[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).


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 >.

[Week 3 Tute Preparation] Everything is not what it seems.

Everything is not what it seems.

No, that is not the theme song of that Disney show you can’t help but watch, but it is about the infrastructure of everyday life that links closely with technology. There is no doubt that technologies have been facilitating the way in which we act ‘so naturally’ (or at least we believe so). However, as Marshall McLuhan stated, ‘the medium is the message’ (Murphie & Potts 2003, pp. 13), the obvious such as routines or regulations are just simply the results of an extensive and complex process of development. And it is the process that matters. ‘Facts’ or ‘rules’ do not form by itself. Something became a fact only after it is accepted by the society. Therefore, it is worth looking at the elements within the ‘process’ and their interrelations to see how things are formed.

Scholars also look at the media that way. There is no singularity in the media sphere, everything is a ‘machinic assemblage’, or ‘machinic ecology’ as Deleuze and Guattari defined. The term is used to illustrate such factors like material, culture, individual and technology are all connected at a certain degree and together they facilitate the process of embedding knowledge into our minds (Murphie 2013 & Fuller 2005, pp. 5). To be more specific, they instruct the way we consume the media. Such techniques offer some degree of explanation of what is happening in the media today.

One issue that interests me for a long time is how identities are constructed in the media. Let’s take Google as an example. People can’t really use fake name on Google any longer. The Internet has allowed people too much freedom and there was not really control over identities for the past decades. However, as social media develops, cyber bully also became an issue. The issue is called ‘cyber bully’, but what are the causes? People do not just log on to the Internet and become a cyber troll.

Cyber bully

–       Means/location (?): The Internet

–       Technology: Communication devices, i.e. phones, tablets, laptops, etc.

–       Human factors: Anonymous/Pseudonymous/Cyber trolls vs. Victims

–       Culture: (1) The belief of hiding behind the computer screens might protect the bullies from the threats of their true identities being revealed;  (2) Democracy practices, i.e. people have the right to access and distribute information equally.

–       Knowledge: The ability to use the Internet without leaving traces, possibly with other assisting software (link back to technology).

Indeed, identities and cyber bully are complex issues and could not be explained or resolved using just the idea of ‘machinic ecology’, yet such notion offers a basis, somewhat over simplified, ‘blueprint’ of what is involved in the problems.

Fuller, M. 2005, ‘Introduction: Media Ecologies’, Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, pp. 1 – 12.

Katse, M. 2011,  ‘Who Are You, Really? Activists Fight For Pseudonyms’, NPR, 28 September, accessed 4 April 2013, <http://www.npr.org/2011/09/28/140879480/who-are-you-really-activists-fight-for-pseudonyms>.

Murphie, A. & Potts, J. 2003, ‘Theoretical Frameworks’, Culture and Technology, London: Palgrave Macmillan: pp. 11 – 38.

— End of blog —

(I’m not sure if it’s a correct example to use, so I just post it here)

Let’s take a look at one specific example: the publishing industry. It is an industry, but nobody put it there as it is right now. We cannot take the whole industry for granted. The publishing industry has undergone various transformations to reach to its current ‘position’ in our life. The industry is made up by different sub–industries, which are illustrated in the brief mind map below.

(Click to enlarge)Different modes of publishing and their relationships with each other.

(Click to enlarge)
Different modes of publishing and their relationships with each other.

As we can see, those sub–categories do not stand alone, they are connected to each other. With the support of technologies, human knowledge and cultural practices, modern forms of publishing are born. They act with traditional forms to produce the media we consume in various formats. It is a network, in which the ways information flows across various channel that represent the development of an industry, not the final result.

[FINAL Assignment] The evolution of the publishing industry

ARTS2090: Publics & Publishing in transition

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Essay-in-lieu-of-examination

Student name: Quynh Khanh Bui

Student ID: z3354916

Tutorial group: Wednesday 9 a.m.

Tutor: Margaret Borschke

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