Academic journals are becoming the vacuum tubes of the Academy 2.0 enterprise

A beginning thought: Preprint services are more like libraries than journals. More interested in serving diverse stakeholders than in gate-keeping or ersatz-excellence. Happy to include work from grad students and emeriti, and from scientists anywhere on the planet. They are heralds of what needs to emerge in the aftertimes.

Academic journals are becoming the vacuum tubes of the Academy 2.0 enterprise; they are already described and defined more by their limitations than by their advantages. In their early decades, they served us well, until they didn’t. After the transition to an academy-internal publication economy, powered by ePrint services hosted across…


Yes. We are talking to, and maybe about, you. Image credit: Pexels on Pixabay.

“What would happen, for instance, if the university were to let go of the notion of prestige and of the competition that creates it in order to better align its personnel and other processes with its deepest values? Could those institutions begin, individually and collectively, by rejecting the absurdly metrics-focused line they’ve been cudgeled into by the accrediting bodies that oversee them?” (Fitzpatrick 2019).

PLEASE NOTE: This is a draft of a bit of the Open Scientist Handbook. There are references/links to other parts of this work-in-progress that do not link here in this blog. Sorry. …


And the winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Science is… Science

“I won’t have anything to do with the Nobel Prize… it’s a pain in the… (LAUGHS). I don’t like honors. I appreciate it [my work] for the work that I did, and for people who appreciate it, and I know there’s a lot of physicists who use my work, I don’t need anything else, I don’t think there’s any sense to anything else. I don’t see that it makes any point that someone in the Swedish Academy decides that this work is noble enough to receive a prize — I’ve already got the prize….
The prize is the pleasure of…


With a poor return of value, and a huge overhead for research, patents are a bad investment for the academy.

“It is true that many people in science will scoff if you try to tell them about a scientific community in which ideas are treated as gifts. This has not been their experience at all. They will tell you a story about a stolen idea. So-and-so invented the famous such and such, but the man down the hall hurried out and got the patent. Or so-and-so used to discuss his research with his lab partner but then the sneaky fellow went and published the ideas without giving proper credit. …


Badges give your cultural norms footholds for members to learn and practice

“A ‘badge’ is a symbol or indicator of an accomplishment, skill, quality or interest. From the Boy and Girl Scouts, to PADI diving instruction, to the more recently popular geo-location game, Foursquare, badges have been successfully used to set goals, motivate behaviors, represent achievements and communicate success in many contexts. A “digital badge” is an online record of achievements, tracking the recipient’s communities of interaction that issued the badge and the work completed to get it. Digital badges can support connected learning environments by motivating learning and signaling achievement both within particular communities as well as across communities and institutions…


You need to plant it for your idea to grow

“[W]e do know that coming up with original ideas or insights — the kind of lightbulb moments that can lead to imaginative What If questions — often involves the ability to combine ideas and influences, to mix and remix things that might not ordinarily go together. Einstein and others have referred to this as ‘combinatorial thinking’…. [T]his mix- and-match mental process is at the root of creativity and innovation” (Berger 2016).

“Most often, new discoveries and new learning come when one is open to serendipity, when one welcomes novelties and anomalies, and then tries to incorporate those outlying results into…


Science is give and take

“After giving talks about open science I’ve sometimes been approached by skeptics who say, ‘Why would I help out my competitors by sharing ideas and data on these new websites? Isn’t that just inviting other people to steal my data, or to scoop me? Only someone naive could think this will ever be widespread.’ As things currently stand, there’s a lot of truth to this point of view. But it’s also important to understand its limits. What these skeptics forget is that they already freely share their ideas and discoveries, whenever they publish papers describing their own scientific work. They’re…


The academy can’t afford a culture centered on creating giants in their fields

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the sholders [sic] of Giants.” Isaac Newton. 1676. Letter to Robert Hooke (before they became bitter enemies). This notion was a commonplace in the 17th Century, with the implications that even a dwarf would see further than a giant if he were standing on the giant’s shoulders. (Wikipedia).

“If our team’s ideas add value to the current state of knowledge, it is because we have stolen widely and well from the abundance of prior understanding surrounding us, and climbed a stairway of knowledge built by others.” Modern version… no giants.


Working together in time. Open science culture promotes active belonging in the community of science [photo: Nick Ansell CC license in Flickr]

“I am not saying science is a community that treats ideas as contributions; I am saying it becomes one to the degree that ideas move as gifts” (Hyde, 2009).

“The specificity of [demand] sharing… is rather that it also constitutes sharing in, granting access to the flows of objects, their intrinsic goods, and their intrinsic value” (Widlok, 2013).”

“That is the fundamental nature of gifts: they move, and their value increases with their passage. The fields made a gift of berries to us and we made a gift of them to our father. The more something is shared, the greater…


PLEASE NOTE: This is a draft of a bit of the Open Scientist Handbook. There are references/links to other parts of this work-in-progress that do not link here in this blog. Sorry. But you can also see what the Handbook will be offering soon.

“We see a future in which scientific information and scholarly communication more generally become part of a global, universal and explicit network of knowledge; where every claim, hypothesis, argument — every significant element of the discourse — can be explicitly represented, along with supporting data, software, workflows, multimedia, external commentary, and information about provenance. In this…

Bruce Caron

online science community architect; media; expression, education and gaming; fiction as needed. Also blog at <https://cybersocialstructure.org/>

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