Some podcast recommendations …

OK, so I’ve not done much blogging for a while, but now in isolation I feel the need to share some thanks to, and recommendations for, the podcasters that are helping to keep me sane.

So before you read any further a word of warning … I walk a lot listening to podcasts and I also listen to them while in the gym or the kitchen at home. The list below is quite long and some of the podcasts are not currently “live”, but I include them because their back catalogue is well worth a listen. So here we go then, mind the step.

“Live” podcasts:

The Peter Attia Drive Great podcast for health and medical advice recommended by a doctor friend of mine. Good coverage of COVID-19, but some excellent episodes on the importance of sleep, drugs in sport, that marathon record, new running shoes and recovery.

7am Great for up-to-the-minute independent reporting and analysis of current affairs and politics.

Hunting Seasons Explores a season of TV in each episode. Quite long episodes. I only listen to them if interested in the series.

Crime Writers On … These guys started by reviewing early episodes of the famous Serial podcast (see below), but now review other (mostly) crime-related podcasts and pop culture. I never miss an episode. 

The Beetoota Advocate For the best analysis of Australian politics and current affairs (and a good belly laugh).

Crime in Sports Perhaps an acquired taste and another long podcast, but these two comedians give a great analysis of what seems like an endless list of true(!) professional sports crimes. Almost unbelievable.

True Crime Obsessed Another true crime comedy podcast (yes, I’m addicted). I love these guys. Always funny.

Conversations This is Richard Fidler’s and Sarah Kanowski’s ABC radio show podcast. I listen when interested in the person they are talking to.

The Male Gayz From New Zealand. I love these guys, but again it may not be for you. I really love their theme music! Typically down-to-earth Kiwis, but both have the talent to keep you listening while they just talk about rubbish.

Health Report From the ABC with Dr Norman Swan. Almost required listening these days. I’ve been listening on and off for years.

This American Life From US National Public Radio and hosted and produced by Ira Glass who is probably the foremost expert on podcast storytelling and one of the brains behind Serial. I listen to selected episodes when they appeal to me. Each week they choose a different theme and story.

Extreme Vetting with The Chaser Great for a ROFL moment, this podcast puts selected comedians, writers and politicians through the ringer. Maybe start with the Tony Martin ep from 23 March 2020.

Nordic True Crime This one is a bit dark, but as I’m also obsessed with Scandinavia Noir TV series, movies and books, I love it. Sometimes covers truly horrific crimes, so don’t say you’ve not been warned.

The Gays Are Revolting These guys usually release their eps on a weekly basis and cover contemporary issues and events that are relevant to the queer community. The usually have guests in for interviews. They’re trying to continue while some have been stood down from their jobs

Coodabeens Footy Show Another show that I never miss, but it is only on during (AFL) footy season. Now on ABC radio and in their 40th year on the air. May be a little hard to understand unless you’ve lived in Melbourne or are a keen AFL fan. I love the songs, talk back characters, the general banter and Sam the Sub’s regular segment. Two hours well spent each week.

Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review From the BBC. I’m only a relatively recent listener and I’d probably not yet qualify as a “member of the church”, but this is another one I never miss now and I’m slowly working my way through their available back catalogue. Fantastic! They regularly review big stars of the screen(s) and they’re persevering from home while in isolation in England.

Espionage I guess this is another acquired taste, but the stories are usually well worth listening to.

... These Are Their Stories: The Law & Order Podcast Hosted by Kevin and Rebecca from Crime Writers On, each episode concentrates on reviewing one episode of the TV shows Law & Order, SVU or Criminal Intent with a special guest. Very funny!

Hawk Talk Podcast OK, I’m a Hawthorn FC fan and club member. I’m totally devoted to Nick and Tizz, two die-hard Hawks fans who produce a great weekly podcast during footy season.

Bring a Plate Well there hasn’t been a lot since April 2019, but Peter and Bec are both very funny writers and I find them great listening. But wait! There’s more. A new episode was released on 7 April!

*** LATE NEWS! They’re back!!! Roy & HG: Bludging on the Blindside Yes, Roy & HG are back on the ABC again. All is right with the world, or at least it soon will be.***

Not currently “Live” podcasts (some have completed their run):

Accused Host Amber Hunt does a simply brilliant job on this podcast. The third series just wrapped at the end of January 2020. I’ve listened to them all. One of the top three true crime investigative podcasts ever. Beautifully made and presented. Not to be missed.

74 Seconds This podcast received a Peabody Award in 2017 and tells the tragic story of the first police shooting to go on trial in Minnesota. Really well made. 

Bear Brook Another great true crime podcast from the US. A really engaging presentation. and great storytelling.

Bowraville Dan Box from The Australian (newspaper) did a great job on this, exposing an unsolved killing in Bowraville, NSW. Another tragic true story.

Breakdown Now with seven seasons online, this comes from Atlanta, US and the latest season covers a police shooting of unarmed veteran Anthony Hill who was struggling with bi-polar disorder. I found it pretty interesting and very tragic.

Crimetown Currently in their second season, Marc and Zac have attracted a big following with this podcast and deservedly so. Start with Season One about Providence, Rhode Island and the corrupt public figure Buddy Cianci.

Done Disappeared A great send up of Up and Vanished, this is really hilarious, but perhaps you should try a bit of U&V first?

Hunting Warhead Well this one isn’t what the title sounds like. It is an investigative podcast about hunting down online child abusers. Pretty gruesome content.

In the Dark I found both Season 1 about young Jacob Wetterling’s abduction and Season 2 about Curtis Flower’s probable wrongful conviction riveting. Right up there with Accused and 74 Seconds, this podcast is not to be missed. Madeleine Baran, Samara Freemark and their team do an outstanding job with this podcast.

OFFSHORE  They’re now working on their fourth season, but until that drops there are three great seasons online. I feel like Hawaii is almost my second home, so really enjoyed the first two seasons about a killing in Waikiki and the sacred mountain Mauna Kea. With any podcast the host is particularly important and Jessica Terrell does a wonderful job on OFFSFORE.

Open Mike This show features interviews between AFL journalist Mike Sheahan and some of the AFL greats. Some are funny and others very moving (like the recent ep with Brian Lake). I’ve not listened to them all.

Phoebe’s Fall A very good Australian investigative podcast from The Age newsroom in Melbourne about the tragic death of Phoebe Handsjuk.

Serial There have been three full seasons of this famous and game-changing podcast. Best to start with Season 1, which at the time was the podcast equivalent of Game of Thrones in terms of popular interest. It put podcasts right up there with mainstream TV series. The first season investigated the murder of Hae Min Lee, a high school senior from Baltimore. Was Adnan Syed guilty or not? In the second season host Sarah Koenig continues, but this time the story is about Bowe Bergdahl as US soldier who had been a prisoner of the Taliban for nearly five years before his release in May 2014. I really enjoyed both seasons.

SBS True Stories I subscribed for Season 3, a five-part 2015 investigation into Adelaide’s gay-hate murders by journalist Mark Whittaker. More horror and tragedy. Sorry.

The Ballad of Billy Balls This one is quite unusual. iO Tillett Wright (host & producer) presents this tale of the 1977 death of Billy Balls, whose girlfriend Rebecca is iO’s mother. It is very well presented and like nothing else you’ve ever heard. 

The Eleventh Yet another great ABC podcast that recently concluded. Journalist Alex Mann delves into the sacking of the Whitlam government in 1975, interviewing several people who were involved in some way at that time.

They Came to Play Yet another AFL footy podcast presented during footy season. Nothing since their post-Grand Final ep in late September 2019, but I hope they continue when the footy starts again (gotta be optimistic!). The best thing about this show is that one of the hosts, Lehmo is a Hawks supporter. I never miss it during footy season, especially if the Hawks won and both Footscray and Richmond lost.

The Sporting Probe with Roy & HG This one finished at the end of 2018, but if you like Roy & HG’s humour you can catch up on all 88 episodes.

Tony Martin’s SIZZLETOWN I really miss this one and hope they start it up again. Absolutely hilarious. They even have merch.

Trace A great investigative podcast about the unsolved murder of a Melbourne mother in a suburban bookshop. Great work by the ABC’s Rachel Brown.

Uncivil This podcast is another Peabody winner from 2017. It presents the stories left out of the official and accepted version of the history of the US Civil War. I studied the US Civil War at undergraduate level and I learnt something new each episode. A shame it ended in late 2018.

Uncover I just finished season 6 of this Canadian investigative podcast, so there’s a great deal of listening here for you. I’ve enjoyed Season 3 on the Toronto serial homicides and other unsolved deaths and the history of the LGBTQ community in Toronto and Season 6 on the 1980s panic about Satanic cults in Martensville, SK.

Undisclosed This podcast requires a bit of commitment as it goes into so much detail. Rabia Chaudry, Colin Miller and Susan Simpson investigate wrongful convictions and the US civil justice system. There are 17 seasons! Those I’ve gotten into include the stories of Adnan Syed (of Serial fame, two seasons), Joey Watkins, Jamar Huggins, Freddie Gray, Dennis Perry and Keith Davis Jr.

Unravel This podcast has had four great seasons: 1. Blood on the Tracks about a suspicious death outside of Tamworth in 1988; 2. Barrenjoey Road about the disappearance of Trudie Adams in 1978; 3. Last Seen Katoomba on the disappearance of young Blue Mountains mother Belinda Peisley; and 4. Snowball, the amazing story of how the swindler Lezlie Manukian stole more than a million dollars from host Ollie Ward’s family in New Zealand. Gripping.

Wrong Skin This is a really illuminating and beautifully presented podcast from The Age. It is about a relationship banned under traditional (indigenous) law. Two young lovers disappear and almost a year later only one body is found. Not to be missed.

So that’s about it. Yes, there are others in my podcast library, but those above are the podcasts I’d regularly download and would recommend to others. Enjoy!

And finally, my sincere thanks to all those who have brought us the podcasts above. I love your work!

#OpenAccess Journals for Librarians #LIS

A good colleague of mine at UTS, Dr Bhuva Narayan wrote an excellent recent blog post about the deliberate academic practice of sharing research outputs openly: Learning to be Open: Open Access as a Deliberate Academic Practice.

I’m always amazed at librarians and those doing Library and Information Research (LIS) research who publish behind paywalls. I think this goes against everything we stand for in libraries. There are many decent Open Access alternatives and I thought I would point out some in this post. All those below are listed with the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Information Research: An International Electronic Journal  http://www.informationr.net/ir/  Information Research is an open access, international, peer-reviewed, scholarly journal, dedicated to making accessible the results of research across a wide range of information-related disciplines. It is published by the University of Borås, Sweden and edited by Professor T.D. Wilson. It is hosted, and given technical support, by Lund University Libraries, Sweden. No APCs.

The Australasian Journal of Information Systems http://journal.acs.org.au/index.php/ajis/ The Australasian Journal of Information Systems (AJIS) is an international quality, peer reviewed journal covering innovative research and practice in Information Systems. AJIS publishes high quality contributions to theory and practice in the global Information Systems (IS) discipline. It is particularly interested in IS knowledge drawn from or applied to Australasia and in the Asia-Pacific region. The journal welcomes submissions on research and conceptual development based in a very wide range of inquiry methods, ways of thinking and modes of expression. No APCs

College & Research Libraries http://crl.acrl.org/index.php/crl/about/editorialPolicies#focusAndScope College & Research Libraries includes articles in all fields of interest and concern to academic and research libraries. Well-written manuscripts on all aspects of academic and research librarianship will be considered. The focus of the journal is on reports of original research. Manuscripts may also include descriptive narratives of successful and unsuccessful ventures, thoughtful discussions of issues in librarianship, and other suitable subjects. No APCs.

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/eblip/index.php/EBLIP EBLIP is an open access, peer reviewed journal that is published quarterly, hosted by the University of Alberta Learning Services, and supported by an international team of editorial advisors. The purpose of the journal is to provide a forum for librarians and other information professionals to discover research that may contribute to decision making in professional practice. EBLIP publishes original research and commentary on the topic of evidence based library and information practice, as well as reviews of previously published research (evidence summaries) on a wide number of topics. There are no article processing charges (APCs) for publishing in EBLIP.

Libres: Library and Information Science Research electronic journal http://www.libres-ejournal.info/about-libres/  LIBRES is an international refereed e-journal devoted to research and scholarly articles in Library and Information Science/Service (LIS). It has a particular focus on research in emerging areas of LIS, synthesis of LIS research areas, and on novel perspectives and conceptions that advance theory and practice. LIBRES is published twice a year in June and in December. All papers are blind reviewed by at least 2 referees. LIBRES publishes the following types of papers:

  • research paper reporting a completed study that advances the field or profession
  • synthesis paper that surveys an area of LIS to synthesize a new or better understanding
  • opinion/perspectives paper that explores a new conception of an aspect of LIS in a scholarly way

LIBRES charges no APCs.

Weave: Journal of Library User Experience http://www.weaveux.org/about.html  Weave is a peer-reviewed, open access, web-based publication featuring articles on user experience design for librarians and professionals in related fields. Their editorial board consists of recognized experts in the field of library UX, and their editorial philosophy is to strive for a balance between theoretical and practical topics. No APCs.

More Thoughts About Scholarly Publishing #openaccess

 

This post presents some of my own views. It does not represent or reflect the views of the institution that I work for.

The post comes about as a result of a late night and early morning Twitter exchange and after hearing about the obscene charges a publisher has quoted us for perpetual licenses to academic e-texts.

Here’s the Twitter exchange:

twitter exchange.jpeg

And here is the link to Richard Poynder’s tweet above: https://twitter.com/RickyPo/status/897021213507297280

I don’t always agree with Richard, but I do in this case. Pay-to-publish Gold OA is defective and not sustainable; the research cycle does need more transparency; and there is a need for more public involvement in discussions about Open Access.

Publicly funded research in many universities, like those here in Australia, is not shared openly and the tax-paying public pay for it many times over:

1. Government funded universities.
2. Subscriptions or purchases of all the research that is given away for free, mostly to several large publishing houses who own most academic research in the many ways discussed below.
3. We pay for any research that has to be made Open Access in the form of outrageous “Article Processing Charges” (APCs).
4. We pay the same publishers for access to systems that give us metrics and indexes on who is being read or cited the most, etc. (Scopus, Web of Science, etc.).
5. We pay many of the same publishers to join their ratings and rankings games so we can boast about how well we are doing in a relative sense.

I realise that many in the “game” know all of this already, but most of the public will not. This system is responsible for generating revenue and profits for these legacy publishers that are well in excess of the margins earned by major media companies, and probably higher than those posted by Apple, Google or Amazon (see https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/27/profitable-business-scientific-publishing-bad-for-science). Most universities struggle with the ever increasing costs outlined in the points above and students certainly struggle with the rising costs of access to either print or electronic textbooks that are published by these legacy publishers. Some academics are also frustrated and doing something about it as illustrated well in this recent (July 2017) post from Professor Timothy Gowers. His frustrations with the current dissemination model are neatly outlined in the first paragraph. Those on whom research is done rarely can access (or benefit from) the results and they too are getting fed up. For example, vulnerable and disadvantaged communities – what do they see for all the research done and does life change for the better?

I think the current system of scholarly publishing (covering monographs, journals and textbooks whether print or online) is held back by legacy publishers who still benefit from it being based upon a print mindset. Universities must rethink this outdated model and try to realise the potential of the internet age that can be achieved through better use of networks, connections and more collaborative communities of shared interests. I know this sounds idealistic, but it has happened in many other sectors already. Academia has been reasonably slow to move and slower to adapt and change its habits. One of the many challenges will be in bringing around those senior researchers who are tied to the current system and who also benefit from it in terms of reputation. My observation is that many junior researchers can actually see a better way to disseminate their research and I think their experience with the internet has led to a more altruistic attitude to sharing their knowledge.

We should look at the best examples of this on the internet. If scholarly publishing really is about knowledge sharing, then it needs to be more like Wikipedia than Encylopedia Brittanica, more like the HuffPost (distributed, connected contributors) than legacy news media, and more like AirBnb than traditional hotels. We need to look at things like Reddit for discourse, GitHub as a model for sharing and collaboration and BitTorrent as a model for peer-to-peer sharing and fast large scale data transfer.

Some progress is being made with Open Access:

  • Some significant funds are being injected by charities such as the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation into new Open Access publishing platforms that are managed for them by F1000 Research.
  • Starting in Brazil and now expanded to 15 countries is the SciELO program that seeks to improve the scientific journals that indexes and publishes in Open Access.
  • Open Access is particularly important for developing and emerging countries (who cannot afford access to many subscription based sources) and the evolution of Open Access publishing in South America is described in this post from SPARC.
  • In Europe we can see the OpenAIRE Europe network that seeks to make open science for the benefit of society, innovation and industry and the developing European Open Science Cloud project.
  • The SHARE portal by the Open Science Foundation is building a free, open, data set about research and scholarly activities across their life cycle.
  • SPARC is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education.
  • The Open Library of the Humanities is funded by an international consortium of libraries and is dedicated to publishing Open Access scholarship with no author-facing APCs.
  • And the now infamous Sci-Hub was created from sheer frustration with the current system of scholarly dissemination.

If we decide to devote our efforts to more collaborative and cooperative shared platforms more will be achieved and be sustainable in the long run. I think we need to let go of the old ties to print models of books, journals, and textbooks and the associated delays in publishing, editions, restrictive licenses, and competition. We should rather: encourage the use of shared platforms; curate open online collections; recognise the value of Open Educational Resources; use Creative Commons licenses; seriously attempt to sort out and implement open peer review; and value reuse, unbundling, remixing, repurposing and lively discourse through interactivity. John Seely Brown might describe this as a move from “Stocks” (protected, static or fixed assets) to “Flows” (tacit, created evolving forms of knowledge). I think he would also encourage us to stop waiting for perfect.

Finally, here are some other suggestions, based mostly on some reading that I did last year in Kevin Kelly’s The Inevitable:

  • Aim at a deeper richer form of engagement with society and the those who are stakeholders in the object of the research;
  • Provide just-in-time research in real-time and on-demand – when it is needed to help clarify topical issues beyond media hype (The Conversation is doing some of this);
  • Look at more fluidity in academic output, including growth, revision and versioning;
  • Encourage and recognise behaviour that is more open and “becoming” (less static and aloof);
  • Realise the benefits of cloud-based platform synergy;
  • Work with and for the (public) crowd, not exclusive of them;
  • Strive to make the new forms of research output searchable, retrievable, shareable, productive and persistent – the F.A.I.R. goals for 2020 for publicly funded research are a decent set of principles – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable;
  • Value open questioning; and
  • Realise that we are heading towards convergence on a massive scale in a global matrix and the current scholarly system actively resists this, so the risk is that universities as we know them could become irrelevant and by-passed.

You may be interested in an earlier post on the same subject: https://malbooth.com/2017/02/13/my-thoughts-on-revolutionising-scholarly-publishing-in-the-digital-age/ 

As Gerard Hoffnung would say “That’s All!”.

CAUL Publishing-X 2017

CAULPubX2017

Earlier this week we ran the CAUL Publishing-X event at UTS. This is the first time that a number of Australian university library scholarly publishers have combined to run a self-help event like this. As well as library publishers from Adelaide, ANU, Monash, Sydney and UTS universities, we had other participants who generously came to speak and share knowledge from PKP, W3C, tekReader and SOS print+media.

We will be progressively uploading the presentations given to the event’s github site (linked above).

Here’s my summary of the two days:

We heard about what each of the presses do and how they do it. There are several very different approaches but also some similarities and common challenges. I think we established at a working level that there is much valuable experience and wisdom that can and should be shared. How do we best do that now?

We had several updates and technical workshop demonstrations from the likes of PKP, Sydney University Press (re IGP) and from the tekReader folks. UTS ePRESS staff provided a revealing review of the process of accreditation (with COPE, DOAJ and OASPA) covering the basics and benefits of this. 

There were two important and revealing environmental scans/updates: on developments in Open Access (from Scott Abbott) and future trends and issues in content technologies, web development & apps and portable web publishing technology from David Wood representing W3C. 

We were appraised on some very realistic solutions to common issues by the people from eGloo and SOS. And we heard and saw some very inspiring things from Fiona Salisbury of La Trobe University re OER publications and from Michael Schultz (SOS) and Zoë Sadokierski (UTS) re the new capabilities of digital printing and print-on-demand services. These presentations were all impressive and should result in all of us doing better things with online and open access scholarly publishing. 

Hopefully there was something for everyone and I was really happy with the voluntary input from our relatively small community of scholarly publishers and our partners. 

 

Film Review: “In The Fade” #SydFilmFest 2017

In The Fade is a modern thriller set mostly in Germany, around Berlin I think. It is well worth seeing if you like this kind of thing. Diane Kruger plays a mother and wife who has her life torn apart when her husband and son are brutally murdered in a bomb attack. We witness her grief, the emotional ordeal of sitting through the trial of the suspected bombers, and her hunt for revenge following their acquittal.

I think Diane Kruger is brilliant. I’ve seen and enjoyed her performances in several other things, but she is again completely different in this: almost unrecognisable and convincingly German to my eyes and ears.

The story is well told and paced, but along the way we do see the director, Fatih Akin’s exploration of many things that are wrong with contemporary society: in particular the violence of radicalisation, the irrational fear of those who are different and the innocent lives lost as a result. We also observe a mother’s tragic unconditional love for her lost family. Entertaining with a strong message. 4/5

Film Review: “Pulse” #SydFilmFest 2017


Pulse was billed as an intriguing mix of sci-fi, teen angst, queer drama and some body swap action thrown in for good measure (from Australia). It was on at Dendy Newtown and that is just a short walk away for me so I selected this film without another thought.

It turned out to be one of the best films that I saw at the Festival this year. It stars the amazing Daniel Monks as our hero. He also wrote the film, edited and co-produced it with the other key driving force Stevie Cruz-Martin who was also the film’s director and cinematographer. The crowd-funded budget for the film was less than $60,000 I think! The film very skilfully and frankly deals with some major issues in contemporary society: developing sexuality, identity and same-sex attraction; discrimination; dealing with a physical disability; and ultimately, learning what really matters in friendships and relationships.

Daniel’s character Olly is in love with his straight best friend at high school Luke (played by Scott Lee), but ultimately he realises that this cannot work out well. Olly eventually opts for a body swap into a girl of the same age which would have the potential to kill two birds with the one stone: his physical disability and his inability to be sexually attractive to Luke. After the body swap Olly’s character in the film becomes the sexually liberated Olivia (played Jaimee Peasley), but Olly’s conscience is still played by Daniel Monk. Putting all of this together without confusing the audience is quite simply a masterpiece in film editing. Is young Daniel the next star of the Australia film industry?

I should also commend Stevie Cruz-Martin’s wonderful and innovative cinematography which gave the film a very contemporary and personal feel.

The only disappointing aspect of this showing was that it was somewhat marginalised in one of the smaller strands of Sydney Film Festival – “Screenability”. Good on them for featuring it in this way, but really, it deserved a much bigger screening at one of the major venues. I saw quite a few big-budget foreign films at sold-out major venues that were nowhere near as good as this film. I hope that Pulse gains more exposure and attracts more attention at future festivals. A beautiful film that is thoroughly enjoyable. 4.5/5

Film Review: “Call Me By Your Name” #SydFilmFest 2017


Call Me By Your Name is a gay romance set in Italy. It is gently paced and beautifully set, but I think it runs far too long.

In the clip above you get a good feel for what is not so great and what is great about this film. Armie Hammer first talks about his own reaction to portraying male-to-male sex and then his younger less experienced partner in the film, Timothée Chalamet, really gets to the heart of what makes this film of the celebration of love special – the complete “lack of a violent oppressor or deterrent to this love”. Armie’s character in the film is ultimately uncomfortable with himself, but I think his portrayal also lacks the multiple dimensions that Timothée brought to his role.

I agree with Jordan Hoffman from The Guardian who highlighted the very supportive father-to-son exchange towards the end of the film. It is a wonderful moment and reinforces what Timothée says of the film above. Beautiful, but a little long. 3.5/5