Tagged: 2015

Why Open Access and What Is It?

More slides from a talk that I gave to UTS Information and Knowledge Management students before Open Access Week 2015. I was on a panel of people talking on a range of related subjects and answering student questions.

OA week for IKM (slides in pdf format)

I posted this in advance of Open Access Week 2015 (19-25 October) but together with my colleague Scott Abbott from UTS ePress, I will add some relevant information about Open Access each day over the course of the week.

Daily Update #1

So you want to find more Open Access content and you’re not sure where to look? Well, here are a few options:

Firstly Google Scholar which indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an many publishing formats and disciplines, but it will deliver results that are not all Open Access.

CORE aggregates all open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide. And to quote from CORE’s mission, it “supports the right of citizens and general public to access the results of research towards which they contributed by paying taxes”.

JURN is a search engine that primarily was aimed at indexing free and Open Access ejournals in the arts and humanities. In 2014 the scope of JURN was widened to include other open scholarly publications, such as theses and also ejournals in science, biomedical, business, law and ecology/nature related topics.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.

Daily Update #2

In his pre-OA Week Google+ post, Peter Suber urges us to use OA week to talk to everyone we know about Open Access, making the case for it in face-to-face conversations. He is one of the wisest and strongest global advocates for Open Access and he urges us not to lead with “readings”. Nevertheless, he provides a really useful list of references so you can get the story correct and I think they are well worth listing here. Thanks Peter!

Daily Update #3 (thanks Scott!) When You Work in the Open, Everyone Can Be a Collaborator

Open Science, Open Government, Open Data, Open Software are a part of the broader Open Movement of which Open Access is a central part. As this article by Elliot Harmon, of Electronic Frontier Foundation sets out, open access to the research enables collaboration across an incredibly broad range of areas.

Example 1. By using open software and open data/open science practices (such as open lab books), scientists can pool their research online and collaborate more effectively – as has been done by Sydney University’s Matthew Todd and colleagues. Todd, and his fellow researchers speed up the process of sharing their results and finding a cure for Malaria.

Example 2. The free Open Journal Systems software provided by the Public Knowledge Project allows scholars across the globe to publish any kind of scholarly peer reviewed journal. Indeed, UTS ePRESS uses a customised version of OJS to publish its 14 open access journals and Open Conference Systems to publish its conference series.

Example 3. To finish with, a wonderfully direct and incredibly inspiring example of open collaboration between a citizen scientist and more established researchers is the case of then 16 year old Jack Andraka (mentioned in the EFF piece above). Andraka, while a sophomore in high school was devastated by the loss of an uncle to pancreatic cancer. As a result, he researched open access articles from Pub Med Central and over time developed a possible, cheap and effective early test for that cancer. His inspiring TED talk is here. And here is a blog post Jack wrote for PLOS about Open Access way back in 2013: http://blogs.plos.org/thestudentblog/2013/09/27/7665/ 

These are just three brief but concrete examples of what collaboration can achieve across the open movements. What other “open” success stories can you discover?

Daily Update #4 : Featuring the latest MediaObject from UTS ePRESS: Lace Narratives

Later today we have a talk for Open Access Week by our new Assistant Deputy Vice Chancellor for Education, Professor Peter Scott. He comes to us fresh from the The Open University (UK) and will discuss his experince in developing Open Educational Resources. Right after that and following that theme and also the OA Week theme of “Open for Collaboration” we will launch our latest MediaObject and monograph Lace Narratives on the work of Cecilia Heffer. The publication is composed of an Open Access digital edition of the book along with a seven-minute video documenting Cecilia creating the lace-work Drawn Threads. A print-on-demand edition of the book will be available to purchase shortly. Additionally, a limited edition artist’s book with lace samples bound into the pages will be publicly available through selected libraries and museums, including the UTS Library. This is an experimental publication model conceived by Zoë Sadokierski for the MediaObject book series and produced with support from the UTS Library. See more at: http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/books/lace-narratives

Daily Update #5 (Yes, I’m afraid this is a Monday-Friday thing. Besides I cannot brain anymore for OA this week.)

Open Access, Human Rights and the Future

In a blog post critiquing the ongoing use of the  #icanhazpdf – or “secret codeword” for sharing paywall-restricted scholarly content online via twitter – EFF author Elliot Harmon, makes an important point. He argues that use of this sharing technique is only effective for some and, in fact, does little to change the status quo of traditional academic publisher practice: limiting access to only the wealthy/lucky few. This point feeds in to the post’s main theme that “Open Access is a human rights issue”.

Harmon goes on to cite two cases where a researcher and OA activist ran afoul of the law for downloading/sharing pay-walled scholarly content. The first case cited is the ongoing saga being endured by researcher Diego Gomez who ignored the “rigidity of copyright law” and shared pay-walled scholarly content with other researchers. His legal trial continues.

The second case cited is the tragic death of OA and human rights activist Aaron Swartz who was threatened by the US Justice Department with 30 years of jail time and a million dollar fine for “accessing millions of articles via MIT’s computer network without “authorization.”” As a result of this immense pressure, Aaron, at age 26, hung himself in his apartment. A really moving and insightful documentary about Aaron’s short but incredible life – “The Internet’s Own Boy” – was released in 2014 and is well worth a look.

The second article, which we will finish the OA Week blog with, is a look to the future:

In her LSE blog Opening Up Open Access: Moving beyond business models and towards cooperative, scholar-organized, open networks Kathleen Fitzpatrick asks “What will be required in order to motivate scholars to take the lead in forming collective, cooperative, scholar-organized and -governed publications on open networks?”

While acknowledging the continued exciting and innovative development in “OA land”, Fitzpatrick suggests that the OA movement may have recently focused too much on the business models of making research free and open at the expense of ensuring that researchers themselves take charge of their own futures in regard to publishing. She questions whether two problems are the cause of the slow movement in this area:

  1. The problem of whether scholars having to get involved with the publishing process is too much for most of them – who were not trained for that work – and the resulting lack of credit they get at the institutional/funding level even if they do happen to launch/run/edit a scholarly journal.
  2. Second problem: “Scholars continue to publish in venues that have established imprimaturs, and in venues that they have no editorial hand in, because those two factors continue to be privileged by the various review mechanisms up the chain.” Fitzpatrick answers herself stating that scholar-led publishing collectives can be just as, and even more rigorous in peer review. They can give the imprimatur needed to be well rated further “up the chain”.

Fitzpatrick’s insightful conclusions (also recently and eloquently advocated by Lars Bjørnshauge here) are best presented in her own words:

But I think, in the coming years, we need to pay as much attention to shifting the requirements of those review mechanisms up the chain, whether institution- or funder-based, in order to persuade them that impact and prestige might not necessarily correlate, that rigor need not necessarily require distance, and that all publications — from the individual scholarly blog to the most carefully edited monograph — demand to be evaluated on their own terms, with an understanding of the possibilities each presents for the increase in knowledge we all seek.

On that note, we’d like to wish you a happy and successful conclusion to OA Week 2015 and all the best for your future endeavours!

 

30 Day Song Challenge (in one day)

I was late to this. Today I saw Chris Caines tweeting about his songs (he was catching up too) and decided to find the list and join in. So here they all are. I found it on Doctor J’s blog. So here we go, mind the step …

30 Day Song Challenge (2015)
DAY 01:  your favorite song   A Forest (Tree mix), The Cure (from Mixed Up. I’ve seen two of their “last concerts ever”.)
DAY 02:  your least favorite song  Who Are You, The Who (mainly now because of CSI, but I hated it well before they started using it & I refuse to provide a link to it)
DAY 03:  a song that makes you happy  Mack the Knife (live version, Ella Fitzgerald (she forgets some words and improvises)
DAY 04:  a song that makes you sad  re: Stacks, Bon Iver (because I associate it with Dad’s death last year)
DAY 05:  a song that reminds you of someone  And It’s Alright, Peter Broderick (because I had this played at my brother’s funeral. It was very sad.)
DAY 06:  a song that reminds you of home Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes (I don’t know why, but I love the change of time signature that they pull off at about 2:45)
DAY 07:  a song you never tire of hearing  True Faith, New Order (and the iconic music video I linked to broke new ground in 1987 – it is worth a whole blog post I think; or She’s Gone, The Brian Jonestown Massacre – for me this song is almost like tripping, it is all-encompassing and I just dive into it, all 7+ minutes of it)
DAY 08:  a song you know all the words to  Take a Picture, Filter (or Ripe & Ruin, Alt-J)
DAY 09:  a song that makes you want to dance Peter Pan, Jinja Safari (because ugly dancing)
DAY 10:  a song that helps you fall asleep Harry Patch (In Memory Of), Radiohead (it doesn’t send me to sleep, but it is soft and a melancholy)
DAY 11:  a song from your favorite band/artist In Between Days (Shiver Mix), The Cure (from Mixed Up)
DAY 12:  a song from a band/artist you hate  Anything by Justin Bieber (once again, no link)
DAY 13:  a song that is a guilty pleasure  Kids, MGMT (and I really don’t feel that guilty, but it was this or something from Coldplay)
DAY 14:  a song no one would expect you to love Unite Us, Pnau
DAY 15:  a song that could be the theme song to your life Ordinary, Red Riders (I wish they’d not split up, but I was fortunate enough to see their last Sydney show; or You Are A Tourist, Death Cab for Cutie – watch the video, I think it is brilliant!)
DAY 16:  a song you used to love but now hate Jelly Legs, Children Collide (I guess I don’t really hate it, but I do skip if it comes up on the Nano)
DAY 17:  a song you hear often on the radio Time to Wander, Gypsy & The Cat (well, I used to hear it when I was listening to the radio some years ago)
DAY 18:  a song that every bar band should know Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls
DAY 19:  a song that bar bands should stop playing Anything from Hot August Night, Neil Diamond (it could be banned or made illegal, so no link.)
DAY 20:  a song to listen to when you’re angry Johnny Appleseed, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros (calms me down; makes me smile again)
DAY 21:  a song that is best heard live  Go Or Go Ahead, Rufus Wainwright (but I’ve also heard a fab version by Matthew Mitcham in his cabaret show)
DAY 22:  a song you wish you had written A Stillness, The Naked and Famous (I LOVE this song)
DAY 23:  a song you want played at your wedding Intro, M83 Feat. Zola Jesus (from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Disc1)
DAY 24:  your favorite song this time last year We Are Fine, Sharon Van Etten (& I still love it because it is truly beautiful. I first heard it on the US TV series Rectify.)
DAY 25:  a song with utterly mysterious lyrics Moth’s Wings, Passion Pit (I’ve never really tried to understand the lyrics)
DAY 26:  a song that is an “earworm”  Symphonies, Dan Black (in a good way mostly)
DAY 27:  a song you wish you could play/sing  The Shining, Badly Drawn Boy (another very beautiful song first heard on the US series Queer As Folk. They always selected outstanding music to close each episode.)
DAY 28:  a song from your childhood  The Boy With a Moon and Star on his Head, Cat Stevens (I was a big fan)
DAY 29:  a song you want played at your funeral Read My Mind, The Killers (The lyrics are wonderful, especially “The stars are blazin’ like rebel diamonds, cut out of the sun…”)
DAY 30:  a song you discovered this month (during the Challenge)  Love Will Tear Us Apart, Joy Division (well, more rediscovered actually, but I love that someone had it down as a song to be played at a wedding)

The Invitation – review #sydfilmfest

The Invitation is supposed to be a slowburn thriller or a “riveting horror film”, set around a dinner party reunion of a group of friends (plus two others). Our hero Will (Logan Marshall-Green) returns to his old home with his girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), two years after the death of his young son. His ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her new husband David (Michiel Huisman) are hosting a dinner party for a group of old friends. Like most dinner parties, it begins very slowly, someone is late and it is all rather awkward. One of the problems with this film is that there are simply too many characters to be introduced and then ignored. This takes an age, isn’t effectively done and in doing so we are soon treated to a series of odd facial expressions straight out of the early years of Home and Away.

It continues to move along at a slow pace, with very little happening along the way. We know something is going to happen because you know, we bought tickets for a horror flick, but it just isn’t riveting, so I started getting distracted by things. From what I saw of the house, it didn’t look much like a contemporary home. It looked a little like a darkly-lit version of the Brady Bunch family home. Then it seemed that quite a lot of the guests (I won’t name them because most were not memorable) had been dressed by Alice the maid from Mr & Mrs Brady’s old wardrobe. Eden, however, was dressed and made up like the wife of one of those guys who runs tournaments for slaves, gladiators and lions in an ancient Rome TV series. But I digress …

Along the way we are introduced to a cult that has supposedly helped Eden deal with her grief. It was during this period that I started wondering whether this film was the Hollywood film version of an Instagram selfie. Let’s not get stuck there tho’.

Eventually, the ever suspicious Will has his first brain-fart, but his theory about what is happening is quickly assuaged when the missing guest finally shows up. Later on, much later on, after more gnashing of teeth (mostly Will’s), the proverbial does hit the fan and we are all relieved that something did eventually happen. It just wasn’t terribly thrilling and what does happen is left far too late.

Only lasts 90 mins but it seems much longer. 2.5/5

Phoenix – review #sydfilmfest

Billed as a mystery, I thought Phoenix was more of a complex exploration of forgiveness, love, betrayal and rebuilding in Berlin immediately after the Second World War. It moves at a gentle pace, allowing tension to build and this is very skilfully accomplished. We are left asking all kinds of questions about the reasons and motives for betrayal, and then perhaps wondering what we’d have done in the same situation. How much does true love influence forgiveness? And ultimately, are there limits to this kind of forgiveness?

It is easy to see the successful rebuilding of Berlin the city and now it is almost impossible to imagine the post-war destruction that obliterated some districts, but what of the people? How long does it take to heal, forget or forgive those wounds and losses? A generation or more? Phoenix made me think about all of this more deeply than my most recent visit to Berlin late last year.

The film is very well produced and presented and the story keeps you guessing right up to the end. It certainly didn’t end as I had expected and maybe that tells you something about how you might have reacted if faced with this kind of moral dilemma.

Everybody I spoke to thought highly of this film. Very well done. 4/5

The Tribe – review #sydfilmfest

So I decided to provide my review in a manner similar to the way the film was presented, with no dialogue, nor any subtitles for the Russian sign language.

The first paragraph is presented in the form of my written impression of the Russian sign language:                                                                                  .                                                                      .                                 !                                                                                    .                                                                  ;                                                                            ?

The second paragraph was going to be a long winded and repetitive set of points on exactly the same subject that would be really annoying and pointless to read, but I decided not to put you through that after all. (Unlike the film.)

The following 27 paragraphs are just more of the same. Work it and try to stay awake as this will take some time.

There is no concluding paragraph. I just could not be bothered.

Don’t read the critical self-indulgent reviews. In my opinion it isn’t radically new and pure expression, this film is a dud. 1/5

600 Miles – review #sydfilmfest

600 Miles does a number of things pretty well. It very effectively explores the absurd gun culture of North America. In this film I think you do get a sense of just how threatening and alarming hand guns and “hunting” rifles are. Even without ammunition. Every time we see someone handling a weapon you are aware of its weight, its mechanism and its potential lethality. The absurdity of gun laws in the US is also demonstrated when a youth buys some cartons of ammunition at a sports store, but is then asked for proof of age to purchase some cigarettes.

The plot is about illegal arms smuggling, and a law man (played well by Tim Roth) who tracks and investigates this, from the US to Mexico. Kristyan Ferrer as one of the young gun runners, captures the law man and then takes him across the border, where both need to rely on each other just to survive.

In Mexico we learn that almost nobody can be trusted, even members of your own family. This made me wonder why the film makers, who seemed mostly Mexican themselves, made all the Mexican roles seem so dark and sinister. Then I remembered that in the early scenes set back in Arizona, whilst the Americans were not all so obviously violent and corrupt, they were complicit in this whole problem and perhaps most at fault. Maybe we were meant to think that the whole world is black. There wasn’t much optimism in this film. Actually, I cannot recall any, even in the disjointed final scene during the credits.

The film only runs for 85 minutes, but the first hour is still pretty slow going and the plot is probably too thin to carry it well. There is a lot of gun violence in the last 25 minutes and then what I thought was a messy and weak ending. I realise that life isn’t always neatly concluded, but we go to the cinema to be entertained, educated, inspired and to escape reality, so I’d really prefer it if more film makers would question the vogue to leave so many loose threads or even the whole story up in the air before the credits start to roll. Sometimes it is as if they got bored with the production and just couldn’t be bothered.

Disturbing and depressing. 3/5