Following our determination to create new ways of scholarship for the benefit of the world (/pmr/2013/03/21/scholrev-why-are-we-doing-this-and-immediate-thoughts-on-how-to-proceed/ ) let’s explore possible approaches. I stress that this is NOT PMR directing where to go, but giving a possible lead.
This sort of desire to change or widen scholarship is happening in many places, not just #scholrev. Today I learnt of a French group (https://hackyourphd.wordpress.com/about-2/comment-page-1/ ) “Hack Your PhD”. They have tapped into the same spring of discontent and opportunity:
The HackYourPhD community was born out of an acknowledgement that current ways of performing research frequently generate frustration, conflits, and isolation. The crisis in research is sometimes covered in the media: job insecurity, rush to publication creating pressure and dishonest practices, privatization of knowledge through the grip of scientific publishing houses. This is a vision from the inside – that of research practitioners. This lack of trust is amplified by the numerous scandals that have occurred in the world of research, for instance through connections with private corporations whose goal is to generate profit, creating conflicts of interest.
HackYourPhD brings together students, young researchers, engaged citizens, hacktivists, tinkerers from all horizons, entrepreneurs, and everyone who is interested in the production and the sharing of knowledge in the wider sense. This collective aims to bring concrete solutions to complex issues and to build much-needed collaborative relationships between those involved in knowledge production. This is required for collective intelligence to come into existence and bring answers to urgent issues of society.
We believe that in an era of democratization of the tools of research, whether it be technical instruments for the natural sciences, or the exponential simplification of data access, research must be accessible to everyone.
We believe it is important to show that new ways of doing reseasrch exist, and can only benefit research itself as well as the relationship between science and society. We do not seek to revolutionize research, but rather question how it works and add complementary bricks so that it may adapt better to today’s world and respond in a well-adapted fashion to the scientific and human issues of tomorrow.
This is wonderfully compelling and echoes my own thoughts and I am sure those who gathered in Amsterdam 2 days ago. We are also getting mails and tweets of other groups – it’s almost overwhelming.
A natural reaction would be to try to integrate all these efforts. I think that would be wrong because each has its own freedom of action and directions of exploration. And in any case w don’t know precisely where we are going or who will join us or what barriers will be erected.
What I think we need is a communal meeting place to build the future. I think we need to look to successful communities over the centuries. Yesterday I learned a new work: “tietotalkoot” (http://p2pfoundation.net/Rural_Cooperation_and_the_Online_Swarm ) – which I think is a volunteer self-help community which builds things for the good of the community (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talkoot ). I like the “Online Swarm” metaphor. I also like concepts such as “Commons”, “Marketplace”, “Bazaar”, “Cooperative”.
“Decentralisation with communication” also encapsulates it. We already have suggested subgroups and subtasks. They should just go ahead and create their artefacts – hacking – but make sure we know what’s happening so we won’t duplicate unnecessarily and so we’ll build on each other. And identify critical areas where we need something. Decentralisation means there is no limit to the number involved and no loss of identity.
In the internet era these things are excitingly possible. I’ll post later about my own experiences but I’m also very happy to learn of others.