Sunday, May 18th, 2008

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School has celebrated its 10th year with a conference called “The Future of the Internet” on May 15-16.

Here are the relevant links:

From the program, which I’m still exploring, I picked this paper: Open Access: Problems of Collective Action and Promises of Civic Engagement

Coming from a law school, the paper touches on legislative implications and provides a couple of interesting real-life cases. It can provide some interesting inputs to the preparations for the ICT-KM’s Planning for the Future GPGs strategy and the debate started with the September 2007 online consultation (summary of the forum) and the Workshop on Opening Access to CGIAR Research and Knowledge.

What’s in it and is it worth reading it?

From the Introduction:

This article seeks first to address why academic researchers have not yet adopted open access tools in large numbers. Part II situates open access with respect to the traditional purposes of publishing — increasing a work’s accessibility, publicity, and trustworthiness — and contrasts its vibrancy in fulfilling these functions with the increasingly noncompetitive and stagnant market for traditional scholarly publishing. Part III strikes up a conversation with researchers and publishers by responding to the primary concerns fueling academic
resistance to open access and explaining how a shift away from subscription journal-based publishing might affect knowledge-sharing in universities. Part IV contextualizes this conversation with respect to recent institutional advocacy and legislative attempts to ensure public access to publicly funded research. Finally, Part V offers some provisional normative conclusions as to how we can most effectively use the law in conjunction with institutional advocacy to create open regimes of scholarly publishing.




Catching up with feeds reading over the weekend, I came across this post in Dennis McDonald’s blog: Howlett Makes Some Good Points About Enterprise Web 2.0 Adoption. This contains additional commentary to an article by Dennis Howlett: The poverty of enterprise 2.0 and social media. While Howlett’s post provides lots of food for thought on the sociological and organisational side, McDonald focusses on the involvement of IT departments in any social media strategy in a corporate environment.

McDonald points out his conclusion that:

… the corporate IT department needs to be involved in technology related social technology initiatives, but it can’t necessarily lead the charge. There are two factors at work here.

The first is that social technology initiatives frequently involve more time, energy, and cost associated with process change than they do with technology itself. (…)

The second factor is that corporate IT is well situated to understand the security and support implications of initiatives involving technology, even when such initiatives involve remotely hosted applications that, initially at least, don’t require heavy duty integration with corporate systems and data stores.

McDonald also notices that IT staff has more experience in project management than the units where the initiatives may originate from. This may inform the perception that IT staff stands in the way of social technology initiatives when what they’re really concerned with is managing a successful project.

This rang a bell in the context of future initiatives we’d like to take to broaden the toolset of our CGXchange project, in order to support knowledge sharing within the CGIAR and between the CGIAR and its partners.

In particular, it brings out the need to balance experimentation and adoption. Even if we aim for pure experimentation and exploration of new tools and their uses in our work, It seems necessary to keep IT staff involved in the discussion right from the start, to provide validation of some key security- and network/bandwidth-related requirements.

What do you think?