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by Stephen Downes
April 21, 2009

International Repositories Infrastructure
This is the product of a process that brought together a hundered or so repository experts in Amsterdam last month. Alan Swan writes, in an email, "An ongoing project has been looking at the global repositories infrastructure with the aim of determining where work needs to be done to 'fill in the gaps' and produce a truly interoperable system of repositories for research outputs... our themes had been identified as areas of high priority... The themes are: citation services, repository handshake (deposit systems), interoperable identification infrastructure (unambiguous identification on the web of named entities) and international repositories organisation (how the repository community organises to work together optimally)." Various Authors, PBWiki, April 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Cost of Peer Review Exceeds the Cost of Giving Every Researcher a Grant
Scott Leslie passed this along. "We show that the $40,000 (Canadian) cost of preparation for a grant application and rejection by peer review in 2007 exceeded that of giving every qualified investigator a direct baseline discovery grant of $30,000 (average grant). This means the Canadian Federal Government could institute direct grants for 100% of qualified applicants for the same money." Ironically, this report is published in a subscription-locked peer-reviewed paper, the total cost of which is entangled in the mechanisms for selecting which papers are good enough to publish. Pot, meet kettle. A.J. Cann, Science of the Invisible, April 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Decentralized Moderation Is the Chat Room Savior
Interesting discussion of comment thread moderation as it is managed on FriendFeed. People are able not only to delete comments from their own posts, they can block individuals from commenting and even from viewing what they read. Whether the system remains spam-free is an open question. But the same system is less robust in the world of blogs as a whole because, as the author says, it requires an identity system such that each person has one (and only one) unique ID. Won`t happen. People like thweir personas. A.J. Cann, Son of SoTI, April 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Students Lose, Fair Use Wins in Suit Targeting Anti-Plagiarism Tool
It's pretty much definitive now that the use of student essays by sites such as TurnItIn is not a violation of copyright. The sites compare newly submitted work with past and published work in order to detect plagiarism. In what is unambiguously a win for fair use (though not a loss for 'students') the court ruled that the use was "transformative" and hence protected. "It [the ruling] underscores that the copyright owner's rights are simply not absolute and that 'transformative' uses deserve protection themselves." Well and good, but one wonders whether the courts would be so fair as to award students a similar verdict were they using, say, songs or videos in a similar transformative way. Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

'Adver-Tweets' Eroding Trust Among Twitterers: Critics
Oh what a surprise. Advertising messages are being sent on Twitter. I'm shocked. Shocked! Unattributed, CBC, April 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

GCpedia is a Government of Canada wiki. "The GCPEDIA follows a model of open and collaborative sharing of information, and runs on Open-Source software. Led by Web 2.0 technologies including horizontal collaborative technologies, this framework includes wikis for collaboration and knowledge sharing, Facebook-like directories for people finding and groups and blogs for specialized news sharing. Other solutions will be integrated as it grows." How good is this? Check out this Learning 2.0 community on the site. Wow. Here's Richard Ackerman form last November and an Ottawa Citizen article from around the same time. Created my login ID today. Note that the site is still very much under development and that bilingualism and common look and feel (CLF) standards have not yet been met. Various Authors, Government of Canada, April 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Relative Truth
This is the sort of work that reflects my own views, at least to some degree. There is much in this volume I would agree with, though I am less interested in what seems to me to be trivial (and obvious) relativism, such as in matters of taste or judgements of beauty. The notion of 'linguistic evidence for relativism' is a bit interesting. But basically, this book is relevant because it calls attention to the "current guise" of relativism as a "thesis that propositional truth is relative not only to a world (as orthodoxy would have it) but also to some non-standard parameter such as a perspective, standard of taste, context of assessment and so on." The book is by Manuel Garcia-Carpintero and Max Kolbel (eds.). Reviewed by Paul McCallion, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, April 21, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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