has proliferated more journals than ever in history (and most of the new ones are not …

What Jaron said …

Peter Jones Information Ecology, Innovation, Media Ecology

Today’s New York Times places Jaron Lanier as a central voice contra-pundit to the extremes of discourse in the SOPA/PIPA copyright controversies. I’ve posted my thoughts directly in response to other articles. Jaron’s is one of the long-range views that actually comes from insight into multiple industries and the effects of poor decisions made a long time ago. Essentially, yes, SOPA is bad and poorly written, as is all legislation in the Boehner house. What do you expect? To blame it all on “corporate evil” is misguided and hypocritical. It is easy for consumers demanding anything and everything for free , but free consumption has costs to producers. Jaron points out the devil’s deal the cheap consumer made a long time ago, and how that’s playing out now in the oscillation back to hard protections as encoded in these bills. I cite one quote in fair use from The False Ideals of the Web: The adulation of “free content” inevitably meant that “advertising” would become the biggest business in the open part of the information economy. Furthermore, that system isn’t …

What’s Your Occupation?

Peter Jones Human Values, Media Ecology, Social Innovation

We have been working with Occupy Toronto for a few weeks now, and have even ramped up the engagement since the camp came down mid-week. Grad students and even president Sara Diamond from OCAD University have been involved , along with the Design Exchange, with two major community events located (ironically enough) in the deco-era original Toronto Stock Exchange. The goals of these sessions have been to evolve a common framing and voice for (meaning “with”) the diffuse and diverse core members of the movement. What we seem to be missing are the connections between similar events in other Occupy communities. Pay attention to the shift of medium here – Occupy is an emerging and embodied social medium for civil change. It is not like the Arab Spring or other social media narratives. This is embodied (situated in place) and broadcasted (livecast) and not tweeted and FB’d to organize. People are working things out F2F – not online – its a classic McLuhan media transformation in the making.

Mac people are friendly, but are Macs?

Peter Jones Information Ecology, Media Ecology

I often make a simple argument on behalf of the Windows (7) system, which I advocate as significantly more usable than the Mac OSX. And yes, I use both, regularly. I like the idea of just listing a number of operations the Mac does poorly, Dave Letterman style, from my own experience of working with both platforms in information product and everyday use. Number 10.  You cannot easily update the OSX operating system. Every bit of the process is locked down. We have a Macbook Pro with Snow Leopard on one partition, and it refuses to allow the installation of Leopard on the other partition. Locked out. Windows, I could install on that partition. But not another version of OSX? Number 9. The non-standard video interfaces. WHICH Macbook dongle did you need? I teach at a design school – you need a collection of 5 dongles and 5 minutes for each Mac to get them to display on projectors. Number 8. Flexible hardware interfaces. Its all locked down, again. No SD card. USB is fussy and slow. Having to eject …