[Week 10 Tute Preparation] Agent Hill: When did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics? – Tony Stark: Last night.

Technology and the media have opened up many possibilities for the last few years, especially in science. In the past, one way to validate scientific work was through peers reviewing (Seed 2011), through a ‘paper system’ of publishing (Wilbanks 2011). Such process was too time consuming and also resulted in a ‘huge bill’ with duplicate results from all over the world (Pisani 2011). Continue from last week topic about social organisation and the practice of collaboration, these two factors have pushed science and its practices into a new level. Indeed technologies and new media cannot be ignored. Web 2.0 has enabled scientists, or at least people who have knowledge about science to share their knowledge without any geographical constraints. Moreover, Web 2.0 also gives us something called OPEN SCIENCE. That is, knowledge sharing is no longer a privilege for those who have resource or the money, but general audiences like us also have a chance to engage in the scientific community to gain knowledge, or even to contribute. We are moving into a knowledge culture, as in everyday, outside of academic sphere (Seed 2011), where it is open to knowledge transaction amongst everyone, i.e. policymakers, educators, journalists, and everyday citizens (Seed 2011).

This caused remarkable changes in the traditional publishing industry. Physical copies of scientific work are no longer in favour. Information can now be accessed via database. One concern I have in mind is the funding policy. Indeed I am not the expert in this area, but the problem is rather obvious. Where would scientists get the fund from? Of course some databases make us purchase the works, such as JSTOR or Emerald Insight, hopefully the money will go to research. But people can still get lots of papers for free by sharing files by simply networking, or illegally download them. Large organisations like universities also become partners with those publishers so their students have access to such databases for, I assume, much less money than each individual would have to pay. One advantage those databases share in common is credibility. We can argue that some open source websites are non–benefit because they use crowdsourcing to assemble information. Here we have the question of quality. How credible is a work done with less funding compare to a full–funded one? That is why the government is willing to sponsor new researches, that is to ensure the outcome, rather than relying completely on the open network. In the case of Australia, Group of Eight universities take $36 million from the other institutions in order to fund researches (Pitman 2013).

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Seed (eds) 2011, ‘On Science Transfer’, Seed, 27 January, accessed on 16 May 2013, < http://seedmagazine.com/content/print/on_science_transfer >.

Pisani, E. 2011, ‘Medical science will benefit from the research of crowds’, The Guardian, 11 January, < http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/medical-research-data-sharing >.

Pitman, T. 2013, ‘The best and rest: why we should fund ‘average’ research’, The Conversation, 2 May, accessed 16 May 2013, < http://theconversation.com/the-best-and-rest-why-we-should-fund-average-research-13415 >.

Wilbanks, J. 2011, ‘On Science Publishing’, Seed, 28 January, < http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/on_science_publishing >.

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