#btpdf2: My first day impressions: academia is sick and getting worse

I am at the potentially exciting Beyond the PDF2 in Amsterdam. Because the Wifi is intermittent (at best) I’ll blog – not linearly or systematically.

Because I spend much of my time with the Open Knowledge Foundation #okfn I see an exciting creative bottom-up justice-driven meritocratic maker do-er open vision for the 21st century. Coming to #btpdf2 I find almost none of this. The immediate impression is academics talking to academics with almost no recognition of the world outside. We see countless diagrams of the “data management cycle”, “academic cycle” etc. where the players are academics, publishers, funders. The primary purpose of academia seems to be to create publications. The primary motivation for articles is to promote individuals and institutions. On none of these diagrams were citizens mentioned. Occasionally “consumers”, as if academic output could “trickle down ” to the unwashed masses.

No realisation that many of the people outside academia are doing a far more better job than academics. Those people who are using data to manage their cities. That’s science, scholarship and relevant. That writing and criticism can be done by everyone. That high schools can be research laboratories. It’s just not in the ivory towers.

People are dying because scholarly information is behind firewalls. That should make us angry. I’d like to meet with people who want to create an OPEN alternative to scholarship. Maybe at lunch.

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