[iDC] Tenure and access to knowledge

John Hopkins jhopkins at neoscenes.net
Mon Apr 4 14:06:33 EDT 2005

Hi Simon --

The US tenure question I don't like to even TALK about, it raises my 
blood pressure :-\

It is painfully clear that the 'radicals' who entered academia in the 
late 60's and early 70's have benefited materially from tenure, but 
the benefits to academic freedom have been put aside for salary 
fights and politically-correct posturing.  Stability is

In a sense, the moves towards adjunct teaching do make short-term 
sense for universities -- except that the people doing the innovative 
teaching don't get rewarded, this is a long-term viability problem... 
I frankly have taken the pathway NOT to go for a tenure position 
having seen what the process it does to the majority of people I 
know.  The key advantage: I don't have to go tot faculty meetings 
anywhere ;-))

>In the UK research is overwhelming funded from the public purse. There is
>currently advanced discussion around the principle that all publicly funded
>research outputs have to be made available for free via the Internet.
>Researchers will still be able to publish in journals but they will be
>required, through their institutional affiliation, to place their output
>online for free.
>This idea is gaining a lot of weight in academia and in government and could
>well be official policy within a couple of years. If this caught on
>elsewhere outside the US, which is the only country where most research is
>not publicly funded (or if it is, it is defense related and therefore
>subject to restricted publication), the journals would lose their
>stranglehold on the economics of output. Elsevere and such companies are
>fighting this.

Actually there is vigorous support and activities around placing 
publically-funded research in the public domain in the US (believe it 
or not, given the current regime which is overtly hostile to, in this 
case, the international open-ness of the greater science community).

The National Institutes of Health (also under intense attack by the 
neocons for other reasons), has "proposed public access policy will 
create a stable and permanent archive of peer-reviewed, NIH-funded 
research publications."  It does not mandate release, however.  There 
is a 6-month window between traditional journal publication and the 
public release, which 'safeguards' the publishers profit-motives... 
the data would be included at http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/ the 
existing and extensive national database of medical information...

There are intensive discussions going on about the same happening for 
all NSF (National Science Foundation) - funded research to have a 
similar system.  Of course, much research is under the "national 
security" heading which nullifies any efforts on public domain, or 
even journal publication, but otherwise, the science community seems 
to be behind efforts to support public domain concepts.

Of course, this does not consider the private domain of corporate R&D 
which has always been exclusive.  With the advent of 'soft money' 
(researcher has to raise their own funding outside of the university) 
many academic researchers are privately employed on the side (or have 
their own companies), so this further complicates the issue.

Individual universities have a variety of efforts/policies at 
public-domain desemination (like MIT)...

But all of this is happening in the face of a general and distressing 
increase in information-control that characterizes the contemporary 
social situation in the US -- as the society becomes more and more 
internally polarized and public opinion becomes a lightning-rod for 
the malevolent attentions of the neocons.  Attention, except for the 
most banal purposes of entertainment becomes a deadly risk to any 
meaningful progressive social activity.  Goes back to the tactical 
media idea that staying out of 'public view' and avoiding the roving 
eye of media attention is a necessity for active engagement!

so it goes...


PS -- a couple articles on European Science integration, research and 
development, compared to the US,  FYI (I think you can get to these 
links directly w/o subscription, not sure...


tech-no-mad::hypnostatic:: exploring the desert once again
domain: http://neoscenes.net
travelog: http://neoscenes.net/travelog/weblog.php

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