Image from The Cartoon Bank
As the saying, now a part of Internet lore, goes: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” That may be true, but now we must add: “But we do know if you are from a major news organization or corporation.”
My posting on Friday about the clashing values of academic institutions and businesses prompted a comment from Bill Hooker about linking to his blog posting about the pricing structure at BioMed Central (BMC). His comment and the e-mail I received this morning from BMC (reproduced below) got me rethinking about the nature of open access publishing.
This posting has two goals — first, to introduce DLTJ readers to the notion of “Educational Patents” or “edupatents” and provide an update on events of this week. Second, to frame the sometimes contentious interaction between academic institutions and supporting businesses as one of “clashing values.” The former serves as a cautionary tale within the wider scope of the latter.
There are days that I feel like Tom Cruise. No, I have no idea what it is like to be married to Nicole Kidman or Katie Holmes and I don’t have the secrets of Scientology. Let me rephrase: there are days that I feel like Jerry Macguire, the character Tom Cruise played in the movie by the same name. Have you seen it? Very early in the movie there is a scene where Jerry’s life as a top-tier sports agent is crumbling. He is on the phone with what turns out to be his last client — desperately trying to keep his business. The athlete (Cuba Gooding Jr. — I have no idea what it is like to be him either) gets Jerry to scream “Show Me The Money!” into the phone as a precondition for remaining his agent. In that vein, here is what I’m screaming into this PowerBook. (Imagine now that I am dancing around the room and standing on top of desks — not really a stretch for those that have seen my presentation style, I’ll admit.)
In case you haven’t run across Gapminder.org yet, I encourage you to carve out about 45 minutes of a day to do so. Even before going to the URL above, your first stop should be this 20 minute video by Hans Rosling — professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute — from a TEDtalk last year. 1
Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University demonstrates principles of fair use to give an overview of U.S. copyright principles in A Fair(y) Use Tale — a 10-minute video in five acts. Using clips from dozens of Disney films, Faden gives the historical perspective and underlying principles for copyright law in the United States. This is a great conversation starter for discussions about changing copyright — not only for its content, but also for its use of media from the very corporate interest that has had a big hand in the ongoing march towards indefinite copy rights. Wired Magazine’s blog also has a commentary on the video.
“Participatory Digital Libraries” is the name of a talk Paul Jones, Director of ibiblio.org, gave . Known as “The Public’s Library,” ibiblio is a large, diverse digital library. His talk offered insight on how ibiblio works and commentary for applying the same successful techniques in library projects. This is a summary of the key points of his talk; errors of transcription and omission are undoubtedly my own.
So here is my role on the internet — a Connector: “Connectors combine a sense that information technology is good for social purposes with a clear recognition that online resources are a great way to learn new things.” That definition comes from the Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. How close did the definition come to my view of myself? Here is the “connector” definition picked apart sentence by sentence.