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Sunday, December 17, 2006

OpenAccess Blog

I stumbled on (because they linked to my post on Nebraska's Digital Commons) Peter Suber's Open Access News. With a mission of:

Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature on the internet. Making it available free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. Removing the barriers to serious research.

OANews charts the latest development in the rebellion against the Publishing-Company-centric approach to scientific literature. Two example posts. First, "The case for distributed over central OA archiving:"

Most important, institutions, being the primary research providers, have the most direct stake in maximising -- and the most direct means of monitoring -- the self-archiving of their own research output. Hence institutional self-archiving mandates -- reinforced by research funder self-archiving mandates -- will see to it that institutional research output is deposited in its natural, optimal locus: each institution's own IR (twinned and mirrored for redundancy and preservation). CRs (subject-based, multi-subject, national, or any other combination that might be judged useful) can then harvest from the distributed network of IRs.

And from "Self-archiving justified, regardless of effect on subscriptions:

Hence self-archiving is unlikely to cause journal cancellations until the self-archiving of all articles in all journals is reliably at or near 100%. If/when that happens, or is clearly approaching, journals can and will scale down to become peer-review service providers only, recovering their much reduced costs on the OA model that Jan favors. But journals are extremely unlikely to want to do that scaling down and conversion now, when there is no pressure to do it. And there is certainly no reason for researchers to sit waiting meanwhile, as they keep losing access, usage and impact. Mandates will pressure researchers to self-archive, and, eventually, 100% self-archiving might also pressure journals to scale down and convert to the model Jan advocates.

Open Access News seems most interesting for Eide, ZenPundit, and others who find themselves reading articles for fun and profit.


Update: Related to this, OpenCulture's listing of free university podcasts. Twelve Byzantine Rulers in particular has been getting rave reviews.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Community Governance on the Internet

About two months ago I posted Learning Evolved, a series that focused on classroom management. However, unlike Classroom Democracy and Classrooms Evolved, L.E. focused on how students can keep each other in line if the professor is brave enough to super-empower peer pressure. (In this way, L.E. is closer to my series on The Wary Guerrilla than typical classroom management).

Very helpfully, Sean Meade directed me to "Community Node-Based User Governance (CNBUG): Applying Craigslist's Techniques to Decentralized Internet Governance" by Alice Goodmann of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. I hope to be able to use some of Goodmann's concepts, ideas, and (of course) sources in the semester ahead.

An excerpt:

Peer Production eschews the idea of a centralized Internet government, and instead lets individual users to govern the Internet on their own behalf, by enabling them to permit or block contact from other users. By controlling their personal exposure to informational flows, individual users exclude bad actors that contact them, while also lowering the danger of 'chilling' content on the Internet as a whole. In determining whether or not to permit a contact to reach a user, Peer Production usually relies on a ‘trust’ system, built on the recommendation of others that are somehow trusted to certify the value of a communication.

Thanks Sean!

13:15 Posted in Academia | Permalink | Comments (2) | Tags: microdemocracy

Friday, November 24, 2006

Jim de Wilde on the Blogosphere and Academia

According to his homepage:

In his teaching activities, he has been on the faculty of the University Of Western Ontario School Of Business (now Ivey) and the Faculty of Management at McGill University, where he is now a Dobson Fellow in the Centre for Entrepreneurship. He has also taught venture capital strategies at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. His B-School activities have also included applying the Rotman venture capital strategies course to the Finnish context at the Helsinki School of Economics, and lecturing at the London Business School. He has a PhD in political science from McGill with a dissertation focusing on the Canadian public policy process and competitiveness in technology sectors.

Indeed, it appears that Dr. de Wilde's disertation is available from Amazon. Thus, I am quite happy to be listed in the same paragraph with Abu Aardbark, Davos Newbies, Duck of Minerva, FDNF, and Oxblogs a "case study in 'the new curriculum.'"

For some context, the article begins as follows:

The next stage of the new media revolution going on around us is the fusion of education and sophisticated new media journalism into single “branded” products. The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Times remain the premier “educational content” in social, political and economic issues in the English-speaking world. The depth of analysis done in FT, WSJ and NYT has not been converted into an educational curriculum which can complement organized educational products. Ironically, the business model underlying Pearson, Dow-Jones and the NYT is increasingly under pressure despite their brand being the hallmark of quality analysis. In this environment, the challenge of turning this content into usable customized curriculums and other business models remains an opportunity for knowledge management and strategic information in old media companies.

The traditional academic system of refereed articles is limited in offering a solution to the new problems of organizing usable knowledge in a rapidly-changing world. The incentive structure of traditional academics does not value public education and encourages hyper-specialization. On the other hand, even though the collaborative knowledge of the open-source era has produced new patterns of organizing knowledge, it has also created risks for those who want safeguards against unverified writings and the blurring of the lines between opinion and analysis. There is still an essential role for “credentialized” or “certified” expertise. Some in academia view this as an inevitable tradeoff between relevance and reliability. The market appetite is for both. These issues are not new, but they are now encountered daily. With this in mind, it is worthwhile to look at new media blogs, wikis and new designs for organizing and validating knowledge.

Interested in more? Read the whole thing.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Adam of The Metropolis Times has a post chronicaling the outrageous, deceitful, and criminal actions by The Arkansas Traveler in plagiarizing his work.

Plagiarism must be in the air today. Immediately before reading Adam's post, I witnessed the dedication of a memorial dedicated to another noted plagiarist.

09:05 Posted in Academia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Geography Conference

Catholicgauze is in town, and this morning I am hanging out with him at the Great Plains / Rocky Mountain Division Association of American Geographers 2006 Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. The keynote speaker gave a somber talk on the depopulation of the Great Plains. The Q&A immediately following was fascination. Asked about the relative silence about the depopulation on the fact that the plains was settled after the ascendancy of the Eastern Establishment. Audience comments ranged from the insightful -- multi-county ranchers as supporters of county consolidation -- to the idiotic -- blaming the rural-urban shift in America, Canada, India, China, and Asia on Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

Geographers of the Heartland

It must be conference season in general, as next weak UNL's Political Science department hosts a Hendricks Symposium on Genetics and Political Behavior. Up to twenty research papers should soon be available online. The conference is hosted by my professor, a genius who I heard speak last year.

10:04 Posted in Academia, Geography | Permalink | Comments (8)

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Adam of The Metropolis Times and I are fellow blogspiriter. I've long enjoyed his blogs, and have recently commented favorably on his presentation of an ACLU civil rights video. Likewise, his recent post on Atheist Activist tied into my decrying of secularist destruction of war memorials..

His most recent post caused me to write a comment that rapidly became post-length. So I am presenting it here instead of its original home in his thread.

  • The doctrine of cultural equality is rare

  • The doctrine of cultural equality is rare

  • Multiculturalism means Classical Liberalism

I cannot emphasize how wrong it is. The belief that Multiculturalism -- which is essentially a profession of rights of collectives or third-generation human rights is anything like traditional human rights is dangerous naive. Not "wrong" as such, but fundamentally misinformed. It is a dangerous misunderstanding of an actual movement.

Read more ...

12:50 Posted in Academia | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, April 24, 2006

In Praise of Students and Good Teachers

"Poor Teaching Quality Deters Students," by Cyndi White, Daily Nebraskan, 24 April 2006, page 4, http://www.dailynebraskan.com/media/storage/paper857/news/2006/04/24/Opinion/Cyndi.Waite.Tuition.Prices.Do.Not.Always.Match.Quality.Of.Teaching-1866524.shtml?norewrite200604241454&sourcedomain=www.dailynebraskan.com.

This semester, I'm blessed with two extremely good teachers. Because of these class leaders, who teach Creativity, Talent, & Expertise and Scope & Methods, I can academically write and present much better than before. I owe these two individuals a lot.

Indeed, the knowledge of what such great instructors can do leads me to give this extended quote from UNL's student newspaper on the effects of bad teachers:

To be quite blunt, with a few exceptions, my classes this semester are pure crap. My projection or displacement or whatever defense mechanism I was obviously displaying didn't stop there. I began thinking ... which is never good for me.

Read more ...

14:50 Posted in Academia, Education, UNL | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Academic Geographers Don't Like the Pentagon's New Map

"Glossary," by Thomas Barnett, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/pnm/glossary.htm.

"Updated Glossary of Key Terms from the Pentagon's New Map," by Thomas Barnett, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/bfa/glossary.htm.

"Neoliberal Geopolitics," by Susan Roberts, Anna Secor, and Matthew Sparke, Antipode, 35:5, 2003, ppg 886-897, http://faculty.washington.edu/sparke/neoliberalgeopolitics.pdf.

"Denaturalizing Dispossession: Critical Ethnography in the Age of Resurgant Imperialism," by Gillian Hart, Creative Destruction: Area Knowledge & the new Geographies of Empire, 15 April 2004, http://geography.berkeley.edu/PeopleHistory/faculty/GHart_CreativeDestruction.pdf


Continuing my work from "Operationalizing the Gap" (which itself built off of "The Cores of Europe"), I now look at what the academic press is saying about Tom Barnett's Pengatgon's New Map Theory.

The results aren't kind.

Read more ...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Academic Geography Agitprop

"AAG: Thursday Morning Update," Catholicgauze, 9 March 2006, http://catholicgauze.blogspot.com/2006/03/aag-thursday-morning-update.html.

While Dan Nexon worries about "ring wing political correctness" and Rodger Paine mocks the concerned, academia continues its history of being an ideological conversion machine for the Left.

Blogfriend Catholicgauze is attending 102nd Annual Association Association of American Geographers convention. The AAG interest organizations, such as Socialist & Critical Geography Specialty Group, clearly have rubbed Catholicgauze the wrong way. In particular, poor Dr. Mohameden Ould-Mey has drawn C's ire...

Read more ...

Monday, November 07, 2005

The University in Context

"The Left University," by James Piereson, South Dakota Politics, 3 October 2005, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/120xbklj.asp (from Jason of South Dakota Politics)..

Jason was kind enough to forward this link to me a while ago. I wanted to give it justice, but I finally realized that it was better at telling how the Liberal University became the Left University than I would.

First, a straight-forward description of the Liberal/Left hold on the University system.

As it happens, the contemporary university is diverse only as a matter of definition and ideology, but not in practice or reality. A recent national survey of college faculty by Stanley Rothman, Robert Lichter, and Neil Nevitte showed that over 72 percent held liberal and left of center views, while some 15 percent held conservative views. The survey also found that, over time, and especially since 1980, academic opinion has moved steadily leftward as the generation shaped by the 1960s has taken control of academe. In the humanities and social sciences, where political views are more closely related to academic subject matter, the distribution of opinion is even more skewed to the left. Unlike professors in the past, moreover, many contemporary teachers believe it is their duty to incorporate their political views into classroom instruction. Thus students at leading colleges report that they are subjected to a steady drumbeat of political propaganda in their courses in the humanities and social sciences.

A rational Conservative/Right plan for Victory would entail either taking-down or taking-over the University system. An economy-of-force approach would suggest both, the delegitimization and dismemberment of the most hostile departments or discipliens, the coopation and resteering of the most scceptable, with an overriding flexibility guided by principle.

Then, the author notes there a history exists of nonacdemic knowledge generators. A "University" has substitutes: academia is a replaceable social good.

For the great part of American history, from the founding of Harvard College in 1636 down to around 1900, colleges and universities played a small role in the economic and political developments that shaped the nation. Through the colonial period and into the early 19th century, when state universities began to be formed, institutions of higher learning were built on a British model, and were founded or controlled by Protestant denominations, usually Congregational, Episcopal, or Presbyterian. The purpose of these institutions was to shape character and to transmit knowledge and right principles to the young in order to prepare them for vocations in teaching, the ministry, and, often, the law. Few thought of these institutions as places where new knowledge might be generated or where original research might be conducted.

In England, as in America, research and discovery were sponsored by nonacademic institutions like the Royal Society in London or the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, the latter founded by Benjamin Franklin.

The "liberal" University arrived late on the scene, importing ideas of government from Germany and other sources.

There occurred a rapid expansion in higher education in the last few decades of the 19th century, encouraged by the end of sectional hostilities, the closing of the frontier, the rise of science and industry, and the accumulation of great wealth in the hands of men prepared to direct some of it to new academic institutions. From the close of the Civil War to 1890, the number of colleges and universities in the United States doubled from about 500 to 1,000, and the number of students tripled to more than 150,000. By 1910, student enrollment had grown to 350,000. Many of our most influential universities were created during this time, including the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Clark--all underwritten financially by wealthy businessmen. The academic revolution of this era was directed and largely implemented by university presidents including Charles Eliot of Harvard, Daniel Coit Gilman of Johns Hopkins, Andrew White of Cornell, William Rainey Harper of Chicago, David Starr Jordan of Stanford--and Woodrow Wilson of Princeton. It was a measure of the esteem in which college presidents were held that Wilson, while president of Princeton, was recruited in 1910 to run for governor of New Jersey and two years later for president of the United States.

The intellectual inspiration and institutional model for this revolution came not from Jefferson and the University of Virginia, or from any American source at all, but from German idealists who brought about an academic revolution in that country in the early 1800s. The institutional model was the University of Berlin, established in 1810 by Wilhelm von Humboldt, Prussian minister of education, under the influence of the idealist philosophers Fichte, Kant, and Hegel, who asserted that the task of the scholar was to search for the truth in science, philosophy, and morals unimpeded by political or religious authorities. The University of Berlin, the original research university, was based on the idea that truth is not something known and passed on, but the subject of persistent inquiry and continuous revision. It incorporated the practice of faculty autonomy in the selection of subjects for research and coursework, and conceived of students as junior partners in the research enterprise, that is, as researchers or professors in training. This new institution thus recast the purpose of the university away from theology, tradition, and vocations and in the direction of science and secular studies. It discarded as well the practice of looking to ancient writers for moral lessons and political guidance. The new university thus placed the faculty rather than students, religious bodies, or public officials at the center of the enterprise, for it was the faculty that in the end would decide what was studied and taught.

Ultimately, one of the greatst achievements of the university system (a focus on research) also does a disserve to its main source of funding -- an orientation away from students. Far from teaching students how to do things or even how to think, the great liberal University focuses on a sort of stylized blogging: academic journal publishing.

As the modern university took shape, faculties began to organize themselves into specialized departments, or disciplines, with their own formal rules for study, research, and publication. It was in this period that the various academic associations were formed, including the American Historical Association (1884), the American Economic Association (1885), the American Physical Society (1899), the American Political Science Association (1903), and the American Sociological Association (1905). These were national membership associations that held annual conventions and published their own journals containing research studies representing authoritative work in the respective disciplines. These associations were, in a way, national communities that reoriented the attention of professors away from students at their own college and toward colleagues working in the same discipline at other institutions across the country. The status of professors in their various disciplines was based on their published research, which established in turn a new basis upon which to rank departments and entire institutions.

As with the courts, if academia is taken-down it will be the fault of the Left. Decades of careful institution-building had created respected and honored universities. Leftist insurgent networks would successfullly subvert the university system:

By 1965, the American university was probably at a high point in terms of public esteem. Academic scientists had played a leading role in the discoveries that had led to victory in World War II. Veterans returning from the war enrolled in colleges and universities in large numbers, contributing a sense of maturity and seriousness to the academic enterprise that it had lacked before (and has lacked since). Professors in all fields, including the arts and humanities, enjoyed wide prestige. College sports reached large audiences through national television broadcasts. The baby boom generation, the largest in the history of the nation, was about to enter university life, causing a more than doubling of enrollments (from 3.5 million to 8 million) between 1960 and 1970.

It is plain in retrospect that the American university changed as fundamentally in the decade or so after 1965 as it did in those formative years between 1870 and 1910. The political and cultural upheavals of the period, spurred by the civil rights movement and opposition to the war in Vietnam, combined with the demographic explosion, brought about a second revolution in higher education, and created an institution (speaking generally) that was more egalitarian, more ideological, and more politicized, but less academic and less rigorous, in its preoccupations than was the case in the preceding era. It was in this period, from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, that the left university emerged in place of the liberal university.

The Left wisely used constructivist insights -- that all action is educatinoal, and all things are political -- to push their agenda. While their successful attacks on open scholarshp are very regretable, their successful attempt to swing the correlation of forces within academia is to be respected

The major changes or reversals that took place in a short period of time were unprecedented in the history of American education: single-sex colleges all but disappeared; college regulation of student morals disappeared as well; government regulation of employment expanded, putting pressure on institutions to hire women and minorities for faculty positions; the line between teaching a subject matter and advocating political positions was blurred or even eliminated altogether as the new campus radicalism asserted that all teaching is political in nature; the liberal underpinnings of academic culture--the freedom to teach and conduct research--were attacked and eroded in the name of political correctness; the unifying character of the humanities was subverted and discredited when they were said to represent an oppressive tradition formed by white European males; new fields, usually with ideological preconceptions, were created outside the traditional departments and areas of study, thus expanding the positions available for radical faculty; serious academic requirements, including foreign language proficiency, were softened or eliminated. Faculty opinion, already skewed in a liberal direction in the 1950s and 1960s, moved decisively to the left. All of these changes were blasted into place in the tumultuous decade from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, and were institutionalized in the decades that followed.

Since then, the University has acted as a Liberal/Left ideological conversion machine.

If there is a silver lining, it is that the very rapid conquest of Academia by the Left pushed it out of phase with the rest of the Liberal/Left program.

There was, in addition, a powerful countercultural element in the left university that was never a significant dimension of the liberal university. While liberals had pressed for practical reforms in American capitalism and the Constitution, the radicals of the 1960s went further to launch a wholesale attack on American culture and the middle-class way of life, which they condemned as repressive and, worse, boring. The cultural radicalism of the 1960s, derived from the Beats of the 1950s, was so appealing to the new campus left because it promised something beyond political reform--namely, a different way of life with a revised set of morals, new styles of dress, and an alternative to conventional careers. The cultural radicalism of the Beats was thus imported more or less wholesale to the campus, which was in turn conceived as a sanctuary from the moral repression of middle class life, a place where any number of different lifestyles might be explored. In the past, Americans in search of bohemia, or a refuge from middle-class expectations, had fled to communes in the country, or to European outposts as Hemingway and other writers did in the 1920s, or to Greenwich Village or San Francisco, but now they found homes on the modern campus.

The phase disharmony between the University and the remants of the Liberal/Left -- basically, the self-ghettoization of the Left within Academia, may be the best hope of counter-insurgents.

Furthermore, the failures of the left university, along with the excesses of some of its representatives, are gradually leading trustees and donors, and even some presidents and deans, to ask some long overdue questions about the path their institutions have followed. How, for example, can any university carry out its responsibilities if all faculty members think the same way, if genuine debate over vital questions is discouraged, if ideological rhetoric crowds out thoughtful discussion, if students know more about the peace movement than the Constitution and more about Ward Churchill than Winston Churchill?


College and university trustees are beginning to break through the artificial barrier that says that only faculty are qualified to pass judgment on matters of curriculum and appointments. Earlier this year, for example, the alumni of Dartmouth College elected to its board of trustees two insurgent candidates who ran on a platform that called for intellectual diversity and higher academic standards on the campus. Trustees of the University of Colorado, disgusted by the Ward Churchill fiasco and what it implied about the intellectual standards at their institution, have gone further by creating a new undergraduate program in Western civilization. Trustees at the State University of New York and George Mason University in Virginia, encouraged by the Washington-based American Council of Trustees and Alumni, have also acted to bolster academic standards in Western civilization and American history. Several years ago the trustees of the City University of New York, alarmed by the collapse of standards that followed a radical takeover a generation ago, took steps to strengthen standards for admission and to incorporate real substance into the curriculum. Trustees elsewhere, encouraged by such examples, are discovering that, if their institutions are to be rescued, they dare not rely on faculties to do it.

Perhaps something new will replace the social sciences/humanities ideological conversion machine...

At the same time, some philanthropists have begun to see a connection between anti-Americanism on campus and other pathologies, particularly anti-Semitism, anti-Israelism, racial separatism, and hostility to business. They are surely right to see a connection among these malignancies, and right also to see that they need to be attacked as strands of a broad ideology that has found a home in the left university. Such donors, once they are in the field, will bring a new urgency to the challenge of dislodging this orthodoxy from the academy.

.. while the engineering schools, sciences, and useful arts colleges continue to help grow the American economy.

Let's hope!